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Shannon Airport Idea Takes Flight

O'Leary: Airport passenger charge has been a bugbear for Ryanair

Mar 24, 2010

The Dublin Airport Authority’s idea to charge passengers directly for using Shannon Airport is not new.

Tadhg Kearney, who served on the board of the Shannon Airport Authority from 2003 to 2009, yesterday revealed that he had mooted the idea a couple of years back. But it was rejected by the then board of the airport.

Such a move would take the airport passenger charge out of the cost of an airline ticket fare and remove a big bugbear for carriers, particularly Ryanair.

Kearney reckoned stripping out the fee was a good way to neutralise what was a contentious issue in negotiations with Ryanair.

Passengers would still have to pay the charge but at least this way they could be sure it was going towards the upkeep of Shannon Airport.

In theory, airlines would be able to fly in and out of Shannon for free. There could hardly be a better incentive for them to launch new routes, notwithstanding the economic downturn.

In reality, Ryanair is unlikely to make any dramatic move on new routes at Shannon until it sees off the air travel tax, which was introduced last year.

With Fine Gael appearing well disposed to such a move, Michael O’Leary might have to wait for a change of government to achieve that goal.

What is clear is that Shannon is in dire trouble. Traffic in February is reported to have declined by 29 per cent year on year.

The recession continues to dampen consumer demand.

Ryanair is withdrawing services and there is no obvious replacement for short-haul routes.

Shannon Airport needs a new gameplan, and quickly.

O'Leary: Airport passenger charge has been a bugbear for Ryanair
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary / Image via


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