A long-term cost deal between Ryanair and Shannon Airport is expected to result in the addition of increased routes at the International Airport.
On Thursday last, Ryanair announced six new routes at Shannon Airport bringing their total to 18 for the winter season and 34 in total. The return of a second Ryanair aircraft to Shannon brings its employment figures in Clare back to pre-pandemic levels with a cabin crew of 40 to 45 and 20 to 25 pilots.
During a sit-down interview with The Clare Echo, Ryanair CEO, Eddie Wilson commended Shannon Airport management for their engagement throughout the pandemic, an approach which has left the airline confident of its future at Shannon. They have agreed a long-term cost deal which is to run for the next eight or nine years “and gives us a template to grow,” he said.
“I know other airlines are closing here but the commercial team in Shannon and Mary Considine have put long hours in, they’ve done what the main airports we deal with in Europe such as Venice, Paris, Stockholm who have secured extra Ryanair aircraft and they’ve been at the forefront in Ireland in saying here is a long-term deal for Ryanair to be able to grow with certainty in Shannon. I’m confident we’re going to have even more routes next summer and they are in stark contrast to what is happening in Cork. They had two Ryanair aircraft in Cork, they have none now, the score is Shannon 2 Cork nil,” Wilson remarked.
Shannon Airport has been “ahead of the posse” when it comes to securing investment from Ryanair, Wilson outlined. “What you have here is a management team that engages with us, they are not the only ones in Europe but they are the only ones in Ireland that have dealt with this right from the start. Unfortunately the Government here haven’t done that, the incentive schemes available in Dublin and Cork end next June, that’s no good for us, we need longer term deals, this airline not unlike other airlines we lost almost a billion euros last year. When we’re putting investment in, we’ve got to put it in the lowest cost place because fares are going to be lower, Shannon has enabled us to do that but they are not unique in that, we have opened bases in Paris, Venice, Morocco and Turin”.
“There is two aircraft so the people are here. We’ve restored 100 percent of the Ryanair jobs in Shannon today, other routes will come from other bases which means more passengers and the knock-on effect for restaurants, hotels, taxi drivers and tourism”.
He predicted it will take a season or two for the new routes at Shannon to establish themselves. Ryanair expect that Italian and Hungarian tourists will be visiting Co Clare thanks to the routes to Turin and Budapest.
Linking up with bases in Paris, Milan and Stockholm is likely to see the amount of Ryanair routes at Shannon increase, the CEO stated but he warned that they will not additional capacity at Dublin or Cork until the Government change their approach. “If we know we have a deal in Shannon to grow then we don’t even have to meet Shannon, we just add the capacity and that is what they’ve done, they’ve given us a template, that is what the smart regions, airports and Governments have done throughout Europe. Unfortunately the Irish Government hasn’t done that for the two other major Airports, Shannon can’t wait for the Irish Government, they have to look after themselves and the people who work here”.
A previous plea from Cllr Pat Daly (FF) for Michael O’Leary and Ryanair to take over Shannon Airport and make it their European hub is unlikely to occur, the CEO admitted. “Michael has enough on his hands, we don’t want to run Airports, we’ve enough to do with running airlines”.