General Industry

Irish Air Traffic Declined By 58% Year-On-Year In 2020

By Dave Simpson
Irish Air Traffic Declined By 58% Year-On-Year In 2020

According to the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Irish air traffic declined by 58% year-on-year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IAA said that its air traffic control division managed 498,803 flights last year, which was over 670,000 fewer than in 2019 and the lowest level of flights in Irish airspace since the late 1980s.

The IAA also noted that the 58% year-on-year decrease in Irish air traffic last year was the worst year-on-year decrease in the number of flights recorded travelling through Irish and north Atlantic airspace.

Dublin, Cork And Shannon Airports Flight Movements

According to IAA data, Dublin Airport recorded a 63% year-on-year decrease in traffic numbers last year; Cork Airport commercial air traffic decreased by 70% year-on-year last year; and Shannon Airport flight traffic movements decreased by 58% year-on-year last year.

Overflight Traffic And North Atlantic Communications Flights

IAA data also states that Ireland's overflight traffic (flights that do not land in Ireland) decreased by 56% year-on-year in 2020 to 154,189 flights.


Additionally, the number of North Atlantic communications flights (Europe/US) decreased by 58% year-on-year last year to 213,106.

IAA Chief Executive Statements

In a statement published on the IAA's website, IAA chief executive Peter Kearney said, "We've never experienced a year as bad as 2020. However, the IAA and the industry played its role in the national effort to contain COVID-19. We must re-double these efforts now, whilst also looking forward to a brighter future for the sector. Recovery will start later this year and aviation must be ready to play its key role in supporting economic and social well-being, when recovery commences.  While the numbers of flights remain very low in January and for the foreseeable future, we are hopeful of a sustained recovery from Q3 onwards."

Kearney added, "The IAA has focused on ensuring there is no loss of safety or service quality across its essential services throughout the pandemic. We will continue to support the nations' efforts to keep supply chains open through safe and efficient air traffic operations at the state's three airports and in Irish controlled airspace. Looking forward, we are planning for a reboot of the industry in line with the European and US roll-out of vaccines."

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