By Cate McCurry, PA
More than 5.5 million fewer passengers used Irish airports in the first quarter of the year compared to last year, new figures show.
During January, February and March, almost 419,000 passengers passed through the five main Irish airports, a drop of 92.9 per cent when compared with the same period last year.
The figures are down by 94.4 per cent when compared with 2019.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that passenger numbers dropped in all five airports following the effect of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Drop of 93% in number of passengers handled by main Irish airports in Quarter 1 2021https://t.co/20eRUNqw2V #CSOIreland #Ireland #Tourism #Travel #Holidays #LoveIreland #OverseasTravel #AirAndSeaTravel #TransportIreland #Transport pic.twitter.com/nKn1OL2npn
— Central Statistics Office Ireland (@CSOIreland) June 15, 2021
Publishing its Aviation Statistics, the CSO gathered information on passenger numbers from the five main airports including Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry.
The number of flights to and from Irish airports also fell by more than 42,000 during the first three months compared to the same period in 2020.
The number of passengers arriving to or departing from Ireland in March fell by 90 per cent compared to the same month in 2020.
Slightly over 9,000 flights were handled by Ireland’s five main airports.
Dublin accounted for 88.3 per cent of all flights with 7,949 while Shannon handled 6.1 per cent of all flights.
Amsterdam-Schiphol, London-Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle were the most popular routes for passengers travelling through Dublin airport.
In the first quarter, almost nine out of every 10 passengers on international flights in the five main airports were travelling to or from Europe.
The two most popular countries of origin/destination were the United Kingdom and Spain.
Outside of Europe, the United States of America was the most popular country of origin/destination.
Air freight handled by Irish airports in the first quarter was up 3 per cent compared to 2020, the figures also show.
Dr Nele van der Wielen, statistician, said: “The figures show a substantial decline in international travel during Q1 2021.
“There were decreases in passenger numbers for January, February and March.
“Data for February 2021 shows a drop of 96 per cent compared to the same month in 2020. These decreases are associated with restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.
“In Q1 2021, almost 209,000 passengers travelled to Ireland and 210,000 passengers departed from Ireland.
“These numbers represent a fall of 93 per cent in the number of passengers arriving to or departing from Ireland, when compared to the same period in 2020.
“The amount of air freight handled by the main airports increased by 3 per cent to 38,347 tonnes in the first three months of 2021 when compared with the same period in 2020.”