Irish Airports And Airlines Welcome Resumption Of International Travel
Dublin Airport, Cork Airport, Aer Lingus and Ryanair have welcomed the resumption of international travel from Ireland today (July 19), as the country has officially implemented the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Dublin Airport Statement
In a statement published on Dublin Airport's website, the airport said, "Dublin and Cork airports are ready to welcome back passengers as Irish restrictions on international travel for non-essential reasons are lifted today.
"'Today is a hugely exciting and much anticipated day as Ireland fully reopens for international travel. Our Operational Readiness Team, encompassing every department across both airports, has been planning extensively for this day so that all our customers have as safe and as pleasant an experience when travelling through our airports,' said DAA chief executive Dalton Philips.
"'The global pandemic has taken an enormous toll and people are looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends overseas who they haven't seen for almost a year and a half. We have been waiting patiently for international travel to resume and it is wonderful to see customers coming through the doors of our terminals again for leisure and business travel,' he added.
"'There is a great buzz and air of excited anticipation at our airports. We have missed our passengers, our airlines have missed them, and our business partners have missed them. Today represents the start of Ireland's reconnection with the world and we will play our part by building our business back better and stronger,' said Mr. Philips.
"DAA, the operator of Dublin and Cork airports - the two largest airports in the state - has kept both airports open throughout the pandemic, and they have played a critical role in facilitating the import and export of essential medical supplies and goods.
"COVID-19 has had a crippling effect on every aspect of the travel and tourism sector. 'Dublin and Cork airports have experienced a loss of over 43 million passengers in the past 16 months,' Mr. Philips said. 'We are working tirelessly to restore the vital connectivity that Ireland has lost during that time. The Irish economy, which is one of the most open in the world, is hugely dependent on international air connectivity for trade, tourism and foreign direct investment.'
"DAA invested significantly in a range of health and well-being measures across both Dublin and Cork airports at the start of the pandemic to ensure the safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff. These include more than 1,000 hand sanitisation stations, almost 1,000 plexiglass screens at check-in and security screening locations, over 12,000 new signs erected to emphasise social distancing and hand hygiene, regular announcements to remind people of guidelines, enhanced cleaning regimes throughout the terminals and campus and a contactless airport environment. Access to the terminals is limited to passengers, crew members and staff.
"Dublin Airport currently has 36 airlines flying directly to over 130 international destinations, while passengers flying from Cork Airport can choose from six airlines flying directly to a total of 20 continental European and UK destinations."
Aer Lingus Statement
In a statement published on Aer Lingus's website, the airlines said, "Teams across Aer Lingus are welcoming customers back to the airport and back onboard as the ban on non-essential travel is lifted today and following the delivery of almost two million EU Digital COVID Certificates in the last week. After a 16 month period of applying the most stringent travel restrictions in Europe, Ireland today lifts the ban on non-essential travel and Aer Lingus is ready to reunite families and friends. Today, Aer Lingus will operate 66 flights versus 346 on 19th July 2019.
"The airline, which continued to fly throughout the pandemic for essential travel and to keep trade links open, has today reiterated how maintaining high safety standards and protecting the health of its customers and colleagues is central to its operation.
"Chief operations officer Peter O'Neill said, 'We are delighted to be welcoming more customers back on board from today and reconnecting friends and families that have been kept apart for too long.
"'Some coming to the airport today - or in the coming weeks - may be nervous, unsure or simply unfamiliar with flying. We understand that. Our people are trained to ensure that our customers have a safe and comfortable journey.
"'We are delighted to once again be able to do what we do best for more customers - deliver safe international travel.
"'Thanks to the air filtration systems on board all of our aircraft, and how air flow is managed onboard, it has been proven that the only other indoor environment with comparable air-quality is an operating theatre. Safety measures such as mask requirements, additional cleaning, and new boarding and de-planing procedures have been in practice across the airline for the past year. We're more than ready to welcome more customers back on board.
"'There are a few important steps of which those travelling should be aware:
- Where possible, check-in online and avail of the baggage drop system;
- Make sure you have all of the correct documentation - the EU Digital COVID Certificate is not a pre-requisite for travel but it will make travel easier - check the various websites beforehand to make sure you have the most recent information - gov.ie/travel or reopen.europa.eu;
- Arrive at the airport least two hours for European flights, three hours for US travel.
"'And of course, our people are here to assist customers with any concerns they may have.'
"Aer Lingus offers great booking flexibility and allows customers to change their flights up to two hours before they are due to depart with no change fee. The Aer Lingus 'Book with Confidence' offer is available on all fare types and customers can change their bookings as many times as they like."
In a statement published on Ryanair's website, the airline said, "[From] Monday (19th July) Ryanair will see a significant recovery of air travel to/from Ireland, the EU and UK.
- Vaccinated EU citizens, together with their children under 12, can travel to Ireland with no restrictions.
- Vaccinated UK citizens, together with their children under 12, can travel to Ireland with no restrictions.
- Both EU and UK children between the ages of 12 and 18 will still require a negative PCR test, to travel to Ireland with their families, but will not have to quarantine."
Ryanair's statement included a statement from Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson, in which he said, "From Monday [July 19], we will be welcoming substantial numbers of Irish families travelling on well-earned holidays to the beaches of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, and we can at long last welcome UK and EU families who are finally able to travel to Ireland to visit friends and relatives who they haven’t seen for over 15 months."
Wilson added, "Ryanair reminds all passengers that face masks are required both in the airport terminal and on board our aircraft, as we continue to work to protect our passengers, our crews and our service providers, and keep them safe while we see the restoration of intra-EU and UK air travel, thanks to the successful rollout of vaccines."
© 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.