Ryanair seeking lower airport charges at Dublin and Cork

Irish carrier wants the Government to fund incentives at both airports to give airlines long-term certainty on charges

Cork and Dublin airports face a loss of traffic if the Government does not aid both in cutting charges to lure airlines back, Ryanair executive Eddie Wilson warned on Thursday.

Ryanair announced that it was launching six new winter services at Shannon Airport, while it was adding a second aircraft to its base there.

Mr Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair DAC, the group’s biggest airline, said it had agreed a deal on incentives with Shannon that would restore traffic “in stark contrast to Cork and Dublin”, which he claimed were losing passengers.

Speaking after the Shannon announcement, Mr Wilson confirmed that it had a deal with State company DAA, responsible for Cork and Dublin airports, but added the incentives lasted "only until June 30th" next year.


He argued that the Government, as DAA’s shareholder, should fund incentives at both airports that would give airlines long-term certainty on charges. “DAA has its own funding issues,” he acknowledged.

Mr Wilson said the Republic was relying on Aer Lingus and Ryanair to rebuild links with the rest of the world as the pandemic had left Europe with 20 per cent fewer planes.

However, he added there was “nothing” in the incentives to prompt Ryanair to allocate some of the 60 to 65 new aircraft it is receiving over the next year to Cork or Dublin.

“You will have reduced traffic in Dublin, it could be up to 50 per cent less in Cork, which is already relying on aircraft coming in from other bases,” he said.

Mr Wilson noted that Ryanair had opened 11 new bases for this winter, while it had struck long-term deals with three key airports, London Stansted, Bergamo in Italy and Charleroi in Belgium.

A DAA spokeswoman responded that the company launched its biggest ever airport charges discount scheme in December last year, refining it in July to coincide with the reopening of travel.

“We are working closely with our airline customers to rebuild traffic at Dublin and Cork airports, and our generous scheme gives back €50 million worth of airport charges to airlines operating at both airports,” she said.

“So it is absolutely not true to suggest there is no traffic recovery scheme at DAA’s airports.”

Dublin is offering discounts on charges of 50 to 100 per cent, tied to the rate at which airlines restore pre-pandemic passenger numbers. Cork is offering 30 per cent cuts-plus grants, said the spokeswoman.

DAA lost €248 million last year as Government travel curbs cut passenger numbers by more than 70 per cent.


Earlier, Ryanair called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin “to urgently implement a traffic-recovery scheme for Dublin and Cork airports before they lose out to other EU countries that are prioritising the recovery of aircraft capacity, connectivity, tourism and jobs”.

Mr Wilson said the Government's Task Force on Aviation Recovery had recommended more than a year ago that the State fund airport charge reductions. However, he added that instead of implementing the report the Government had focused instead on travel restrictions and was now mired in a debate about outdoor gatherings.

Ryanair confirmed that it was adding new services to Corfu, Gran Canaria, Birmingham, Budapest, Edinburgh, Fuerteventura, London Luton and Turin from Shannon over the winter.

In all Ryanair will operate 34 routes from Shannon through the rest of the summer and the winter.

It announced 21 new routes from Newcastle in the UK for summer 2022.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas