Shannon Airport to hike charges for fliers
SHANNON Airport is planning to announce passenger charge increases in an effort to ease its current financial difficulties.
The move comes on top of an already difficult year for the troubled airport where passenger numbers are expected to be down again this year.
Passenger numbers at Shannon fell by 12pc to 2.8 million last year, while a further drop is expected again this year as a result of Ryanair's decision to scale down its operations at the midwest hub.
The airport is expected to increase the existing passenger charge by €1.58, which will be the first increase in charges in six years. A spokesman for Shannon Airport confirmed the move last night.
"We are introducing what is a modest adjustment in charges to help the viability of the airport," he said.
"It is the first increase in six years, while many other airports have increased charges during this period. Only the passenger charge element of total airport charges is being adjusted and taking into account overall charges, the increase will be less than 20pc," he added.
The airport says it is introducing the increase in an effort to improve viability in light of its loss-making performance over recent years.
The increase will bring Shannon in line with other regional airports, including Cork and Knock; however, charges at Dublin remain lower.
The spokesman said aviation charges were lower at Dublin Airport because it benefits from more long-haul passengers who pay higher charges and typically spend more while at the airport.
Dublin Airport also has greater commercial income than Cork or Shannon and the income from retail and car parking facilities helps subsidise charges.
Limerick's Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan last night criticised the plans for increased charges at Shannon and warned it would make it even more difficult for the airport to compete.
"I think increasing the charges is absolutely the wrong thing to do, because we are going to have the difficulty of competing with Dublin and Cork," she said.
Chief executive of Limerick Chamber of Commerce Maria Kelly also expressed her concern, saying the move would deter passengers from using the midwest facility.