Minister’s intervention highlights airport EU connectivity issue

Transport Minister Shane Ross.
Transport Minister Shane Ross.

TRANSPORT Minister Shane Ross has backed a call from Limerick TD Willie O’Dea for the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) to increase its range of EU destinations.

Last November, the Fianna Fáil Social Protection spokesman called on Shannon airport management to increase its European services including a new route to Paris, particularly because of the airport’s over-reliance on London for onward connectivity.

CityJet ended its Shannon-Paris service in October 2009 at the height of the recession while Ryanair cut its Shannon to Beauvais service in 2016.

“Many people in Limerick have told me that they have to travel to Cork or Dublin in order to fly to Paris which is one of the largest cities in Europe with excellent connections from Charles De Gaulle Airport to hundreds of destinations around the world.

“The greater Paris area has a population of 12 million people and we need to market Limerick and the Mid-West to this huge cohort of people and encourage them to fly to Shannon and visit our many excellent tourist and leisure offerings,” Deputy O’Dea told the Limerick Post.

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“I welcome the intervention of Minister Ross who has backed my call to look at our connectivity with Europe and beyond with the possibility of a hard Brexit coming down the line. Paris would offer huge and hassle free connectivity to the rest of the world for businesses in Limerick and the Mid-West.

“There needs to be significant marketing support for an airline to operate the Shannon to Paris route again now that the economy has picked up. This has to be a priority for the Shannon Airport Authority as well as Minister Ross and his Government colleagues.

“Thankfully, Shannon Airport seen an increase in passenger numbers in last year with new direct Toronto flights and new and enhanced services to Barcelona, Bristol and Liverpool.

“However, the passenger numbers are still down about a million on what they were a decade ago and the lack of a service to Paris from Shannon is a major disappointment for many people I have spoken to,” he added.