Today Dublin Airport is one of Europe’s busiest flight hubs, with an average of 600 flights and 60,000 passenger movements per day. You can even go through US Customs and Border Control in its gleaming Terminal 2, which opened at the end of 2010.
In honor of its 75th year in operation, Dublin Airport is taking a look back at its early days, which really show how far it has come!
The Irish government announced its plans for Dublin Airport in 1936. Work began the following year at Collinstown, which had served as a base for the Royal Air Force prior to Irish independence and had since fallen into disuse. Construction began on the airport’s terminal in 1938. The runways were made of grass.
The airport officially opened in 1940, but because of WWII it was only able to offer one flight per day, to Liverpool. By 1945, it began offering direct service to London via Croydon, and in 1947 the Dutch Airline KLM began a Dublin-Manchester-Amsterdam service.
Adapting to its increased traffic, Dublin Airport traded its grass runways for concrete in 1948, and one year later reached its first major milestone of 200,000 passengers in one year.
Less than a decade later, in 1958, it began offering transatlantic flights, which forever changed the experience of Irish emigrants leaving for the US.
The airport reached 1 million passengers in a year in 1963 – remarkable considering Ireland’s population at the time was 2.8 million.
A complete timeline appears below. Happy Birthday, Dublin Airport!
• 1936 – Irish Government announces plans for new Dublin Airport at Collinstown
• 1938 – Work begins on the new terminal building
• 1940 – Dublin Airport opens with one flight per day to Liverpool
• 1945 – First Dublin Airport-London service begins to Croydon
• 1947 – KLM starts Dublin-Manchester-Amsterdam service
• 1948 – Completion of concrete runways
• 1949 – Passenger numbers reach 200,000 per year
• 1958 – First scheduled transatlantic service as passenger numbers top 500,000 per year
• 1959 – North Terminal opens
• 1963 – Welcomes more than 1 million passengers
• 1972 – Terminal 1 opens
• 1989 – Passenger numbers reach 5 million
• 1990 – Celebrates 50th birthday
• 1997 – Welcomes more than 10 million passengers
• 2008 – Passenger numbers reach a record 23.5 million
• 2010 – Terminal 2 opens
• 2014 – Welcomes 21.7 million passengers
• 2015 – Celebrates 75th birthday