Airlines

Published on October 15th, 2020 | by Alan Dwyer

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Ryanair to Close Cork and Shannon Bases

Ryanair has announced that it will close it bases at both Cork and Shannon for the winter season. It will also reduced its winter schedule across its network from 60% down to 40% of 2019 levels from November through to March 2021. Due to increased flight restrictions imposed by EU Governments, air travel to/from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal have been heavily curtailed. This has caused forward bookings to weaken slightly in October, but it is having an effect of bookings for November and December.

Having previously flagged the possibility of the base closures in Cork and Shannon earlier this month, the airline has now confirmed the news as they announced cutbacks across the network. The base in Toulouse will also close and Ryanair has announced significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary

Speaking as the cutbacks by Ryanair were announced, Ryanair Group CEO, Michael O’Leary said “We have continued to flex our capacity in September & October to reflect both market conditions and changing Government restrictions, with the objective of sustaining a 70% load factor, which allows us operate as close to breakeven as possible and minimise cash burn. While the Covid situation remains fluid and hard to predict, we must now cut our full year traffic forecast to 38m guests. While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts they have been forced upon us by Government mismanagement of EU air travel. Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate to keep our aircraft, our pilots and our cabin crew current and employed while minimising job losses. It is inevitable, given the scale of these cutbacks, that we will be implementing  more unpaid leave, and job sharing this winter in those bases where we have agreed reduced working time and pay, but this is a better short term outcome than mass job losses. There will regrettably be more redundancies at those small number of cabin crew bases, where we have still not secured agreement on working time and pay cuts, which is the only alternative. We continue to actively manage our cost base to be prepared for the inevitable rebound and recovery of short haul air travel in Europe once an effective Covid-19 vaccine is developed. In the meantime, we urge all EU Governments to immediately, and fully, adopt the EU Commission’s Traffic Light System, which allows for safe air travel between EU states on a regional basis to continue (without defective travel restrictions) for those countries and regions of Europe, who are able to demonstrate that their Covid case rates are less than 50 per 100,000 population.”

Ryanair employs 80 pilots and cabin crew at its base in Cork and 55 in Shannon. The airline said the decision to close the bases temporarily over the winter will mean they will be temporarily laid off. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ryanair serviced 23 destinations from Cork and 13 from Shannon.

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