Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport hit new record levels last year as capacity at the airport continues to grow. 

Dublin Airport saw a total of 31.5 million passengers last year - a new record for the airport and an increase of 6% on passenger numbers for 2017.

An additional 1.9 million passengers used Dublin Airport during 2018. 

Short-haul traffic at the airport grew by 5% to 26.5 million, while long-haul passenger numbers increased by 15% to 5 million.

Passengers from Continental Europe - the airport's largest market - increased by 7% last year, as almost 16.3 million passengers took flights to and from Europe. 

UK traffic increased by 1%, with almost 10.1 million passengers travelling to and from UK airports last year. 

UK traffic growth has been sluggish for the past two years due to the weakness of sterling amid concerns about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy.

Meanwhile, transatlantic traffic increased by 16%, as Dublin Airport recorded more than 4 million annual passengers on North American routes for the first time. 

Other international traffic, which includes flights to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, increased by 17% to just over 1 million passengers. 

16 new routes were launched at Dublin Airport last year, including new services to Beijing, Hong Kong, Montreal, and Seattle.

Capacity was also increased on 22 existing services, as airlines added flights and deployed larger aircraft on some of their Dublin routes. 

Dublin Airport will see the introduction of 19 new routes this year. 

New long-haul destinations include Calgary, Dallas-Fort Worth, Minneapolis-St Paul, and Hamilton, Ontario. The airport's short-haul network is also expanding, with scheduled flights to new destinations such as Cagliari, Kyiv, and Gothenburg. 

"Dublin Airport is a key economic engine for Ireland and last year's traffic growth helped deliver a record year for Irish tourism, bringing additional jobs and tourism spending throughout the island," Dublin Airport's Managing Director Vincent Harrison said. 

Mr Harrison said the airport's record passenger numbers also boosted Irish trade and exports and helped facilitate greater levels of foreign direct investment in Ireland and by Irish companies overseas. 

"Air connectivity is essential for the Irish economy and the provision of new and expanded services at Dublin Airport benefits the entire country," he added.

Dublin Airport supports or facilitates 117,300 jobs and contributes €8.3 billion annually to the national economy.