Dublin Airport is securing the bulk of growth at the expense of Shannon Airport and investment in the mid-west and western regions will suffer, a report has warned.
Commissioned by Limerick, Ennis, and Galway business groups, the report by consultants Copenhagen Economics warns that Dublin’s dominance will only get worse and further skew regional development after Brexit.
It recommends the Government look again at the way it helps regional airports and for the regulator, the Commission for Aviation Regulation, to consider regional issues in setting charges at Dublin Airport.
Shannon Airport, which handles 1.7m passengers, is operating at only 45% of its capacity at peak time and has been hit further by the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jets, according to the report.
“The report raises serious concerns surrounding the impact of Brexit, given that the western seaboard will be without any daily EU hub airport connectivity post-Brexit. Shannon Airport’s Heathrow services are currently the only direct EU flights daily from the region. Opening new routes in a post-Brexit environment will be vital to fuel growth in the mid-west and west,” states the report.
It raises concerns over the airport’s dependence on London after Brexit.
Establishing a limited Shannon connection to Frankfurt Airport for business customers, of two flights every weekday and one flight on Saturday and Sunday, could add as much as €412m to GDP, says the report. It finds that the dominance of a leading airport such as Dublin Airport is “uncommon in the EU”.
According to the report, Dublin’s share of all passengers arriving by air last year rose to 86%, compared with only 5% for Shannon and 6.5% for Cork Airport.
“Even in an international context, the increasing dominance of Dublin Airport at the expense of other Irish airports is striking... Other small open economies, where a similar concentration in market shares has been seen, have implemented policy initiatives to counteract the dominance of the national airport and mitigate negative impacts on other airports,” it said.