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Air Traffic Falls 85% in April 2020

14 May 2020

IAA confirms scale of crisis for Irish Aviation as a result of COVID-19
Air Traffic Falls 85% in April

  • A total of 14,907 flights handled (96,131 movements in April 2019)
  • Commercial traffic at State airports was down by 90%
  • Trans-Atlantic traffic handled down 83%
  • En-Route traffic (flights which do not land in Ireland) down 82%

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) announced that only 14,907 flights were handled during the month of April 2020 when compared to the previous month in 2019. This represents a decrease of 85% compared to the previous year. 

State airport traffic during April 2020:

  • Dublin airport recorded 2,067 flights, an 89.8%% decrease;
  • Cork airport traffic saw 225 movements, down 93.9%; 
  • Shannon airport reported 364 flights, a 79.8% decrease in movements.
April 2020 saw a decrease of -81.8% in Ireland’s overflight traffic movements (flights that do not land in Ireland) to 5,279 from 29,077 in 2019. IAA’s analysis of North Atlantic Communications flights (Europe /US) saw a decrease of -83.1% in April 2020 to 6,972 compared to 41,214 in April 2019. 

IAA Chief Executive, Mr. Peter Kearney said that while the collapse in air traffic levels has been swift and sudden, the IAA is hopeful that the decline has reached the bottom and attention can now turn to re-opening aviation in Ireland’s interest.  

“As an island economy, Ireland is reliant on aviation for economic growth and prosperity.  Aviation is an economic enabler and Ireland has become a major global player in the aviation sector.  It is important therefore, if Ireland is to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to growth, that we have a fully functioning and stable aviation industry.  

A coordinated approach across Europe is needed to ensure that aviation can re-open and passengers can be confident both that their flight will go ahead and that risks associated with COVID-19 are minimised.  I welcome the guidance published by the European Commission yesterday in relation to re-opening aviation and tourism; it is important now that restrictions on travel are eased or lifted as soon as possible and in a coordinated manner across Europe.  The IAA and aviation stakeholders across Europe are working in conjunction with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) to establish best practice requirements for re-opening aviation. 

Mr Kearney concluded, “The traffic stats for April show the scale of the crisis which aviation is facing.  However, the aviation sector has proved to be extremely resilient to downturns in the past; with the right measures in place aviation can start to re-open the world for Irish people again. Ireland needs a fully functioning aviation industry and I have no doubt that the industry will work with national Governments and international organisations to agree a set of practical arrangements that will protect passenger health and regrow confidence in air travel.” 

All April 2020 statistics and comparative for 2019 can be found at on our monthly review webpage.

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