Covid's 'dramatic impact' on overseas travel confirmed by CS0 figures

Less than half a million passengers arrived in and departed Ireland in September, compared to 1.9m in September 2019
Covid's 'dramatic impact' on overseas travel confirmed by CS0 figures

The CSO figures released this afternoon show that 254,400 people arrived in Ireland in September, down from almost 362,600 arrivals in August - a 29.8% decrease. Picture: Leon Farrell / RollingNews.ie/file

The number of overseas passengers arriving in Ireland last month dropped by almost 30%, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The CSO figures released this afternoon show that 254,400 people arrived in Ireland in September, down from almost 362,600 arrivals in August - a 29.8% decrease.

In the same period, 236,700 overseas passengers departed Ireland, compared to 328,200 in August - a drop of 27.9%.

Last month was also the first in which overseas travel declined overall since April 2020, when the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland was at its peak.

For context, 1.9m passengers arrived in and departed from Ireland in September 2019.

Last month, saw 158,300 passengers arrive on continental routes, and 129,300 departed on continental routes.

Source: CSO Ireland
Source: CSO Ireland

A further 77,000 passengers arrived on cross-channel routes, while 93,500 departed via cross-channel routes.

The CSO also says that just 9,800 passengers arrived on transatlantic routes, while 6,600 departed via transatlantic routes.

Overall, from January to September of this year, four million passengers travelled to and departed from Ireland.

For the same period last year, that figure was almost 16m.

Of those who arrived last month, 88% arrived by air and just over 11% came by sea.

Speaking today, Gregg Patrick, CSO Statistician said the new figures illustrated "the continuing and dramatic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international travel to and from Ireland." 

Indeed, the CSO's figures come during a month in which Ireland's travel industry is more uncertain than ever about its future.  

Yesterday, The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), which operates both Dublin and Cork Airports announced that it was bracing itself for "well over €200m" in loses as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Transport Committee yesterday, Dalton Phillips, CEO of DAA said: “If we don’t open up this country, we’ll be in a very bad state."

“When Shannon or Cork lose a route it doesn’t just come back, it gets redeployed somewhere else.  

“It can take four to six years to develop a route, and we won’t be getting them back quickly,” he added.

Also speaking at the Committee, Ryanair’s commercial chief speculated as to whether the airline’s hubs in Cork and Shannon would ever-reopen.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Transport Committee, Chief Executive of Ryanair’s Designated Activity Company Eddie Wilson, said there was a “reasonable chance” the two Munster hubs, which closed two weeks ago, would not reopen.

Mr Wilson called on Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to “immediately” implement a traffic-light travel system for air travel from Ireland, in order to counteract the effects of what he called “a wasted summer."

On Wednesday, Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan said that risks around foreign travel remained “substantial.” 

Speaking at a public health briefing, Dr Holohan said: “Our advice is that the risk of non-essential travel outside this country is simply too high at this moment.” 

However, The DAA disputes Dr Holohan’s stance and says the numbers of positive cases attributed to international arrivals into Ireland are small when compared to the overall numbers of passengers arriving. 

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