New figures show that passenger numbers at Dublin Airport declined by 78% to almost 7.4 million last year due to the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

More than half of all those who travelled through Dublin Airport last year did so in January and February, as passenger numbers increased by 2% to 4.1 million passengers the first two months of the year. 

But between March and the end of December, passenger numbers fell by 89% to 3.3 million. 

At the height of the Covid-19 travel restrictions in April, just 27,000 passengers used Dublin Airport - down 99% on the same month in 2019. 

The last time that Dublin Airport had fewer than 8 million passengers in a calendar year was in 1994 - 27 years ago.

In 2019, Dublin Airport had flights to more than 190 destinations in 42 countries operated by almost 50 airlines.

But in April 2020, Dublin Airport had flights to just 22 destinations in 11 countries operated by seven airlines. 

In line with Government guidelines, Dublin Airport remained opened as an essential service during the whole of 2020. 

It facilitated the arrival of 6.2 million tonnes of PPE and other medical equipment on 357 separate cargo flights, operated by 16 different airlines.

Today's figures show that passenger numbers to and from continental Europe declined by 77% to 4 million last year. 

The number of people travelling to and from Dublin Airport and Britain was 76% lower at 2.4 million, while transatlantic traffic declined by 84% to almost 690,000 passengers. 

Passenger numbers on flights to and from other international destinations, which includes flights to the Middle East, declined by 76% to almost 237,000. The number of people taking domestic flights declined by 68% to just under 34,000, the airport added.

"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," Dublin Airport's Managing Director Vincent Harrison said. 

"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," Mr Harrison said.

"Aviation plays a vital role in Ireland's economy, and it will be a key sector in helping that economy to recover in the wake of the pandemic," he added.

Today's figures show that Dublin Airport passenger numbers rose by 2% in both January and February, but March saw a fall of 57% as the first of the Covid-19 travel restrictions were imposed. 

Passenger numbers slumped 99% in April, while they sank by 98% and 97% in May and June respectively.

July saw a fall of 89% in passenger numbers, while they were down by 85% in August.

The airport's passenger numbers fell by 87% in September, followed by an 91% drop in October.

Passenger numbers stumbled by 92% in November and by 87% in December.