Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Timmy Dooley TD, says that Aer Rianta International must be part of any future independent Shannon Airport company in order to underpin its long-term future.

Deputy Dooley was speaking at the launch of his State Airports (Amendment) Bill 2012, which provides for Aer Rianta International to form part of a new independent Shannon Airport company.

“I have serious concerns that the current plan does not provide sufficient revenues to protect Shannon in a separated environment from the other national airports,” said Deputy Dooley. “I think there is serious question marks over the appropriateness of cutting Shannon Airport adrift at this time; it already suffered a significant hit to its revenues when Ryanair ceased flights there.

“Fianna Fáil believes that in the middle of an economic crisis, separating Shannon from the DAA is the wrong thing to do. However, we support the work of the steering group; particularly the aviation business development task force in identifying business opportunities for the new Shannon entity and the change management task force committee in working towards the transitional arrangements; charged with developing Shannon Airport and the region. However, more needs to be done to secure the long-term viability of the Airport.

“There is no guaranteed income base at the moment to ensure the sustainability of Shannon Airport. It is now highly likely that Shannon Airport will split from the DAA, but to ensure the airport continues to remain competitive, then Aer Rianta International needs to form part of this new entity.

“By making Aer Rianta International part of a new independent entity, Shannon Airport will have the funding to secure the Airport’s future and provide a marketing budget that can be used to attract more tourists and open new air routes for the benefit of the mid-west region.

“The Fianna Fáil bill provides for a viable future for Shannon Airport and we hope it gets the support it deserves to guarantee the airport’s long-term survival.” 

State Airports (Amendment) Bill 2012