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11.55 1 Aug 2020


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The viability of Cork and Shannon Airports is being called into question as Aer Lingus carries out a review of its operations.

The airline has said it may be forced to seek compulsory redundancies to deal with its dire financial situation.

Aer Lingus announced yesterday an operating loss of €316 million for the second quarter of the year as the coronavirus crisis continues to hit the aviation industry.

It said it was “reviewing the scale” of its flying programme from Cork and Shannon Airports as well as the “ongoing viability” of its bases in each region.

This means that flights to and from the regional airports could be cut.

On Newstalk Breakfast today, travel journalist Eoghan Corry said the government's travel restrictions could have a long-lasting impact.

He said: "What they seem to be saying is, 'we're happy to have the airlines flying but we're determined not to have any passengers on those aircraft'.

"That will lead to the commercial decisions that Aer Lingus are threatening.

"The problem is the time lag here. The commercial decisions being made will affect the future, it will affect the winter and the summer of 2021.

"We could end up going from being one of the most connected islands in the world in the beginning of March 2020 to having virtually no connections in March 2021.

Mr Corry said Aer Lingus' operating costs in Shannon Aiport have always been "over the top" due to legacy agreements and high staffing of afternoon flights.

He said: "Shannon is particularly a problem for Aer Lingus."

Mr Corry said Aer Lingus had been "disproportionately punished" by the current "crazy situation".

He said people are aware of the delay in the publication of a 'green list' of 15 countries deemed safe to travel to, four of which do not have airports.

He added that this list was "clearly an effort to try and curtail as much travel as possible".

He said: "We certainly need the government to sit back and say 'this is how we're going to manage the reopening of the borders'.

"Let's not get too diverted by the NPHET agenda which is to try and curtail travel completely because the economic costs to the island are so enormous."

Main image: Shannon Aiport. Credit: @ShannonAirport on Twitter

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