Cork Airport plans to continue to facilitate Aer Lingus to operate its reduced winter flight schedule from Cork as the airline continues its review of operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cork Airport Communications Director Kevin Cullinane said the airport expects Aer Lingus to continue scheduled flights to London Heathrow and Amsterdam during the winter months.
“Our intention is to enable all Aer Lingus, Ryanair and KLM flights scheduled to operate from Cork Airport this winter,” Cullinane told the Irish Times today.
In July, Aer Lingus announced it was reviewing the future of its bases in the winter months after parent company IAG reported huge losses worldwide in the Covid-19 crisis.
However, according to The Sunday Business Post, an Aer Lingus source expressed frustration with the Irish government’s handling of air travel compared to the approach taken by many other European countries.
Several factors will determine the outcome of the Aer Lingus review, including government policies regarding the European traffic light system for Covid-19 countries and the demand for travel by Irish passengers.
Aer Lingus currently employs around 350 people in Cork and Shannon, more than half of them at Cork Airport, where 44 percent of all traffic was from the airport last year.
Aer Lingus Mainline’s market share in Cork for the current year is 33 percent, with Aer Lingus Regional operated by Stobart Air at 11 percent, compared to Ryanair, which now accounts for 54 percent of the market.
With Covid-19 continuing to make a huge impact, Ryanair accounted for 71 percent of all passenger numbers in September when it continued to operate a full list of flights, compared to just 19 percent for Aer Lingus, which restricted flights.
Ryanair announced earlier this month that operations in Cork would be closed for the winter months. However, the company will continue to fly from Cork to London Stansted, Katowice and Gdansk, but will not base the aircraft in Cork.