29 Jun 2022

WATCH: Airlines urged to fly from Shannon - Limerick senator calls for greater regional balance

AMID THE continued scenes of queuing at Dublin Airport, calls have been made on airlines to redirect services to Shannon.

More than 1,000 passengers missed flights out of the capital’s hub on a single day over the weekend, with the tailbacks described as doing “reputational damage” to all of Ireland, by Senator Maria Byrne.

It’s been primarily blamed on staffing issues, although many have cited a policy of allowing Dublin Airport to grow exponentially with little consideration given to other airports in terms of relieving pressure.

Representatives of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) are expected to confirm plans later today to ensure there are no repeats of what happened last weekend.

Since Shannon became independent in 2013, Dublin’s footfall has grown to 33 million annual passengers, with Shannon seeing only a modest increase.

With capacity available at Shannon Airport, government has been urged to step in and divide out the flights more evenly around the country.

Speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday, Ms Byrne said: “If they have to take routes off of Dublin Airport and give them to the other airports, in the long term, this needs to happen. It’s obvious we need to put in place proper regional balance. People from the Mid-West and West of Ireland should not have to go to Dublin Airport to be able to access flights.”

Both the DAA and Shannon Airport have said it is a matter for the airlines where planes operate.

Minister Mary Butler, who represented the government in the Seanad, pledged to reflect Ms Byrne’s concerns back to Cabinet, adding: “There’s no point in having a pinch-point in one area, where you have capacity in other areas.”  She acknowledged Shannon Airport is “under-utilised.”

Limerick Green TD Brian Leddin said he is continually raising Shannon Airport with his own party leader, the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, who held meetings this week with the DAA.

Mayor Daniel Butler added: “There is no doubt Shannon has the capacity to deliver, but we need the airlines to back it and realise finally pushing all the flights into Dublin does not work.”

Limerick Live has contacted both Ryanair and Aer Lingus about redirecting flights. A response is awaited. 

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