Ryanair is to close its base at Cork Airport for the winter, but will continue to operate services to London, Katowice and Gdansk using aircraft and staff based outside of Ireland.
Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, said: “The team here at Cork Airport is really devastated to hear of Ryanair’s decision to close its base at Cork with the loss of so many direct and indirect jobs and the cessation of 13 routes.
“We have done everything in our power at Cork Airport to retain the base here and the connectivity that it delivers for the South of Ireland region. However, since the pandemic, many Ryanair flights to and from Cork have been operating with fewer than 10 passengers.
“The Irish aviation sector has been decimated by Covid-19 and the country needs to get to a position where we have the appropriate travel policies in place to enable Ireland to co-exist with the virus while safely re-opening our vital air connectivity.
“Cork Airport was Ireland’s fastest-growing airport before Covid-19 and we are now looking at a 95% plus reduction in traffic levels for this coming winter compared to last year.
“Despite the base closure, Ryanair will still retain three routes serving Cork over the winter – London Stansted, Katowice and Gdansk. However, these routes will be operated by aircraft and staff based outside of Ireland. Ryanair has had a base at Cork Airport since 2005, and this winter will be the first time in 15 years that the airline has not had any aircraft based in Cork.
“With the appropriate financial supports and travel policies from Government, we will work tirelessly to secure the return of the Ryanair base at Cork ahead of next summer when, hopefully, the airline will be in a position to replace lost services.
“In addition to those three Ryanair routes, Cork Airport will also have a service to Amsterdam with KLM this winter and Aer Lingus will operate services to London Heathrow and Amsterdam. The continuity of all or any of these services cannot be taken for granted and we will continue to work with the Government and our airline customers to retain this hard-won connectivity as best we can this winter.”