During Covid lockdown in April, May and June of this year, just 808 passengers passed though Kerry Airport compared with 102,534 in the same period last year. Management acknowledged that the immediate future was looking bleak but they took great consolation from the fact that 2019 was another successful year. This is an edited extract from statement delivered by Chief Executive John Mulhern (pictured) to shareholders at the online Kerry Airport AGM on Monday.
2019 is a remote memory of a time when we all enjoyed the freedom of untethered travel, without the fear of this distressing virus, which has impacted at some level on all our lives.
Indeed, travel is now ancillary to the incredible efforts being made by so many to keep us safe and well.
The airport, whilst suspending all foreign travel, stayed open for emergencies and critical journeys to our capital throughout the lockdown. Kerry Airport was, in point of fact, recruited for many such vital assignments.
2019 itself was another successful year following on from a very strong 2018. Passenger numbers grew modestly from 365,339 to 369,836, despite the impact that Brexit uncertainty was having across all industries.
The Public Service Obligation contract for services provided by Aer Lingus Regional, as operated by Stobart Air on the Kerry-Dublin route, continues to support access for the region to Dublin. This remains a very crucial service and will ensure that Kerry has access to a major hub, both in terms of growing tourism and in supporting the region’s economic development.
Again, we must stress the critical importance of the Kerry-Dublin air service to the development and the growth of the economy of the south west region and we hope that this product will continue to get the support it deserves.
With Aer Lingus flying direct from Dublin to many cities in North America and Canada, the interlining of these flights with the Kerry-Dublin service means greater access for our customers to onward flights.
Gross Revenue for the period, at €8,613,334, reflected increased activity on both passenger numbers, aircraft activities and one-off exceptional contracts.
Total passenger numbers handled in the year grew to 369,836 compared with 365,339 in the previous year, an increase of 1.2%. This represents good year-on-year performance and is well in line with market expectations.
The Kerry-Dublin route performed well with 58,021 passengers for the year and continues to be supported by the higher capacity ATR72 aircraft.
The London-Stansted route performed in line with market expectations. London-Luton performed well achieving a final PLF of 85%.
Our now well established German routes to Berlin and Frankfurt-Hahn continue to perform to expectation.
The sun holiday routes to Alicante and Faro performed extremely well and we look forward to more opportunities in this market sector.
The airport operated satisfactorily throughout the period, meeting and exceeding safety and security protocols as applying.
Employment levels for the period averaged 57 full-time equivalents, reflecting the increased activity on site.
We continue to enhance our operating capability with a capital investment of €2,565,273 in the period consisting of a new hold baggage x-ray unit, security fencing re-enforcement, navigation aids upgrades and airfield groundworks which were supported by capital grants of €1,918,738 funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport,
I would like to thank our management and staff for their contribution to a successful year and also our Chairman, Denis Cregan, and his fellow directors, for their valued input and direction.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all continued health whilst 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 region’s economy. Undoubtedly, there will be many months, if not years, of toil ahead to recover fully. Kerry Airport will face that challenge unabated.
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