Ryanair has announced eight new routes facilitating 300,000 additional passengers per year from Shannon Airport.
The new services will begin in April 2014 and include routes to Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Nice, Fuerteventura, Krakow, Faro and Munich as well as increased services on the Shannon to Stansted route.
The announcement comes after the Government’s abolition of the travel tax in Budget announced last week.
Details of the new flights were announced at a conference in Shannon Airport, hosted by Michael Cawley, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of Ryanair, this Thursday.
Shannon Airport Authority chairman, Rose Hynes and airport chief executive officer, Neil Pakey were also be in attendance.
Deputy Joe Carey acknowledged the new deal would deliver a significant boost to passenger numbers at Shannon and would also have a positive knock-on impact on tourism-related enterprises in Clare.
Following the introduction of independence at Shannon Airport in January, he pointed out passenger numbers from the United States were up 40% during some months, while United Airlines had pledged to provide 88% more capacity on the Shannon to Chicago route in response to demand.
Deputy Pat Breen said Ryanair’s pledge to increase traffic by one million passengers at its Irish airports vindicated the decision by Finance Minister Michael Noonan to slash the travel tax in Budget 2014.
While welcoming the new services Deputy Michael McNamara stressed it is important that Shannon attracts other new airlines and routes from European and US destinations.
Senator Martin Conway described the announcement as very good news, considering Clare is so reliant on tourism. “Fair play to Ryanair chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary, he is putting his money where his mouth is. From a Government perspective, it is a further development on the strong results yielded by The Gathering initiative and the introduction of 9% VAT on tourism-related items.”