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Moroney claims Ryanair sought 50% reduction in costs at Shannon

THE terms that Ryanair sought from Shannon Airport before announcing plans to slash its service were unrealistic, it’s being claimed.
Last week Ryanair announced that it would be relocating three of its four Shannon-based aircraft, which the airline claimed would result in a loss of 150 jobs and 1.5 million passengers.
Ryanair claimed that the €10 air travel tax was a big factor behind the decision, but they were also seeking major discounts from Shannon, which airport director Martin Moroney said couldn’t be met.
“They were seeking a 50% reduction in the costs at Shannon, but the charges they have currently are based on an incentive scheme that began in 2005 for five years and part of the agreement is that they would provide a certain level of traffic. They are paying a fraction of the costs that other airlines are and they wanted a further 50% reduction. They were looking to have almost no charge and that was unreasonable.”
Mr Moroney said that in the final year of the agreement, Ryanair are set to provided €1.2 million passengers, significantly less that the two million that are to come.
He also said that even if Shannon had accepted what was demanded by Ryanair, the airline still planned to slash the number of passengers being carried through the Clare airport.
“They were offering to bring 600,000 compared to 1.2 million, even if we accepted. They also said it’d be 1.2 million if the €10 tax was removed but that’s outside our control.”
Ryanair are still set to operate services to Britain from Shannon and Mr Moroney said he was pleased that a relationship would continue, which he hoped would see more flights in the future.
“We still want Ryanair in Shannon on a sustainable basis, but it must make sense for Shannon because we’re running a business.”
He said that Shannon airport had a number of advantages for Ryanair and aircraft are able to complete very quick turnarounds there.
Mr Moroney said he is confident that Shannon will be able to persuade other carriers to cover some of the routes that Ryanair are leaving, although the airport is likely to be quieter in 2010.
Stephen McNamara, Ryanair’s head of communications, said that while the cutbacks are not absolutely certain yet, the airline is looking at other options. “We won’t be idle and we’ll probably be making announcements with other airports in the next two to three weeks. With Shannon, the door is still open but it’s close to being locked.”
He said that over the past five years, Ryanair have consistently made losses at Shannon and he said the €10 tax is very damaging to Irish tourism. “It’s of huge detriment to Irish tourism and we are getting deals elsewhere.”
He said that many Europeans now have a negative view of Ireland. “Shannon’s view of itself is based on the desirability Ireland would have had two or three years ago when the economy was getting ahead of itself. The perception of Ireland in Europe now is that it is on its knees.”

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