Passengers Returning In 'Significant' Numbers To Kerry Airport
Kerry Airport CEO John Mulhern has said that passengers are returning in "significant" numbers to the airport, with an average of 170 people on European and UK flights.
As reported by The Irish Times, the AGM of the company that operates Kerry Airport heard this week that it will take "several years" for the airport to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic passenger traffic levels despite an encouraging increase in the numbers travelling through the airport this summe.
Mulhern reportedly said, "We were expecting the best year for several years, but unfortunately COVID put an end to that."
Flights That Have Returned
Flights from Kerry Airport to London Stansted and Luton have reportedly returned four days a week, while flights to Alicante in southern Spain and to Faro in Portugal have two days a week returned, and flights to Manchester have also returned, the meeting reportedly heard.
Kerry To Dublin Route
Ryanair has taken over the Kerry to Dublin route on a commercial basis following the collapse of former Aer Lingus contractor Stobart, which was operating 80-seater aircraft on the state-subsidised regional route.
Mulhern reportedly said that 50-60 passengers are using the daily morning and evening flights in and out of Dublin Airport's second terminal, and reportedly noted that the Ryanair aircraft on the route is for 189 passengers, but that it remains to be seen how this will pan out commercially.
Before the pandemic, passengers numbers before on the Public Service Obligation (PSO) route operated by Stobart reportedly reached up to 60,000 passengers per year.
A shareholder contributing virtually reportedly said that the new Ryanair flight times, which are reportedly slightly later to Dublin in the morning and earlier in the evening to Kerry than the previous services on the route, are not suiting business travellers who hope to make morning connections.
However, Mulhern reportedly said that their hands are tied with Ryanair when it comes to schedules, that flights on the Kerry to Dublin route are increasing to twice a day from Wednesday September 1.
"Significant Upturn" In Private And Chartered Flights
Mulhern reportedly said that there has also been a "significant upturn" in private and chartered flights in and out of Kerry Airport from Europe and the US, bringing tourists, and many of the private charters bring golfers to play at links courses in the south-west of Ireland.
No COVID-19 Cases Recorded
Kerry Airport continued to operate during the pandemic as an emergency airport and also for medical and other necessary travel to and from Dublin, no COVID-19 cases have reportedly been recorded among passengers or staff at the airport.
Kerry Airport is reportedly still heavily dependent on government support, and reportedly received over €1.8 million in revenue grants and COVID and other supports for 2020, which was reportedly up from up from €1.27 million the previous year. Kerry Airport reportedly also received capital grants of €12.7 million.
2020 Operating Loss And Passenger Numbers
Kerry Airport reportedly recorded an operating loss of close to €145,000 in 2020, which reportedly followed a profit of over €1 million the previous year. Passenger numbers at Kerry Airport reportedly amounted to 83,000 last year, which reportedly followed a 370,000 passenger number that was recorded for 2019.
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