Ryanair’s Dublin-Kerry statement ‘premature, inaccurate’ – airport chief

Airline announced earlier this week that it would fly route on a commercial basis

‘Kerry Airport has not been informed of the details relating to any such schedule’,  says Kerry Airport chief executive John Mulhern. Photograph: iStock

‘Kerry Airport has not been informed of the details relating to any such schedule’, says Kerry Airport chief executive John Mulhern. Photograph: iStock

 

The Government should not have awarded Ryanair the contract to fly the Dublin-Kerry service, according to Tom Randles, a member of the southwestern airport’s board.

A Killarney hotelier and well-known tourism industry figure, Mr Randles made his remarks as confusion grew over the future of the former State-subsidised service, lost when Stobart Air ceased trading last month.

Kerry Airport chief executive John Mulhern said on Thursday that he could not confirm that Ryanair planned to launch Dublin flights from there later this month.

Ryanair had announced this week that it would begin flying the Dublin-Kerry route on a commercial basis, with no State subsidy, after agreeing a deal with Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

Mr Mulhern on Thursday dubbed Ryanair’s statement “premature and inaccurate” saying that Kerry Airport had not received any notification from the airline.

“Kerry Airport has not been informed of the details relating to any such schedule and, at present, cannot confirm or otherwise whether these flights will in fact operate,” he said.

Not commercially viable

Meanwhile, Mr Randles predicted that Dublin-Kerry flights would not be commercially viable “seven days a week, 52 weeks a year” and said there was a risk that Ryanair could drop the route after a few months.

He argued that the best way to guarantee a year-round twice-daily service was to award it to an airline using smaller aircraft than the Boeing’s flown by Ryanair, supporting that with a full public service obligation subsidy.

“Kerry needs this 52 weeks of the year,” he said. Mr Randles explained that the twice-daily service was crucial to business people travelling between both regions and groups such as cancer sufferers flying to Dublin for treatment.

However, he stressed that the Government should protect the Dublin route’s status as a public service route, which qualifies it for State support.

Mr Randles said Mr Ryan and the department accepted Ryanair’s offer last week to defer making any long-term decision on the service’s future.

“I believe it’s not important to the Minister, and I believe it’s not important to the department,” he added.

Ryanair has committed to providing the service for at least seven months, beginning with one flight each way daily from July 28th, but increasing this to two flights a day from September 1st.

Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair DAC, stressed that to make the service viable, “we will need lower costs at Kerry and Dublin airports”.

Disputes

Disputes have dogged Government efforts to relaunch the service. The Department of Transport announced last week that Ryanair would fly twice daily between Dublin and Kerry from July 19th.

The airline responded that this was premature and inaccurate. However, Mr Ryan with Mr Wilson, showing that the Minister had accepted the carrier’s offer to provide the service on Friday, July 9th.

Ryanair then said this week that it would begin flying the route both ways once daily from July 28th, moving to twice daily from September 1st.

The carrier said its plan to fly with no State subsidies would save taxpayers €3.95 million.

The airline did not comment on Thursday. Mr Ryan and his Minister of State colleague, Hildegarde Naughton, said on Thursday they “would encourage Ryanair and Kerry Airport to engage on what is now a commercial matter”.

Ryanair flew to several destinations in Britain and Europe from Kerry before Government Covid-19 travel bans halted its operations there.