Irish airport passenger numbers drop by almost 80% last year due to pandemic

Some 8.3 million passengers passed through Ireland's five main airports in 2020. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Irish airport passenger numbers dropped by almost 80% last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, new figures show.

Some 8.3 million passengers passed through the country’s five main airports – Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry – last year, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Almost 30 million fewer passengers used the main Irish airports in 2020 compared to 2019, representing a fall of 78%.

In the fourth quarter of last year, 759,015 passengers passed through the main airports, a fall of 91% on the same period in 2019.

The CSO said the number of flights to and from Irish airports last year fell by 65% from 273,000 in 2019 to 95,000.

Dublin accounted for 85% of all flights, while Cork handled 6% of all flights.

London-Heathrow and Amsterdam-Schiphol were the most popular routes for passengers for Dublin airport, while at Cork airport London-Heathrow and London-Stansted were the most popular routes.

The top route for Shannon and Knock airports was London-Stansted, and the top route for Kerry was London-Luton in 2020.

The statistics also showed that nine out of every 10 passengers on international flights last year were travelling to or from Europe.

Within Europe, the United Kingdom and Spain were the most popular routes.

Outside of Europe the most popular routes were to or from the United States of America.

The amount of air freight handled by the main airports also fell, by almost 12% to 138,787 tonnes last year when compared with the same period in 2019.