Ryanair Returns To Cork: Irish Base To Reopen In December

After closing its Cork base in October 2020, Ryanair has confirmed that it’ll reopen with two based B737-800s from December 1st. Some 12 routes will operate from Cork this winter, rising to 20 next summer. Two routes, previously operated by Aer Lingus Regional, are coming, continuing the theme of Ryanair launching ex-Flybe and ex-Stobart Air routes to the UK.

Ryanair 738
Ryanair will reopen its Cork base thanks to incentives. It has had more or less a million seats at the airport each year between 2004 and 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

What’s happening?

Ryanair reopening its Cork base follows Cork Airport, operated by the Dublin Airport Authority, agreeing to extend the pandemic recovery scheme to the end of October 2022. This raises the obvious question of what will happen in winter 2022.

According to the Cork Airport Recovery Scheme document, a two aircraft base will mean Ryanair is entitled to €300,000 as one-off credit. This assumes the base is operational before December 31st and that each based aircraft has a minimum frequency of 14 weekly rotations (round-trips).

Curiously, the document also says that “the schedule timings proposed and operated must be pre-approved by Cork Airport Operations,” although this could be a simple tick-box exercise. As the scheme has been extended from the end of March to October 2022, a greater incentive has likely been offered. As Cork Airport’s Managing Director, Niall MacCarthy, said:

“Ryanair is a long-standing business partner of Cork Airport. They are demanding, they’re right to be demanding, but we are delighted to be here today to announce the reopening of the base.”

Ryanair Cork
Ryanair will have 20 routes from Cork in summer 2022. Birmingham and Edinburgh replace Aer Lingus Regional. Eddie Wilson, Ryanair’s CEO (closest to the front), and Niall MacCarthy, Cork’s CEO, celebrate with two members of cabin crew. Photo: via Ryanair.

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12 routes this coming winter

In the first week of December, Ryanair will have 12 routes from Cork with 53 weekly departures in all, according to flights available for booking. It’ll have 91% of the flights it had in the same week in 2019, based on analyzing schedules provided to OAG. Not all flights will use Cork-based aircraft, however, with Liverpool one example where it’ll aircraft from that other base.

While Ryanair served Budapest, Katowice, Malta, and Wroclaw from Ireland’s second-largest city in December 2019, they’re no longer operated. However, Birmingham and Edinburgh are new. Both were previously served by Stobart Air for Aer Lingus Regional, with up to 19 weekly flights to Birmingham and 10 to Edinburgh in 2019.

  • Cork to London Stansted: 17 departures in the week starting December 1st
  • London Gatwick: 7
  • London Luton: 6
  • Liverpool: 5
  • Birmingham: 3
  • Edinburgh: 3
  • Alicante: 2
  • Gdansk: 2
  • Lanzarote: 2
  • Malaga: 2
  • Poznan: 2
  • Tenerife South: 2
Ryanair's Cork network in summer 2022
This is Ryanair’s Cork network in summer 2022. Image: OAG Mapper.

And 20 in summer 2022

Looking ahead to the first week of August, Ryanair will have 20 routes and 76 weekly outbound flights or nearly 11 daily. Routes include a twice-weekly service to Milan Bergamo, one of two crucial airports for the carrier’s new B737 MAX 200s.

In the same period in 2019, the ultra-low-cost carrier had 85 outbound flights a week and 22 routes from Cork. Then, Budapest, Malta, Naples, and Wroclaw were all served but no longer are. Nonetheless, Ryanair will be nearly back at the pre-capacity level.

  • Cork to London Stansted: 18 departures in the week starting December 1st
  • London Gatwick: 7
  • Faro: 6
  • London Luton: 5
  • Malaga: 5
  • Liverpool: 3
  • Birmingham: 3
  • Edinburgh: 3
  • Lanzarote: 3
  • Reus: 3
  • Palma: 3
  • Alicante: 2
  • Gdansk: 2
  • Poznan: 2
  • Tenerife South: 2
  • Bordeaux: 2
  • Carcassonne: 2
  • Milan Bergamo: 2
  • Girona: 2
  • Gran Canaria: 1

Are you flying Ryanair this year? Let us know in the comments.