Business

NI airport passengers down by almost 90% in November

Passenger levels at Belfast International Airport were down by 91 per cent in November. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

NOVEMBER was the worst month for Northern Ireland airports since lockdown restrictions were eased in June, with passenger numbers down by almost 90 per cent.

Just 68,563 passengers were recorded in the terminals of Belfast International, Belfast City and City of Derry airports during the month following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the re-introduction of lockdown restrictions. Almost 600,000 flew during the same period in 2019.

The figures, published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), paint a brutal picture for the aviation industry during November, with London’s airports down almost 12 million passengers on normal levels.

It was a particularly disastrous month for Belfast International Airport, with passenger levels 91 per cent below November 2019 when almost 400,000 people boarded flights.

Just 36,039 people were recorded by the CAA, after the airport’s anchor airline Easyjyet suspended flights to five key airports in Britain during November.

Ryanair also cut its Aldergrove operation to just two routes in November, with holiday airliner Jet2 also scaling back its winter services.

Belfast City Airport recorded its worst month since July, with 26,944 passengers, 85 per cent down on November 2019.

City of Derry saw just 5,580 passengers in November, 69 per cent below the same month in 2019.

A £7.8 million rescue package was announced by Stormont for Belfast International and Belfast City airports in December. City of Derry was granted £1.23m in late November.

Meanwhile Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed last week that a pre-departure testing regime will be introduced in Northern Ireland.

New laws are expected to be introduced in England this week, requiring international travellers arriving to show a negative Covid-19 result up to 72 hours before departure.

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