Vital air connectivity restored to Donegal and Kerry regions

Lost air services to Donegal and Kerry following the collapse of Stobart Air are now being restored.

The return of air services to Donegal and Kerry has been confirmed by Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, TD.

The Kerry route will be operated by Ryanair on a commercial basis and a preferred bidder has been identified for a PSO funded Donegal route.

“I believe this is a really good outcome for the Kerry region, providing a higher capacity air service for passengers as the summer season unfolds, and supporting the local economy as it begins its recovery from Covid”

The collapse of Stobart Air on 12 June had resulted in an immediate cessation of Government funded Public Service Obligations (PSO) on vital regional air routes between Dublin and the airports of Donegal and Kerry.

Importance of flights to regions

Scenic road in Kerry.

Given the importance of these flights to the regions and the people they serve, the Government made a commitment to restore air services as a matter of urgency. 

An emergency procurement process to restore these PSO services was launched on 21 June. 

While the Donegal route will continue to operate as a PSO Government funded route, Ryanair has stepped in to operate the Kerry route on a commercial basis with twice daily flights from 19 July.

“I am very pleased to announce that services on the Kerry-Dublin route are to be re-instated from 19 July at no cost to the State,” Minister Ryan said.

“Ryanair has offered to meet the public service requirement on the Kerry/Dublin route, ensuring fixed standards of continuity, regularity and pricing. Ryanair has committed to operate a sustainable service over the next seven months and beyond, with higher seating capacity than previously provided by Stobart Air.”

The Minister referenced obligations on Member States to comply with EU Regulation 1008/2008 in relation to air service Public Service Obligations (PSOs), particularly Article 16(8) which allows any other EU air carrier, at any time, to commence scheduled air services on such routes provided all the public service requirements are met, including the specified period of operation, which was 7 months in this case.

“I believe this is a really good outcome for the Kerry region, providing a higher capacity air service for passengers as the summer season unfolds, and supporting the local economy as it begins its recovery from Covid. It is also good news for the taxpayer as Ryanair will operate the route on a commercial basis. There will be no cost to the Exchequer for the provision of this service,” Ryan said.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 12 July 2021