I, along with a group of Independent TDs from across the West of Ireland, have issued a joint statement calling on Government to ensure connectivity from North America and Heathrow to Shannon Airport, and to implement fully the recommendations of the Aviation Recovery Taskforce in support of economic recovery across the region.
We are seeking a meeting with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport to impress upon them the urgency of the situation in the aviation sector and its effect across the entire economy. We will also seek to meet Aer Lingus, Ryanair and the Shannon Group to ascertain what Government actions are required to maintain connectivity at Shannon which is important to their constituencies from Malin Head to Mizen Haed.
We have expressed our concern over the potential transfer of Aer Lingus aircraft serving routes to the US from Shannon Airport to alternative UK airports, as well as the decision by Delta and United Airlines not to resume flights from Shannon Airport in 2021, as well as the delay in recommending Heathrow flights from Shannon.
This has echoed calls made this week by Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon Chambers of Commerce and we are calling on the Government to provide support packages for airlines who will maintain routes from Shannon Airport, and to align National Aviation Policy with Project Ireland 2040 in order to strengthen the role of airports as key strategic assets for balanced regional development.
The ongoing crisis in the aviation sector is having an unprecedented and ever deepening effect on Shannon Airport which, as a key economic driver for the West of Ireland, needs urgent interventions and supports to ensure its future viability.
The airport supports thousands of jobs across multiple sectors and is also a key element of the region’s attractiveness as a allocation for inward investment. The loss of international connectivity would precipitate a collapse in the local tourism sector and prompt multinational employers to consider relocating. Only urgent and decisive intervention by Government can avoid such a scenario.