Ryanair is threatening to closes its bases at Shannon and Cork unless the Government relaxes its quarantine restrictions on passengers flying into Ireland.
Airline staff received the stark warning in a memo from the airline’s CEO today.
The move would directly affect around 130 pilots and cabin crew employed by the airline at the airports while staff employed by other companies contracted to Ryanair, including ground handling agents, are also likely to be affected.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson is blaming the decision on what he described as the government’s mismanagement of the Green List for travel.
He said the decision may be reversed before the winter, if the Green List is updated. However, he said if it is not changed the reopening of both bases next March will also be in question.
The memo states that all pilots and cabin crew would be placed on unpaid leave from the end of October. The document tell staff they may be able to access Government support schemes.
Ryanair only resumed operations at Shannon on July 1st but apart from some Polish routes, the airline has struggled to fill seats.
It’s known that aircraft have flown with passenger numbers in the single figures.
Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley said earlier: “Government must take seriously the threat by Ryanair to close bases at Shannon and Cork – we need urgently, to see a roadmap for reopening of our air routes.”
Government must take seriously the threat by Ryanair to close bases at Shannon and Cork – we need urgently, to see a roadmap for reopening of our air routes. @ClareFM @ClareChampion @ClareEcho @theclareherald @morningireland @rtenews pic.twitter.com/4DGLMLhtPY
— Timmy Dooley (@timmydooley) September 8, 2020
Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne said this evening: “I am deeply concerned to hear the news that Ryanair have outlined their intensions to close their Shannon bases for the winter months. While this news was sudden it is not surprising.”
“Ryanair have long outlined their distaste at the Government’s dealing of foreign travel rules, particularly around the Green list. Sinn Féin only recently called on the Government to update their Green List as it is over 6 weeks old now.
“This is yet another hammer-blow for Shannon Airport and it now puts the future of Shannon under even more heat. The recent cuts in the Airport have been hard hitting but this news will bring even more worry as to the future of the airport.
“Government inaction around the aviation sector has been well noted. Their decision to cut the TWSS and the PUP payment in recent weeks has also added to this damage,” Deputy Wynne added.