Shannon airport passenger charges to be increased

 

SHANNON AIRPORT is planning to announce passenger charge increases in an effort to ease its financial difficulties.

The move comes on top of an already difficult year for the troubled airport where passenger numbers are expected to fall again this year.

Passenger numbers at Shannon fell by 12 per cent to 2.8 million last year while a further drop is expected this year as a result of Ryanair’s decision to scale down its operations at the mid-west hub.

Shannon airport is expected to increase the existing passenger charge by €1.58 which will be the first increase in charges in six years.

A spokesman for Shannon Airport confirmed the move last night. “We are introducing what is a modest adjustment in charges to help the viability of the airport,” he said.

“It is the first increase in six years, while many other airports have increased charges during this period. Only the passenger charge element of total airport charges is being adjusted and taking into account overall charges, the increase will be less than 20 per cent,” he added.

The airport says it is introducing the increase in an effort to improve viability in light of its loss-making performance over recent years.

The increase will bring Shannon into line with other regional airports, including Cork, Knock, Aberdeen in Scotland and Southampton in England. However, charges at Dublin still remain lower.

The spokesman said aviation charges were less at Dublin because the airport benefits from more long-haul passengers who pay higher charges and typically spend more while at the airport.

Dublin also has greater commercial income than Cork or Shannon. Income from retail and car parking facilities also help subsidise charges at Dublin.

Limerick’s Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan last night criticised the plans for the increased charges and warned such a move would make it even more difficult for the airport to compete.

“Shannon is already facing extremely tough times in terms of passenger numbers and airlines and I think increasing the charges is absolutely the wrong thing to do because we are going to have the difficulty of competing with Dublin and Cork,” she said.

“What we need to be is more competitive rather than less competitive and I’m seriously worried about this proposal,” she added.

Ms O’Sullivan said an international airport was crucial for the west of Ireland and criticised the Government for not having any national aviation policy.

Chief executive of Limerick Chamber of Commers Maria Kelly said she was concerned that the move would deter passenger from using the airport.