Cork and Shannon airports suffered significant declines in their traffic movements last month, with Cork now down almost 12% this year compared to the first four months of 2014.
Figures released by the Irish Aviation Authority showed Shannon Airport had 1,454 terminal movements (landings and take-offs of aircraft) last month, 20.4% fewer than in April 2014.
It brought the total for the year to date for the Mid-West airport to 5,010, which was 7.2% fewer than over the same period last year.
At Cork Airport, there were 1,487 aircraft movements in April, 14.5% fewer than in the same month last year. Its total for year-to-date was 5,303 which was 11.8% fewer than in 2014.
By contrast to the two smaller airports, Dublin saw significant growth in its terminal movements.
Its total for last month was 15,584, 6.1% higher than in April 2014. Year-to-date, its total was 55,759 which was 8.9% higher than for the first four months of 2014.
IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan said Dublin was maintaining a strong upward trend “but we would like to see an improvement at Cork and Shannon”.
Kevin Cullinane of Cork Airport said the traffic movement figures were only a “rough” instrument for measuring performance as one traffic movement could be a small plane taking off with a small number of people on board or a jet with 250 people. He said passenger numbers were a more accurate indicator.
He said the IAA figures did confirm the airport had the second largest number of movements ahead of Shannon and said Cork carried more passengers than Shannon on an annual basis.
However, that was in spite of the fact Cork lost 102,000 passengers to Shannon last year — of a total 110,000 passenger reduction — as a result of Ryanair switching a number of Eastern European services from Cork.
Last month DAA released its passenger numbers for the first four months of 2015 which showed a 17% increase for Dublin and a 5% decline for Cork. Overall passenger numbers for the two airports were up 15%.
That announcement revealed there had been 21 new routes announced out of Dublin and three out of Cork. Earlier this month, Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said he was hopeful of landing a new German route in the near future.
A Shannon Airport spokesman said the airport had enjoyed a “promising” start to the year, with overall passenger numbers up by 16% by the end of April compared to the corresponding period last year.
“Already for the first 10 days in May the airport is showing a 5% increase in passenger numbers,” he said. “The reduction in commercial terminal movements at Shannon in April relates principally to the loss of the Stobart Air services from Shannon to Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. This resulted in 12.5 less movements each day but, from a UK passenger perspective, has been compensated for with the introduction of a larger aircraft this year on our Manchester service, which is being operated by Ryanair.”
He also said traffic movements in April were affected by the temporary loss of 17 flights on the Aer Lingus Boston service for aircraft maintenance.
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