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*Photograph: Joe Buckley

MANAGEMENT OF SHANNON AIRPORT have said that prices of flights are “outside of our control”.

Although the experience at Shannon Airport has long been praised as one of its main attractions, consumers have admitted to choosing other Airports due to more competitive prices and this is seen as one reason why Shannon loses out on passengers both inside the county and across the entire country.

Addressing the June meeting of Clare County Council, CEO of Shannon Group, Mary Considine explained that the load factors on flights presently was very high, “this is driving up the price”. She added, “if you have a flight with 95% loan factor with only 5% of seat capacity, the airline will manage its own yield and the airline will manage that in terms of price”.

This she admitted can result in “fares from Shannon on some of those flights being very high. That is outside of our control”.

Shannon Airport remains very competitive, Ms Considine maintained. “We are very competitive as an airport, we have strong incentive schemes in place and marketing supports offered to airlines”.

Two elected representatives in Clare who recently left the country travelling via Dublin Airport instead of Shannon said they flew out of the capital because of choice and cost

Cllr Michael Begley (IND) was in Nantes at the end of May, he remarked that it took longer to get from the car park to the plane departing than it did to fly from Dublin to France. He spoke with one individual from North Tipperary who tried to get alternatives from Shannon but came across €500 in the price difference which was labelled as “extraordinary” by the Clonlara representative.

“We’ve all seen the chaos of Dublin, I was part of it myself,” Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) revealed. He told the meeting it was €500 dearer to fly to Faro from Shannon than from Dublin. “There are a lot of people that would like to fly out of Shannon and they would do so with a more competitive market and that’s where we need outside intervention”.

Prices can also depend on the extent of an airline’s base at an Airport, Ms Considine outlined. “Where they have larger bases it is an economy of scale, it is like a corner market vs a superstore, we don’t control the price”. Shannon currently has 27 services in operation for the summer season, the majority of which are from Ryanair.

She continued, “Higher fares means the economics of the route is working well, it guarantees the route will be there next year, it is not what we want to hear as consumer but it fairly guarantees the route will be back. We have to fight for every route we get. The more flights we get, the higher volume then the reduced costs per head”.

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