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International flights down 3 per cent at Dublin, Cork and Shannon

IAA figures show that total flights in Irish airspace fell by 1.2 per cent last month compared to April 2011.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE TOTAL NUMBER of flights in Irish airspace fell slightly last month, with a 1.2 per cent drop from April 2011 levels, according to the latest figures from the Irish Aviation Authority.

Meanwhile, en-route air traffic (meaning flights that don’t land here) grew by 0.2 per cent and flights between Europe and the US were down 0.16 per cent last month compared to April 2011.

On a cumulative basis the growth in en-route traffic movements and Europe/US flights were up 0.9 per cent and 1.17 per cent between January and April 2012 when compared to the same period of last year.

Regarding international flights and departures, commercial terminal flights were down 0.1 per cent at Dublin (an average of 441 daily commercial movements); down 3.4 per cent in Cork (an average of 59 daily commercial movements); and down 9.8 per cent at Shannon (an average of 48 daily commercial movements).

This traffic was down by 3.1 per cent for the three airports between January and April 2012 compared to last year.

The busiest day for flying last month was 2 April, when 1,652 flights were in Irish airspace. Throughout the month, there was an average of 1,460 daily flights.

According to the Irish Aviation Authority’s monthly analysis of delays under Air Traffic Flow Regulations, 33 aircraft were delayed by a total of 673 minutes between January and April 2012.

“All of these delays were weather related,” the IAA said.

The IAA said that the reduction in total flights in Irish airspace last month “is largely attributable to the continued downturn in international arrivals and departures at the three state airports”.

However, it also said that market analysis by the International Air Transport Association indicates a slight improvement in airline industry confidence. Although airlines reported weakness in their Q1 2012 profits, these weaknesses were lower than in Q4 2011.

Fuel prices remain high, but airlines have been able to partially offset those costs with higher load factors and the view for the next year is less pessimistic, the IAA said.

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