Ryanair will launch eight new services from Shannon Airport, boosting passengers numbers there by up to 300,000 a year.
It’s a significant coup for the west of Ireland airport after years of traffic declines.
Ryanair will start services to Berlin, Munich, Warsaw, Krakow, Paris, Faro, Nice and Fuerteventura in the Canaries next year. It’s also boosting it services between Shannon and London’s Stansted airport.
The expansion comes on the heels of Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s announcement in the Budget last week that he’s scrapping the controversial €3 travel tax that’s levied on passengers departing from Irish airports. The tax will be eliminated from April.
He made it clear that in return, he expected airlines to respond accordingly.
Ryanair – headed by Michael O’Leary – announced the day after the Budget that it intended to bring 1m extra passengers to Irish airports, including Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Knock. It’s already spoken the airport chiefs and is working on how the total passenger growth could be apportioned.
Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said in Shannon this morning that the government should never introduce a tax on air transport again.
The scale of the planned growth at Shannon would result in the airport’s passenger numbers rising by 15pc in 2014 alone.
“Now that the Government has responded to the airlines and reduced the travel tax to €0, I want to see further announcements of this kind, not just at Shannon and not just by Ryanair,” said Transport Minister Leo Varadkar this morning.
“More flights into Ireland at more locations will mean more visitors from oversees, and a bigger tourism dividend. It will also assist the Government in promoting the new Wild Atlantic Way to international markets next year.”
Shannon split from the Dublin Airport Authority at the end of last year and now operates as an independent entity. Shannon is on track to record a total of nearly 1.4m passengers this year – roughly the same as in 2012. It’s been helped by an increase in transatlantic passenger traffic, which is set to receive a further boost next year from Aer Lingus.