Almost three months after being grounded by coronavirus, easyJet returned to the skies above Northern Ireland yesterday.
After a long hibernation, the reawakening of the aviation industry, it seems, will be a slow and steady process.
Swathes of empty spaces remained in the main car park at Belfast International Airport yesterday. Travellers came, one by one, every few minutes.
An early morning flight to Liverpool already away from the terminal, Bristol was the next destination, but waiting outside the main entrance as an airport shuttle bus pulled up, there was no-one getting off.
Digital advertising screens showcase Northern Ireland to no visitors yet. Throw something in one of the bins along the front of the terminal and you will break the cobwebs that have gathered.
Lying idle, the engines in the easyJet livery have been burning up to £5m a day.
And while the financial side of things will be important to the company, it is the individual stories of people desperate to travel again that help hit home what we have been missing.
Linda Henry from Lisburn was dropping off her daughter Philippa Haire, taking her chance to get back to Plymouth where she is at university.
But while attendance at educational institutions may have ceased, there has been a more pressing need for Philippa to travel. "I have to get back this week," she said. "I have a part-time job which I need to keep to help pay for university life. My furlough from that has ended.
"But this is all very surreal. There's no-one around."
Despite the lack of passengers arriving, her face mask goes on.
"From what we know there's no specific social distancing measures for the flight as long as you're wearing a mask," said mum Linda. "It's the only flight to Bristol so she had to take it."
Also arriving, Allan and Jenny Kuhn, from Belfast, are off to visit their daughter Lucy, who lives in Sidmouth along the Devon coastline. For them the chance to fly again is a great relief.
"Our daughter hasn't been well and needs our help," said Allan. "This is the first chance we've had to get over to visit her and lend a hand. But we're comfortable. Northern Ireland seems to have the virus well under control. The airport is ready to deal with passengers and we've waited a long time to be able to do this.
"I know you can't see under the face mask, but we're both smiling today."
Later in the afternoon, the return flight from Bristol lands and again there are tales of lives resuming.
For Claire Brown there was the chance to finally find her new family home in Northern Ireland.
"We've been living in Devon but we're moving back here," she said, arriving with her husband and daughter. "Once estate agents reopened, our house sold very quickly and now we have to find somewhere to live here.
"It feels great to finally be on the move. The flight was comfortable, no issues, plenty of announcements. It was all very smooth."
Karen Jones landed to see parents Jim and Maureen Hunter from Coleraine for the first time since Christmas.
"It was all very well done," she said, finally removing a face mask after arriving from her home in Bath. "It was a good time to travel, plenty of space on board and enough empty seats so we could all stay well apart."
The big challenge will come as more people begin travelling again in an industry under no illusions that there is still a tough task ahead to recover.
For now Graham Keddie, managing director at Belfast International Airport, said he was delighted to finally be opening the doors to passenger flights. "We have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare the terminal and implement new hygiene and safety measures for the health and wellbeing of all passengers and staff," he explained.
"Today we should have 22,000-plus going through the terminal and we should be lucky to have 700 or 800," he said, and he still has no idea how quarantine measures will be enforced.
The majority of easyJet's flights in June will be on domestic routes, flying around 45% of its Belfast routes in July and 90% in August, although with fewer flights.