Cork Airport plans to continue to facilitate Aer Lingus to operate its reduced winter schedule from Cork as the airline continues its review of operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Cork Airport head of communications, Kevin Cullinane, the airport is proceeding on the basis that Aer Lingus will continue its scheduled services to London Heathrow and Amsterdam through the winter months.
“Our intention is to facilitate all of the flights from Aer Lingus, Ryanair and KLM that have been earmarked to operate from Cork Airport this winter,” Mr Cullinane told The Irish Times today.
In July, Aer Lingus announced it was reviewing the future of the bases over the winter months, after its parent group IAG reported huge worldwide losses amid the Covid-19 crisis.
But according to The Sunday Business Post, an Aer Lingus source expressed frustration within the company of the Irish Government’s handling of air travel compared with the approach taken by many other European countries.
The outcome of the Aer Lingus review will be determined by several factors including the Government’s policy around the European traffic light system for Covid-19 countries and the demand for travel by Irish passengers, he said.
Aer Lingus currently employs around 350 people at its operations in Cork and Shannon with over half at the Cork airport where last year it accounted for 44 per cent of all traffic from the airport.
Aer Lingus Mainline share of the market at Cork for the year to date is 33 per cent with Aer Lingus Regional operated by Stobart Air at 11 per cent compared to Ryanair which now accounts for 54 per cent of the market.
But with Covid-19 continuing to have a huge impact, Ryanair accounted for 71 per cent of all passenger numbers in September when it continued to operate a full roster of flights compared to just 19 per cent for Aer Lingus which cut services.
Earlier this month, Ryanair announced it was to close its Cork operations for the winter months but the company will continue flying from Cork to London Stansted, Katowice and Gdansk but will not base the aircraft in Cork.