Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport are down 76% according to the latest figures from the DAA.

Siobhan Moore, External Communications manager at the airport, said numbers are expected to "dwindle" further.

However, she said the airport will remain open for repatriation flights and cargo.

Two flights have been specially arranged for tomorrow with Air Alitalia, which does not usually operate out of Dublin, to bring back 500 Italian nationals and return Irish citizens there.

While passenger numbers are down in excess of 76% the number of flights are down by only 53% as airlines try to maintain services.

Many planes arriving at the airport today were nearly empty - there were an estimated 9 people aboard a flight from Lisbon this morning.

However, British Airways announced that Dublin was one of a number of European destinations where it was cancelling all flights.

It operates in partnership with Aer Lingus which will take over the Dublin routes while British Airways will take over the Belfast routes.

It comes as Aer Lingus said it will continue to operate a reduced flight schedule to facilitate repatriation across Europe and North America.

Intending passengers who wish to change their travel plans are being offered a voucher plus 10% of cost.

Flights to and from Italy and Spain as well as most regional airports have been cancelled.

Customers who are being impacted are being contacted directly. 

Meanwhile, Ryanair says it will continue to offer a reduced service to and from British and European airports next week.

Destinations include London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Amsterdam and Brussels.

In a statement the airline said aircraft are disinfected daily and because of reduced passenger numbers social distancing can be maintained. 

Ryanair said that as most EU countries have imposed flight bans or other restrictions, over 90% of its aircraft will be grounded for the coming weeks. 

The airline is also providing repatriation and rescue flights for many EU Governments and said it is offering its aircraft for emergency medical flights, including to/from China. 

Earlier, a South African couple on holiday fear being stranded here as their government is due to introduce a travel ban tomorrow.

The couple also say that as South Africans they are not allowed to enter many countries without transit visas.

Luke Ridgway and Sally De Bruyn said they were told it would cost them £1,000 each to get such a visa to go through London Heathrow.

They are booked on a Lufthansa flight for Friday but fear the flight will not be allowed into South Africa.

Their embassy in Dublin is closed.