Shannon told 'be proactive' to halt loss of services
THE Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) has been told it needs to adopt a more visible and proactive approach in order to halt the continuing loss of services from the mid-west.
The mayor of Shannon, Sean McLoughlin, called on the SAA to outline its position on what he called the "haemorrhaging of services" from the airport.
He also said he was disappointed that the airport's board had not yet taken up an invitation that was issued in January by Shannon Town Council to a meeting on the issue.
The local authority was informed in February by the airport's director, Martin Moroney, that neither he nor the recently appointed SAA chairman, Brian O'Connell, were in a position to meet with councillors at that time to discuss the impending loss of Ryanair services.
At the end of the following month, Ryanair cut two-thirds of its services at Shannon, citing the Government's refusal to remove the €10 travel tax and the failure to reach a new deal with the airport.
It continues to introduce new routes at other airports.
Mr McLoughlin said: "We were informed that the board of the SAA was not in a position to meet Shannon Town Council as it was carrying out its own assessment and deliberations.
"We were told this would take eight weeks, which I find bewildering, considering that Ryanair's withdrawal of services was imminent.
"The SAA needs to adopt a more visible and proactive approach to addressing the issues that effect the airport's very survival".
The mayor has reiterated his call on the Department of Transport to investigate the possibility that responsibility for the management of Shannon Airport could be shared with Shannon Development.
He said: "The Dublin Airport Authority's (DAA) continued management of the local airport is stifling the facility's ability to expand.
"While full autonomy for Shannon Airport might not be feasible at the present time -- as the financial structures are not yet in place to support such a move -- it would be feasible to suggest that management of the airport could be shared equally by Shannon Development and the SAA.
"Shannon Development's background in promoting tourism and attracting new business to the region would complement the expertise built up by the current management team at Shannon Airport.
Mr McLoughlin added: "Every effort must be made to ensure that Shannon Airport's viability is not dependent solely on the income generated from the US military's use of the facility."