Thousands of workers and their families are worried about the future of Cork Airport, according to a Cork TD who has called on the government to address issues at the airport.
Cork Airport has been in the headlines recently after management revealed it expects to lose around €20m this year after passenger numbers plummeted by around 95% during lockdown.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has threatened to withdraw its winter base from the airport over what the airline claimed was the governments’ “mismanagement” of the green travel list.
Speaking in the Dail on Wednesday, Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) told Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan that thousands of people rely on Cork Airport.
“There are countless local people relying on Cork Airport for jobs and income -. 2,200 directly, and another 10,000 indirectly,” he said.
“Those thousands of families are deeply worried at this time.
“Ryanair is threatening to pull out, so is Aer Lingus,” he added.
“They do not know what the future will hold for them and their employment.
“Whilst I understand that decisions were made in the interest of public health regarding international travel, and I support those public health decisions, we do need a plan for the future.
“We know that aviation will not go back to normal today or tomorrow.
“But, we also know that Cork will still need air travel after this pandemic.
“It will still need a viable international airport, to be able to grow in accordance with the Ireland 2040 targets, indeed to be the fastest growing city in the state.”
Mr Ó Laoghaire accused the government of disregarding the recommendations of the aviation taskforce, put forth in a recent report, and of failing to come up with a plan of its own.
“My priority is working with management and workers in Cork Airport to seek solutions,” he said.
“We need direct investment in airports, and we need a high-quality testing regime.
“I have submitted Dáil questions to the Minister for Transport in recent days, and have raised this issue on a number of occasions,” he added.
“I hope that we will finally get comprehensive answers.”