Air passenger travel between Ireland and UK down 14pc in February
The number of scheduled airline passengers travelling between Ireland and the UK continued to decline last month by 14pc to 701,000 compared to February 2009.
The sharp decline comes on the back of a 17pc fall in the numbers in January compared to that same month in 2009, although widespread snow depressed those numbers.
Should the trend continue for the rest of this year, the total number of passengers on scheduled air services travelling between Ireland and the UK is likely to have slumped by about 1.75 million compared to 2009, to 9.15 million. That would be the lowest figure since 1999.
Particularly significant declines in passenger travel were recorded between the UK and a number of Irish airports, including Kerry, Shannon, Cork and Dublin.
Passenger numbers between Dublin and London Heathrow, the single busiest air route between Ireland and the UK, were down a further 2pc in February to just under 119,000. The numbers had declined 8pc year-on-year in January to 113,372, with the fall exacerbated by bad weather.
Amongst the biggest declines experienced last month was passenger travel between Kerry and Stansted after Ryanair scaled back capacity on the route more this winter compared to last. There were 4,489 passengers that flew between the two airports in February -- a 54pc fall on February 2009.
Between Shannon and Stansted, the figures were down 44pc to 14,694 in February compared to the same month last year.
Ryanair's traffic between Shannon and Liverpool rose 33pc to 6,173 last month, but its traffic between Shannon and Edinburgh was 44pc lower at 3,772. The airline's traffic between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Dublin was down 41pc at 10,028.
Aer Arann was also hit. Its service between Bristol and Cork declined 25pc to 1,435 passengers last month, while its route between Waterford and Manchester carried 8pc fewer passengers, at 1,384, during February.