SHANNON AIRPORT is not competing with Dublin Airport but rather other European destinations when airlines are opting to add more routes, a senior official in Ryanair has said.
Director of Commercial with Ryanair, Jason McGuinness was in Shannon Airport on Friday to announce new routes to Béziers and Newcastle plus the addition of a third based aircraft. He revealed that more positive news will soon be announced for Shannon with further routes to be unveiled by Christmas.
It follows the announcement in May of a €10m heavy maintenance facility at a hangar in Shannon. “Our first aircraft will be going in for a service at the end of this month, we’ll be employing 200 highly skilled aeronautical engineers here,” he stated.
Undoubtedly another aircraft is to be welcomed, bringing the total of Ryanair’s Shannon based aircraft to three, a combined investment of $300m. At Dublin Airport, the airline has 23 aircraft. Speaking to The Clare Echo, McGuinness explained that Shannon is instead competing against similar sized airports outside of Ireland when it comes to Ryanair planning for the future.
He said, “I know that’s a Shannon or Dublin question but that’s not really the way it works. Ryanair is operating to almost 40 countries and 225 airports, when we look at capacity, Shannon is competing against the likes of Valencia, Bologna, Seville, it’s not really a Shannon or Dublin question, Shannon will continue to grow I’ve no doubt about it given the sensible long-term deal we have here, we will continue to add aircraft and continue to add routes, it’s not a question of Dublin versus Shannon, it’s a very competitive market given that the airline industry and aviation has structurally changed in Europe, there’s simply less capacity in the system and the Shannon management know that, they’re competing against airports right across Europe”.
Of the airports referenced, Valencia is the tenth busiest Spanish airport and second in the region after Alicante, Seville Airport is the sixth busiest inland airport in Spain and the main international airport serving Western Andalusia in southern Spain, and neighbouring provinces while Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport in Italy had 4.1m passengers last year.
Costs remain the factor that influence Ryanair when deciding whether to opt for Shannon or these airports, he outlined. “When we’re looking at capacity across Europe, Ryanair has always been unequivocal on this, the main capacity driver for Ryanair is always cost, we have those costs down to enable us to keep the low fares which drive our load factor. We have a sensible long-term deal and it’s going to stand to Shannon Airport and the Mid-West region in very good stead over the next number of years”.
For the past fifteen years he has worked in Ryanair’s commercial department, during this time he admitted that the airline’s trust in Shannon Airport has risen. “I think Shannon Airport particularly during the pandemic, have performed particularly well, they’ve been one of the standout performers in terms of operations this year, they’ve done an exceptional job across the summer, we’ve all seen the pictures of airports across Europe, not just Dublin Airport of Airports who have struggled, Shannon has performed exceptionally well and our investment, the heavy maintenance facility investment, the extra aircraft is a vote of confidence in the Mid-West region, Shannon and the Shannon management team”.
“Ryanair has recovered very strongly from COVID, that is broadly because we kept all of our people and all of our aircraft current so we were ready to meet the demand which came back this summer, it was an exceptionally strong summer, we are a little bit cautious looking into the winter but there is no doubt that Shannon and its management team performed very well operationally this summer and stands up very well against its peers across Europe,” McGuinness added.
On plans for new Ryanair routes at Shannon, he said, “I can’t tell you the routes just yet, we’re working on those and I’ve no doubt we’ll be back here in the next few weeks, hopefully before Christmas to announce some more new routes from Shannon for next summer”.