Passenger numbers have fallen by 76 percent over the past year from pre-pandemic levels


Passenger numbers at Irish airports last year were still 76 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, although volumes have improved from 2020.

Almost 30 million fewer passengers used Irish airports last year compared to 2019 before the pandemic hit, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In 2019, almost 39 million passengers flew to and from Irish airports. That number dropped to just 8.3 million in 2020 and rose slightly to 9.1 million in 2021.

Half of the passengers who passed through Irish airports last year (4.5 million) did so in the last three months of the year.

But even those numbers are still 47 percent lower than the same three months of 2019.

However, compared to 2020, passenger numbers increased by 10 per cent in 2021, with Dublin Airport accounting for 90 per cent of all passengers carried in the year.

The most popular routes for Dublin Airport last year were London and Amsterdam, the CSO said today. London was also the top route for Cork, Kerry and Knock airports.

Nine in ten passengers (92 percent) on international flights traveled to or from Europe last year, with the UK and Spain being the most popular European destinations.

The US was the most popular route outside of Europe.

Irish airports handled more than 94,000 flights last year, down 66 per cent from 2019, although they increased by 1 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.

Air freight handled by Irish airports last year increased by 16 per cent to 160,855 tonnes in 2021, up 10 per cent from 2019 levels. The vast majority (91 items) was international freight.

“The figures continue to show a significant decrease in international travel in 2021 compared to pre-Covid-19 travel figures, but an increase compared to 2020,” said CSO statistician Nele van der Wielen.

“The number of flights has decreased slightly in 2021 compared to 2020, but compared to 2019, more than a third (34 percent) fewer flights were taken in 2021.”

The figures were released the day after the Department for Transport announced €16.4 million in aid to regional airports over the next four years.

It was the first time that Shannon and Cork airports were included in the regional funding plan, which is limited by size and passenger numbers.

Shannon Airport will receive €4.3 million and Cork Airport €5.5 million.

The Limerick Chamber of Commerce has urged the Department for Transport to “force” Dublin Airport to work with regional airports to help solve its capacity problems. Passenger numbers have fallen by 76 percent over the past year from pre-pandemic levels

Fry Electronics Team

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