The UK, Slovakia, Hungary and Denmark also saw ’extraordinary’ increases, according to industry body
Irish airports have seen the largest jump in passenger numbers in Europe this year, as traffic chaos continues to plague the continent.
The number of travellers through Irish airports grew 1125pc in the first six months of 2022, compared with the same period last year, a report has found.
The UK came second, with passenger traffic growing 833pc, while Slovakia (up 842.2pc), Hungary (up 784.8pc) and Denmark (up 611.8pc) also saw “extraordinary” increases, said global trade body Airports Council International (AIC).
The news comes just days after Ryanair reported a profit after tax of €170m for the three months to June, a major turnaround on a loss in the same period last year, while revenues soared 602pc.
Aer Lingus owner IAG is due to release its half-yearly results later this week.
Irish-based jet lessor Avolon saw a net income loss of $173m for the first half of the year due to impairments on aircraft stranded in Russia, but is upbeat about the recovery.
Irish and European carriers, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Wizz Air and EasyJet, have cancelled thousands of flights this summer due to staff shortages and strikes.
Dublin Airport told an Oireachtas committee this week that it is dealing with thousands of pieces of lost luggage as it grapples with a shortage of ground handlers.
There has been a 247pc increase in passenger traffic across Europe’s airports, or an extra 660 million people, in the first six months of the year.
ACI director general Olivier Jankovec pointed to “the sheer and unprecedented unleashing of pent-up demand that has occurred since March”.
But European passenger traffic was still down 28.3pc on 2019 levels.
Airports in countries with fewer restrictions in place last year – such as Turkey – have shown more moderate increases this year, according to the AIC.
International sanctions wiped out passenger traffic to Ukraine in June, while Russian traffic fell 27pc in the month, compared with June 2021.
Greece and Luxembourg were the only two countries to have recovered their pre-pandemic traffic volumes in June.
Airports in Portugal and Spain are not far off 2019 levels, although Spanish airport operator Aena warned this week that the recovery is unlikely to be sustained.
Freight traffic through European airports is 5pc above pre-pandemic levels, despite falling 0.8pc in the six months to June, year on year.