Passenger numbers at Cork Airport fell by 91pc in July

Passenger numbers at Cork Airport fell by 91pc in July
Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The number of passengers travelling through Cork Airport declined by 91% last month.

Compared with July 2019, there has been a 53% reduction in route choice and a 50% reduction in airlines operating, the latest air traffic figures reveal.

Passenger numbers are forecast to decline by more than 2 million passengers by the year-end due to the impact of Covid-19.

Commenting on the latest figures, Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport said last month should have been the "busiest month of the year at Cork Airport".

"However, we are reporting passenger numbers down 91% compared to last July. 

"Covid-19 continues to have a massive impact on aviation globally and Cork Airport, no different than other airports, continues to be very severely impacted by the pandemic," he said. 

"We have seen our passenger numbers plummet by over 1 million in the last seven months alone and we expect passenger numbers to decline by 2 million by the end of the year. 

"Aviation in Ireland now needs a clear path back to recovery be that with bilateral agreements for pre-departure testing with other countries, as daa has suggested, or with an equivalent workable solution. 

"In the meantime, we look forward to the implementation of the recommendations from the Government appointed Aviation Taskforce to alleviate the financial repercussions of the pandemic on our sector," Mr MacCarthy continued. 

The latest air traffic figures come as Aer Lingus last week confirmed that it is reviewing the scale of its flying programme from Cork as well as the ongoing viability of its regional base here.

It also announced that "significant redundancies" are required to take place across the business.

Aer Lingus is the longest-serving airline at Cork Airport and has been ever-present since the airport opened in October 1961.

Speaking to The Echo on Monday, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath has pledged that the Government will do all that it can to protect it.

"I recognise the strategic importance for both Cork and Shannon of having a regional base for Aer Lingus and we want to protect that and we want to see it survive into the future.

"So I and my colleagues stand ready to meet with the company and to do whatever we can to help them come through this incredibly tough period for the whole sector," the Minister said.

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