Shannon Airport Strategy is short on detail and specifics – BREEN

November 25th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Expressing his disappointment with the lack of detail and specifics contained in the Shannon Airport Authorities Strategy document which was published today, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said that the time has come for a fresh approach and he is calling on the Minister for Transport and Marine Noel Demspey to set up a Task Force comprising of all of the Stakeholders in the Region whose responsibility it would be to draw up a Business Plan which would chart a path to recovery for the Mid West Airport.

“I am very disappointed at the lack of details and specifics contained in this Strategy. By 2015, the SAA predict a passenger throughput of 2.5 million. In 2009 the passenger throughput at Shannon Airport was 2.7 million so that according to this Report after five years the Airport will be just about returning to 2009 levels, meaning that there will be virtually no growth.”

“Given the improved infrastructure in the Region and the expansion of Shannon Airports catchment area, I would now have to question what efforts are being made to encourage people from this expanded catchment area to use Shannon Airport.”

“I have spoken to many tourist operators over recent months and they have all told me that they experienced a dramatic drop in business this year. They cite the reduction in flights and lack of access through Shannon Airport as the key contributor for the fall in visitor numbers and the reduction in beds nights in their businesses here in County Clare.”

“Given the dramatic decline in passenger traffic at Shannon Airport in recent times a greater emphasis should be placed on expanding the Airports short haul network and attracting low cost carriers. Low cost carriers have proved to be almost recession proof compared to other carriers in the Aviation Industry at present.”

“It is important also that we do not take our eye off the ball in terms of sustaining our transatlantic business and maintaining daily US connectivity is essential.”

“I welcome the positive indication in terms of the development of a Cargo Hub at the Airport and the potential for job creation in the Region which this presents. I am aware that negotiations between the DAA and the Lynxs Cargo Group are a delicate stage. I was hoping that these negotiations could have been finalised in time for today’s presentation, nevertheless, I do hope that they will come to a successful conclusion shortly and that the Government will not delay any decision on funding for the project.”

“It is now clear to me that the Shannon Airport Authority alone cannot restore; they do not have direct responsibility for a number of issues which are central to their future for example, they did not introduce the €10 Air Travel Tax. And for that reason, I would urge the Minister for Transport and Marine Noel Dempsey to intervene. A Mid West Shannon Airport Task Force should be set up, comprising of all the key stakeholders in the Region whose responsibility it would be to draw up a Business Plan for the Airport which would chart the path forward.”