Airports had their busiest weekend this year over the October bank holiday, but figures confirm that numbers still trail pre-Covid levels.
A total of 594 flights moved in or out of the Republic on Friday, according to air navigation body Eurocontrol, making it 2021's busiest day in Irish skies.
Dublin Airport confirmed on Wednesday that 241,000 passengers passed through there over the bank holiday weekend, beating its original 224,000 prediction.
State company DAA, the airport's operator, said 1,587 flights arrived and departed through the October break.
“An average of 60,000 passengers per day flew in and out of Dublin Airport over the four days between Friday, October 22nd and Monday, October 25th, 2021,” DAA added.
Bank holiday Friday was the busiest day, with 64,000 passengers and 428 aircraft arriving and departing in a single day, the State company noted.
However, its calculations show that 147,000 more people used Dublin Airport over the October bank holiday in 2019, when passengers reached 388,000.
This was 38 per cent more than this year. DAA’s totals show 376,000 passengers used Dublin Airport over the 2018 October bank holiday, up from 345,000 in 2017 and 335,000 in 2016.
According to Eurocontrol, the bank holiday Friday this year was 41 per cent below the comparable day in 2019, which was October 25th, when there were almost 800 flights in and out of the Republic.
Air travel in Europe is continuing to recover from Covid-19 travel curbs faster than expected.
There were 21,552 flights in the area covered by Eurocontrol, which includes parts of the Middle East and North Africa, on Tuesday, October 26th, just 24 per cent below the 28,464 recorded on the same date in 2019.
However, tough Government restrictions and a delayed re-opening have left the Republic lagging much of the rest of Europe.
Flights in and out of the State totalled 457 on Tuesday this week, 40 per cent below the 704 recorded on the same date in 2019, according to Eurocontrol.
Industry body Airports Council International this week singled out the Republic, UK and Finland as three countries where government travel bans and slower re-openings hit aviation's recovery.
The council calculated that traffic at Irish airports this year will fall 68 per cent short of 2019, when the total was a record 38 million passengers.