How much more can the Mid-West take as Ryanair reduce their base in Shannon – Breen

February 5th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare TD Pat Breen has said the Government’s Air Travel Tax is already having a devastating impact on ShannonAirportwhere Ryanair is reducing its base and laying off 100 staff.
“Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan must review the controversial Air Travel Tax and sit down with both Ryanair and the Shannon Airport Authority to address their concerns.
“This news is catastrophic for ShannonAirportand the consequences of which will resonate throughout this Region.  Ryanair operates services to 32 different destinations from Shannonand have played a significant role in opening up the region to new tourism markets throughout Europe .
“This region is already reeling following recent job loss announcements at Element Six, Molex and Dell and this latest announcement will further erode confidence.
“The Government must also bear some responsibility for today’s announcement.    The introduction of an Air Travel Tax at a time when the world aviation sector is in recession was foolhardy and I forewarned the Transport Minister that it would have a detrimental affect on Ryanair Services from Shannon .

Nevertheless, the tab for this Air Travel tax would I expect have been passed on the consumer and Ryanair appear to have no problem with charging their own passengers to pay for various add-ons.
“The only saving grace for ShannonAirportis the provision of full USpre-clearance facilities at Shannon , which is due to be up and running in July.  I raised this matter in the Dáil this week on the Order of Business. The Taoiseach has assured me that the Heads of this Bill were agreed on the 27th January 2009 and that the legislation is being drafted as a priority.
In the meantime, the Government must act:

1.               Review the imposition of this Travel Tax and hold immediate discussions with Ryanair and the Shannon Airport Authority with a view to meeting their concerns;
2.               Ensure that the newly formed Mid-West Jobs Task Force is given the clout, teeth and resources to do the job required;
3.                Fast-track the necessary legislation for the US Pre Customs facility atShannonAirportand put a marketing plan in place to market the benefits of this facility to the Tourism and Aviation Sectors throughoutEuropeand the Middle East.
“Every effort must now be made to resolve the issues that have led to this announcement. Ryanair operates almost 100% of short haul routes in Shannonand the Government must act immediately to address the airline’s concerns.”