Limerick TD says government ‘must note decline in Shannon Airport numbers’

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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The government needs to “sit up and take notice” of the declining passenger share at Shannon Airport, Niall Collins has said

The government needs to “sit up and take notice” of the declining passenger share at Shannon Airport, Niall Collins has said

THE government needs to “sit up and take notice” of the declining passenger share at Shannon Airport, Niall Collins has said.

Figures released to the Fianna Fail TD this week from Transport Minister Shane Ross has seen the share of Irish passengers travelling from Limerick’s nearest airport collapse from 12.9% in 2005 to just 5% in 2017.

By contrast, ridership through Dublin Airport has risen from 72.3% of the total passenger numbers in 2005 to 85.1% last year.

Last year, the passenger distribution through Knock airport was 2.2%, something Mr Collins highlighted.

“To consider Shannon Airport is barely double what Knock Airport does is hugely concerning. The government needs to look at the numbers critically and carry out an appraisal as to why the market share continues to plummet. It points to a complete regional imbalance,” Mr Collins said.

“The Wild Atlantic Way which has been heralded as a success doesn’t seem to have reversed the downward trend in terms of Shannon Airport,” he added. “As a local representative, Shannon Airport is critical.”

In terms of passenger share, Shannon was the third busiest airport in the state last year, behind both Dublin and Cork.

In all but one year up to 2010, it was attracting a higher share of passengers than Cork Airport.

“When you peel back the rhetoric and spin from Leo Varadkar in relation to aviation policy, we can see the naked truth in the figures which are being compiled by the Central Statistics Office. It’s incumbent on the government to sit up and take notice, and do something about it,” Mr Collins concluded.

Last year, Shannon Airport was the only base to show a drop in passenger numbers, Central Statistics Office figures showed. Some 341,000 passengers used the facility in the final quarter of 2017, a drop of almost two per cent on the same period back in 2016.