Ryanair to drop two domestic routes

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Low-cost carrier Ryanair is to drop two domestic Irish routes from its network.

The airline will cease flights between Dublin and Cork, in the south of Ireland, on 30 October and between Dublin and Kerry, in the southwest, from 7 September.

Passenger numbers on many Irish domestic flights have been dropping following improvements in recent years to the country's road network. In the case of Cork, a new motorway to the capital has cut driving time to around 2.5h compared to more than 4h previously, said a Ryanair spokesman.

"Ryanair regrets having to close our Dublin-Cork and Dublin-Kerry routes. However, passengers have been voting with their feet and switching to the convenience of driving 2.5h between Dublin and Cork."

He added that a further reason behind dropping the Cork service was what he described as "the continued excessive monopoly charges" levied by airport operator DAA at both Dublin and Cork "which make these low fare domestic services unviable", particularly where passengers are taxed €3 [$4.30] by the government in each direction".

On the Kerry route, a public service obligation (PSO) contract had been awarded to another as yet undisclosed airline and, under its terms, Ryanair was obliged to cease operating the route. "We applied for it, and didn't get it," he said.

However, despite coming off the Kerry run, the airline will reinstate the service for the weekend of 17-19 September, to carry passengers heading for the All Ireland Gaelic Football final, the country's biggest sporting event of the year.

Passengers who had booked to fly on the two routes after their closure dates would receive a full refund, he added.