Passenger numbers on private bus operator, Aircoach have plummeted by over 90 per cent in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact.
That is according to MD of Aircoach, Dervla McKay who stated on Tuesday that Aircoach along with the majority of Ireland’s private coach and bus companies “ground to a halt in March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“The current restrictions at Level 5 for passenger transport operators mean a carrying capacity of 25 per cent – that combined with stricter measures on international travel put the Aircoach business in a difficult position in the short term,” she said.
Ms McKay made her comments concerning new accounts which show the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic last year contributed to pre-tax profits at Aircoach declining by 21.5 per cent to €3.7 million.
According to directors for the Aircoach firm, Last Passive Ltd, the last quarter of the company’s financial year to the end of March 2020 was impacted by Covid-19 which led to significantly reduced passenger numbers on all routes.
The directors state that prior to the Covid-19 impact, there was strong passenger number and turnover growth for the majority of the year.
The directors state that profits dropped by €1 million due to the reduction in revenues from €30.22 million to €29.32 million.
They pointed out: “It was difficult to offset the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic with cost reductions in such a short space of time.”
Providing an update on the business performance, Ms McKay said: “We have been availing of all relevant government support and have been able to retain the majority of our employees however, our financial position remains extremely difficult.
“In addition to government support we are also being provided with financial assistance from our parent company First Group.”
Ms McKay said: “We know from reviewing recent research that there is pent up demand for foreign travel and when it is safe to do so, as restrictions ease and demand increases, the Aircoach business looks forward to building back towards 2019 and early 2020 passenger volumes and growing beyond.”
She added that “during this difficult year we have been continuing to support our teams as best we can while completing key projects to improve our customer experience such as the launch of our new website and booking system”.
The accounts for the 12 months to the end of March last show that the business employed 214 and staff costs totalled €9.4 million.
At the end of March last, Last Passive Ltd had accumulated profits of €3.8 million. Shareholder funds totalled €4.12 million.