By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Airport has warned that it could years to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.

The airport’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place in Tralee last week where the 2019 year-end financial report was presented to shareholders.

The airport reported a strong 2019, but so far this year passenger numbers are at an alarming low level.

Less than one thousand people used the facility between April and June this year.

Only 808 passengers travelled through the airport, all on the Aer Lingus Regional Kerry-Dublin route, during the second quarter of 2020 compared to 102,534 on all routes for the same quarter last year.

“Our country continues its undaunted struggle to overcome this virus. There is no doubt, when the time is right and it is safe to do so, the airport will regroup and continue its mission in supporting Kerry and this regions’ economy,” Kerry Airport’s Chief Executive Officer John Mulhern said. “Undoubtedly there will be many months, if not years, of toil ahead to recover fully. Kerry Airport will face that challenge unabated.”

Prior to last week’s AGM The Minister of State with responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughten TD, visited the airport to hear a first-hand account of how the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions have affected Kerry Airport.

It is understood that during this meeting airport management asked for Government intervention to save Kerry and other regional airports.

“I am confident that the Government is fully aware of the steep downward trajectory in the financial position at all airports and will in due course announce industry specific financial measures to support us through the industry’s continued lockdown,” Mr Mulhern added.