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  • Writer's picturePaul Saupe

An Overview of the Irish Commercial Passenger Fleet

Updated: May 15, 2023

To mark the start of Airline Economics Growth Frontiers conference in Dublin next week, we have provided an overview of the Irish Commercial Passenger fleet using VV Aviation data.


As the major hub for aircraft leasing, Ireland is home to a large number of aircraft owners who deploy their aircraft across the globe. This can blur the definition of what “Irish fleet” really means. For the purposes of this analysis, we define the “Irish fleet” to mean Widebody and Narrowbody aircraft in service with Irish headquartered entities, specifically the Irish domiciled divisions of airlines. We look at these entities’ total fleet value and number of aircraft, flight hours and cycles, number of flights and routes taken, and average flight time & distance travelled.


Not surprisingly, Ryanair is at the top of the leader board by some margin. With 271 aircraft, Ryanair’s in service fleet is more than four times larger than Aer Lingus and worth nearly five times as much. SAS Connect, the Irish subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines, rounds out the top three.


Using our Hours & Cycles Aircraft Activity data, we analyse how Ryanair, Aer Lingus and SAS Connect have operated their aircraft over 2022. With Ryanair commanding a significantly larger fleet than both Aer Lingus and SAS Connect, it is no surprise that Ryanair have clocked up around 5 times more hours than of Aer Lingus and around 7 times the number of cycles. However, when it comes to the average flight time per cycle, Aer Lingus averages 2.4 hours compared to that of SAS Connect, with 2 hours and Ryanair with 1.9 hours. This reflects Aer Lingus’ mix of both long haul transatlantic travel and short haul regional flying.


Looking at commercial aircraft activity in Irish airports over the course of 2022, Dublin is by far the main point of entry, with around 10 times more international flights than Cork, Shannon, West Knock, and Kerry Airport.


Based on the top international routes operated by Irish airlines, the UK is the most popular destination with over 31,000 arrival flights. Flights between Dublin and UK based airports account for 86% of the top 6 busiest routes, with London airports accounting for 57% alone. Spain was the second most popular destination, while the USA came in closely followed by France and Italy.



VV Aviation data as of January 1st to December 31st 2022.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to provide general information and not to provide advice or guidance in relation to particular circumstances. Readers should not make decisions in reliance on any statement or opinion contained in this blog.

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