Ryanair is planning to operate flights from Cork Airport this summer despite casting doubts over the reopening of its base there this year.
Seats on Ryanair flights from Cork to 10 destinations across the UK and Europe between June and mid-September were for sale online last night.
It is understood the airline is also considering three additional routes. It did not respond to requests for comment last night.
The airport is due to close from September 10 to November 22 for a multi-million euro runway upgrade.
It will reopen in time for what it is hoped will be a busy Christmas period.
But Ryanair’s ‘people director’, Darrell Hughes, said: “As you know we temporarily ceased base operations at Cork last October due to Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions and we have been unable to plan for reopening for this summer season due to the runway works and lack of a workable commercial agreement with Cork Airport.
A spokesman for Cork Airport said they have devised two new incentive schemes — one for passenger traffic and one for the reestablishment of bases — to help rebuild the airport’s route network post-pandemic.
Both schemes can be availed of in parallel with the net effect of reducing airport charges at Cork, which have not increased in 15 years, below their previous level, he said.
Mr Hughes also criticised the Government’s “lack of a recovery plan” and its “shortsighted focus on pointless and unworkable travel restrictions and quarantines”.
"The slow vaccine rollout in Ireland continues to put jobs and critical air infrastructure links at risk," he said.
Meanwhile, Willie Walsh, the head of global airline industry body IATA, has hit out at the high cost of Covid-19 testing, accusing providers of profiteering from travel, and calling for the industry to challenge whether PCR tests are necessary.
He said governments had mandated PCR tests and were then charging VAT on the cost of the testing, a scenario which he said needed to be challenged.
PCR tests, the so-called gold standard test, can cost over €100.