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Two air passengers an hour were denied travel over issues with Covid documents


Dublin Airport. Photo Brian Lawless/PA

Dublin Airport. Photo Brian Lawless/PA

Dublin Airport. Photo Brian Lawless/PA

Two passengers every hour were refused boarding to aircraft at Irish airports because of problems with Covid-19 test certificates or pandemic travel documentation.

One airport source revealed that 30 passengers were initially declined travel in one day across all Irish airports last month.

However, the majority were able to travel within 12 hours once documentation or test issues had been resolved.

Numbers refused travel have dramatically fallen as people adapt to the documentation demands – on one day this month, just three people were declined travel.

Problems reported included people trying to travel with antigen Covid-19 test certificates when their destination country required a specific PCR test.

Another issue was passengers having Covid-19 tests which were time expired for international travel.

“What people need to realise is that if you are vaccinated and have the vaccine certificates to prove that, it makes everything so much easier,” the source said.

Irish airports – in common with other EU airports – are required to implement the bloc’s Covid-19 travel restrictions at the point of origin.

Passengers who do not comply with Covid-19 travel documentation requirements for their intended destination country are not allowed travel.

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However, Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airport officials have worked diligently to assist passengers resolve such issues when they arise.

Despite this, permission to travel is still refused for some travellers on a daily basis.

The Government is now poised to extend financial support for the crippled Irish aviation sector into next year as vaccination programmes have so far failed to deliver a significant recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Irish airports have suffered the worst fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe this year, with passenger traffic down by an alarming 93.5pc – the biggest decline on pre-pandemic levels recorded in the EU.

Dublin Airport recorded 2,981 flights in May – down 86pc on May 2019.

It had recovered slightly in June, with 4,767 flights, still a decline of 77.6pc on the 21,299 flights registered in June 2019.

Passenger numbers are now at an average of 25,000 per week at Dublin Airport – slightly more than one fifth what the airport would normally handle in July and August when there are 125,000 weekly travellers.

However, Dublin will receive a boost from September 13, with the bulk of Cork Airport’s traffic set to divert to the capital as Cork closes for a ten-week runway upgrade programme.

“Cork expects a strong Christmas after the runway reconstruction serving VFR (visiting friends and relatives) traffic and a very strong rally in airline and passenger numbers for summer 2022,” a spokesperson said.

Shannon Airport recorded a 73pc decline in aircraft traffic last year, according to the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

Passenger numbers plummeted by 79pc last year but Shannon has been boosted by an expanded Ryanair flight programme this summer, including services to the UK, Spain and Eastern Europe.

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