According to Airports Council International Europe (ACIE), a large number of air routes have vanished since November 30, 2020, due to COVID-19-related travel rules, and 700 routes have reportedly disappeared from Irish and European airports over the past two months.
As reported by The Irish Independent, ACIE said that a new industry study has forecast a "systemic collapse" in aviation-related industries due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and related health and safety rules for travel.
The 700 routes that have reportedly disappeared from Irish and European airports over the past two months reportedly bring the total number of routes that have disappeared since March 20, 2020, to over 7,000.
The release of the above information coincides with news that Cork Airport's passenger traffic reportedly decreased by 99% between January of 2020 and January of 2021.
"A Major Multi-Year Recovery Programme Will Be Necessary"
According to The Irish Independent, a senior Irish aviation source said, "With Ireland West [Airport] Knock fully closed, no scheduled operations out of Shannon Airport and Cork Airport's remaining connectivity hanging by a thread, do not underestimate the job ahead in late 2021 into 2022 and beyond replacing the damage done by the pandemic to Ireland's connectivity and aviation-tourism infrastructure.
"This ranges from airlines to ground handlers, restaurants to car hire operators, bureaux de change to the airport companies themselves whose businesses have been simply devastated by this pandemic. A major multi-year recovery programme will be necessary to rebuild these devastated businesses.”
Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair are understood to be examining transferring aircraft to more business-friendly routes, possibly outside of Ireland, and the former is already applying to run services from Manchester to the US.
Current Cork Passenger Services
Cork Airport's passenger services have reportedly been reduced to one Aer Lingus service to London Heathrow. In the summer of 2019, eight airlines operated a total of 51 routes from Cork.
Regional Airports' Concern
Regional Irish airports are reportedly concerned that the pressure that airlines are currently experiencing will result in airlines deciding to focus solely on bigger, more profitable bases.
Risk Of "A Dominant Dublin 'Super Airport'"
The Irish Independent quotes Cork Chamber of Commerce chief executive Conor Healy as saying, "We want to get back to a situation where we had a growing, thriving airport which was serving the region really, really well over recent years and had significant expansion plans.
"I do believe there is a risk that you would see a dominant Dublin 'super airport' emerging, which would be to the detriment of Cork Airport and indeed Shannon Airport."
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.