Shannon Airport

April 17th, 2008 - Pat Breen

DUBLIN AIRPORT BUILDING A WAR CHEST AT THE EXPENSE OF SHANNON AIRPORT – BREEN.

Commenting on the publication of the DAA Year End Accounts for 2007, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen is accusing the DAA and the Department of Transport of selling off the family silver before the Airports are separated. He has accused the DAA of building a war chest to develop Terminal 2 at the expense of Shannon

Deputy Breen has consistently called for an independent assessment of the distribution of assets to Shannon and Cork Airports.

Deputy Breen claims that the Government has already reneged on promises to Cork Airport forcing the Airport Authority in Cork to absorb €113m debt to secure its independence from Dublin. “Commitments were given during the passage of the State Airports Bill 2004 that both Shannon and Cork would be debt free, the Government has failed to honour these commitments.”

“The DAA is controlling the purse strings. The DAA has already sold off the Great Southern Hotels and interests in Birmingham and Dusseldorf Airports. The year end accounts show that they have realised €304m from the sale of their investment in Birmingham Airport alone.”

“They have complete control over the distribution of assets and now it appears they will also take control of Aer Rianta International at Shannon Airport which according to their own accounts earned €29.1m in 2007.”

“They appear to be building a war chest in Dublin in order to develop Terminal 2 at the expense of Shannon and Cork Airports.”

“At the end of the day it is the passengers who will bear the cost of this development with increased charges, passenger traffic figures have risen steadily in Dublin over the past number of years with 35m passengers set to use the Airport when T2 is in operation.”

Shannon Airport does not have the luxury of a large catchment area. It faces major challenges with the affects of the introduction of Open Skies already hitting home with a 4% decrease in transatlantic figures for 2007.”

“Another Airline is also set to depart from Shannon with Central Wings Flights set to cease operations as and from 28th April 2008. Central Wings operated flights to Katowice and Warsaw twice weekly.”

“There is no trust in this Region in the Department of Transport or the DAA to give Shannon a fair deal. The transfer of the Heathrow slots did not even warrant a phone call from Dublin to advise the Shannon Board.”

“The Business Plans for the Airports should be independently assessed. Dublin Airport and the Government should deliver on its commitments”.

“The extension of the US Customs and Border Protection facility at the Airport should be put in place and marketing funding should be increased to the Region, not deleted from reports by Government Officials.”