THE reopening of Ryanair’s base in Shannon Airport on April 21 has been lauded as a major boost for tourism-related businesses throughout Clare, which have been very badly hit by Covid-19.
Speaking to the Clare Champion in Shannon Airport, Shannon Group chief executive officer, Mary Considine said the recommencement of 14 routes from Shannon next April is a “big boost for business in the region”.
“Talking to businesses, they need to get their people back out travelling in the market place once it is safe to do so.
“We have seen first hand the devastation caused not only by the pandemic but the lack of international visitors into the country and the impact it has had on all these businesses.
“There will be a lot of hoteliers, tourism and hospitality providers who will be relieved to see this Ryanair base is back and that we have some services next year.
“As we rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic this is great news for the regions tourism and business communities who rely on these services for their livelihoods.
“With the planned roll-out of the vaccines expected in early 2021, people can now begin to once again plan to visit friends and relatives, travel for business and take that well deserved overseas holiday after what has been a very tough year for so many,” she said.
Shannon Airport has worked closely with Ryanair in delivering incentives to rebuild traffic ahead of the Summer 2021 season, in anticipation of a recovery in demand following the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine across Europe.
Ms Considine hopes that Ryanair’s announcement is the start of the road to recovery for Shannon Airport.
“We have done everything in our power to restore services. This is the first step. We are hoping to get transatlantic and Heathrow back. We know American airlines are depandant on how the virus evolves in the United States of America before they commit for next year but they have tentatively committed.
“We know the other American carriers will not operate next year but we are working with them in the hope we will get them back in 2022 or 2023.
“This will be a slow recovery and we need to put all the steps in place to ensure we come through it,” she said.
She is delighted with Ryanair’s announcement, which shows their continued commitment to Shannon.
“Ryanair is a valued airline partner. They have operated at Shannon since 1987 and have had a base at Shannon since 2004, providing vital routes for the region and stimulating direct and indirect employment which is important for Shannon,” she said.
Making the announcement at Shannon Airport, Eddie Wilson, CEO of Ryanair DAC, said the company has a long standing relationship with Shannon, flying its first passengers from Shannon Airport in 1987.
“The airport has worked tirelessly with Ryanair over the last number of months to secure capacity ahead of next summer and we’re delighted that this re-opening of the Ryanair base will restore Shannon’s connectivity and support the economic recovery of the Mid-West next year.
“We’re delighted to restore our Shannon Airport base with one aircraft and 14 routes from April 2021. This is great news for the Mid-West in supporting employment particularly within the region’s tourism sector, which will benefit from pent-up demand now that vaccines will be widely available next year,” he said.
Mr Wilson said there needs to be a discount on airport charges for all airlines, not just Ryanair, to help kickstart the economy for flights next summer.
Unless this decision is taken quickly, Mr Wilson warned flights will not return in large numbers and noted there are 320,000 people in Ireland whose livelihoods depend on tourism.
He claimed Ireland is allowing itself to be “pushed around by the European Union” while other countries are riding roughshod by bailing out their own airports and airlines with huge sums of money.
He said it seemed that the EU doesn’t seem to be supporting the introduction of incentives in terms of lower airport charges in Dublin, Cork and Knock.