Industry

Published on October 12th, 2020 | by Alan Dwyer

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Irish and Trans-Atlantic Air Traffic Down 57% in Nine Months

The IAA has announced air traffic figures for Ireland for the first nine months of this year. Predictably enough, the COVID-19 crisis has had a major impact on the figures for the year to date. Despite strong numbers for January and February, the impact of COVID-19 started to kick in during March. Air traffic between January and September dropped 56.6%, with just 38,172 flights handled in September, a drop of 64.8% on 2019 figures.

Chief Executive of the IAA Peter Kearney.

Mr Peter Kearney, Chief Executive IAA said that air traffic collapsed this year and aviation cannot withstand these losses in the short to medium term. “Up to the end of September we handled 390,893 flights. During the same period last year, we handled 901,707. The collapse of air traffic started in Mid-March. Until then, air traffic was normal. As the COVID 19 pandemic spread, the traffic dropped from 73,557 flights in February to 14,907 flights in April. The traffic loss in April represented an 84.5% drop compared to April 2019, when there were 96,131 flights. We welcome the Government’s intention to fully sign up to the EU-wide approach. The plan, if applied consistently across Europe and endorsed by Governments is a key stepping-stone for the reopening of travel across Europe, particularly important for an island nation such as Ireland.  This combined with the investment airlines and airports have made to protect the health and safety of crews, passengers and staff will allow passengers confidence that their flights will go ahead, and the risks associated with COVID-19 are minimised. The IAA and aviation stakeholders across Europe are committed to work with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) to begin a new era in the sector. Ireland needs a fully functioning aviation industry and I have no doubt that the industry will continue to work with national Governments and international organisations on the implementation of a set of practical arrangements that will provide for the aviation industry to operate at a more sustainable level through this pandemic whilst continuing to protect crew and passenger health.”

The state owned airports suffered significant downturn in traffic this year with Dublin Airport down 68.8% with just 6,630 flights during September. Cork Airport had just 477 movements during the month, down 76.2% on 2019 figures and Shannon Airport had 557 flights, down 71.4% on the previous year. Overflights using Irish airspace also saw a dramatic fall in numbers to 11,367 from 32,157 in 2019, a decrease in 64.7%.

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