independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Shannon targets Dublin traffic

THE new chair of Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) has confirmed plans to target passengers travelling from the mid-west to Dublin to catch flights and to connect with a second European hub.

Yesterday Rose Hynes, appointed by the Government as SAA chair last month, addressed the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

While she confirmed that none of the 230 staff at Shannon will lose their jobs, she said there is a need for efficiencies.

"The airport's cost base is currently higher than its industry peers, partly because of its reduced traffic levels. Productivity improvements and flexible work practices can help to reduce this disadvantage," Ms Hynes said.

The Shannon boss also confirmed that negotiations are taking place with several airlines with a view to increasing terminal and transit passenger traffic, which has fallen from 3.6 million to 1.6 million in the past five years.

She pointed out that "we have a very good relationship with Ryanair and we are in discussion with Ryanair as well as a number of other airlines".

She added: "We don't intend unsustainable growth with Ryanair. That was an issue in the past and we're not going to go there again.

"We see the passengers going up and down to Dublin and we're certainly going to target them."

Ms Hynes also confirmed plans to secure connectivity with a European hub other than Heathrow. It is understood the SAA is targeting a major German city with which to connect.

Deputy Noel Harrington asked if she had a Plan B in case Shannon didn't reach the passenger targets.

"Yes. Always, always have a Plan B but I'm not going to tell you what it is," Ms Hynes quipped.

She also pointed out that the airport would continue to target the 'lucrative' US military traffic, which has dropped significantly over the past 12 months.

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