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ACI Says Delays In Easing Restrictions Left Passenger Traffic Tailing By Close To 70% At Republic Of Ireland's Airports

Published on Oct 28 2021 12:30 PM in General Industry tagged: Trending Posts / Dublin Airport / Airports Council International / ACI / Eurocontrol

ACI Says Delays In Easing Restrictions Left Passenger Traffic Tailing By Close To 70% At Republic Of Ireland's Airports

Airports Council International (ACI) has said that government delays in easing COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions this year left passenger traffic trailing by close to 70% at the Republic o...

Airports Council International (ACI) has said that government delays in easing COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions this year left passenger traffic trailing by close to 70% at the Republic of Ireland's airports.

As reported by The Irish Times, ACI calculates that Europe’s airports have lost 1.26 billion passengers so far in 2021, leaving them 62% behind 2019.

A council report reportedly highlights slower recoveries in the Republic, the UK and Finland, where governments delayed reopening this summer as COVID-19 receded in the face of vaccination programmes.

According to ACI, traffic at the Republic's airports remains 68% below pre-pandemic levels, against 34% down in countries that reopened earlier.

The UK reportedly trails the rest of Europe by 71% while Finland is reportedly down 78%, according to the council.

The Irish government adopted the EU Digital COVID Certificate and reopened travel with the rest of the bloc on July 19, which was almost three weeks after the EU’s formal reopening on July 1, while many states had adopted the pass and begun easing travel travel restrictions ahead of that date in June.

Subsequent European air travel figures reportedly showed the Republic of Ireland lagging the rest of the region, with flight numbers in the Republic of Ireland at approximately 40% of 2019 figures, against up to 70% in the EU.

Dublin Airport, the Republic's biggest gateway, expected over 224,000 passengers to travel through it over the bank holiday weekend, which reportedly made it the busiest weekend so far this year, but the number was reportedly still 42% below the same period in 2019.

Smaller airports are reportedly recovering traffic faster than others, aided by low-cost carriers, according to ACI.

The council reportedly notes that connections offered by budget airlines from smaller airports are only 10% below pre-pandemic levels.

In the Republic, Ryanair is reportedly restoring flights at Cork and Shannon airports faster than at Dublin.

The airline recently confirmed that it will return to full pre-COVID schedules from Cork and Shannon next summer.

However, it reportedly predicted that that it will remain 35% below 2019 capacity at Dublin.

Intra-European, domestic and leisure travel is reportedly driving the recovery at smaller airports, according to ACI.

Flights offered by full-service carriers at smaller airports are reportedly 32% down on 2019 while 42% off at bigger hubs.

ACI reportedly predicts that aviation's recovery will gather momentum in 2022 as restrictions on transatlantic travel ease and airlines start restoring long-haul services to destinations in Asia.

ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec reportedly predicted that fully restoring air travel will be an "uneven and volatile" process tied to vaccinations and infection rates, and reportedly said, "The level of pent-up demand is staggering, fuelled by the savings accumulated by consumers through this pandemic. But there are also significant supply pressures that will slow down the pace of the recovery."

Jankovec reportedly said that these include smaller airlines and rising fuel costs, and that some airlines will control capacity to boost prices.

October Bank Holiday Weekend

As also reported by The Irish Times, figures from air navigation body Eurocontrol confirms that airports had their busiest weekend this year over the October bank holiday, but that numbers still trail pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

A total of 594 flights reportedly moved in or out of the Republic of Ireland on Friday October 22, according to Eurocontrol, reportedly making it 2021’s busiest day in Irish skies.

Dublin Airport reportedly confirmed on Wednesday October 27 that 241,000 passengers passed through it over the bank holiday weekend, beating its original 224,000 prediction.

State company DAA, which operates Dublin and Cork airports, reportedly said that 1,587 flights arrived and departed through the October break, and, "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 reportedly noted that bank holiday Friday was the busiest day, with 64,000 passengers and 428 aircraft arriving and departing in a single day, however, its calculations reportedly show that 147,000 more people used Dublin Airport over the October bank holiday in 2019, when passengers reached reportedly 388,000.

This reportedly was 38% more than this year. DAA’s totals reportedly show that 376,000 passengers used Dublin Airport over the 2018 October bank holiday, reportedly up from 345,000 in 2017 and 335,000 in 2016.

The bank holiday Friday this year was reportedly 41% below the comparable day in 2019, which was October 25th, when there were reportedly 800 flights in and out of the Republic of Ireland, according to Eurocontrol.

Europe

Air travel in Europe is reportedly continuing to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions faster than expected.

There were reportedly 21,552 flights in the area covered by Eurocontrol, which reportedly includes parts of the Middle East and North Africa, on Tuesday October 26, reportedly just 24% below the 28,464 recorded on the same date in 2019.

However, as noted above, government restrictions and the delayed reopening have left the Republic of Ireland lagging much of the rest of Europe.

Flights in and out of the Republic of Ireland reportedly totalled 457 on Tuesday October 26, reportedly 40% below the 704 recorded on the same date in 2019, according to Eurocontrol.

ACI reportedly calculated that traffic at Irish airports this year will fall 68% short of 2019, when the total was reportedly a record 38 million passengers.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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