Passenger Increase at Shannon Airport sending out all the wrong Signals – BREEN.

September 1st, 2010 - Pat Breen

Commenting on the news that Shannon Airport plans to increase its passenger charges at the beginning of the Winter Season, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said today (Monday) that any increase at this time sends out all the wrong signals especially given the difficult economic circumstances which has seen passenger numbers plummet at the Airport over the past two years.

“Any increase in passenger charges at this time sends out all the wrong signals. Passenger traffic numbers have plummeted through Shannon Airport over the past two years. At the end of last year 2.7 million passengers went through Shannon down from 3.16 million from the previous year, a further fall is expected this year with figures expected to fall to 2 million.”

“The fallout from Open Skies and the withdrawn of a number of Ryanair routes particularly those to sun holiday destinations is now coming home to roost. Government policy has clearly failed Shannon Airport. No support mechanisms were put in place to soften the landing for the Airport following the introduction of Open Skies and the much promised €53 million in marketing support never materialised.”

“Shannon Airport needs to be more innovative and indeed has a proud history of innovation, the Airport has achieved most when it had control over its own business development, as more and more power has been eroded from Shannon; the fortunes of the Airport have fallen. It is time now that the management structure of the DAA is changed to give local management greater control.”

“Government also have a role to play. They have been sitting on their hands. There is still no sign of the go ahead being given to the Lynx Cargo Project which has the potential to create hundreds of jobs in the Region. Furthermore, this Governments answer to falling visitor numbers into this Country has been to impose a €10 Air Travel Tax on the flying public. This tax is counterproductive and it should be abolished.”

“Shannon Airport is at a crossroads and it will face further challenges in the coming months in its fight to retain passenger numbers, with Aer Lingus set to cease their transatlantic routes out of the Airport for three months of 2011. New and innovative ways of developing business is now a priority. Many of the routes abandoned by Ryanair to sun destinations proved very popular and were very well supported and every effort must be made to secure alternative airlines to service these routes over the coming months.”

“Shannon Airport needs more business and a strong marketing fund is required in the battle to secure additional services, otherwise, we will continue to witness the trend of declining passenger numbers.”