Ryanair proposes new Dublin deal

 

Ryanair's chief executive, Mr Michael O'Leary, has resubmitted a proposal to the Government to give his company ownership of a second terminal at Dublin Airport in return for increased air traffic.

At Shannon yesterday, he outlined his vision of how the airport could thrive as a low-cost base for high-frequency, short-haul traffic. "We believe the future of Shannon and its continuing success depend on low-fare traffic and lots of connections between the midwest and European capitals."

He said 500 jobs would be created as a result of the move, half of them at Shannon Airport, where he would open up five new routes. A further five new routes would operate from Dublin to Britain and the Continent.

He urged the Minister for Public Enterprise, Mrs O'Rourke, to embrace an "open skies" policy for transatlantic traffic which would end the current stopover policy at Shannon Airport. He added that a Government policy to get from Brussels with "a piece of paper that says `Peace in our time' " would not lead to growth.

His offer for increasing traffic at Shannon would more than make up the difference in the loss of passengers from the ending of the stopover policy.

He announced Ryanair was increasing the flight frequency from Shannon to London Stansted from three to four times daily, three days a week from January 11th. This follows the news that Ryanair's competitor, Virgin Express, is for sale.

He said a legal dispute between Ryanair and its one millionth passenger, who was awarded free travel for life on the airline in 1998, would probably end in the High Court.

Fianna Fail TDs Mr Brendan Daly and Mr Tony Killeen and Fine Gael TD Mr Donal Carey attended yesterday's meeting.

Mr Daly said it was good to see that Ryanair was still in Shannon and that, hopefully, it would settle down. There would be dramatic changes for the airport in the future which would have to be faced up to.

Mr Killeen said the best approach currently was to fight to maintain the status quo. Mr Carey said that if the Minister got an offer for the promotion and upgrading of Shannon's infrastructure in return for a lead-in for "open skies", she should accept it.