Cork hoteliers have voiced grave concerns over the implications of the potential closure of the Ryanair winter base at Cork Airport.
Earlier this week Ryanair Group Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said that it is “highly likely” that the company will close its winter base at Cork Airport.
In an interview with RTÉ News, the Ryanair Group chief said that while a final decision will not be made on the matter until the end of the month, that it is highly likely the company will close its winter bases in both Cork and Shannon.
When contacted by the Echo, a spokesperson for Ryanair said they would not be making a statement on the matter but that Mr O’Leary had spoken to RTÉ and the contents of the article were “accurate”.
The Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation has expressed serious concerns about the potential close and is calling on the Government to take action.
Fergal Harte, Chairperson of the Cork branch said that it is imperative that the airport receives the necessary policy and financial supports required to ensure it continues to provide air access to key international markets.
“We are hugely concerned about the proposed Ryanair base closure at Cork. Failure to support the airport now runs the risk of long-term damage to the tourism industry and the wider economy in the south of Ireland,” he said.
“As a gateway to the region, Cork airport is a key component of our tourism infrastructure. Pre-Covid, tourism supported 25,300 jobs in Cork and contributed €895 million to the local economy. The international connectivity that Cork Airport offers contributed enormously to that growth, by providing the easy access to key markets that is essential to attract business and overseas visitors to the region,” Mr Harte added.
The IHF Cork chair said that tourism in Cork and the wider region has enormous potential.
“It can and will recover, but it requires a fully operational airport with regular connections to our key markets. On behalf of Cork IHF members, I appeal to Government to give this issue urgent attention to ensure that Cork Airport is provided with the policy and financial supports required to address the Ryanair situation and safeguard its future,” he said.