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Air passenger numbers start to take off but are 75pc down on pre-Covid levels


Dublin Airport (stock image)

Dublin Airport (stock image)

Dublin Airport (stock image)

Figures for travellers entering and leaving the country have more than doubled in just four weeks and have multiplied since restrictions were lifted, as a “gradual” recovery gets under way.

Statistics provided by Dublin’s airport authority (DAA) show from July 1 to 7, there were on average daily passenger numbers of 13,745 travelling through the airport.

In the days after the travel restrictions were lifted on July 19, passenger numbers had more than doubled. The average daily figure from July 22 to July 28 was 27,800. However, DAA said this figure was still 75pc down on pre-Covid travel through the airport.

An Aer Lingus spokesperson said yesterday, on what should have been “one of the busiest days of the year at Dublin Airport and for Aer Lingus, we’re operating 86 flights.

“This compares with 348 flights on the equivalent day in 2019. That represents more than a 75pc reduction in the number of flights operated by Aer Lingus.

“While there’s been some increase in demand for air travel, there are still significant restrictions on international travel, which will see Aer Lingus’s capacity for the remainder of summer 2021 below 40pc versus 2019 levels.”

Meanwhile, there were on average 612 passengers going through Cork Airport daily between July 1 and 7. This figure also more than doubled to 1,561 average passengers daily between July 22 and 28.

However, the July 22 to 28 figure was still down 83pc on pre-Covid travel through the airport.

A DAA spokesperson said: “While there has been an increase in the numbers of passengers flying from Dublin and Cork Airport since non-essential international travel restrictions were lifted almost two weeks ago, the numbers travelling are well below pre-Covid times.

“Dublin Airport normally handles about 115,000 passengers daily at this time of the year, while there are normally approximately 10,000 per day in Cork Airport.

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“All attention now is on building the business back better and stronger and expanding our route network at both airports so passengers have choice and flexibility.”

Emma McHugh, who is on the board of the Irish Travel Agents Association and is MD of Atlantic Travel in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, is however, optimistic that a “gradual” recovery is ongoing.

“I wouldn’t say we have seen a surge but there’s a consistent increase, it’s gradually going up,” Ms McHugh said.

Sunseekers who are vaccinated are booking holidays within the next four to six weeks to destinations including Lanzarote and the Canary Islands, Ms McHugh said.

Two weeks ago, travel agents in the main did not see families booking with children.

Ms McHugh said there has been a change in recent days, with some families with children making bookings.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

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