Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.12 15 Oct 2020


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Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson has criticised Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, saying he has only had one meeting with him.

It comes as the airline is to close its bases in Cork and Shannon for the winter months due to 'increased flight restrictions'.

It will also shut its base in Toulouse, France and make base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Austria.

Mr Wilson told Pat Kenny it looks like Ryanair's schedule will be cut by "over 90%" at the two regional airports.

He said the Government's green list, which currently has no countries on it, singles Ireland out.

"Ireland has a discredited green list which means that no countries are open.

"But this morning in Germany, Italy and France, Sweden, Norway you can fly intra-European at the moment".

"So they're looking at the traffic light system as to how this will make a sort of homogenous approach to how people will go into each of those countries."

"The difference between Europe and Ireland is we didn't do anything all summer, we just discouraged people from travelling, which had a disproportionate affect on travel.

"And instead of actually putting something in place, this minister didn't do anything.

"He today could have adopted the traffic light system without any agreement from anyone... but we have now no aviation policy, no travel policy whatsoever from this minister for transport and nothing has been done".

"We are cognizant that there are rising COVID rates and that there are going to be travel restrictions in any event and we've got to deal with the confidence issue.

"But you have to at least give an airline a fighting chance of doing that".

Capacity fears

"When have you ever seen Ryanair, Aer Lingus, the daa and all the airports and everybody - the aviation taskforce - in this country saying the same thing, and nothing was done.

"Our understanding was at a Council of Ministers the other day that this minister didn't make one contribution at that meeting about the traffic light system.

"We're an island nation and what's going to happen here - not only at the end of this winter - but what's going to happen next summer.

"We need an aviation policy and we haven't got it from this Government".

"I've had one meeting for 30 minutes with this minister - I went to the Seanad for the Transport Committee, sure we couldn't even ask them any questions.

"When we got on to make our case they left the chamber, we couldn't even get to put questions to them.

"And you would think before they go to Europe... would they go and champion this new traffic light system and what they were going to do for Ireland.

"He didn't say a word at the meeting, apparently, not one word for connectivity for Ireland".

"There's a general reduction in traffic due to demand, but what's different about Ireland is that if you take the two regional airports in Cork and in Shannon - it also affects Kerry and Knock as well.

"From the Minister of Transport the green list means that Government policy at the moment is to advise people not to travel to any EU countries.

"Whereas in most of the other EU countries at the moment there's some level of travelling.

"And then you've got to sort of deal with the COVID restrictions as they are in each country - but at least there's a basis in those other European countries but in Ireland there isn't any.

"And we can't fly around aircraft with five and six people - and we signaled this to the minister all throughout the summer and nothing has been done to replace that list.

"And unfortunately we've had to communicate to our people this morning - 135 people in Cork and Shannon - that we won't be flying this winter from those basis."

"Even when we get a vaccine, as a launching pad for the resurgence of the aviation industry, that the capacity would be gone from Ireland at that stage.

"It's no good talking about it next summer".

'Ireland now has no aviation policy' - Ryanair CEO hits out at Eamon Ryan

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Eddie Wilson is seen at a Ryanir announcement at Dublin Airport in 2001. Picture by: RollingNews.ie

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Aviation Policy Cork Eamon Ryan Eddie Wilson Green List Pat Kenny Ryanair Shannon Traffic Light System Transport Minister Eamon Ryan

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