Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan today called on the caretaker Government to outline what steps they will be taking to ensure Shannon Airport remains viable.
He warned that the situation is critical as, without urgent government support, the airport will struggle to compete in what is becoming an increasingly difficult market. Immediate intervention is now needed.
Deputy Quinlivan’s comments come as United Airlines announced they are set to cancel their Shannon operation.
Speaking today, Teachta Quinlivan said;
“This announcement by United Airlines is bad news for consumers, for Shannon Airport and for the mid-west. This follows on Aer Lingus’s terrible treatment of the Mid-West region and its staff with none of their flights departing from Shannon during the COVID-19 crisis.
“United Airlines entry to the market saw more competition in the transatlantic market, resulting in more competitive fares for Irish consumers.
“The loss of this airline’s services is a real shame, and it will result in thousands of less visitors arriving into the mid-west when flights resume.
“This move does mean that Shannon Airport will have to become more proactive when it comes to seeking out new routes and airline partners, in order to compete with Dublin Airport. It cannot do this alone and needs urgent Government intervention.
“Shannon Airport faces a very difficult future. The situation is critical. The last Aer Lingus Heathrow flight operated on April 5th and the airport is currently handling only transit, cargo and other airfield related movements as a result of the current restrictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of international travel and without Government support the airport will simply not be able to compete.
“A proper bus link and rail line should be developed to get passengers into the city as quickly and conveniently as possible and provide increased access to Shannon Airport from the mid-west. Parking fees at the airport need to be made more competitive. The Transport Minister must ensure that at least every second bus from Cork to Galway serves the airport in the future.
“Over the years Shannon has done very well with flights into Shannon with visitors from North America, boosting tourism and benefitting the local economy. The loss of any of these airlines’ services will be a real shame, and it will result in hundreds of thousands of fewer visitors arriving into the mid-west. Our economy has already been battered by the pandemic and does not need another blow like this.
“Once the immediate pandemic emergency ends and we turn to putting our economy back on track, a functioning and resourced Shannon airport will be a key part of the infrastructure needed to achieve this.
“Shannon Airport needs to be an attractive option for consumers and airlines, so that they will choose to use the airport over Cork and Dublin. An ambitious plan can only be achieved with the delivery of the necessary Government resources
“Shannon Airport and its board need to up their game and invest more in better facilities that will see consumers and airlines choose to use the airport over Cork and Dublin.”