RYANAIR has this morning announced a new seasonal route from Shannon to Alicante with two weekly return flights.
Ryanair passengers at Shannon have steadily declined since 2008, with the number of aircraft based at the airport reduced from four to one, but Mr Cawley said the Alicante announcement augured “the beginning of a new relationship” with the newly independent Shannon Airport Authority.
Earlier this year Ryanair announced increased frequencies ex-Shannon to Palma and Malaga.
Mr Cawley declined to say outright whether Ryanair was paying less in charges on the route than when Shannon was a DAA company.
But SAA chairman Rose Hynes said “one of the reasons we wanted to separate from the DAA was we would have the ability to reach our own deals, to do deals that were suitable for Shannon”.
“The one-size-fits-all solution didn’t actually work for Shannon and its all about a mutually acceptable arrangement between ourselves and Ryanair,” she said.
And that ability to do deals independently had played a part in the Alicante announcement, Mr Cawley said.
“We have had a really good start to life as an independent entity, with a range of new services in place for this year,” Ms Hynes said.
“Alicante was at the top of our list in terms of European sun destinations we wanted to secure and we are delighted now that Ryanair has come on board with the service. There is significant demand for additional services at Shannon and our job is to work as hard and as competitively as we can to ensure we deliver those. We will work closely with Ryanair with a view to ensuring the success of its existing routes and growing its services out of Shannon.”
Such was the demand for an Alicante service in the region, she added, she had every confidence the new route would be a success.