COMMERCIAL movements at Shannon Airport last month were down by more than two thirds on July of last year, but the decline was actually smaller than that seen in April, May or June.
During the month Shannon saw 850 commercial movements, compared to 1,976 in July of 2019.
This is a decline of 67.2% year on year, but in April, May and June the year on year declines were far worse, at 81.9%, 87% and 83.5%. July had seen Ryanair restart some services from Shannon, albeit with relatively little demand due to quarantining restrictions and government advice against travel.
The picture was quite similar at Dublin and Cork, which both saw steep year on year declines, but the drop-off in July at both airports was less than in April, May and June.
In a statement the Irish Aviation Authority said that there were some positive developments last month. “The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has confirmed that July was another poor month for the aviation sector in Ireland. Air traffic levels recorded in July 2020 compared to July 2019 show a decrease of 70%. This confirms the COVID-19 trend, with air traffic levels for Q2 2020 down by 82% compared to the same period last year.
“Despite the significant and unprecedented decline in air traffic numbers in Q2 as result of COVID-19, there are some indications of an improvement, with July 2020 figures showing a 59% increasCOMMERCIAL e overall on the same period in June 2020. This increase, while compared against an extremely low base, is primarily driven by the return of commercial passenger flights as Government lockdowns eased across Europe in July.”
Chief Executive of the Irish Aviation Authority Peter Kearney said that while the crisis has posed massive difficulties for aviation, the long term picture may not be a bleak one. “Aviation is one of the success stories of the Irish State, and it is in Ireland’s interest to see a return to growth of the air transport industry, which until the recent crisis supported over €8.5 billion of GDP annually and employed in excess of 140,000 people. The scale of the crisis is immense, but I am confident that the Irish aviation sector has the flexibility and resilience to navigate the turbulence in the months and years ahead.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.