Relaxed travel rules drive 25% increase in flights

Traffic lags pre-coronavirus levels by 60%

Passengers arriving at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport on Monday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Passengers arriving at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport on Monday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

Loosened travel restrictions boosted flight numbers by about 25 per cent to 393 on Monday, official figures show.

The Government lifted bans on travel to the EU on Monday July 19th, paving the way for Irish people to holiday on the continent over the rest of the summer.

The move boosted the number of flights in or out of the State to 393 on Monday from 313 on Sunday 11th, figures published by air navigation organisation Eurocontrol show.

Ryanair and Aer Lingus accounted for 242 of the total flights here on Monday. Ryanair operated 176 in and out of the Republic, 150 at Dublin Airport. Aer Lingus few 66. The carrier noted that it operated 346 flights on July 19th, 2019.

Eurocontrol’s numbers show that on Monday, July 22nd, 2019, there were 955 flights in and out of the Republic – meaning that traffic is still trailing pre-Covid levels by 60 per cent.

Recovery

This leaves the State lagging the rest of the EU, where air travel is less than 40 per cent behind pre-pandemic totals following three months of steady recovery.

About 20,000 people a day are expected to travel through the Republic’s biggest airport, Dublin, this week, from an estimated 14,000 last week. The gateway would normally expect to handle 115,000 travellers daily at this time of year.

On Monday the Republic formally adopted the EU digital Covid certificate, allowing free movement in the union to anyone vaccinated, immune or with a negative virus test.

Most EU states began using the system in June, ahead of its formal launch by the European Commission on July 1st.

Travellers arriving from the UK must provided evidence of a negative PCR test, as do those from the United States.

The US has ongoing restrictions on non-citizens or those who are not permanent residents travelling to there.

Meanwhile, travel insurer multitrip.com reported that policy sales increased 500 per cent since the beginning of May, when it became clear that the Goverment would ease travel restrictions this summer.

Expenses

Jason Whelan, head of travel at the company, said it was clear from those numbrs that Irish people were ready to start travelling abroad again.

The company said on Tuesday that it had added cover for medical expenses and cancellations that result from a positive coronavirus diagnosis, but has not incresed premiums.

Air travel data publisher OAG calculates that western European airlines have boosted capacity this week to almost 16.5 million seats, 62 per cent of the total during the same period in 2019.

Eastern and central Europe will have 4.3 million seats in total, 82 per cent of pre-coronavirus levels.

The firm notes that Ryanair has increased capacity to more than 2.9 million seats this week.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said recently that the group hoped to carry more than eight million passengers this month.

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