Ryanair is restoring its pre-pandemic passenger capacity at Cork airport for next summer with the reopening of a base for two aircraft.
The airline is establishing a network of 20 routes including new services to Birmingham and Edinburgh which are unserved following the collapse of Stobart Air.
The restoration of the two aircraft base will secure 60 jobs and deliver thousands of tourism jobs in the Cork area, according to the budget carrier.
Ryanair has now restored traffic to pre-pandemic levels for summer 2022 in Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry airports.
The “outlier” continues to be Dublin airport, which is set to have a reduction of 35% in summer Ryanair traffic, unless the Irish government supports the extension of the country’s current Covid traffic recovery scheme until the end of next summer, as Cork airport has done.
This will ensure Ryanair and other carriers can restore Dublin traffic to 100% of pre-pandemic levels and prevent the migration of jobs and aircraft elsewhere in Europe, the airline argued.
The winter network from Cork from December includes flights to Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Liverpool, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Next summer’s schedule adds destinations such as Faro, Gran Canaria, Majorca, Milan and Tenerife.
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said: “This $200 million investment secures 60 Ryanair jobs at Cork, but more importantly restores passenger traffic at Cork to pre-pandemic levels for summer ’22.
“Cork along with Shannon, Kerry and Knock have had their Ryanair traffic fully restored to pre-pandemic levels of capacity ensuring the recovery of tourism, jobs, and connectivity.
“Unfortunately, traffic at Dublin is set to fall by up to 35% next summer as the DAA [Dublin airport] traffic recovery scheme does not have the required funding from government to incentivise traffic recovery for the entire summer season ending in June instead of October.
“We call on Eamonn Ryan, the minister for transport, to urgently confirm the extension to the current DAA scheme until October ’22, similar to the scheme at Cork airport.
“This extension of the traffic recovery scheme will ensure that Ryanair will fully restore all of its pre-pandemic capacity at Irish airports in preparation for summer ’22, securing Ireland’s tourism industry, and the thousands of jobs that depend on air connectivity.”
Cork airport managing director Niall McCarthy added: “I am delighted with today’s announcement by Ryanair reopening their base at Cork Airport in December.
“Twenty routes on sale from Cork airport on the Ryanair website will ensure that Christmas 2021, spring and summer 2022 contains lots of travel options for our passengers.
“Outbound sun and city breaks and inbound visitors from the UK and continental Europe is good news for jobs in aviation, tourism and hospitality and the rebound of our economy in 2022.”