Flights from Irish airports level off after travel reopens

Number of flights into and out of airports over bank holiday was the same as on the day the travel ban was lifted

Flight numbers in the Republic have not increased since an initial boost following last month’s easing of Government Covid travel curbs, figures show.

Government reopened travel with the EU on July 19th, boosting flight numbers by around 25 per cent to 393 on that day.

Figures from the EU-wide air traffic control body Eurocontrol, show there were 394 flights in and out of the Republic on August 2nd, the bank holiday Monday. The total was around 40 per cent of the 947 flights in and out of the State on Monday, August 5th, 2019, showing that the recovery of Ireland’s air travel sector continues to trail the rest of the EU.

Flights in Europe totalled 24,739 on Monday, 70 per cent of the 34,894 that Eurocontrol recorded for the first August Monday in 2019.


The Republic’s biggest airport, Dublin, hosted 315 flights on Monday, against 757 on the same day two years ago, according to Eurocontrol.

Aer Lingus flew 60 services in and out of the Republic on the bank holiday, with 12 in Northern Ireland. Ryanair flew 188 services in the Republic, 160 of them in or out of Dublin Airport.

Bank of America analysts noted that European flights were 68 per cent of 2019 levels on July 29th.

However, while flights and bookings within the continent have been increasing, restrictions mostly hitting long-haul travel sent recovery into reverse in the week ending July 25th, the bank says.

Sales of flights within Europe increased to 57 per cent of pre-crisis levels over the seven days to July 25th, from 50 per cent the previous week. However, sales of long-haul trips fell to 24 per cent of 2019 levels from 28 per cent.

Bank of America says that left sales of all flights in Europe, short- and long-haul, at 32 per cent of 2019, against 34 per cent the previous week.

US restrictions on travellers from the EU and UK remain in place, with no official confirmation of when they are likely to end.

Aer Lingus owner-International Airlines Group (IAG) and rival Air France, last week suggested the US could lift these curbs next month.


Traffic on European airlines’ websites was running at 80 per cent of 2019 levels in the week leading up to July 27th, according to Bank of America’s sky tracker.

British Airways and EasyJet saw increases of four to six percentage points on their sites after the UK government said it would ease some travel restrictions.

From this week fully vaccinated travellers from “amber list” countries in the EU do not have to quarantine after arriving in the UK.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said airlines lost $126.4 billion (€105.2bn) last year, confirming 2020 as the industry's worst year on record.

Willie Walsh, the association's chief executive, dubbed 2020 the year the industry wanted to forget. "A million jobs disappeared," he said, adding that rapid action by airlines and their workers saw them through the crisis.

According to the Iata, 1.8 billion people flew last year, 40 per cent of the 4.5 billion who travelled by air in 2019. Airlines’ passenger revenues tumbled 69 per cent to $189 billion.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas