Launceston Airport has been hit hard by COVID-19, despite the rest of Tasmania faring reasonably well throughout the majority of the pandemic.
Figures released by the airport showed flights into the airport had dropped and passengers had nearly halved over the past financial year.
In that period 541,796 passengers had arrived at the airport, 47 per cent less than the 1,024,628 who had visited in the previous year.
Consequently the flight numbers were also impacted, though not as severely. Those figures reduced 27 per cent from 5267 to 3829.
Launceston Airport chief executive Shane O'Hare said there was no doubt the pandemic continued to annihilate interstate travel.
He said while Tasmania remained COVID free, the airport was particularly impacted by border closures to other states.
"Aviation was one of the first global industries impacted by the coronavirus and it continues to suffer due to constant restrictions and border closures, making it near impossible for travellers to plan and book trips with confidence," said Mr O'Hare.
"Our latest numbers reveal the devastation the virus has had and behind the figures lie thousands of families and friends forced apart by outbreaks and subsequent border closures.
"Air travel is absolutely vital for Tasmania, it accounts for 90 per cent of trips to the state supporting the movement of passengers and critical freight, and when flights are restricted there's a severe disconnect between Tasmania and the mainland."
The Launceston to Melbourne route had long been the busiest for the airport, but that had been even more significantly impacted.
Over the past financial year that route took a more than 70 per cent hit to see passenger numbers fall from 960,000 to 286,101.
Mr O'Hare said the only way the airport could recoup was if Tasmanian borders remained open and the vaccine rollout picked up steam.
He said the impact of border closures was heartily reiterated last week as the wider country remained in a battle to get back on top of a Delta strain breakout sweeping the nation.
The current lockdowns ... are having a significant impact on operations. Last Tuesday we were down to just one arrival and departure forcing the airport to adjust its opening hours affecting employees and contractors.Launeston Airport chief executive Shane O'Hare
While the figures were grim, Mr O'Hare said there was a potential silver lining as demonstrated earlier this year when restrictions eased.
"Around Easter this year, when most restrictions eased, we returned to 65 per cent of our pre-COVID passenger capacity demonstrating strong demand across our entire route network of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane," he said.
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