RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has said there is room for further growth at Shannon following the airline’s recent addition of eight new routes at the airport.
The businessman, speaking at the JP McManus backed All Ireland Scholarship awards in the University of Limerick at the weekend, said “the future is set fair for Shannon”.
Asked if there was room for further growth at the now independent airport, he said: “I think so. We have to walk before we can run but there is a new ownership regime in Shannon, a new management team which is particularly good, and are now working closely with the airlines, not just Ryanair.”
“I think some of the other airlines have also announced plans to grow. I think Aer Lingus are adding some transatlantic flights next year, so I think the future is set fair for Shannon,” he added.
Ryanair recently unveiled details of eight new routes to continental Europe that will see the airline’s total passengers at Shannon grow from 450,000 to 750,000 over a full year.
The airline said its recommitment to Shannon was as a result of the abolition of the travel tax by Government in the recent Budget.
Mr O’Leary said it was “fantastic news” that the airline was increasing its level of service at the airport.
“We promised the Government if they scrapped the travel tax we would deliver at least a million new passengers next year, which would be the equivalent of two Gatherings, and the Gathering has been a success this year, but you are going to see an awful lot more traffic and tourism growth,” he explained.
“The great thing with the Shannon initiative is that it is going to be spread across the country and not just be confined to Dublin,” he continued.
“To be fair it is all credit to Michael Noonan. He had the vision this year to scrap the travel tax,” he said.
“But we have to build on the opportunity the Government has given us by scrapping the travel tax and build from there.”