22 May 2022

Limerick Chamber wants to see Shannon Airport step in amid Dublin Airport 'chaos'

Limerick Chamber wants to see Shannon Airport step in amid Dublin Airport 'chaos'

Dublin Airport has seen long queues since the resumption of air traffic following the Covid-19 pandemic

THE LIMERICK Chamber has called on the Department of Transport to compel the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to transfer flights to Shannon.

It comes with heavy queues and passenger delays a feature of the capital's airport in recent weeks, with many praising Shannon Airport for its comparatively stress-free experience upon traveling.

Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan says the problems facing Dublin Airport can be relieved by transferring certain flights to Shannon, as well as Kerry Airport at Farranfore, North Kerry and Ireland West airport at Knock, plus Cork.

All of these airports have significant slot capacity with many carriers not reinstating routes in the regions in the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Ms Ryan said that the capacity issues at Dublin demonstrate yet again the need for an urgent overhaul of aviation policy and reaffirm concerns that the capital's base would leave others in its slipstream in the aviation Covid recovery. 

Aviation policy needs to have an all-Ireland approach as distinct from a Dublin Airport centric one, she said.

"Dublin Airport’s problems are not good for passengers, for Dublin Airport or our tourism reputation. There is an obvious solution here and that is to make use of the spare capacity of airports in other regions.  If Dublin Airport won’t do this, the Department of Transport should step in and compel it to open conversations with Shannon, Cork, Knock and Kerry airports with a view to using their spare capacity," said the Chamber boss.

"Not one of those airports are near capacity at present. Prior to Covid they were not near capacity, and they are still significantly off their pre-pandemic passenger numbers. So, right now they can alleviate the pressure on Dublin Airport and its staff, provide an important boost to business at those airports and a more comfortable experience for the traveling public," she sugested.

This should be more than a short-term fix, Ms Ryan added, saying diverting flights would, overall, be a better outcome for passengers.

"Diverting some services to Shannon, Cork, Knock and Kerry airports may inconvenience travellers originating in Dublin or with Dublin as their destination, but is not nearly as inconvenient as horrendously long queues and inadequate parking options currently being experienced in Dublin. A shuttle bus service could be provided to take crew and affected passengers down the motorway.  Besides, we know that approximately half of those travellers are already coming from places outside of Dublin for their flights in the first instance. With enough notice, they could adjust plans," said Ms RZyan.

"The rest of the country have been inconvenienced by traveling to Dublin for decades for flights so it’s not inconceivable that the opposite would also happen. A Department of Transport official once remarked to me there is a great motorway network to Dublin. The reality, however, is that it goes in both directions and can also be used to access airports in the regions. Dublin Airport’s monopoly is way out of sync with international norms."

She pointed to the example of Germany, which has its largest hub airport in its fifth biggest city of Frankfurt.

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