Cork Airport passenger numbers down by 89% this Christmas


Passenger numbers at Cork Airport will be down by 89% this Christmas compared to the same period last year, as Covid-19 continues to have a devastating impact on traffic levels at all Irish airports, reports Clodagh Dooley

Cork Airport

There’s always a lovely, heartwarming feeling at Ireland’s airports during the festive season, as those who live abroad are reunited with their families. But unfortunately, this Christmas, it will be very different.

An estimated 13,000 people are due to travel through Cork Airport this Christmas, compared to almost 119,000 people in 2019. Half of these (about 6,500 passengers) will be arrivals in Cork Airport over the coming weeks.

This week, an initial 1,600 passengers are arriving home for Christmas, with this number expected to double to 3,200 from next Monday, December 21st. A further 1,600 passengers will arrive back through Cork Airport before New Year’s Eve on the final week of the year beginning Monday, December 28th.

Kevin Cullinane, Cork Airport Head of Communications, says, “Cork Airport will experience one of the quietest Christmases in decades this year, with just 11% of normal passenger levels. We have just five routes operating this Christmas (London Heathrow with Aer Lingus; Amsterdam with KLM; and London Stansted, Gdansk and Katowice with Ryanair), compared to 32 routes last year.”

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Passenger numbers will be split evenly, 50/50 at Cork Airport between arrivals and departures over the Christmas period ahead. The busiest day before Christmas Day is expected to be December 23rd.

“We would remind passengers and those meeting and greeting them at Cork Airport to comply fully with all Covid-19 guidelines throughout their entire journey through Cork Airport,” adds Kevin. “Face masks or coverings must be worn when in the airport terminal, on-board the aircraft and until you’ve reached your final destination. 

“We have taken every step to look after the safety and wellbeing of our customers since the outset of the pandemic. We remind everyone using Cork Airport to observe social distance and use the hand sanitiser stations and dispensers located throughout the airport terminal.” 

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In line with Irish Government guidelines and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines, to help maintain social distancing, access to the terminals is limited to passengers, crew and airport staff. Anyone planning to collect passengers should arrange to meet them outside the terminal building and drivers should park in the car parks and not wait in the set down area in front of the terminal.

The Irish Government is following the EU traffic lights approach to travel, which applies to countries in the European Union/European Economic Area and the UK. The Government’s current advice for travel to the 30 countries within the traffic light system is to “exercise a high degree of caution”. The Government’s general advice for any other overseas travel remains to “avoid non-essential travel”.

Unfortunately, Cork Airport is unable to host Children’s Choirs for the first time in many years as part of its normal Christmas music programme this year, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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Cork Airport will close on Christmas Day, however, some staff members will remain on duty that day, including the airport’s emergency Fire Service and Airport Police personnel and Airport Duty Manager.

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