Marginal recovery in activity at Belfast International Airport wiped out in October

Belfast International Airport has appealed to the Executive for financial assistance after a plunge in passenger levels since the summer. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Ryan McAleer

THE number of commercial passengers using the north's three main airports fell to the lowest level in three months during October.

Just 150,559 people flew in or out of Belfast City, Belfast International and City of Derry airports, the lowest since July, as the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 hit the aviation industry again.

The marginal improvement in activity witnessed by the airports since the summer was wiped out in October, with all three reporting activity levels 80 percent below the same month last year.

The north's busiest airport, Belfast International, which accommodated 215,215 terminal passengers during August, took the biggest hit in October, with passenger levels dropping to 109,789.

It followed announcements by EasyJet and Ryanair of plans to reduce services.

Some 518,039 passengers passed through the airport's terminal in October 2019.

Belfast International boss, Graham Keddie, last month announced the airport would be forced to close its terminal on selected days during November as a result to the collapse in activity.

He said keeping the airport open on a 24/7 basis was costing £65,000 per day.

The Aldergrove airport has urged the Executive to step in with financial support.

The Executive announced a £5.7 million package for City of Derry and Belfast City airports in April. Eglinton received a fresh £1.23m bail-out in November to tie it over until the end of March 2021.

Data released by Ryanair this week painted an increasingly grim picture for November.

The budget carrier flew just two million passengers last month, an 82 per cent decline from the same month in 2019, when it carried 10.9 million travellers.

The total number of passengers to use the carrier during the first 11 months of the year was 61.4 million, down 59 per cent on the figure of 151.6 million during the same period in 2019.

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