Ryanair axes flights from all Irish airports except Dublin amid lockdown ‘mismanagement’

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Irish-carrier Ryanair has made the decision to cancel all regional services in Ireland amid the country’s second strict lockdown. The budget carrier is halting operations from all airports, including Ireland West Airport, Cork and Shannon, between November 14 and December 12.

The only airport which it will continue to serve during this period is Dublin.

Ryanair will operate just 40 percent of its usual capacity for this time of year.

In a statement, the budget airline blamed “government mismanagement” of travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As a result of continuous Government mismanagement and a complete collapse in travel demand, additional cuts regrettably had to be made across our Irish airports,” it reads.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks chief executive of Ryanair DAC Eddie Wilson said the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) were “demonising air travel”.

“You cannot operate an airline with no passengers,” he said, suggesting the Irish government had convinced people not to fly.

Currently, Irish citizens are advised not to travel more than 5km from home.

However, the airline says it will be back in time to serve people over the Christmas period.

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“From November 14 to December 12, Ryanair will only operate from Dublin Airport in Ireland, but operations will resume on 13 December ahead of the Christmas season to allow Irish families to reunite,” it added.

Passengers booked onto a now-cancelled flight will have the option to rebook or claim a full refund via the Ryanair website.

Ryanair’s website states: “We deeply regret the inconvenience of flight cancellations and we’ll try our best to minimise the impact of these disruptions.

“If your flight is cancelled there are two options available to you to choose from. You can either apply for a refund or change your cancelled flight for free.”

Following the news, Niall MacCarthy, managing director at Cork Airport, said: “The news that Ryanair will be cancelling all flights from Cork airport for a four-week period from mid-November to mid-December is a further body blow to the Irish aviation industry and to Cork and the south of Ireland in particular.

He then called for airport testing, saying it would “form the backbone of the return confidence in safe air travel”.

“It is acknowledged that as an island nation with an open economy we have to learn to co-exist with this virus for quite some time yet,” he continued.

Mr Wilson warned that removing the right for families to reunite at Christmas would be a “death blow” for the aviation industry.

“Already they are saying that people cannot come home for Christmas; they are dealing a death blow to this industry in Ireland,” Mr Wilson stated.

UK travellers hoping to fly to Ireland in the coming months will only be able to fly directly to Dublin from Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Southend, London Stansted, Manchester, and Newcastle.

In a similar move, Irish-carrier Aer Lingus also announced it would be cutting some regional routes.

The airline will cut the frequency of its flights between Cork and Heathrow throughout November.

It will offer just three flights per week, instead of daily flights, blaming a lack of passenger traffic.

Acting Aer Lingus chief executive Donal Moriarty addressed the Oireachtas Joint Committee, saying the airline had released its full schedule for summer 2021 but was acting now to limit job losses.

The airline anticipates around 250 job losses instead of an initial 500.

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