Ireland lost a total of 183,000 flights in 2021 compared to 2019 figures, marking a 62 per cent decline in air traffic. Such figures show that Ireland’s air travel suffered the most profound damage in air travel due to COVID-19 compared to other European countries.

Such conclusions have been reached by European air navigation body Eurocontrol, in the recent report regarding the Coronavirus impact on aviation, reports.

Authorities in Ireland have registered a total of 908,672 cases of COVID-19 infection while 5,952 people lost their lives due to the Coronavirus, based on the figures provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, a total of 140,223 people have tested positive for the virus in Ireland in the last seven days, while 40 people have died.

Such figures, and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant that has recently affected countries worldwide, led the Irish authorities to impose stricter entry rules in order to contain the further spread of the virus.

The Irish government imposed some of the strictest measures in order to contain the further spread of the virus, including the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement that highly affected many workers of several companies.

Such travel rules introduced by the government caused polemics and anger among the aviation sector, including leading Irish carriers Aer Lingus and Ryanair, and trade unions, and trade unions such as Siptu and Forsa.

The figures provided by Eurocontrol also show that the UK, Sweden, and Denmark also recorded a nearly 60 per cent decrease in flight numbers.

At the same time, some of the most famous holiday destinations in European countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece welcomed a more significant number of visitors compared to the countries mentioned above. According to the report, these territories lost less than half of their 2019 totals during last year.

The report has stressed that Greece reclaimed a total of 94 per cent of pre-pandemic flights in August.

Previously, a report published by the European Travel Council (ETC) revealed that the tourism sector in the European Union countries marked a 77 per cent decrease in comparison to pre-pandemic levels. The same report showed that even though the demand for travel to the EU countries marked a slight increase, reaching the pre-pandemic levels would not be possible until 2024.

As for Ireland, despite the fact that Irish air travel continues to have a profound decrease, Eurocontrol figures revealed that a total of 612 commercial aircraft flew in Ireland on January 2, which was 80 per cent of 759 flights in the State during the same period in 2019.

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