Businesses in Munster and especially, Cork are suffering as vital links to top international hub, Amsterdam remain cut. Inward tourism in Cork and Munster will also suffer as Amsterdam provides a vital link to transatlantic routes for Cork travellers.
Aer Lingus has reduced the number of flights operating on the Cork-Amsterdam route, including the removal of a critical Thursday evening flight from the schedule. According to Ms Clune, the Cork to Amsterdam Schiphol flight is a vital route for the Munster region, providing connectivity and access not only to Amsterdam, but also to onward flights through this international airline hub as well as excellent train access across Europe through Schiphol Airport Railway Station.
It was extremely inappropriate for Aer Lingus to make light of this matter by issuing a statement saying the planes are being deployed to sun destinations ‘so that the people of Cork and surrounding counties can get some much-needed summer sunshine.
I think it is inappropriate for Aer Lingus to make light of this matter with a response like this. Cork is a city looking to promote itself on the international stage and to cut off a link to one of the top global airports is just not acceptable. I am calling on Aer Lingus to reinstate the flights as a matter of urgency.
Feedback from regular business passengers of the cancelled flights has shown that already Cork is losing business as a result of the cancelled flights. One man who works for an international organisation said that he cancelled a conference he had planned for Cork as he was unable to fly delegates over on the Thursday night as he had originally planned. Another had to transfer their base to Dublin from Cork due to the cancellation of the flight.
Passenger numbers on the Cork-Amsterdram route are generally high with flights regularly fully subscribed.
I have again called on Aer Lingus to reinstate this important and popular flight in the interest of business and tourism needs.
I have also written to the European Commission asking if it is satisfied conditions that were agreed when International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) acquired Aer Lingus in 2015 are being met.