O’Leary pointed out the most pressing issue against a flight between Dublin and Cork: There’s a motorway there now. “The motorway journeys are now less than two hours, and the train services are less than two hours,” he explained. “We were the main airline operating Cork-Dublin flights. We had three flights a day with a 97% load factor. Once they finished the motorway, the load factor went from 97% to 23%.”
Rumours of the return of the route last flown in 2011 were reportedly born out of speculation by Kenny Jacobs, chief executive of daa.
Adding on, Michael O’Leary spoke about the impact of possible short-haul flights on climate change targets: “They’re much less efficient, but Ireland is a very small island and there are very few domestic flights. We operate one domestic from Kerry to Dublin, where the road journey is five hours. That’s now taking place on a green, clean aircraft, so I think that’s acceptable.”
“But in reality,” he concluded with a summary of why the Cork-Dublin connection wouldn’t be making a return, “if you have a small country like Ireland with a very important, good motorway network, the market determines that there’s no market for short-haul flights.”