Shannon Airport business model 'a race to the bottom', FF leader claims
The business model in place at Shannon Airport represents a race to the bottom that has resulted in the facility taking 100,000 passengers from Cork Airport.
That is the view of Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, inset, who said that Shannon "can offer deals to Ryanair that Cork Airport cannot. That is fine except it does not add any value to the country."
Mr Martin said substantial discounts, success fees and marketing payments are all factors in the 100,000 transferring from Cork to Shannon. "I believe it is a race-to-the-bottom model and one the Government should reflect on and change tack in terms of ensuring a feasible long-term future for Cork Airport," he told the Dáil.
Mr Martin said a route development fund must be put in place for Cork.
He said Cork is not competitive in the Irish market because of the way the Government has structured the three airports in terms of governance and supports to the respective facilities.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said that he has no evidence to back up the claim that Cork is in any way being downgraded.
However, Deputy Martin's comments on Shannon yesterday provoked a strong response from Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey who said that they "are an insult to Shannon Airport, its management team and the people of the Midwest".
Mr Carey described the comments as "parochial", and asked: "How can he say that an expanding and growing Shannon Airport does not add value to the country?"