Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, today (Thurs, 1 Oct) notified Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, that it had no choice but to close its Cork and Shannon bases from 26 Oct for the Winter season, due to the devastating impact of the Irish Govt’s mismanagement of air travel on and off the Island of Ireland since 1 July last.
Ryanair explained to Minister Ryan that Ireland has remained uniquely “locked up” to intra-EU air travel since 1 July when most other EU countries, most notably Germany and Italy, returned to safe intra-EU air travel without Covid restrictions, and these countries have delivered significantly lower Covid case rates than Ireland over the past 3 months.
Ryanair called on Transport Minister Ryan and his Govt, to fully adopt the new EU travel list policy from 13 Oct next, 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 accepts that some quarantine restrictions may be necessary for regions designated by the ECDC as Red.
Ryanair again condemned the mismanagement of air travel by NPHET, and the Govt’s inaction on its own Aviation Task Force report, which it has been sitting on since 7 July last, over 10 weeks ago, with zero of its 12 recommendations implemented.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said:
“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 3 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.
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.
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.
Minister Ryan has failed to implement the Aviation Task Force recommendations and has failed to defend and promote the proven and safe scientific basis for the resumption of air travel to Orange and Green countries without restrictions and without compromising the containment of C19 in Ireland. Meanwhile aviation, and Irish tourism is being vandalised by NPHET’s mismanagement and baseless unscientific travel advice which unfairly and unnecessarily locks Ireland up.
The WHO has rejected lockdowns as ineffective because they don’t kill the virus, they simply store it. Ryanair returned to flying on 1 July 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 10 Aug onwards”.