Tralee Chamber And Kerry Airport Board Member Have Misgivings About Ryanair Operating Route Between Dublin Airport And Kerry Airport
Tralee Chamber and a Kerry Airport board member have misgivings about Ryanair operating the route between Dublin Airport and Kerry Airport that was previously operated by Stobart Air before it ceased trading.
Ryanair announced last week that it will operate the route from July 28 without the state subsidy that was given to the previous incumbent, reportedly saving taxpayers €3.95 million.
Local Group Representatives' Statements
However, as reported by The Irish Times, Tralee Chamber chief executive Ken Tobin has indicated that they are concerned that if the route does not prove commercial, Ryanair will cease operating it due the lack of state subsidy.
Tobin reportedly suggested that this could also create a second problem by causing the loss of the route's public service status, which allows the government to subsidise flights on the route, which would otherwise breach EU rules banning state aid.
Tralee Chamber reportedly said in a statement cautiously welcoming the award of the contract to fly the service to Ryanair that it is calling on minister for transport Eamon Ryan to keep the public service support "in the wings" in case Ryanair decides to stop operating the route.
Tralee Chamber's call reportedly echoed concerns raised by Killarney hotelier and Kerry Airport board member Tom Randles, who reportedly said that it would have been better to award the contract with the full public service obligation subsidy to an airline that flies aircraft that are smaller than the Boeings that Ryanair is intending to use.
Tralee Chamber and Randles reportedly also want a service to operate on the route twice daily from the start, rather than Ryanair’s planned one service per day from each airport until September 1, at which point the airline is planning to increase the number of services operating on the route to twice daily.
Ryanair has reportedly said that the route’s commercial viability depends on both Dublin and Kerry airports cutting their charges, which is an issue that the minister has reportedly indicated the parties should work out themselves.
Ryanair has said that it will operate the route for at least seven months, to the point at which the original deal with Stobart Air was due to end.
In the meantime, the Department of Transport will reportedly seek bids from any airline interested in agreeing to a longer-term deal to operate the route after the seven months are up. That will reportedly allow all parties - government, Kerry Airport, airlines and locals - to revisit the issue.
"Premature And Inaccurate"
Despite Ryanair announcing that it will operate a route between Dublin Airport and Kerry Airport last week, Kerry Airport CEO John Mulhern immediately responded to the announcement by saying that it was "premature and inaccurate".
The Irish Independent quoted Mulhern as saying at the time, "While Ryanair has announced its intention to operate a service on the Dublin-Kerry route and commenced the sale of seats, there has been no formal discussion yet with Kerry Airport."
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