Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has claimed that Shannon airport "has priced itself out of existence".
The claim, contained in a letter to Clare County Council, met with an angry response from the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) yesterday, which described the letter as "self-serving and having no basis in fact".
Mr O'Leary states that traffic at Shannon "has continued to implode" as a direct result of "unjustified Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) cost increases".
Mr O'Leary estimates that traffic out of Shannon this year will be 1.4 million -- down by more than half of its 2007 peak of 3.6 million when the five-year Ryanair deal delivered 1.7 million passengers.
A spokesperson for the SAA said last night: "Ryanair's so-called 'estimate' for traffic at Shannon is false and bears no relation to the true expected position at the airport for 2011."