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Ryanair ‘hugely important’ for airport

Wednesday, 9th September, 2020 3:21pm

A devastating blow and distressing news is how the possibility of Ryanair pulling out of Cork Airport for the winter has been described.

Ryanair staff in Cork and Shannon were sent a memo on Tuesday, which has been widely shared online, indicating that the two bases would close for the winter unless the Government reviews its Green List for international travel.

The memo, sent to all crew in Cork and Shannon, said: “The Green List has kept many EU countries on a quarantine list even though these countries – like our major markets in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Poland – have lower Covid rates than Ireland. We are facing into a winter in Cork and Shannon with no outbound business travel and severely reduced inbound leisure traffic.”

The memo said that the Government is due to review the Green List for travel on 14 September and if the restrictions were not lifted, Ryanair would have "no alternative" but to shut the two bases for the winter. The memo added that the company would do its best to reopen in March.

Speaking with the Cork Independent, Cork Chamber’s Chief Executive Conor Healy, said: “Ryanair is hugely important to Cork Airport and their routes facilitate business and tourism and travel into and out of the region so any threat to the Ryanair base would be a devastating blow. “Clearly Ryanair is saying that if the policy isn’t changed that they will have to look seriously at their operations in Cork and that would have significant knock on implications in terms of jobs across the tourism and wider industry.” He added: “This has highlighted the ongoing need for the Government to engage with the aviation sector as well as the need for Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Eamon Ryan, and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin to start talking seriously with the aviation sector. They also need to move to align our aviation sector with our counterparts across Europe where we can maintain the best of health and safety protocols but also facilitate travel and activity at our airports.”

Fórsa, the union which represents many Ryanair staff, said that the news was very distressing for crew based in Cork and Shannon and their families, in addition to other airport staff and the economies of both regions.

The union said that it reflects the very difficult circumstances affecting the entire Irish aviation industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve worked closely with all aviation employers, including Ryanair, in order to maximise job protection since March. Fórsa has called on the Government to intervene to support the industry because Ireland’s connectivity through aviation is crucial to its economy. “The industry supports quality jobs throughout the country,” Fórsa commented.

In a statement to the Cork Independent, Ryanair said: “We don’t comment on internal communication with our people.”

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