Aircoach passenger numbers down more than 90% due to Covid
Bus operator has retained most employees but financial position ‘extremely difficult’
Aircoach: “The current restrictions at Level 5 for passenger transport operators mean a carrying capacity of 25 per cent.” Photograph: Frank Miller
Passenger numbers on private bus operator Aircoach have plummeted by over 90 per cent in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact.
Managing director Dervla McKay said on Tuesday that Aircoach, along with the majority of Ireland’s private coach and bus companies “ground to a halt in March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“The current restrictions at Level 5 for passenger transport operators mean a carrying capacity of 25 per cent,” she said. “That, combined with stricter measures on international travel, puts the Aircoach business in a difficult position in the short term.”
Ms McKay made her comments after accounts just filed by the business show the Covid-19 pandemic contributed a 21.5 per cent slide in pre-tax profits at Aircoach to €3.7 million last year.
According to directors for Last Passive Ltd, which operates Aircoach, the last quarter of the company’s financial year to the end of March 2020 was impacted by Covid-19 which led to significantly reduced passenger numbers on all routes.
Prior to the Covid-19 impact, they said there had been strong passenger-number and turnover growth for the majority of the year.
“It was difficult to offset the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic with cost reductions in such a short space of time,” they said.
Ms McKay said Aircoach has been availing of all relevant government support “and have been able to retain the majority of our employees. However, our financial position remains extremely difficult.”
The company is also being supported by its parent, First Group.