The Government should move flights from Dublin Airport to Shannon in order to “rebalance” the economy, Sinn Féin has said.
In the first quarter of 2023, 85% of all flights in the State were handled by Dublin, with Cork in second place, dealing with 7%.
This dominance by Dublin has been described as a “huge imbalance” by Sinn Féin and they have urged the State to take action to correct it.
“That has consequences - both for overcrowding in Dublin but also for economic development across the State,” Senator Paul Gavan told Newstalk Breakfast.
“Here in the Midwest we have Shannon Airport; it’s currently on a good upward turn in terms of passengers.
“It’s hitting around 1.5 million passengers a year - that’s exactly half of what it used to do about 20 years ago.
“So, we’ve a huge capacity here in Shannon to rebalance flights.”
Senator Gavan said his neighbours often travel to Dublin to get a flight and there would be “very good demand” for more flights from regional airports.
“What we need is a Government that has a positive policy of rebalancing aviation,” he said.
“So that we have more flights leaving from the West.
“Specifically from Shannon but also Cork and, indeed, the West of Ireland Airport in Mayo.”
The solution, Senator Gavan believes, is for more State intervention in aviation policy - with a greater emphasis on regional airports.
“What I’ve called for for years… is a reconstituted national airport authority with a mandate to rebalance aviation in favour of the West, in favour of Shannon Airport - but also Cork and the West of Ireland Airport in Mayo,” he said.
“Because it’s good for our economy and it’s good for tourism.”
According to the International Air Transport Association, aviation in Ireland is predicted to grow by 55% on “current trends” in the next 20 years.
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Main image: Shannon Airport.