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Ryanair reduces Shannon base

6th February 2009 - 08:59 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Ryanair has declared that the Irish Government's new and, according to the airline, "unfair" €10 travel tax is already having a damaging impact on forward bookings from 30 March next.

This €10 tourist tax, which has already caused traffic declines in the UK and Holland when previously introduced, is "devastating forward bookings in Shannon, because in many cases it exceeds the air fare paid by many passengers on Ryanair's low fares routes from Shannon". Ryanair says that this 100% rate of tax leaves it with no alternative other than to reduce its aircraft numbers, routes, flights and traffic to/from Shannon from 30 March.

Therefore, from 30 March Ryanair will:

* Reduce its Shannon based aircraft numbers from 6 to 4 in summer 2009.
* Reduce its route network at Shannon from 30 to 25.
* Cut its weekly Shannon flights from 136 to 116 flights.
* Reduce its Shannon traffic from 1.9m to 1.2m in the first year of this €10 tourist tax.
* Reduce its Shannon jobs from over 300 to less than 200.

These cuts will result in over 100 Ryanair jobs at Shannon being transferred to other bases. The loss of 700,000 passengers will also give rise to the loss of approximately 700 support jobs in and around Shannon Airport.

Ryanair condemned the Irish Government's "insane" decision to levy a flat rate €10 tourist tax on passengers travelling from the West of Ireland, at fares which are frequently less than €10 one way. Ryanair called again on the Irish Government - even at this late stage - to cancel the tax.

Speaking in Shannon, Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said, "Having invested millions of euros and sustained large losses growing Ryanair's base in Shannon over the past four years from 400,000 to 1.9m passengers (at a time when Aer Lingus and many other airlines pulled out) this insane €10 visitor tax will devastate traffic at Shannon.

"The only reason why many of the 1.9m passengers travel with Ryanair to/from Shannon is because of Ryanair's exceptionally low fares, many of which are less than €10. This Government's decision to impose a travel tax of more than 100% on these price sensitive visitors is insane and simply 'tourism suicide'.

"It is not as if the Irish Government hasn't seen examples from other EU countries of the devastating failure this travel tax will have on visitor numbers. The UK's traffic has already fallen 10% and Dutch visitors by even more since they introduced an equally stupid and self defeating tourist tax. Ryanair again calls on the Government to scrap this suicidal tax measure and make greater savings by withdrawing funding from useless quangos like Tourism Ireland (€40m) or Fáilte Ireland (over €60m).

"Irish tourism can only succeed if Ireland is a low cost destination. Irish tourism has been the beneficiary of Ryanair's extremely low fares and no fuel surcharges for many years, but now this Government seems determined to kill the tourism industry with this insane €10 visitor tax. Ryanair will do its utmost to maintain the maximum number of flights and traffic at Shannon, but we cannot do so when the Government taxes are greater than our ticket prices, which makes Shannon and the West of Ireland totally uncompetitive against the many other low cost - non taxed - destinations across Europe."


The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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