Tax Hit On 'Budget Airline' At Shannon May Boost NI

The Irish Government's controversial airport tax has led budget airline, Ryanair, to cut its passenger numbers through Shannon Airport from two million to a mere 750,000 - and to rekindle interest in expanding services at Northern Ireland airports.

Chief Executive, Michael O'Leary, said the customer cuts were brought on by the €10 departure tax announced in the Irish Budget, and would "doom" the mid-west airport.

He said while Ryanair was to account for 60% of Shannon's traffic this year, next year it would cut the number of aircraft based there from four to one, with the loss of 100 Ryanair jobs.

The news comes following an announcement by Mr O'Leary that the airline will close its base at Valencia in Spain, which according to Ryanair, was in response to a refusal of the Comunitat Valenciana to subsidise the Airline's promotions.

According to a Ryanair spokesman, the new base was established in Valencia in August 2007 and had increased its passenger traffic by over 25% this year to an expected annual outcome of 1.5m passengers out of a total of 6m at the airport.

Ryanair's Deputy Chief Executive, Michael Cawley, said at te time: "This is a very black day for the airport of Valencia and the city and region which it serves.

Ryanair had begun to transform this once overlooked region of Spanish tourism into a powerhouse of growth and development."

In counterpoint, Ryanair is looking forward to the possibility of developing its flights from Geroge Best Belfast City Airport, should a proposed runway extension get the go-ahead, and is planning expansion at City Of Derry Airport, where a runway extension is already underway.

At present, Ryanair planes are unable to take off from Belfast with a full passenger load as the existing faciility isn't long enough to allow their existing planes to be fully booked.


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 August 2009
Ryanair Apologises Over Airport Delays
Budget Airline Ryanair has apologised to passengers after incidences of under-staffing caused lengthy delays for fliers. Passengers faced long delays at Dublin and London Stansted airports on Saturday due to lengthy queues at the airline's check-in desks.
10 February 2009
Ryanair Boss 'Rejects' Belfast City Runway Inquiry
There's bad news for an east Belfast residents' group that is fighting the proposed runway extension at the North's George Best Belfast City Airport. Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said that he is "fairly satisfied" the Northern Ireland Planning Service will approve the proposal for a longer runway at the facility.
29 May 2009
Ryanair Announce Win Over 'Scraping'
Ryanair have announced that a Hamburg court has upheld an earlier decision to grant Ryanair an injunction preventing 'scraping' of the Ryanair website.
16 February 2010
Tánaiste To Meet Ryanair Chief
It has emerged that Tánaiste Mary Coughlan's office has contacted Ryanair to arrange a meeting with the airline's boss tomorrow to discuss plans to create 300 aviation maintenance jobs at Dublin Airport.
04 January 2010
OFT 'Wrong' Over Ryanair Criticism
Irish budget airline Ryanair has attacked a British fair trading watchdog which said that its payment policy was "puerile and childish".