The number of passengers going through Dublin Airport dropped a whopping 78 percent in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airport revealed passenger numbers declined to almost 7.4 million last year. The last time that Dublin Airport had fewer than 8 million passengers in a year was in 1994.

More than half of the people who traveled through the airport in 2020 did so in January and February before the worst of the pandemic hit. In those first two months, passenger numbers had increased by 2 percent to 4.1 million passengers. However, between March and the end of December, numbers fell by 89 percent to 3.3 million.

Dublin Airport lost a total of 25.5 million passengers last year. In 2019, the airport had flights to more than 190 destinations in 42 countries operated by 50 airlines. Whereas in April 2020, it had flights to only 22 destinations in 11 countries operated by seven airlines. 

“Aviation was one of the sectors of the Irish economy that was hardest hit by COVID-19, and this is reflected in the passenger numbers for last year,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison. “It was a hugely challenging year for Dublin Airport and for the entire Irish aviation sector, as the reduction in air travel and the introduction of travel restrictions in most markets had a very significant impact on passenger numbers during the year.”

The airport remained opened as an essential service throughout the year and played an important role in the importation of PPE and other medical equipment. It facilitated the arrival of 6.2 million tonnes of equipment on 357 separate cargo flights, operated by 16 different airlines.

Dublin Airport followed all HSE and government guidelines, prioritizing the safety of both passengers and airport staff. The airport installed more than 1,000 hand sanitizing stations, over 10,000 pieces of COVID-19 safety signage and more than 620 plexiglass screens. Hospital grade state-of-the-art deep cleaning and disinfection regimes were also introduced throughout the airport.

“It has been a year like no other for Dublin Airport, for our airline customers, our commercial partners, and our employees, and for the entire aviation and tourism sectors,” said Harrison. “Whether working on campus or from home, our people faced significant challenges during the year, and they did so with a professionalism and pride that is at the heart of Dublin Airport."

Since the end of last year, passenger numbers have plummeted even further with January passenger numbers declining by 90%. Daily passenger traffic is currently down by up to 98% compared to the same time frame last year