Kerry Airport CEO preparing for bleak winter due to COVID-19 pandemic

The CEO of Kerry Airport says they are preparing for a bleak winter as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the aviation sector.

Chief Executive Officer at the Farranfore-based airport John Mulhern says the latest passenger numbers show the devastating impact of lockdown.

He says the current restrictions on travel and gatherings are continuing to impact airline bookings, with Ryanair removing some routes from next month’s schedule.

Ryanair has removed the Manchester and Berlin routes to Kerry from the schedule for September and October, while the Alicante summer route, which was due to end in October, will not operate after August 31st.

During the second quarter of this year, only 808 passengers travelled through Kerry Airport, all on the Aer Lingus Regional Kerry-Dublin route, compared to 102,534 on all routes for the same period last year.

Kerry Airport states the grounding of Ryanair flights between Kerry and Berlin, Frankfurt Hahn, London (Luton and Stansted) and Alicante (with increased frequency in June, July and August) throughout the three-month period was the main reason for such huge drop in numbers.

The new Kerry-Manchester route, which was due to commence on March 29th, didn’t get off the ground until the travel restrictions were lifted in July; this would have contributed to an increase in passenger numbers when comparing figures year-on-year.

Kerry Airport CEO, John Mulhern, says the figures are stark and the future is not bright. He says the Government has rowed back on the easing of restrictions at the same time as Ryanair announced a 20% reduction in flights in the autumn.

Mr Mulhern is expecting to see further cuts to schedules as the winter months draw near, adding he expects to see many more months, if not years, of toil ahead to recover fully.