| 9.7°C Dublin

plane crazy 4,500 passengers arrive at Dublin Airport in three-day period as flights to sun remain open

Close

Up in the air: Terminal at Dublin Airport on Wednesday. It is estimated that half of all people flying in are on holiday. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Up in the air: Terminal at Dublin Airport on Wednesday. It is estimated that half of all people flying in are on holiday. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Up in the air: Terminal at Dublin Airport on Wednesday. It is estimated that half of all people flying in are on holiday. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Almost 4,500 passengers arrived at Dublin Airport in the first three days of this week, according to new figures revealed.

While still a tiny proportion of the number of passengers that would normally pass through arrivals, it underscores the challenge in persuading people not to undertake non-essential travel.

Of the more than 2,000 people who landed at the airport between Tuesday and Wednesday, about one third were returning from holidays.

Flights are still operating from destinations such as Lanzarote and Malaga, some of the favourite hotspots for Irish sunseekers.

All people over the age of six arriving in Ireland must now provide evidence of a negative or not detected PCR Covid test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival here. That evidence has to be produced to immigration officers on arrival.

But the Department of Justice said that 39 passengers had arrived in Ireland between Monday and Wednesday without a negative Covid test. Of those, 28 landed at Dublin Airport.

Passengers without valid evidence of a negative Covid test can face a €2,500 fine or six months in prison.

The DAA, the semi-State company that operates Dublin Airport, said that 2,325 passengers arrived at the gateway on Monday, 936 on Tuesday, and 1,202 on Wednesday.

That was out of a total of 4,665 arrivals and departures on Monday, 1,843 on Tuesday and 2,135 on Wednesday.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said earlier this week that of the 800 people who came into the country through airports, 397 were returning from holidays. Total passenger numbers at Dublin Airport continue to be around 95pc lower than normal.

Airlines across Europe are facing a “complete disaster”, with traffic across the region expected to be 64pc lower this month compared to a year ago, according to Eamonn Brennan, the head of Eurocontrol, the Brussels-based agency that manages European airspace.

“It is clear that the months of February and March will be exceptionally low across the network, except for cargo, some business traffic and skeleton schedule services,” he said.

“Even April is expected to perform very poorly with only a limited pick-up for the Easter period,” he added.

Mr Brennan predicted that the number of flights in Europe during the Easter break will probably be only between 25pc and 30pc of normal levels.

“It is a complete disaster for European aviation – an industry that’s already on its knees,” said Mr Brennan.

He said it’s reasonable to expect the epidemiological situation to have improved in many European countries by the second quarter as vaccines continue to be administered.

That, he said, could make non-essential air travel more accessible, which could facilitate a small improvement for airlines in the second quarter, followed by a “larger recovery” in the summer.

If that happens, he predicted that traffic levels might be about 55pc lower in June compared to a year earlier.

However, Mr Brennan said it is also reasonable to expect that “many states may potentially choose not to relax their national travel restrictions, which will severely curtail demand and any possibility for air travel to improve until the summer period at the very earliest”.

In that case, he said, traffic levels could still be 70pc below normal levels in June.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy