THE Dublin Airport Authority stand indicted for allowing Shannon Airport go into “freefall” over the last two years, Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has claimed, while warning that only his budget airline is “the only” way the airport can be saved.
“Shannon is in freefall. It’s facing a trafﬁc collapse and I think that Ryanair is the obvious and only way the trafﬁc collapse at Shannon can be reversed,” said O’Leary as he launched a scathing attack on the DAA’s com- mitment to Shannon.
“The last 12 months show that the DAA have no interest in growing Shannon. They are busily rewriting history at the moment to say that Ryanair shut the base in Shannon last year because of the tourist tax. We didn’t. We cut back capacity because of the tourist tax from 1.9 million passengers to about 1.3 million. We are now down to 300,000
“We did write to the DAA in January of 2010, saying ‘do you want to extend the ﬁve-year low cost agreement’, under which we were paying Shannon about € 1 per departing passenger. The DAA wrote back and said no
“They have no interest in Shannon and the reason why the DAA don’t want any discounts in Shannon is they don’t want discounts in Shannon because they’d have to offer them in Dublin Airport.
“The DAA doesn’t care about Shannon and would happily neglect Shannon at the altar of protecting their high costs in Dublin. Shannon Airport at the moment is dying on its feet. It has almost no ﬂights. It has very few passengers and compared to the buzz that was in the place two years ago when Ryanair were growing and opening up nearly 40 routes, the place is dying on its feet.”
“Shannon Airport is facing two alternative strategies. One, you can accept Ryanair’s offer, an offer from the largest airline in the world, to deliver a million new passengers. Two, you can all troop off to some conference in a couple of weeks times hosted by SFDCO, the DAA, the local county councils and all the usual talkers and hoteliers and the Diaspora and all the rest of them gobshites, who’ll talk and talk for f****** Ireland and not deliver for Ireland and not deliver one passenger.
“We could have done this a couple of weeks ago and tried to make an election issue out of it. There is no point making this a political issue – it’s a business issue. The DAA – you own Shannon Airport; it’s collapsing in front of you; your 33 per cent cost increase last November has put the ﬁnal nail in the cofﬁn. Do you want to grow trafﬁc. If you do here’s the deal?”