Dublin Airport sees 70% drop in number of flights in September
IAA says flight numbers in Republic plummeted two-thirds to 38,170 last month as Covid restrictions continued to hit travel
September flights in and out of Dublin Airport, the Republic’s biggest, fell 70% to just 6,630
Flights in the Republic plummeted two-thirds to 38,170 last month as Covid-19 restrictions continued to take their toll on air travel, latest figures show.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the Republic’s air traffic control and safety regulator, said on Monday that the pandemic resulted in an “unprecedented” fall in flights over the first nine months of the year.
Last month the authority handled 38,172 flights in Irish air space and at its airports, 65 per cent less than during September 2019.
September flights in and out of Dublin Airport, the Republic’s biggest, fell 70 per cent to just 6,630.
Cork was down 76 per cent at 477, while traffic at Shannon declined 71 per cent to 557 flights.
Peter Kearney, IAA chief executive, warned that air travel could not withstand these losses in the short to medium term
He said that in the nine months to the end of September, the IAA handled 390,893 flights, against 901,707 during the same period last year.
Mr Kearney argued that the Government had to adopt the EU’s traffic light system for safe air travel, which the bloc’s foreign ministers are due to ratify at a meeting on Tuesday.
“We welcome the Government’s intention to fully sign up to the EU-wide approach,” he said. “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. ”
The EU system will grade regions as green, orange and red according to the risk of infection in each. Those from lower risk green and orange areas will be allowed to travel freely, while anyone from red zones is likely to have to produce test results showing they are Covid-free or face quarantines when they travel.
“The collapse of air traffic started in mid-March,” Mr Kearney said. “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 per cent drop compared to April 2019, when there were 96,131 flights.”
The IAA is responsible for air navigation and communications in the Republic’s own airspace as well as through a large area over the north Atlantic. Most flights between Europe and America pass through areas under the Irish authority’s supervision.
Overflights, that is flights through airspace that do not land in the Republic, fell 64.7 per cent to 11,367 last month from 32,157 in September 2019.
The IAA’s analysis of north Atlantic flights show a decrease of 68.3 per cent in September to 15,070 from 47,532 during the same month last year.