Dublin Airport has opened a new €22m boarding gate area as part of a major investment programme. 

The new South Gates area will be used mainly by Aer Lingus for flights to the UK and Europe.

The new area has five boarding gates serving nine aircraft parking stands. 

The gates have been designed to be used to accommodate departing flights in the busy early morning period and arriving flights in the evening.

The South Gates boarding area is part of a €100m plus investment programme at Dublin Airport this year. 

Other major investments include the total resurfacing of the main runway, an extension to the 100 boarding gate area, an upgrade to the 200 gates, and the refurbishment of Terminal 1's departures and arrivals areas. 

Dublin Airport saw a record 27.4 million passengers in the 11 months to the end of November, a 6% rise on the same time last year. 

The growth in passenger traffic is due to a combination of 14 new routes and extra capacity on 39 existing services.

"The huge growth that we have had in passenger numbers in recent years created significant demand for extra boarding gate space and aircraft parking stands and this new facility meets those requirements in a modern flexible way," Dublin Airport Managing Director's Vincent Harrison said. 

5.4% rise in air passengers at Irish airports in third quarter