Travel agents witnessing slow return to normality ahead of return of non-essential travel

Travel agents witnessing slow return to normality ahead of return of non-essential travel

An Operational Readiness Team has been meeting regularly to ensure key aspects of Cork airport’s operation run smoothly ahead of the return of non-essential travel. Pic: Larry Cummins

With just a week until non-essential international travel is due to recommence, a Cork travel agent has said that those in the industry are witnessing a slow return to normality.

Pat Dawson, the CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, said that bookings for the summer months are not high, however, he anticipates that bookings will pick up come the autumn as the vaccine roll-out continues and EU Digital Covid certificates are issued.

“Bookings for July and mid-August are not on the high side as people are adopting a wait and see policy with regards to the Digital Certs. There will also be more vaccines rolled out by mid-August so after August the demand will be there. The demand is from September onwards which is encouraging."

Need for increased capacity 

Mr Dawson said he believes that the sooner the airports reopen the better.

“The airports badly need an increase in footfall.

“It will get better as time goes on.” 

Mr Dawson said that he also hopes capacities will increase in Cork Airport next year.

“There is a reduced capacity out of Cork Airport which is understandable as all airports have a reduced capacity. We expect 2022 to be a bumper year. The biggest worry we have is that the capacity comes back to both Cork and Shannon Airport for 2022.” 

Preparations underway at airport 

A spokesperson for Cork Airport told The Echo they are "excited" to welcome back passengers and have been planning for the return of non-essential travel for some time.

“An Operational Readiness Team has been meeting regularly to ensure key aspects of the airport’s operation run smoothly. All Cork Airport staff are really excited to welcome our passengers back. It’s been a long time since we had a busy terminal.”

The spokesperson added: “Seeing the route network increase with the return of Air France and SWISS this month together with the additional routes from Aer Lingus to Malaga, Faro and Mallorca and its London Heathrow route increasing from six to ten flights per week adds to the excitement. Ryanair is also adding Malta, Malaga, and Faro to the schedule. New airline Lufthansa also commenced a new twice-weekly service to Frankfurt on June 25. There is much to look forward to.”

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