This would be a huge blow for Cork Airport.
Ryanair is threatening to close its Cork and Shannon bases for winter, a move that could see up to 130 people laid off at the end of October.
In a letter circulated to staff, Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson explained that the Government’s current 14-day quarantine rules for passengers flying in from ‘Green List’ countries has resulted in a winter in Cork and Shannon “with no outbound business travel and severely reduced inbound leisure traffic.”
While the Government is due to review the Green List on Monday, September 14th, the budget airline has warned that if the quarantine restrictions from EU states are not lifted before the end of September, it will have no alternative “but to close our Cork and Shannon bases, on a temporary basis for this winter season.”
Staff facing unpaid leave
“In those circumstances, all pilots and cabin crew will be put on unpaid leave from the end of October.” Mr Wilson added.
“We will do our best to reopen these bases from March next year — if, but only if — these failed travel restrictions to other EU states have been lifted in time for traffic to recover.”
Ryanair flights into Cork and Shannon from bases such as London Stansted, Manchester, and Liverpool will continue but the frequency of these flights will be significantly reduced for the winter season.
Addressing the crisis on Morning Ireland, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that currently, only two per cent of Covid-19 cases are linked to travel abroad.
“If we’re serious about living with the virus that means allowing more travel,” said Mr Varadkar.
“We have very strict rules in Ireland around international travel. There is a risk that if we lose connectivity we could lose it for a number of years.”