Passengers boarding RYR9842

The end of an era in domestic in air travel took place last Saturday the 30th of October when Ryanair operated its last Cork-Dublin flight, bring to an end a route with a long history having commenced by Aer Lingus in the 1960s. This route has seen a wide of airlines and aircraft types operate the route, through the years which enabled efficient travel times to Dublin, in the absence of adequate of ground based transport which did become available until the Celtic Tiger era.


EI-EFK Boeing 737-8AS being prepared for final Dublin Departure

On Saturday RYR9842 EI-EFK Boeing 737-8AS crewed by Captain Pat Moran and First Officer Kevin Quinlivan, and four cabin crew members lead by CCM Susan welcomed the 30 passengers on-board.

The aircraft pushed back off stand at 1739 becoming airborne off runway 17 at 1745 routing over Cork City towards Clonmel and Killiney at FL190 (19,000ft), then descending over Dublin Bay east of Howth Head for landing on runway 28 at Dublin touching down at 1815 and on-blocks at 1821 on stand 107R on Pier D.


Aer Arann launched operations on the Cork-Dublin route in 2000 initially using Shorts 360s, Aer Lingus integrated the schedule with European and London flights, with Aer Lingus Commuter using Bae 146-200/300s and Fokker F50s.

The English Market

In 2001 following 9/11 Aer Lingus announced that it was axing the Cork to Dublin route in 2002 as part of a re-structuring plan announced by the Aer Lingus CEO Mr Willie Walsh to ensure its survival. In 2003 Air Wales operated a double daily service on the route using ATR42’s (2003).

The English Market


On the 14th of September 2005 Ryanair announced that it would be establishing a new base in Cork with a single Boeing 737-800 operating a new route to Dublin three times daily ,and London Gatwick daily. The Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary stated “You go where the potential is and we believe there is enormous potential on the Dublin-Cork route” Irish Independent (2005)

At this stage Aer Arann was operating the Dublin-Cork route nine times daily a high frequency shuttle using ATR42s and ATR72s, with Ryanair stating they would be targeting Iarnrod Eireann passengers on the route Irish Independent (2005). This new competition lead to Aer Arann to progressively reduce frequency to three times daily.


At an presentation to the Dail Transport Committee in 2008 interesting facts in relation to the route where revealed with Ryanair entry growing the market from 238,000 passenger to 480,000 passengers in the period from 2005 to 2008, with Ryanair having an 65% market share and Aer Arann 35% market share Pat Breen TD (July 2008).

However in 2008 Aer Arann responded to the competition by increasing frequency to five times daily with a wider spread of timings and new on-board service enhancements Aer Arann (2008). The Aer Arann CEO Gary Cullen stated “Excellent performance on Cork-Dublin route” in the first months of the end of May 2008 Aer Arann (2008).

Lining up for Depature on Runway 17


In July 2008 the airline launched a complaint with the Competition Authority alleging that Ryanair was engaging in predatory pricing on daily flights between Cork and Dublin The Irish Emigrant (2008), however in July 2009 the Competition Authority announced that it was ending the probe after it found Ryanair’s fare where profitable and it was competing against ground transport Contrails (July 2009).

In the turn towards Clonmel


In 2009 Aer Arann announced that it would offer new connecting fares from Cork through Dublin to Donegal, Derry, Galway and Ireland West Knock to appeal to long-distance road traffic Aer Arann (2009).

On the 28th of July 2010 Aer Arann announced that it would be suspending the Cork-Dublin with effect from the 31st of August .as an ATR42 would be returning off lease but stated plans to re-start the route at a later date would be kept under consideration Aer Arann (2010).

In 2008 and 2009 Ryanair stated in its 20-F SEC Annual Report Filing Dublin-Cork route was in the top 10 ten routes with 5 daily flights, with over 340,000 passengers using the route. However the situation began to change in 2010 as Ryanair began tasking the Cork based on longer sectors from the Cork Based aircraft on European/UK sectors, which lead to a reduction in frequency on the Dublin route.


On the 17th of November 2010 the airline announced that it would be taking 48 weekly frequencies out of the Dublin base in a dispute over landing charges, with a reduction in the frequency on the Cork-Dublin route from double daily to a daily service. RTE News (November 2010).

In the Cruise at FL190 at Dusk


The change came into effect on the Cork-Dublin route on the 17th of January 2011 with the Cork Based aircraft operating a revised routing Cork-Dublin-Liverpool-Cork and a reverse routing on return, thus splitting the Dublin service, with the route now attractive to Cork passengers enabling a day return on the route.


On the 23rd of August Ryanair announced it would ceasing the route on the 30th of October citing a combination of factors including: CAA/DAA charges , air travel tax and a fall in demand , with the Cork Chamber of Commerce seeking an replacement carrier to enable international connectivity. The ground transport network has considerably improved with the completion of the M8 motorway and increased railway line frequency and speeds, and coach competition.


In the context of Emirates Airlines launching a new route to Dublin on the 9th of January and a possible new Air China route to Beijing, the new United Airlines route to Washington Dulles, their could be a compelling business case, with a regional aircraft to provide connectivity, which will provide opportunities for Cork businesses in export markets and for FDI.

Concerns over cutting of Ryanair routes

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 2nd November 2011 All Rights Reserved.