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Ryanair urges Government to extend Covid-19 travel recovery scheme at Dublin Airport


(stock image)

(stock image)

(stock image)

RYANAIR urged the Government to extend the Covid-19 travel recovery scheme at Dublin Airport or face a 35pc reduction in critical traffic volumes next year.

The airline warned any failure to maximise the recovery of passenger and tourist numbers next year will be a disaster for the hospitality and travel industries.

The warning came as the budget airline confirmed the re-opening of its Cork Airport base from December 1.

Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said it was critical that the Covid-19 recovery scheme be extended at Dublin Airport until October 31 2022.

The scheme is currently slated to finish in June 2022.

Mr Wilson said the scheme will operate to October at Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Knock Airports - and Dublin had to follow suit if the summer season was to properly developed at Ireland's busiest airport.

Ryanair has committed to restore its operations to pre-pandemic levels at all the Irish airports which have extended the Covid-19 travel recovery scheme until October 2022 - a massive boost after some Irish airports recorded traffic falls of 95pc at the height of the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, traffic at Dublin is set to fall by up to 35pc next summer as the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) traffic recovery scheme does not have the required funding from Government to incentivise traffic recovery for the entire summer season ending in June instead of October," he said.

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"We call on Transport Minister Eamonn Ryan to urgently confirm the extension to the current DAA scheme until October ’22, similar to the scheme at Cork Airport.

"This extension of the traffic recovery scheme will ensure that Ryanair will fully restore all of its pre-pandemic capacity at Irish airports in preparation for Summer ‘22, securing Ireland’s tourism industry, and the thousands of jobs that depend on air connectivity.”

Mr Wilson said he expected "extraordinary pent up demand" for European travel next year - and said that fares could rise within the industry because of the combination of demand and reduced capacity within many carriers.

"We are 20pc down overall (capacity) within the European market. People are going to be doing less long-haul travel for leisure purposes and that is likely to lead to price rises - so my advice to people is to book early if they want the lowest fares."

Ryanair issued the plea as it confirmed it will restore 100pc of its pre-pandemic traffic at Cork Airport for next summer with two aircraft being based at the facility from next March.

Operations will also be restored to pre-February 2020 levels at Shannon, Kerry and Knock.

Cork Airport is currently closed to facilitate a massive runway upgrading scheme.

The airport will reopen on November 22 with the first of the resumed Ryanair flights beginning on December 1.

The airline will operate 20 routes from Cork Airport next summer and will operate 12 over the winter season including some new routes to replace several of those lost through the collapse of other airlines during the pandemic.

From next March, two Boeing 737-800 series aircraft will be based at Cork.

Ryanair will now accept 60 new Boeing Max series aircraft each year until an order for 210 new planes is fulfilled.

Several of the new aircraft - which are bigger, quieter and more fuel efficient - will operate from Dublin.

The airline said that, despite the impact of the pandemic, it aims to achieve 225 million passengers across its European, North African and Middle Eastern networks by 2026.

Cork Airport managing director, Niall McCarthy, said it was "a fantastic day for Cork Airport and Irish aviation" after a nightmare 18 months.

“I am delighted with the announcement by Ryanair of the reopening of their base at Cork Airport in December," he said.

"Twenty routes on sale from Cork Airport on the Ryanair website will ensure that Christmas 2021, Spring and Summer 2022 contains lots of travel options for our passengers.

"Outbound sun and city breaks and inbound visitors from the UK and Continental Europe is good news for jobs in aviation, tourism and hospitality and the rebound of our economy in 2022.”

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