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Ryanair tells staff it may close Cork and Shannon bases this winter due to government restrictions

CEO Eddie Wilson wrote a memo to Ryanair crew at the two airports today.

File image of Ryanair flight.
File image of Ryanair flight.
Image: DPA/PA Images

RYANAIR CEO EDDIE Wilson has told staff in Cork and Shannon airports that the airline may have to close these bases unless the government eases its quarantine restrictions on people entering the country from abroad. 

Wilson wrote a memo to crew at the two airports today, saying the pandemic “continues to badly damage our passenger loads and our operations”.

The memo, seen by TheJournal.ie, said that if quarantine restrictions for passengers flying into Ireland from the EU are not lifted before the end of September, Ryanair will “have no alternative” but to close the bases at Cork and Shannon on a temporary basis this winter.

It said all pilots and cabin crew will take unpaid leave from the end of October as a result. 

“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,” Wilson wrote.   

The CEO said the challenges of Covid-19 are “exacerbated in Ireland where Government mismanagement of our Green List has kept many EU countries on a quarantine list”.

He said the government has ignored “pleas” from the airline industry to add more countries to the Green List. 

Wilson added that the winter bookings in Cork and Shannon airports, and Dublin to a lesser extent, have “suffered irreparable harm”. 

The airline will continue to operate flights into the two airports from places like London Stansted, Manchester and Liverpool with reduced frequency.  

The 14-day restriction of movement guideline for those travelling into Ireland could be waived under the government’s new Covid-19 roadmap for reopening the country.

This new strategy is due to be published on 14 September. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said travel had been “opening up” citing an increase in August’s figures. Martin said a new framework for travel will be included in the new roadmap.

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on transport Darren O’Rourke said the news from Ryanair this evening is a “worrying development” for the airline industry.  

“Workers in this sector have already endured severe pay cuts with many struggling to make ends meet.

“The threat of imminent job losses will only add further to their concerns. This is turning into a game of chicken between airlines and the government, with airline workers and the general public caught in the middle.”

With reporting by Sean Murray

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