Digital Desk Staff
Despite a number of issues for travellers, airlines have welcomed the return of non-essential travel.
Some 22,500 passengers arrived at and departed Dublin Airport today, 87 per cent less than pre-Covid levels during the same period in 2019. In 2019, 116,000 people passed through Dublin Airport per day in peak season.
As the Irish Examiner reports, for the past two weeks, the daily average for arriving and departing passenger numbers had been 14,000.
Ryanair chief executive, Eddie Wilson said the EU digital travel cert was working well and will gradually become part of the travel experience, like presenting a passport.
Most passengers were vaccinated, he said, and he predicted that travel would shortly return to “some level of normality."
Bookings were very strong, he added, as travel was returning to normal throughout Europe and in the US.
Mr Wilson called on Tourism Minister Eamon Ryan to implement the Aviation Task Force report as there were much more affordable airports elsewhere in Europe, and in other countries, governments had “bailed out" their airlines.
High levels of bookings
“We’re not going to get that traffic back,” said Mr Wilson.
The country manager for Emirates airline, Enda Corneille, likewise said that they were experiencing high levels of bookings, adding the digital travel cert was working well and anything that gets people flying will be good for all airlines.
“Travel will become a badge of honour,” said Mr Wilson. “It will go from a trickle of demand to a tsunami. We’re already seeing strong bookings for the rest of year and especially at Christmas.”
The minister of state for transport, Hildegarde Naughton said that work was underway to ensure everyone who is due a cert for international travel will get one.
“There have been issues with the helpline, but I can assure you the Government is working very hard in order to get that system back up and running as quickly as possible," said Ms Naughton.
“This was the number one ask from the aviation sector that we can reopen international travel as safely as possible, adhering to public health guidance, so I would hope that that helpline will be back up and running as soon as possible."
Ms Naughton said that she does not foresee any extra measures for those arriving from the UK.
It comes as politicians have urged the Irish Government to provide clarity on when people from Northern Ireland who hold Irish passports will be able to use the new EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC).
The DCC was introduced in the Republic on Monday as part of a EU-wide scheme which will allow unrestricted international travel for those who are fully vaccinated.
The documents can also be used for indoor hospitality when it reopens later this month.
But most Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland will not be able to access the certificate at first because they were vaccinated outside the Republic.
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said the DCC is only available to those who were vaccinated by the HSE, the Irish health service.