AER Lingus has been asked to explain “unfair pricing levels” that have resulted in flights from Cork being up to five times higher than Dublin.
The Senate has been told that flights from Cork to European destinations are often substantially more expensive than the same flights from Dublin.
Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke raised the subject in the Senate, citing a number of examples, including a major price difference between flights from Cork and Dublin to Munich early next year.
At the time of writing, a return trip from Dublin to Munich, flying out on February 3 and back on February 10, costs €173. The same journey, except flying out of and into Cork, is priced at €939.
Senator Burke said: “I wish to raise the issue of our policy on trying to assist the airports outside of Dublin and trying to increase traffic flow in and out of those airports, whether it be Shannon, Cork or Knock,” he said.
“A problem has arisen that has been brought to my attention by a number of people. I refer to the prices Aer Lingus is charging people flying out of Cork.” “We already have congestion in Dublin Airport, why does a flight to Munich cost so much from Cork?” Mr Burke asked.
“It is not helping the flow of traffic through Cork. We need to have the Minister in here to see what can be done about unfair pricing levels regarding the airports outside of Dublin. Dublin already has huge numbers of flights, so there is no need for this type of policy.”
The senator also said he had heard examples of flights from Cork to London costing several hundred Euro each way, and said he intends to raise the issue with the airline. He told the Evening Echo the pricing was driving passengers to Dublin instead of using airports in Munster.
“If we are talking about regional airports and try to grow the airports outside Dublin and take the heat out of Dublin traffic, why should we have people from Munster going to Dublin to get flights when we have both Shannon and Cork?"
"We should be encouraging traffic to go in the opposite direction, we should have people from Thurles down coming to Cork or Shannon.”