Taoiseach talks to Cork Airport management about "catastrophic" Covid-19 impact

Taoiseach talks to Cork Airport management about "catastrophic" Covid-19 impact

Empty Check In area at Cork Airport.

The Taoiseach has spoken to the management of Cork Airport about issues facing the airport and government plans to address international travel over the next six to nine months, it has been revealed.

In recent weeks, Taoiseach Micheál Martin had been urged by Cork Oireachtas members to intervene amid concerns for the future of Cork Airport.

On Monday, management at Cork Airport called on the government to reform the Green List to “restore confidence in international travel” and ensure the future of the airport.

Cork Airport management met with local Oireachtas members today to discuss the impact Covid-19 has had on the airport, and outline a plan for its recovery.

The Taoiseach’s office confirmed to The Echo that Mr Martin spoke to Cork Airport management on Monday afternoon following the briefings.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said:

“The Government is acutely aware of the impact that Covid-19 has had on the travel industry, and on the aviation sector in particular.

“Today, a medium term plan for recovery and resilience will be published, which will set out how international travel will be addressed over the next six to nine months.

“Yesterday afternoon, the Taoiseach spoke with the manager of Cork airport about the plan and the issues affecting the airport as a result of the ongoing pandemic.” In its presentation on Monday, Cork Airport said the Covid-19 crisis has had a “catastrophic impact” on Cork Airport’s finances, with passenger numbers falling by 95 percent during lockdown, and not expected to recover to 2019 levels for another four years.

The airport said it will lose around €20 million this year as a result of the pandemic.

Management set out five key points for the government to address in a bid to ensure the future of the airport.

They called for the reform of the green list and the introduction of “any required bi-lateral agreements around Covid testing for Red Zone countries”.

Management also called for Cork Airport to be added to the Regional Airport Capital Funding Programme 2020-2024; the implementation of the Aviation Taskforce recommendations; the enabling of duty free to the UK once the transition agreement ends; and a stimulus programme for inbound tourism to “recover the sector”.

The plan comes amid concerns that Ryanair could pull its winter base from the airport as a result of what it labelled as the government’s “mismanagement” of the Green List.

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