A total of 38.1 million passengers passed through the main Irish airports last year, an increase of 4.2% over 2018, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. 

The CSO said that during the fourth quarter of 2019, over 8.5 million passengers passed through the main Irish airports, up 1.4% on the same time in 2018. 

Passenger numbers increased in all airports last year, except for Shannon which saw a fall in passengers. 

The CSO noted that Shannon airport is a fuel stop for many transit flights that are not included in its figures. 

It said the five main airports accounted for 99.8% of all air passenger numbers while Dublin airport accounted for 85.7% of all air passengers carried in 2019.

Today's figures show that London-Heathrow and London-Gatwick were the most popular routes for passengers for Dublin airport last year. 

For Cork airport, London-Heathrow and London-Stansted were the most popular routes. 

The top route for Shannon was London-Heathrow, the top route for Knock was London-Stansted and the top route for Kerry was London-Luton.

86% of passengers travelling on international flights in the main Irish airports were travelling to or from Europe. 

The two most popular countries of origin/destination were the UK and Spain. Outside of Europe, the US was the most popular country of origin/destination last year.

Ireland's main airports also handled a total of 145,950 tonnes of freight last year, the vast majority (94.7%) of which was international freight.