The operator of both Dublin and Cork airports has said it has lost €160m in turnover since the Covid-19 pandemic crisis hit.

Daa said passenger numbers have fallen 99% in April and May and overall are down 55% in the year so far, despite a positive start to 2020.

The company also has retail operations in 16 countries and its business in all these territories has been impacted by the shutdown of airports.

"This is the most serious crisis that has ever faced the international aviation sector and our business," daa CEO, Dalton Philips said. 

"Our business and the wider sector have weathered many previous upheavals, such as the recent recession, the impact of September 11, and the 1970s oil crisis, and it will eventually recover from the economic impact of COVID-19."

"But it is likely to take some time as the short-term future is bleak, and the post COVID industry will be very different."

The airport operator is predicting a further decrease in its overall passenger numbers for the year and they could end up being as low as 9 million for 2020, down from 35.5m last year.

Even next year, the company thinks the number of passengers may only reach 21 million. 

As a result it is expecting to record significant financial losses this year.

Daa said it has instigated a very significant cost reduction programme to try to stem the €1m a day in losses it is currently incurring.

Measures have included the placing of staff on a four day week and discussions are underway with staff representatives about potentially reducing the workforce by as many as 1,000.

The firm is also examining potential work practice changes.

The daa had a turnover of €935m last year, up 4% and recorded a 13% increase in profit to €150m.

But the board of the daa is not recommending the payment of a dividend for 2019, given the financial situation, the company said.

All capital spending is also being reviewed, although the new north runway and upgrade to the hold baggage screening systems at Dublin and Cork are set to carry on.

Defending the decision to continue with these capital projects, Mr Philips said they would help boost the economic recovery.