Fáilte Ireland chairman Michael Cawley has urged Irish airports to be more competitive with their charges, to capitilise on tourism growth.
Visitor numbers to the country are set to grow by up to seven per cent in the next year due to increased access. But the return on this could be improved by airports reducing their charges, said Cawley (pictured)
“Cork Airport charges €17 per passenger, and that makes it hopelessly uncompetitive,” said Cawley, speaking at a business breakfast in the Kingsley Hotel, Cork, as reported by the Irish Examiner.
Cawley, who previously held the deputy CEO post at Ryanair, said that aviation will grow mainly due to an increased supply in the sector. Flexible pricing models like Ryanair create demand among tourists. High airport fees are not attractive for low-cost airlines, who will go where the price is right.
“The passengers belong to the airline, not to the airports. The airlines will seek to make money, whether that is in Bari or in Cork.
“The value of that Cork Airport’s €17 charge must be measured against the €450 each passenger will spend in Ireland. I don’t think that penny has dropped yet with Ireland’s policy-makers. I don’t know how they plan to boost tourism without working with the airlines because the tourists are not going to swim here.”
Ryanair will see the biggest increase in the upcoming year, owning a 40 per cent share of the growth projection, garnering €900 million in profit.