Dublin Airport was the second fastest growing airport in the European Union among its peer group last year.

This is according to new data released by ACI Europe, the umbrella group for Europe's airports.

Passenger numbers rose at Dublin airport by almost 6% to reach 20.2 million last year, compared to overall passenger growth at EU airports of 1%.

Dublin was the second fastest growing airport in its peer group - airports which cater for 10-25 million passengers a year - and came in behind Berlin's Tegel airport which saw its passenger numbers grow by 7%. 

The ACI Europe figures show that growth at all European airports, which includes non-EU states such as Russia, Turkey and Iceland, was 3% in 2013.

ACI Europe's director general Olivier Jankovec said it was "encouraging to see the bounceback in passenger traffic at many airports across the EU, especially in Ireland and Portugal".

Dublin Airport's managing director Vincent Harrison said the new European data underlined Dublin’s strong passenger performance in 2013. 

Mr Harrison said that the airport’s strong performance in 2013 has carried into this year, as the airport has enjoyed an excellent start to 2014. 

"Preliminary data shows that we had a good month in January. And with 16 new services already announced and significant capacity expansions agreed for many existing routes for the summer season we are very positive about the prospects for this year," he added.