The Taoiseach has said that he is “very disappointed” with Ryanair’s decision to close its winter base at Cork Airport, but said that while the aviation sector is currently facing serious challenges, he believes Cork Airport ‘will come through this’.
Ryanair announced this morning that it is to close its winter base at Cork Airport.
The company employs 80 people at the base and said that these crew members will be temporarily laid off.
Speaking to the Echo from Brussels, where he is attending a European Council meeting, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that he was disappointed with the decision and for those who will be most affected.
“I’m very disappointed with the decision. Obviously Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the aviation sector and it certainly has reduced travel very significantly across Europe, and Ireland is no exception to that.
“In many ways the aviation sector, tourism sector, travel generally, hospitality have been the sectors that have suffered the most,” he said
Mr Martin added: “I'm disappointed for the workers and all those who will lose jobs as a result of this. That is something we didn't want to see.”
The Taoiseach said the Government “will do everything we possibly can to help the industry overall.
“We are giving additional capital support to Cork airport and to other airports.”
He highlighted the new co-ordinated European travel protocol and said that over time, as the number of cases of Covid-19 being reported reduces, this system will give certainty and clarity in around travel.
“Airlines are under pressure, airports are under pressure because of Covid-19. We’re doing everything we possibly can to support companies in the meantime and employees.
“Fundamentally, I think signing up to this European travel protocol will help as well,” he said.
Asked if he believes Cork airport will survive this latest blow, the Taoiseach said: “The airport will come through this. Covid has had a huge impact on travel and the aviation industry, but we will get through this.
“The key in the first instance is to get control of the virus across Europe and that is what we will be discussing this afternoon"