By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Irish airline Ryanair is to resume flights to and from Shannon after an absence of six years with the first service to London’s Stanstead Airport beginning next Thursday, April 13, with the cheapest fares being quoted at £7 return plus an airport departure tax of £7.20.
The service will be increased to three daily flights from May 18. The company is also introducing a Shannon-Frankfurt service with fares starting at £79 return.
The two new routes will add about 250,000 passengers a year to Shannon.
Announcing the new service, Ryanair’s commercial director, Michael Cawley, said it was offering return fares at less than the lowest one-way fare charged by Virgin Express.
He said the £7 return fare represents "a 95 percent saving over Aer Lingus’s cheapest mid-week return fare on its outrageously expensive Shannon-London (Heathrow) service.
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"Similarly, our new low fare route to Frankfurt offers savings of up to 87 percent over the ridiculously high fares being charged by Aer Lingus on the Dublin-Frankfurt route."
Cawley strongly attacked the airport tax charges and accused ‘r Ríanta and Public Enterprise Minister Mary O’Rourke of failing to "honor their undertaking that if we entered the Shannon market we would find that costs would be free for "new routes and for additional passengers on existing routes."
"For an airport such as Shannon which is half empty, which badly needs additional traffic, and which talks continuously about trying to promote traffic and tourism in the Mid-West, this imposition of full charges on a new low fare London service is unjustifiable, particularly when our passengers travelling to Frankfurt will suffer no such charge."
He said Ryanair had lodged a complaint this week with the Competition Authority and the European Commission accusing ‘r Ríanta of abuse of a dominant position by a monopoly.