THE future of Shannon Airport as a Ryanair base is in serious doubt with analysts predicting it could follow the same fate as Belfast City airport.
The airline is closing its Belfast City base as it said a runway extension there is being delayed by further planning reviews.
Bloxham stockbrokers said Shannon Airport, where one aircraft is based, could follow the same fate as Belfast after the airport authority raised charges there at the weekend.
“It accompanies a 40% rise at Dublin Airport and is part of an effort by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to recoup funds expended on building new terminals.
“As passenger numbers contract, and the DAA seeks fixed revenues for its €1 billion of debt, a vortex of declining passenger volume and further increases in charges is likely,” said Bloxham analyst, Joe Gill.
A spokesman from Shannon Airport said that it would not comment on the reports that it is following the same fate as Belfast however he said the €1.58 increase in charges at Shannon amounts to a 20% increase and not 33% as stated.
“This is the first time in six years that charges have been increased at Shannon and brings the airport in line with other regional airports such as Cork, Knock, Aberdeen, Southampton and Porto,” he said.
Ryanair has claimed that it will pull flights at Shannon if the airport does not reduce rates.
Ryanair has operated into Belfast City since 2007 with load restrictions due to runway length on the basis that an extension would be completed, allowing full aircraft and longer sector destinations.
However from a fleet of more than 230 the movement of one plane is not material, according to Bloxham.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has become Spain’s largest airline after carrying 12.3 million passengers during the January to July 2010 period, outpacing Iberia with 11.8m.
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