Cork Airport has seen a “significant impact” on passenger numbers and flights due to Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly across Europe.
With Italy and Spain now on lockdown, many holidaymakers are cancelling trips abroad, while airlines are frantically trying to repatriate Irish citizens in Europe.
Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at Cork Airport, said the airport has seen a serious reduction in passenger numbers due to Covid-19, as well as flight cancellations and disruptions.
“As a result of flight cancellations and passengers deciding not to travel at present, it is having a very significant impact on normal operations at the airport, which should have traditionally been very busy for a St Patrick’s Day-extended bank holiday weekend,” said Mr Cullinane.
“As airlines have been making a number of cancellations to their schedules in recent days due to travel restrictions by other European states, intending passengers are best advised to check their airline’s website for the latest flight information or to make changes to bookings for future flights.
“These sites also have answers to frequently asked questions which are being updated regularly and frequently.”
Mr Cullinane is also chair of the Airport Council International Europe Digital Communications Forum, which is advocating for some pan-European actions to mitigate the financial impact on the aviation sector.
“The Covid-19 crisis is affecting all actors in the aviation sector, in particular airlines and airports,” he said. “Supporting measures for the aviation sector must preserve the integrity of the EU aviation market.
“Supporting measures must be fully co-ordinated at EU level with the involvement of the industry.
“An ad-hoc co-ordination/consultation forum at European level under the auspices of the European Commission could be established for that purpose.”
Mr Cullinane also urged people to follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines relating to travel. “Minimising the impact of Covid-19 on the entire aviation sector and on the wider economy requires everyone to follow the WHO recommendations as regards international travel and air connectivity.”