The continued development of Dublin Airport as a major European transatlantic hub could be worth €18.7bn to the Irish economy by 2033 and add five million more passengers at the gateway, according to a report prepared for Aer Lingus by accountancy and consultancy group EY.
The report – released yesterday as Aer Lingus also unveiled new routes from Dublin to Minneapolis/St Paul and Montreal – predicted that almost €10.5bn of the GDP boost would be in the tourism sector.
The study also predicted that the expansion of hub activities at Dublin would help create almost 34,000 jobs in the economy by 2033, 27,000 of those in the tourism sector.
It also insists that the surge in hub activity would result in a €6bn boon to the Exchequer between 2021 and 2033.
Speaking at the launch of the new routes – which will bring the total transatlantic network at Aer Lingus to 15 services – the airline’s chief executive, Stephen Kavanagh, cited a number of US and Canadian cities the carrier is likely to target.
They include destinations such as Denver, Vancouver, Dallas and Las Vegas.
“With the appropriate infrastructure [at Dublin Airport], we have not put a constraint on the size of business that Aer Lingus can develop,” said Mr Kavanagh.
Aer Lingus currently has a 3pc share of all passenger traffic between Europe and North America.
“Why should we be comfortable with a 3pc market share?” asked Mr Kavanagh.
Dublin already has one of the highest levels of connectivity with North America among European airports.
The Montreal service will be the first of the airline’s routes to use the new Airbus A321LR aircraft.
The carrier has eight on order, with the first arriving next year.
Last year, Dublin Airport, which is controlled by the DAA, handled almost 30 million passengers, with 1.8 million of those using it as a hub to travel to onward destinations in North America or elsewhere in Europe.
That transfer passenger figure was up 32pc compared to 2016.
The EY report predicts that about 24pc of Dublin Airport’s passengers will be using it as a hub by 2033, and that 15pc of all passengers will have an overnight stay in Dublin.
Aer Lingus has been a vocal critic of infrastructure development at Dublin Airport, while the DAA , whose chief executive is Dalton Philips, has countered that it is investing heavily in delivering vital assets such as aircraft stands.
“The opportunity [for Dublin as a hub] will be forgone unless we can invest and build in a timely manner,” said Mr Kavanagh.