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Irish Aviation Authority fears that air traffic will drop by 90%

The IAA said it handled 62,449 flights last month.

A plane takes off from Dublin Airport.
A plane takes off from Dublin Airport.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

THERE ARE FEARS that air traffic will drop by up to 90% over April and May, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has said.

It comes after the air travel safety watchdog said that it dealt with a drop of 29% in flight levels in March.

The IAA said it handled 62,449 flights last month.

This represents a decrease of 28.6% compared to the number of flights handled in March 2019.

This reduction reflects the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation sector across the world.

In a statement, the IAA said it is concerned that flight levels will drop by up to 90% over the next two months.

Many flights have been grounded and passenger numbers have dropped significantly because of worldwide travel restrictions to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

IAA chief executive, Peter Kearney said that flights operating daily in European airspace had declined by 90% due to Covid-19, placing many airlines in a difficult financial position.

“We in the Irish Aviation Authority welcome the 1.1 billion euro financial package to assist the airlines,” Kearney added.

“This will allow Air Traffic Control providers, including the IAA, to defer certain charges owed by airlines until late 2020 and into 2021.

“We are committed to helping the airlines to weather this unprecedented collapse of business. Ireland is an island relying on a strong airline service for our economy.

“So, these financial and regulatory mechanisms make absolute sense to help the airlines during this period.

“It will help the airlines bounce back quicker, when we come out of this pandemic.

“In turn, jobs will be saved and business across Europe will grow again. As a key stakeholder in the Irish aviation sector, it is our duty to do all we can to assist the national effort to combat Covid-19 and ensure that the Irish economy recovers quickly.”

The measure allows airlines to defer paying their air traffic control charges due for February to May 2020, until between late 2020 and the third quarter of 2021.

The IAA said it is implementing this mechanism as well as several others to help airlines through the unprecedented health crisis.

The IAA said the measures will help airlines get their fleets airborne once the current restrictions are eased.

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