Dublin Airport was the fastest growing major airport in Europe last year, new figures show today.

The figures from ACI Europe - the trade association for European airports - said that passenger numbers at Dublin Airport increased by 11.5% in 2016.

That compared to growth of 11.2% at Barcelona's El-Prat Airport, 9.2% growth at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, 9.1% at Copenhagen Airport and 7.7% at Madrid Barajas.

Dublin Airport saw almost 28 million passengers last year with growth coming on the back of 19 new routes launched last year. Additional capacity was also added on 31 existing routes. 

"Dublin Airport’s passenger performance in 2016 was assisted by its growth as a gateway between Europe and North America," commented Dublin Airport's Managing Director Vincent Harrison. 

"Transatlantic traffic increased by 16% to a record 2.9 million passengers last year, while transfer passenger numbers were up 23% to a record 1.2 million," he added.

Today's figures from ACI Europe show that London Heathrow was the busiest European airport last year as it saw a total of 75.7 million passengers using the airport, up 1% on 2015.

It was followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle with 65.9 million passengers, Amsterdam Schiphol with 63.6 million passengers, Frankfurt with 60.7 million passengers and Istanbul Ataturk with 60 million passengers, which marked a decrease of 2.1%.

European airports collectively processed more than 2 billion passengers last year, which was a new all-time record, according to ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec. 

"While geopolitics and terrorism in particular played an increasing role in shaping the fortunes and misfortunes of many airports, the underlying story is one of continued growth and expansion - with passenger volumes growing in excess of 5% for the third consecutive year," Mr Jankovec said.

ACI said the traffic growth across Europe was due to three main factors  - improving economic conditions, low oil prices, and airline capacity expansion. 

Low cost carriers moving upmarket was also a key driver of passenger growth, it added.

ACI also said today that European freight traffic increased by 4.1% last year. This was its best performance since 2010 and confirmed the improving economic conditions across Europe.