The viability of Cork and Shannon airports is being called into question as Aer Lingus carries out a review of its operations.
The airline has said it may be forced to seek compulsory redundancies to deal with its dire financial situation.
Losses at Aer Lingus are running 98 million euro in the three months to the end of June- almost double what it suffered when travel was disrupted in the wake of 9/11.
It means flights to and from the regional airports could be cut.
Travel journalist Eoghan Corry say the government’s travel restrictions could have a long lasting impact:
“What they seem to be saying is we’re happy to have the airlines flying but we’re determined not to have any passengers on those aircrafts.
“That will lead to commercial decisions that Aer Lingus are threatening. And the problem is the timeline here – the commercial decisions that are being made will affect the winter and the summer of 2021.
“We could end up going from one of the most connected islands in the world at the beginning of March 2020, to having virtually no connections in 2021.”