The Government has responded to a Ryanair claim that it made an announcement regarding regional flights between Dublin and Kerry that was “premature and inaccurate”.
On Friday afternoon, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said regional air services from Dublin to the airports of Kerry and Donegal will be re-instated from July 19th at no cost to the State.
The Minister said the Kerry route will be operated by Ryanair on a commercial basis, while the Donegal route will continue to operate as a Public Service Obligation (PSO) Government-funded route after a preferred bidder was identified.
In a statement responding to the Government announcement, Ryanair said it had offered to operate the Dublin-Kerry route but “no agreement has yet been concluded and so Minister Ryan’s statement of today (which was issued without any consultation with Ryanair) is both premature and inaccurate.”
In response, the Department of Transport has now released a letter it received from Ryanair DAC chief executive Eddie Wilson dated July 8th, in which the airline confirmed it would operate a twice daily service between Dublin and Kerry Airports from July 19th on a commercial basis.
In the letter, Ryanair asked that the Department accept its offer before close of business on Friday, so that the airline could launch and begin marketing these flights.
The Department said it engaged with the chief executive of Ryanair to advise that a letter would issue from the Minister confirming acceptance of the Ryanair offer to operate the Kerry service, and that an announcement would be made in the afternoon.
The Department released the subsequent letter to Mr Wilson from Minister Ryan, dated July 9th, accepting the airline’s offer to establish the service.
The Department said Ryanair had a preference to make the announcement on Monday, but said it reiterated Minister Ryan’s preference to make an announcement on Friday afternoon.
'Really good outcome'
Earlier on Friday, Minister Ryan said Ryanair would operate the Kerry route on a commercial basis with twice daily flights from July 19th.
“I am very pleased to announce that services on the Kerry-Dublin route are to be re-instated from 19th July at no cost to the State. Ryanair has offered to meet the public service requirement on the Kerry/Dublin route, ensuring fixed standards of continuity, regularity and pricing,” he said.
“Ryanair has committed to operate a sustainable service over the next seven months and beyond, with higher seating capacity than previously provided by Stobart Air.”
The Minister described the apparent agreement as a “really good outcome for the Kerry region, providing a higher capacity air service for passengers as the summer season unfolds, and supporting the local economy as it begins its recovery from Covid.”
“It is also good news for the taxpayer as Ryanair will operate the route on a commercial basis. There will be no cost to the Exchequer for the provision of this service,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said her Department had commenced contract negotiations with the preferred bidder to operate a PSO Donegal route.
The collapse of Stobart Air last month resulted in the immediate cancellation of both the PSO routes.