Passenger numbers to UK down 38pc
Scheduled air passenger traffic between Ireland and the UK slumped 38pc last month to just 565,296 as volcanic ash grounded aircraft across Europe.
The decline due to the flight ban brought the monthly number of air passengers between the two jurisdictions to its lowest level since February 1998, when 564,256 trips were made.
The data from the Civil Aviation Authority, which records traffic in both directions, comes as some industry insiders privately expressed dismay that the Department of Transport recently called heads of Irish airlines to a meeting to discuss service quality rather than issues they believe are far more crucial, such as the potential financial fallout from the volcanic activity in Iceland.
Air passenger numbers between the UK and Ireland have fallen for 18 months in a row, and for the first quarter of this year -- which excluded any ash impact -- the passenger traffic between the two countries was already back to 2003 levels.
Some of the worst affected routes last month included Ryanair's Gatwick-Shannon service, where passenger numbers were down 60pc year-on-year for April to 6,476.
Aer Lingus expects to have lost about €20m as a result of the flight groundings.