Passenger numbers in Cork and Dublin airports plunge 99% in April and May

Passenger numbers in Cork and Dublin airports have fallen to just 1% of their usual traffic in April and May due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Passenger numbers in Cork and Dublin airports plunge 99% in April and May
An empty concourse outside Cork Airport's main terminal building. Picture: Cork Airport

Passenger numbers in Cork and Dublin airports have fallen to just 1% of their usual traffic in April and May due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is estimated the shutdown of all non-essential travel has cost the DAA €160m in lost revenue so far this year.

Despite both airports enjoyed positive traffic growth at the start of 2020, overall passenger numbers for the year show a decline of 55%, which is expected to fall further.

Without passengers or shoppers in airport retail outlets, DAA's chief executive Dalton Philips says that the company is losing €1m per day.

A "very significant" cost reduction programme is underway.

Costs have been cut across the business, with staff having been placed on a four-day week, and a right-sizing programme is in progress.

“This is the most serious crisis that has ever faced the international aviation sector and our business,” Mr Philips said.

“Our business and the wider sector have weathered many previous upheavals, such as the recent recession, the impact of September 11, and the 1970s oil crisis, and it will eventually recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.

"But it is likely to take some time as the short-term future is bleak, and the post Covid industry will be very different.”

While passenger traffic has slowed to a trickle, both Dublin and Cork Airports have remained open throughout the crisis in line with Government policy.

Over 31 million kilos of cargo has been facilitated at Dublin airport, including 3.7 million kilogrammes of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies.

The airport has facilitated 1,635 dedicated cargo flights during that period, including 216 flights bringing PPE/medical supplies to Ireland, 214 of which were from China.

“As an essential service, a skeleton staff at Dublin and Cork Airports helped ensure that Ireland could receive the vital medical supplies it required to assist in the fight against Covid-19 and other crucial cargo for the economy,” Mr Philips said.

Passenger numbers for Dublin and Cork Airports could be as low as nine million for this year, compared to a combined 35.5 million passengers last year, according to Mr Philips. Passenger numbers for 2021 may be about 21 million, which would represent a 40% decline in traffic compared to 2019.

Both Dublin and Cork Airports have undergone deep cleaning and the airports have been transformed in light of requirements post Covid-19.

Mr Philips said: “How the public will interact with our airports will change dramatically and as always, we will be putting the safety of passengers and all those who work at our airports first."

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