Ryanair has told the Minister for Transport they will close their Cork and Shannon bases from October 26 for the winter season if the Government does not implement the EU traffic light system to allow for a return of international air travel.
In an online-meeting today with Minister Eamon Ryan, the airline said called on the Government to fully adopt the new EU travel list policy from October 13, which would allow Irish citizens/visitors unrestricted air travel to and from those regions of Europe which are classified by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) as green and/or amber.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: “If the Irish Government does not fully adopt the EU travel regulations permitting unrestricted air travel to/from those regions of Europe that are Green or Amber from 13 Oct next, then regrettably the Cork and Shannon bases will close on 26 Oct and will not reopen until 1 April 2021, at the earliest."
"We had a 30-minute online meeting with Minister Ryan today, during which we complained that neither he or his Department has implemented any of the Aviation Task Force recommendations since they were submitted on 7 July last, some three months ago.
"During that period of time, many EU countries, most notably Germany and Italy, have allowed the return of intra-EU air travel without quarantine restrictions, and they have delivered significantly lower Covid case rates than Ireland."
During the meeting with the transport minister, Mr Wilson also condemned NPHET and the Government for their "mismanagement" of aviation in and out of the country.
He said: "While NPHET and the Irish Govt have mismanaged air travel by keeping Ireland locked up since 1 July, Ireland’s Covid case rate has dramatically increased to over 88.8 per 100,000 population in the last 14 days and international air travel cannot be blamed for this increase.
Mr Wilson added: "Ryanair returned to flying on July 1 with extensive health measures in place including mandatory use of face masks, an issue that was criticised by NPHET members, only for NPHET to finally adopt mandatory face masks from August 10 onwards”.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the Government has already said it broadly supports the EU commission proposal on the so called traffic light system for international travel.
The Department has been engaging with other depts, airlines, airports, ports and ferry companies on how that would be implemented. It is understood proposals will go to Cabinet shortly.