Calls For Framework To Be Developed Now To Secure Shannon Airport’s Future

Calls are being made for a framework to be developed now to ensure Shannon Airport’s survival beyond the pandemic.

Concern is mounting about the future of the airport, after Ryanair announced it’s temporarily halting flights from the county’s airport for six weeks from next month.

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At this week’s Oireachtas Transport Committee the CEO’s of Ryanair and Aer Lingus both conceded they couldn’t commit to re-opening their Shannon bases in 2021, unless travel restrictions were eased.

It was also revealed that no Ryanair flights will arrive or depart Shannon Airport for a period of six weeks from November, which will mean for the first time in history, there will be no commercial flights at the airport for that period.

Shannon Group has described the announcement as ‘extremely disappointing’ and it’s CEO has warned that immediate operational funding is now needed from Government, to ensure the airport survives the fallout from COVID-19.

€5 million was granted to Shannon in Budget 2021 for capital works, but Clare’s Fine Gael TD says much more will be needed, particularly on an operational basis.

Clarecastle Deputy Joe Carey believes the best course of aciton for Shannon would be to allow it access into the Regional Airports Programme, which would see operational supports provided and he says there are a number of other options that can be considered.

Clare’s Fianna Fáil TD says the importance of Shannon Airport, as well as the airlines that serve the facility, to the entire Midwest economy can’t be underestimated.

Timmy Dooley says it’s vital that a plan is put in place now to ensure it’s survival post pandemic and he’s confident that state support will be provided for Shannon.

Clare’s Independent TD has accused the government of ‘ploughing on’ with policies that unfairly impact on Shannon Airport.

Michael McNamara believes the decision of Ryanair and Aer Lingus to suspend routes is down to decisions made at the Cabinet table.

The Scariff-based deputy says the government need to rethink aviation policy ahead of NPHET’s appearance in front of the Oireachtas Transport Committee next week.

A former Ennis Chamber President believes Clare has become too heavily reliant on Shannon Airport and the other two main economic drivers; Moneypoint and Roche.

Solicitor William Cahir is concerned about the consequences for the county if all three are lost and says it’s vital Shannon Airport is given the support it needs.