Concerns have been raised about Ryanair’s 2015 summer schedule out of Cork Airport amid fears that 23,000 seats could be lost.
Several of the routes it planned to operate next summer — to Milan, Carcassonne, Barcelona, Girona, Alicante, and Pisa — are not available to book on its website for August 2015, and the airline’s Cork to Bordeaux route is not available to book for the entire summer 2015 season.
It has sparked fears that some of routes will only operate for a nine-week period in June and July, resulting in a further decline in the airport’s passenger figures.
The routes were among 18 announced out of Cork early last month by Ryanair.
Aviation sources said it is unusual that the routes are not bookable two months after that announcement.
Fianna Fáil city councillor Tom O’Driscoll said he was concerned by the changes and he called on the airline to clarify the situation.
“These routes have, since 2010, been available to book for the entire summer season — from June 1 to August 31,” he said.
“But it now appears as if they can’t be booked. It’s concerning. Ryanair needs to clarify the situation.”
In a statement last night, Ryanair said it is still finalising its Bordeaux summer schedule, which will be completed shortly.
It said its routes from Cork to Alicante, Carcassonne, Girona, Milan, and Pisa will operate in the peak summer months — June and July — “in line with last year’s schedule”.
But Mr O’Driscoll insisted those routes operated for the entire summer season for the last five years, and that further clarification is needed.
Cork Airport has seen its traffic fall by 5%, or about 77,000 passengers, so far this year, with Ryanair’s transfer of routes to Shannon in recent years costing Cork around 160,000 passengers.
Since gaining independence, Shannon has been able to offer deals which allow airlines to operate effectively free of landing fees.
Cork’s ability to compete fairly is reportedly being hampered because it is still servicing a €100m debt associated with the building of its terminal building.
Despite this, Cork Airport is making an operational profit. Members of the airport’s management team are due to meet with Cork Chamber executives today ahead of a chamber meeting with the transport minister later this month.
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