Ryanair cuts Shannon services by 20%

Ryanair is to cut its Shannon airport flights by a fifth, it was announced today.

Chief executive Michael O‘Leary confirmed the scaling back of services this winter because of increased passenger fees.

The Paris route will be closed with some London Gatwick and London Stansted services cut.

Mr O’Leary said: “It is clear that the Irish Government and the Dublin Airport Authority monopoly are determined to destroy Irish air traffic, Irish tourism and Irish jobs.”

The budget airline said traffic at the Co Clare centre had collapsed since last year and blamed high costs for the decision.

The chief executive criticised the €10 Government-imposed air travel tax and said traffic at Shannon had fallen by more than a million passengers since last year.

The airport announced on August 28 this year it was increasing charges by €1.58c per passenger and said this was in line with other regional airports. It was the first rise since 2004 and the airport director said it was introduced because Shannon was losing money.

Mr O‘Leary said: “Irish air traffic and tourism can return to growth and prosperity but only if there is a return to a low cost access policy.”

He called for scrapping the tax and reversing the airport authorities’ cost increase over the last two years.

Ryanair is pulling out of Belfast City Airport from October 31. The airline said the decision followed the airport’s confirmation that a public inquiry into a planned runway extension would be further delayed.

The mayors of Clare and Shannon criticise Ryanair’s ’revolving door’ approach to doing business.

Clare mayor Christy Curtin said: “While the loss of business following today’s announcement is regrettable I would ask both airport authorities to immediately open negotiations with other airlines with a view to filling the void.”

Shannon mayor Tony Mulcahy said travellers were becoming weary of the airline’s lack of commitment.

“This will not only have an adverse effect on business at the airports concerned but will also impact on Ryanair’s relationship with airline passengers as well as with airports.”

Fine Gael's Pat Breen said: “Today’s news has cast a dark cloud over the airport and this region.

“Axing the Paris route is a particularly hard hit as it leaves the mid-west with no direct connectivity to continental Europe.”

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