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Ryanair Threatens Winter Base Closures Due to Ireland’s Travel Restrictions

September 10, 2020, 07.09 PM

DUBLIN, – Ryanair has informed staff at two Irish airports that it will close the bases for the winter unless Ireland’s travel restrictions ease.

Irish national broadcaster RTE reported on Tuesday that the airline wrote a letter citing its intention to close Shannon and Cork airports in the south of Ireland.

Ryanair announced in August that it will further reduce flight capacity by another 20 percent from September to October.

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The cuts mostly affected flights in France, Spain, Ireland, and Sweden where travel restrictions were reintroduced.

The Irish airline has been most critical of the approach in its home country, where unencumbered travel is only allowed to and from 10 European countries.

It initiated legal proceedings against the government, questioning the legality of the curbs.

The threatened closures would affect 130 directly employed staff as well as contract workers, RTE reported, citing a letter from Eddie Wilson, Chief Executive of Ryanair's main airline business.

An airline spokesman said it did not comment on internal communication with its staff.

Ryanair, the largest budget carrier in Europe, operates from 82 bases.

The "green list" of countries exempt from the restrictions is under review after a rise in Irish Covid-19 cases made adding countries with a similar or slightly better incidence rate too risky, the health minister said last week.

Read also: Public Unconvinced Air Travel is Safe during Coronavirus Pandemic

Arrivals from all other countries are legally obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, contributing to a collapse in inbound tourism since Ireland reported its first Covid-19 cases at the end of February.

Ryanair group CEO Michael O'Leary said last month that forward bookings in and out of Ireland were "terrible" as a result with a 50 percent year-on-year drop putting jobs at risk in its Irish operations.

(Writer: Padraic Halpin | Editor: Angus MacSwan)


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