Sunday 4 December 2016

Ryanair launches 'rescue sale' after CityJet cancels Cork flights

London Calling

Published 12/05/2016 | 16:14

Composite Image: Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, with Cork Airport in the background.
Composite Image: Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, with Cork Airport in the background.
New Ryanair BOEING 737 MAX 200 aircraft

Ryanair has lost little time in pouncing with a sale, following CityJet's decision to cancel its Cork to London City service.

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CityJet today announced that it would cancel flights from Cork Airport to London City - a route that commenced just last October - with effect from June 26.

Despite the optimism surrounding the route's launch, Pat Byrne, CityJet's Executive Chairman, said the airline was now faced with the reality that “demand for this service has simply not taken hold in terms of sustainable commercial viability."

Shortly after the announcement, Ryanair launched a €16.99 seat sale on its flights from Cork to London Gatwick and Stansted, avaiable for travel in June.

The seats, which it dubs "rescue fares" in a press release, have been made available "to accommodate customers who have had their travel plans disrupted by CityJet’s sudden cancellation of their Cork – London route," the airline said.

The sale fares are available until midnight this Sunday, May 15, and have been publicised with several tweets, including this dubious dispatch:

Despite today's announcement, CityJet said its planned summer services to Nantes and La Rochelle from Cork Airport will operate as scheduled. It is also operating a charter to Menorca for Stein Travel and Lee Travel which is not affected by today's decision.

Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport, described the decision to discontinue the route as "very disappointing", and one taken because "not enough people were using the service despite intensive and exhaustive marketing campaigns".

“Airlines make decisions based on the commercial viability of routes and unfortunately the service to London City was not profitable for CityJet," he added.

CityJet's decision comes as Cork is urging the public to register its support for Norwegian's proposed transatlantic flights, which are opposed by US aviation unions, Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and a bipartisan group of senators.

Despite these events, the airport expects a 7-8pc growth in passengers this year, with new routes including Dusseldorf, Cardiff, Leeds Bradford and Southampton.

CityJet will be in direct contact with all affected passengers on the Cork-London City route. Full refunds will be available (contact 01-5251823 for details).

Note:

Since the publication of this story, we've learned that Aer Lingus is also offering sale fares from Cork to London Heathrow from €35.99 each-way. The fares are available in June, July and August on its four-times daily service.

"Today's announcement of the suspension of the Cork to London City service serves as a reminder of the challenges facing all stakeholders in making new routes successful," said Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer, Keith Butler.

"While the suspension is disappointing news for the Cork and Munster region, Aer Lingus is committed to serving the London market," he added.

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