Aviation authority reports 83% decline in flights during lockdown

Irish Aviation Authority says Ireland is among group of worst affected countries

The IAA said 18,290 flights were handled by air traffic controllers here last month, barely a fifth of the figure recorded in the same month last year. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The IAA said 18,290 flights were handled by air traffic controllers here last month, barely a fifth of the figure recorded in the same month last year. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has reported an 83 per cent drop in flights handled by its air traffic controllers as a result of travel restrictions related to the pandemic.

The agency said 18,290 flights were handled by air traffic controllers here last month, barely a fifth of the figure recorded in the same month last year.

Ireland is amongst the group of worst affected countries across the European aviation network and has seen a larger decline than the average across Europe, ” it said.

The figures showed Dublin airport recorded 2,319 flights, an 89.4 per cent decrease on May 2019 while Cork airport traffic saw 260 movements, down 95.3 per cent. Shannon airport reported 325 flights, an 86.9 per cent decrease in movements.

The IAA said there was an 80 per cent decrease in Ireland’s overflight traffic movements - flights that do not land in Ireland - in May 2020.

IAA chief executive Peter Kearney said that the figures indicate that aviation in Ireland has been particularly badly hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“As an exporting nation, the Irish economy depends on aviation for growth and development, more so than many other European countries,” he said.

“ It is important that we start to re-open aviation as soon as possible. This will protect jobs, save aviation businesses and help kick-start our economy,” he said.

Mr Kearney also highlighted the uncertainty that exists for the IAA at this time. “As a strong semi-state company, we delivered profits of over €30 million last year. The European Commission is now considering changing European Regulations for air traffic management, which is likely to have a significant impact on the business for 2020 and beyond,” he said.

It is not in the interests of the Irish State, our airline customers or passengers that this happens, as ultimately quality of service and jobs could be impacted,” he added.