Ryanair have announced they will suspend flight operations from Ireland West Airport and the other regional airports from Saturday November 14th until Sunday December 13th 2020.
The airline has announced the suspension of flight services due to a complete collapse in travel demand as a result of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current travel restrictions in place.
Following the announcement and the suspension of all commercial flights from the airport with Ryanair, Ireland West Airport will close on November 14th and reopen on Sunday December 13th.
This is a further devastating blow for the airport and its staff where passenger numbers this year have plummeted by over 90% with annual passenger numbers now forecasted to decline to less than 150,000 for the full year – the lowest in over 20 years.
The airport is calling on Government to provide urgent support through an expanded regional airports programme for the airport to address the enormous financial losses to support and protect its cash position resulting from the devastating collapse in passenger traffic as a result of COVID-19 which have been further impacted following todays announcement by Ryanair.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy has lent his support to an ongoing campaign calling for additional Government support to ensure the viability of Ireland West Airport Knock.
Senator Murphy and his fellow Fianna Fáil colleague Senator Lisa Chambers plan to bring a joint motion on this issue in the Seanad this week.
“Knock Airport has seen traffic plummet by more than 80% this year from the 807,000 passengers who passed through there in 2019, creating significant financial difficulties. The critical importance of this airport to the West of Ireland cannot be underestimated.
“Ireland West Airport Knock is a vital life link for the west and north west region from both a business and tourism point of view. It provides an essential connection to global markets for regional businesses and also provides a gateway for much needed tourists and in attracting foreign direct investment into the region,” said Senator Murphy.
“The Fianna Fáil Senator praised the ongoing efforts of Joe Gilmore, Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Knock, who recently pointed out that as a result of the catastrophic collapse in passenger traffic since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Government travel restrictions, the Airport will sustain losses of close to €4 million.
“I believe additional Government funding is vital to sustain Ireland West Airport Knock through this crisis. It should also be remembered that a number of Local Authorities including Roscommon County Council contributed a total of some €8 million in funding towards Knock Airport in recent years which signals the importance of the airport to the western region,” said Senator Murphy.
Senator Murphy is calling on the Government to increase the regional airports funding programme for 2020, 2021 and a longer-term commitment to regional airports for the coming decade, to ensure the sustainability of the airport and the region.