Irish air travel lags Europe with just 313 flights on Sunday

Total left the State at number 23 in Europe, behind Montenegro

Dublin airport. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Dublin airport. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh


Irish air travel continued to lag Europe last week as holiday makers boosted European flights to around 60 per cent of pre-Covid levels, figures show.

Flights in and out of the State totalled just 313 on Sunday July 11th, fewer than 10 per cent of the 3,920 recorded in Spain by air traffic control body, Eurocontrol.

Sunday’s total left the Republic at number 23 in Europe, lagging behind Montenegro, which has a population of around 620,000.

Spain led the way, with Germany second at 3,528. The UK hosted more than 2,200 flights on Sunday, putting it at number six.

The Government has pledged to re-open international travel next Monday, July 19th, and has begun issuing digital Covid certs to fully-vaccinated adults, which will allow them free movement in the EU.

However, those aged seven to 18 will need negative PCR tests to travel with inoculated parents, which airlines warn is a barrier to family holidaymakers arriving or departing here.

Eurocontrol’s figures show there were more than 36,600 flights across Europe on Sunday, around 62 per cent of the same day in 2019.

That tallies with other calculations showing European air travel recovered to around 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in the first weeks of July, despite a slowdown in growth.

Bank of America’s sky tracker estimates that European flights improved to 62 per cent of pre-pandemic levels as of July 8th.

Irish giant Ryanair, its low-cost rival, Wizz Air and Turkish Airlines led the way.

Aviation data specialist, OAG, said airlines had boosted seats by 4.4 per cent in western Europe to 15.2 million on Monday July 12th from 14.6 million seven days earlier.

That was 43 per cent down on 2019. However, seat numbers in central and eastern Europe totalled 4.2 million, just 20 per cent less than pre-Covid levels.

Bank of America analyst, Muneeba Kayani, notes that flight bookings within Europe took a step down in the week ending July 4th, following almost three months of growth.

She says that activity on European airline websites was 78 per cent of 2019 levesl on July 8th, indicating that many of the region’s residents intend booking flights.

“Turkish Airlines was up the most by circa 9 percentage points, followed by Wizz Air, Lufthansa, Ryanair and KLM at circa 7 to 8 percentage points,” Ms Kayani says.

“Easyjet was up by 4 percentage points, while Iberia, British Airways and Air France showed declines.”