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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 10 August, 2020
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Busiest recent flight from Texas to Dublin had 'fewer than 20 passengers on board'

Only two such flights from Dallas to Dublin have landed since the route resumed service.

Passengers In Dallas-Fort Worth. (File)
Passengers In Dallas-Fort Worth. (File)
Image: PA Images

THERE WERE FEWER than 20 passengers on board the busiest flight to land in Dublin from Dallas, Texas over the past number of days according to the airline which operates the route.

American Airlines, which operates the Dallas-Fort Worth to Dublin route, recommenced the service late last week and two flights have landed so far.

The airline says the route is operating three times per week and that the busiest flight to land so far had 8% of the seats occupied.  

The route is served by a Boeing 788-8 aircraft, which has a passenger capacity of 214, so the number of passengers on board was under 20. 

Two other airlines are also operating transatlantic routes at present, Aer Lingus and United Airlines.  

Aer Lingus is flying from Boston, New York (JFK) and Chicago. United Airlines last week recommenced its four times weekly flight from Newark, New York.

TheJournal.ie sought details from all three airlines on the numbers of passengers who travelled into Ireland over the past few days.

United Airlines issued a response, saying:

Whilst we are not able to provide the requested passenger totals, what we can say is that the performance of our Dublin-New York/Newark service is in line with expectations.

And this evening, Minister Simon Coveney said that US passengers only make up 200-250 of about 4,500 passengers coming into Ireland per day. He said that the majority are Irish people flying home, and there were only 16 people on the recent Dallas flight. 

Aer Lingus did not provide a figure on the number of passengers who travelled to Ireland from the US in recent days but said that since March the average has been “approximately 150 inbound passengers per day compared to an average figure of 4,200 per day for the same period in 2019″. 

“Approximately 30% of current inbound passengers from North America don’t remain in Ireland but connect to other services to Europe,” Aer Lingus said. 

The airline said that it it emails passengers with a Passenger Locator Form before their flight and advises them of their obligation to complete them. 

Airport

In total, almost 15,000 passengers arrived into Dublin Airport over the weekend; 5,000 on Friday, 4,700 on Saturday and 4,800 on Sunday.

The airport has begun to handle more passengers this month compared to the previous three months when air travel across much of the world was virtually shut down. 

An average of 10,500 passengers are currently travelling through the airport each day, two weeks ago this figure was 4,000. 

Daa, which operates Dublin Airport, has said that the numbers are in stark contrast with the usual traffic at Ireland’s main airport. 

“To put this into perspective, normally we’d be handling about 112,000 arriving and departing passenger daily at this time of the year,” a Daa spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

The figures come as the government has begun to come under increased pressure about the 14-day quarantine advice for people arriving into Ireland. 

Some businesses have called for guidance in dealing with customers they believe may not have quarantined upon arrival here. There has been specific concerns about passengers arriving from the United States, where cases of Covid-19 are reaching new highs.  

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Political reaction

Speaking today, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said that the current situation is “the worst of both worlds”, with tourists travelling to Ireland from countries with high infection rates.

“Irish people have made great progress in suppressing the spread of Covid-19 in recent months but this drift with foreign travel is putting our health and economy in jeopardy,” she said.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast earlier today, Shortall added:

People are postponing holidays, everybody would love a holiday, especially a holiday in the sun, but people are putting those off in the public interest and yet they’re seeing the government being extremely lax in relation to the rules that apply to Americans in particular.

“We have been promised the ‘green list’ for the last month. I don’t know what the delay in that is,” she said.

Currently, people who arrive in Ireland from abroad – including people resident here – are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Everyone who arrives here from another country must, by law, fill out a Covid-19 passenger locator form and provide details on where they intend to self-isolate. 

Answering questions from journalists on the way into a Cabinet meeting today, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the government would be looking at more follow-up checks. 

‘We will be stepping it up with a lot better system of monitoring people and following up,” he said. 

Ryan acklowdleged that there is “a lot of concern about the States” and that it is “something we have to look at”.

He added: “Typically there’s about three flights, maybe four flights, a day. Very small numbers. About 250 people yesterday in total. And looking forward for the next three weeks, it’s the same story.”

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Rónán Duffy

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