Passenger figures at Shannon are up 15% for the first six months of the year according to the latest figures for the airport.
Traffic for the first three weeks of July is also up by 20% according to Shannon CEO, Neil Pakey, who said the airport was well ahead of exceeding its double digit target increase in passenger numbers this year.
Speaking at the announcement of a new Ryanair daily service from Shannon to Manchester and a weekly service to Kaunus in Lithuania, Mr Pakey said the new routes would help towards building a “more balanced economy for Ireland”.
“We are out there selling the west of Ireland, and that’s obviously a new message for people who were being hammered with the message that Dublin was the gateway to Ireland.
“What I see happening is that Ryanair and others are helping to build a more balanced economy, not everything has to be Dublin central,” said Mr Pakey.
The new Ryanair services from Shannon were announced as part of the company’s extended winter schedule, which commences on October 26.
Last month the airline announced five other new routes from Shannon — Berlin, Fuerteventura, Krakow, Paris & Warsaw and extra flights to/from London Stansted.
It’s expected the new winter schedule will deliver more than 300,000 extra seats at Shannon and more than 1million extra customers through Ireland’s airports
When asked about staying competitive at the newly independent Shannon Airport, Mr Pakey admitted the overall payroll amount is on the “high side”.
“You have to look at everything. There is no doubt there are legacy issues from the old company, some of those are easier to deal with than others and you have got to respect contracts as well. We will need to look at the non payroll costs, the payroll costs, and if we want to grow the business in the interest of everyone here we have got to get our cost base sustainable.
“To say that we don’t have to address cost base issues would be wrong, we do have to, to get the future secure for the airport and the region.
“The overall payroll amount is on the high side but that might be about cost efficiencies that might not actually affect the rates of pay that people get,” he added.
Speaking at the launch of its new services from Shannon, Ryanair’s Peter Bellew said the Government’s decision to abolish airport tax contributed to the announcements.
He was critical of prices at Cork Airport which is losing its Ryanair service to Vilnius in Lithuania.
“Shannon Airport has been far more progressive in terms of its pricing and its charges than Cork has. Cork hasn’t responded in the same way as the other airports to the change in the travel tax.
“This year we have had limited enough aircraft available to put on new routes. We have found the prices are just too expensive in Cork.”
Ryanair in Cyprus airline bid
- Almost 20 companies, including Ryanair, submitted non-binding expressions of interest in Cyprus Airways, a state-owned carrier that the government wants to privatise, said Cypriot communications minister Marios Demetriades.
Aegean Airlines and Israel’s Arkia were also among the firms.
Interested parties will now be invited to submit binding offers after they are vetted by government consultants. Expressions of interest exceeded expectations, but officials will be able to say more “when we see offers”, Mr Demetriades said.
Cypriot authorities had earlier said they hoped the sale could be concluded by the end of the year.
The state owns over 90% of Cyprus Airways, which has struggled to survive against cheaper competitors and has been loss-making for years
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