Irish airports top European list for traffic restoration

Irish airports have seen the largest increase in passenger numbers in Europe this year as traffic chaos continues to plague the continent.

According to a report, the number of travelers passing through Irish airports increased by 1125 per cent in the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period last year.

The United Kingdom came second with an 833 percent increase in passenger traffic, while Slovakia (up 842.2 percent), Hungary (up 784.8 percent) and Denmark (up 611.8 percent) also saw “extraordinary” gains, said the global trade association Airports Council International (AIC).

The news comes just days after Ryanair posted profit after tax of £170m for the three months to June.

IAG, owner of Aer Lingus, will release its half-year results later this week.

Ireland-based jet lessor Avolon posted a $173 million net profit loss in the first half due to impairments on planes stranded in Russia, but is upbeat about the recovery.

Irish and European airlines, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Wizz Air and EasyJet, have canceled thousands of flights this summer due to staff shortages and strikes.

Dublin Airport this week told an Oireachtas committee it was dealing with thousands of lost bags as it struggled with a shortage of ground handlers.

In the first six months of the year, passenger traffic at European airports increased by 247 percent, or an additional 660 million people.

ACI Director General Olivier Jankovec noted “the sheer and unprecedented unleashing of pent-up demand since March”.

But European passenger traffic was still 28.3 percent below 2019 levels.

Airports in countries with fewer restrictions last year — like Turkey — have seen more moderate increases this year, according to the AIC.

International sanctions wiped out passenger traffic to Ukraine in June, while Russian traffic fell 27 percent that month compared to June 2021.

Greece and Luxembourg were the only two countries to regain their pre-pandemic traffic levels in June.

Airports in Portugal and Spain are not far from 2019 levels, although Spanish airport operator Aena warned this week that the recovery is unlikely to last.

Cargo traffic through European airports is 5 percent above pre-pandemic levels, despite falling 0.8 percent year-on-year in the six months to June. Irish airports top European list for traffic restoration

Fry Electronics Team

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