Published on October 16th, 2020 | by Mark Dwyer0
Ryanair Cuts Schedule by 80% at Ireland West Airport
As the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, it’s the regional airports in Ireland that are taking the brunt of route cuts. Ireland West Airport has just lost 80% of its Ryanair flights and is now down to just seven services per week (LPL x 2 , STN x 2, LTN x 3). According to the airport, this “announcement will have a devastating impact on air travel services to and from the West and North West of Ireland and have a major impact on business and jobs both at the airport and in the wider region. Today’s announcement will see the cessation of 3 routes from the airport this winter to Bristol, East Midlands and Malaga with significant reductions on remaining services to London Stansted, London Luton and Liverpool.”
“The airport board will continue in discussions with Government on the need for an urgent rescue plan and expanded Regional Airports Programme to support the airport in the critical position it now finds itself in and to protect the future viability of the airport.”
Passenger numbers decline by 92% in September
Just 5,752 passengers travelled through Ireland West Airport in September, a 92% decline compared to the same month last year, when 76,357 passengers used the airport. In September, passenger volumes to and from the UK fell by 90%, as just 5,459 people travelled to and from the UK last month compared to 56,844 in September 2019.
European passenger traffic in September declined by 98% as only 275 passengers travelled to and from the airports only European destination currently operating, to Faro in Portugal, compared to 19,457 who travelled on services to the likes of Barcelona, Lanzarote, Malaga, Milan. Cologne and Barcelona in September 2019. Private aviation traffic fell by 68% in September compared to the previous year also.
Just over 136,000 passengers have travelled through Ireland West Airport between the months of January and September, compared with 625,985 for the same period in 2019 a 78% decrease year on year.
Airport Calls for Government Action
Speaking last month on the continued devastating impact on the airport, Arthur French, Chairman, Ireland West Airport said ‘We welcome todays statement from the regional chambers and business communities across the west and now call on Government, in advance of next month’s budget, to provide urgent support through an expanded regional airports programme for the airport to address the enormous financial losses resulting from the devastating collapse in passenger traffic as a result of COVID-19. The restrictive green list and 14-day quarantine restrictions are prohibitive for travel and airlines cannot continue to sustain routes at the current passenger volumes. The airport to date has implemented significant cost saving measures and reduced its workforce by up to 50% through a process of layoffs and redundancies, compared to 2019 staffing levels, with remaining staff on reduced hours to ensure we can continue to operate through this period and reduce our losses during this pandemic. This however is not sustainable going forward at the current traffic levels. We acknowledge the continued support of the Department of Transport and Ministers Eamon Ryan and Hildegarde Naughton but now need urgent Government intervention, through an enhanced Regional Airport’s funding programme, as we face into a critical winter period’