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Need for balanced regional development of air traffic routes – Byrne

31st May 2022 - Senator Maria Byrne

There is a need for balanced regional development of our air traffic routes, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Maria Byrne, from Limerick, says such a move would be good for regional tourism as well as helping to ease the pressure on our busiest airport in Dublin.

Senator Byrne said, “87% of all flights leaving Ireland depart from Dublin Airport and the remaining 13% is spread between regional airports. We can balance this better and help to ease the pressure on Dublin Airport, where delays are currently causing reputational damage to Ireland internationally.

“I am asking Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to look at what we can do to improve the regional spread of routes and I raised the matter in the Seanad today.

“Even before the current pressure on Dublin Airport, too many people are forced to travel from the West and Mid-West to Dublin Airport to access the flight routes they need. They could be making use of Shannon Airport instead if there were better options.

“Increasing the routes from Shannon and other airports around the country would also improve the price of flights from those airports, which tend to be far more expensive than the options from Dublin Airport due to lack of competition.

“This is an opportune time for the Government to develop regional balance in terms of flight options. It would really help to improve visitor numbers to all parts of the country, as the tourism sector recovers after the pandemic.

“I also believe there is a willingness from people living in various parts of Ireland to travel from Shannon. In much of the reporting in recent days we have seen people speak of their positive experiences departing from Shannon Airport. Already short security queues have improved further with the ending of the requirement to separate liquids into bags.

“I understand Minister Eamon Ryan and Hildegarde Naughton have tasked the Dublin Airport Authority to urgently deliver a plan to tackle the current issues in Dublin Airport. This is welcome but as part of the wider solution I would like to see a plan for a better spread of air traffic routes across all airports in Ireland, including Shannon Airport.”

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