Ryanair has threatened to close its Shannon base from October 26th blaming the government for mismanaging air travel on and off the Island.
Ryanair has told Transport Minister Eamon Ryan that Ireland has remained uniquely “locked up” to intra-EU air travel since 1 July when most other EU countries, most notably Germany and Italy, returned to safe intra-EU air travel without Covid restrictions, and these countries have delivered significantly lower Covid case rates than Ireland over the past 3 months.
Ryanair called on Transport Minister Ryan and his government, to fully adopt the new EU travel list policy from 13 Oct next, which would allow Irish citizens/visitors unrestricted air travel to and from those regions of Europe which are classified by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) as Green and/or Amber. Ryanair accepts that some quarantine restrictions may be necessary for regions designated by the ECDC as Red.
Ryanair again condemned the mismanagement of air travel by NPHET, and the government’s inaction on its own Aviation Task Force report, which it has been sitting on since 7 July last, over 10 weeks ago, with zero of its 12 recommendations implemented.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: “We had a 30-minute online meeting with Minister Ryan today, during which we complained that neither he or his Department has implemented any of the Aviation Task Force recommendations since they were submitted on 7 July last, some 3 months ago. During that period of time, many EU countries, most notably Germany and Italy, have allowed the return of intra-EU air travel without quarantine restrictions, and they have delivered significantly lower Covid case rates than Ireland.
While NPHET and the Irish government have mismanaged air travel by keeping Ireland locked up since July 1st, Ireland’s Covid case rate has dramatically increased to over 88.8 per 100,000 population in the last 14 days and international air travel cannot be blamed for this increase.
If the Irish Government does not fully adopt the EU travel regulations permitting unrestricted air travel to/from those regions of Europe that are Green or Amber from 13 Oct next, then regrettably the Cork and Shannon bases will close on 26 October and will not reopen until 1 April 2021, at the earliest,” Ryanair has warned.
Ryanair only resumed operations at Shannon on July 1st but apart from some Polish routes, the airline has struggled to fill seats.
The airline has carried as few as single-figure passenger numbers on some routes while often having up to 160 people on some Polish flights.
The airline has itself come in for widespread criticism for refusing to refund passengers who opted to follow Irish government advice and not travel to non-greenlist countries. The airline’s defence was that their flights flew and that it was a passenger’s decision if they decided not to travel.
Ryanair later allowed passengers who booked flights after June 10th to change their flights without charge while anyone who booked before that were charged €130 person to change their flights even if the new flight cost hundreds of euro less the original booking.
Ryanair issued the same threat regarding its base at Shannon just last month.