Shannon Airport chief criticises lack of Government support

Airport will have to spend €10m on baggage screening upgrade

Shannon Airport: it will have to spend €10m on a baggage screening upgrade in line with EU rules

Shannon Airport: it will have to spend €10m on a baggage screening upgrade in line with EU rules

 

The chief executive of State-owned Shannon Airport has criticised the Government’s policy of not supporting it for infrastructure projects, calling it “counter-intuitive”.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Matthew Thomas said new security equipment the airport needed to satisfy EU rules would cost the airport €10 million but would not add any commercial value.

While the Government could support the airport for this project and not breach EU state-aid rules, he said its stated policy was not to support semi-State airports in this regard.

“Not supporting the DAA is one thing,” Mr Thomas said, noting that the airports in Cork and Dublin managed by DAA handled more than 31.7 million passengers between them last year. “[The Government is] supporting the privately-owned airports but not the State airport: it’s counter-intuitive.”

Mr Thomas was referring to the fact that Kerry Airport, Ireland West Airport Knock and Donegal Airport are likely to receive State funding to help them upgrade their baggage facilities in line with the EU rules.

Between those airports the new airport screening systems for baggage will cost about €4.3 million. The regional airports can apply for Government funding for the upgrades through the regional airports programme.

Shannon Airport, on the other hand, will have to pay for the upgrade because it is a semi-State company, similar to DAA.

However, unlike the DAA, Shannon’s passenger numbers were far lower, reaching almost 1.6 million last year, more than double that of Ireland West and almost five times more than Kerry Airport.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport did not respond to a request for comment.