RYANAIR has thrown a spanner in the works for Cork Airport’s road to recovery following Michael O’Leary implying this week that the airline wasn’t planning to reopen its Cork base this summer.
He said that while he expected there would be a ‘very strong’ recovery in Dublin and Shannon, Ryanair didn’t expect a recovery in Cork. ‘We expect the recovery in Cork will be delayed because there is still a very high cost of operations in Cork. In fact Cork Airport are talking about price increases,’ he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Monday.
‘There will not be rapid recovery in airports where prices are increasing. We need much lower costs, lower access costs, if we are to restore Irish tourism.’
He also referred to the ‘mass hysteria’ created by NPHET on international travel and suggested daily vaccinations figures would be far more useful to the public than daily case numbers.
Cork Airport declined to respond directly to Mr O’Leary’s comments this week, but a spokesperson said the airport continues to serve the needs of the south of Ireland region ‘albeit at much reduced activity levels’.
This activity includes the continuing service with Aer Lingus to London Heathrow, essential frontline services including medical evacuation and transplant flights, search and rescue helicopter missions, Aer Corps and Garda air support, and helicopters serving offshore gasfields.
‘We are in ongoing commercial negotiations with all of our airline customers on how to plan for a recovery for our business when it is safe to recommence international travel again later in 2021,’ the spokesperson said.
‘We are also moving ahead with major capital works on our hold baggage screening system and our runway reconstruction in 2021. A generous discount framework will be available to all airlines operating from Cork Airport post-pandemic to incentivise airline traffic recovery. We were Ireland’s fastest growing airport in 2019 and we plan to be so again in future years.’