Irish carrier Ryanair says it will close its bases in Cork and Shannon if the Government does not adopt the EU 'traffic light' travel system from October 13th.
The company says it has notified Transport Minister Eamon Ryan of its plan to potentially closes the bases from October 26th for the winter season.
It said it would be left with "no choice" due to the "devastating impact of the Irish Government's mismanagement of air travel on and off the Island of Ireland since July 1st last."
It told Minister Ryan that Ireland has remained uniquely "locked up" to intra-EU air travel since July, when most other EU countries returned to intra-EU air travel without COVID restrictions.
It says these countries have delivered "significantly lower COVID case rates" than Ireland over the past three months.
Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson says: "If the Irish Government does not fully adopt the EU travel regulations permitting unrestricted air travel to/from those regions of Europe that are green or amber from October 13th next, then regrettably the Cork and Shannon bases will close on October 26th and will not re-open until April 1st 2021 at the earliest."
"Minister Ryan has failed to implement the Aviation Task Force recommendations and has failed to defend and promote the proven and safe scientific basis for the resumption of air travel to orange and green countries without restrictions and without compromising the containment of COVID-19 in Ireland.
"Meanwhile aviation, and Irish tourism is being vandalised by NPHET’s mismanagement and baseless unscientific travel advice which unfairly and unnecessarily locks Ireland up."
The Government has previously said it will follow the European Commission 'traffic light' system for travel.
The new colour code approach will be based on newly notified cases during a 14-day period - and the percentage of positive tests from all tests carried out.
Green would mean the total number of new cases is less than 25 during a 14-day period, and the percentage of positive tests from all tests is less than 3%.
Orange means cases of less than 50 in 14 days, but the percentage of positive tests is 3% or more - or the total number of cases is between 25 and 150 but the percentage of positive tests is less than 3%.
And red is for an area where the total number of new cases is more than 50 during a 14-day period, and the percentage of positive tests is 3% or more - or the total number of newly notified cases is more than 150 per 100,000 in 14 days.