THE owner of the Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire has expressed his concerns that Aer Lingus is not placing its faith in Irish regional airports.
Michael Magner’s concerns come in the aftermath of Aer Lingus confirming that 198 cabin crew and ground staff in its Cork base are to be laid off temporarily as the airline announced the closure of its base at Cork Airport from September until November. This decision will impact around 60 ground staff and 138 cabin crew in the Cork base.
Aer Lingus this week also announced its intention to permanently close its cabin crew base in Shannon in an effort to reduce costs. Mr Magner said he is “concerned” by the news.
“I know the airlines have been hugely affected by the pandemic, but they need to give a commitment to the region in terms of access both in and out,” he said.
“Tourism relies hugely on it. Anything that involves job losses or job security is not positive news.”
The hotelier is worried that a reduction in the number of people travelling into Cork will have a big impact on the local economy.
“If access into the country is diminished, that will have a long-lasting impact on businesses trying to recover from the pandemic.
“We will stay positive, but businesses have been battered throughout the pandemic.
“Our national airline has a responsibility to the regional locations that have served them so well. It is time for them to show support to the people. I hope Aer Lingus will take stock of this decision and review it.”
Dawson Travel sales manager Paul Dawson said the news is very bad for the Cork region.
“The laying off of the staff was probably going to happen as they did something similar in Shannon. It is very bad for the area,” he said.
Mr Dawson also queried the decision to close Cork Airport for 10 weeks this autumn to facilitate an upgrade of its main runway.
“The closure of the runway is coming at a ludicrous time, just as we are coming out of lockdown,” he said. “There was an option to do it at night time around the flights. Airlines have now repositioned those aircraft to Belfast, Manchester and Dublin. We have lost all our connectivity for the foreseeable future.
“This one decision could put us back years, as we will have to build these routes back up. I hope the airlines don’t find a more profitable hub than Cork.”
Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan has called on Aer Lingus to make assurances about its future at Cork Airport.
“We cannot see a repeat of what’s just happened with Aer Lingus in relation to the cabin crews in Shannon airport,” he said. “It’s imperative we support the airline industry so it can come back stronger when things return to normal.”
More in this section