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The Latest News From the IAA

Irish and Trans-Atlantic air traffic down 57% in nine months

12 Oct 2020

Trend continues with Irish Air Traffic down 64.8% in September

  • Air traffic between January to September dropped by 56.6% 
  • In September 38,172 flights were handled, (64.8% down on 2019)
  • EU traffic light system vital for industry to survive and re-grow

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has reported that the first nine months of 2020 has seen an unprecedented fall in air traffic figures due to the Covid-19 crisis. Despite strong volumes in January and February, the impact of the crisis has been keenly felt across the aviation industry since March. 

Mr Peter Kearney, Chief Executive IAA said that air traffic collapsed this year and aviation cannot withstand these losses in the short to medium term. 

“Up to the end of September we handled 390,893 flights. During the same period last year, we handled 901,707. The collapse of air traffic started in Mid-March. Until then, air traffic was normal. As the COVID 19 pandemic spread, the traffic dropped from 73,557 flights in February to 14,907 flights in April. The traffic loss in April represented an 84.5% drop compared to April 2019, when there were 96,131 flights.

Mr Kearney said that he believed that a coordinated approach across Europe could provide a sustainable solution to the current situation and assist the sector rebuild its business. He believes that the EU Traffic Light plan for air traffic, once bedded in could help in this regard.

“We welcome the Government’s intention to fully sign up to the EU-wide approach. The plan, if applied consistently across Europe and endorsed by Governments is a key stepping-stone for the reopening of travel across Europe, particularly important for an island nation such as Ireland.  This combined with the investment airlines and airports have made to protect the health and safety of crews, passengers and staff will allow passengers confidence that their flights will go ahead, and the risks associated with COVID-19 are minimised”,

“The IAA and aviation stakeholders across Europe are committed to work with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) to begin a new era in the sector. Ireland needs a fully functioning aviation industry and I have no doubt that the industry will continue to work with national Governments and international organisations on the implementation of a set of practical arrangements that will provide for the aviation industry to operate at a more sustainable level through this pandemic whilst continuing to protect crew and passenger health.”

State airport commercial traffic during September 2020:

  • Dublin airport recorded 6,630 flights, an -68.8% decrease;
  • Cork airport traffic saw 477 movements, down 76.2%; 
  • Shannon airport reported 557 flights, a 71.4% decrease in movements.

September 2020 saw a decrease of -64.7% in Ireland’s overflight traffic movements (flights that do not land in Ireland) to 11,367 from 32,157 in 2019. IAA’s analysis of North Atlantic Communications flights (Europe /US) saw a decrease of -68.3% % in September 2020 to 15,070 compared to 47,532 in September 2019. 
All 2020 statistics and comparative for 2019 can be found at