Dublin celebrates turning 80

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Dublin Airport has turned 80, marking the occasion with music from jive-era groups Bugle Babes and The Apple Blossoms, and from the Dublin Airport Police and Fire Service Band.

About 580 million passengers have been welcomed at the Irish airport since the first commercial flight, an Aer Lingus Lockheed 14 aircraft, departed for Liverpool’s Speke Airport at 9:00am on Friday, January 19, 1940.

While the first day of operations featured a single flight, Dublin is now an international gateway for the island of Ireland, a significant hub for transatlantic traffic and in the top tier of European airports. In 2018, it welcomed 31.5 million passengers and it has more than 233,000 take offs and landings per year.

Dublin has come a long way in those 80 years, according to managing director Vincent Harrison. “From one flight twice-weekly to one destination in 1940 to 700 flights daily, with direct services to more than 190 destinations in 42 countries, Dublin Airport is a thriving hub of economic activity, a significant employer and contributor to the exchequer.”

The award-winning original terminal building was designed to handle up to 100,000 passengers per year. Last summer, however, Dublin welcomed more than 100,000 passengers a day.

“While the scale of Dublin Airport has changed dramatically over the past 80 years, the core of what the airport does has remained exactly the same throughout that period,” said Harrison. “Dublin Airport connects Ireland to the world, and we bring people together; for business, for pleasure, at times of sadness, and at times of joy.”

Dublin also plays a vital role in growing inbound tourism, in boosting Irish trade and exports and in facilitating foreign direct investment in the Irish economy.

According to Harrison, the airport’s employees are a fundamental element in its success. “Dublin Airport is a hive of activity 364 days per year and it simply couldn’t operate without the dedication of tens of thousands of employees from [operator]daa, airlines, ground handlers, air traffic control, state agencies, retail concessionaires and other firms. As Dublin Airport celebrates its 80th birthday, I’d like to thank both current staff and their retired colleagues,” he said.

Dublin Airport has hosted many dignitaries and special homecomings during its 80-year history. It has welcomed seven US presidents, two popes, the return of many Irish Olympic medal winners, a host of Eurovision winners, the Irish football team returning from World Cups and European Championships, and the Irish rugby team with the Grand Slam trophy.

Dublin Airport will be posting 80th birthday related content on its social media channels, using the hashtag #DUB80 throughout the year.


Dublin Airport will send three speakers to talk at the Customer Service & Passenger Experience and the Facilities Maintenance & Management streams at this year’s Passenger Terminal CONFERENCE. Take a look at the full conference program here

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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