Ryanair to restore Shannon base for summer 2021

Airline calls on Government to offer incentives to encourage passenger recovery

Ryanair has announced that it will reopen its Shannon base for summer 2021. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Ryanair has announced that it will reopen its Shannon base for summer 2021. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

 

Ryanair said on Tuesday that it would restore its base at Shannon Airport for the summer season in 2021. The airline will operate 32 flights a week on 14 routes at the airport which, it hopes, will deliver 450,000 passengers next year.

The airline said it had struck the deal with airport authorities, which would result in the airline basing one aircraft at Shannon from April.

The new base will provide connections to holiday destinations such as Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga or Mallorca; business routes to Manchester and London; and leisure and visiting-friends-and-relatives routes to Kaunas, Warsaw or Wroclaw among others.

According to Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson, the restoration of the base will deliver more than 330 direct and indirect jobs. The services will depend on market conditions and consumer demand.

Ryanair based two aircraft at Shannon 2019, when it brought about 820,000 passengers through the airport. Few in the aviation industry expect traffic to recover to 2019 levels before 2023.

In a press briefing at a largely deserted Shannon airport on Tuesday, Mr Wilson said: “The airport has worked tirelessly with Ryanair over the last number of months to secure capacity ahead of next summer and we’re delighted that this reopening of the Ryanair base will restore Shannon’s connectivity and support the economic recovery of the midwest next year.”

With a large number of idle aircraft parked across the airfield at Shannon, Mr Wilson compared the scene to one of those aircraft parks in the desert in the US.

Passenger incentives

He called on Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to introduce incentives on airport charges urgently to support passenger recovery at Dublin and Cork airports next summer.

“There will be significantly reduced capacity in Europe next summer and, unless the Irish Government secures that connectivity now, unfortunately it will go elsewhere in Europe where governments, regions and airports are actively engaged in securing this vital infrastructure, along with the much needed employment that it will generate.

“Without recovery incentives, passenger capacity at Dublin will fall, and Cork as a Ryanair base may not reopen for summer 2021,” he said.

DAA, the State company responsible for Cork and Dublin airports, last week pledged to offer airlines discounts on its charges tied to the number of passengers they bring in.

Shannon Group chief executive Mary Considine expressed her delight with the Ryanair move, describing it as “an early Christmas present” and “a very positive end to what has been an extremely tough year for the airport and aviation.

“As we rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic, this is great news for the region’s tourism and business communities who rely on these services for their livelihoods, and the general public who have experienced a very difficult year.”

Ms Considine added: “With the planned roll-out of the vaccines expected in early 2021, people can now begin to plan for a longed-for overseas holiday.”