Ryanair and DAA in high-profile ‘talks’ about Shannon’s future; anna.aero presents some unbiased analysis

Ryanair and DAA in high-profile 'talks' about Shannon’s future; anna.aero presents some unbiased analysis

The recent war of words between Ryanair and the DAA over Shannon has been much publicised, but lacks the full background to the conflict. anna.aero has looked into the developments at the airport and our research shows that Ryanair has operated to almost 50 destinations from the airport in the west of Ireland at one time or another.

The recent high-profile and on-going ‘discussions’ between Ryanair and DAA regarding Shannon Airport seemed like a perfect opportunity for anna.aero to undertake some analysis and reveal some facts and figures that neither party seems to have felt necessary to present to a wider audience. Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland serves the city of Limerick (and surrounding area) and between 2000 and 2004 it consistently handled around 2.4 million passengers. A deal with Ryanair in 2005 resulted in traffic growing by 50% in just two years. Almost 50% of this growth came from the increase in UK routes while a further 30% came from routes to Continental Europe.

Source: DAA

Source: DAA

Traffic stabilised in 2007 before falling by 12.5% in 2008, 11.8% in 2009 and then 37.2% in 2010. Last year, the airport handled fewer passengers than it did in 1998. Traffic figures for 2010 are not yet available by geographic region, but figures from the UK CAA reveal that the UK market fell 29.4% to 750,000 passengers in 2010. This suggests that passenger numbers to continental Europe are likely to have fallen by a much higher percentage.

Source: DAA

Source: DAA

According to the DAA, year-on-year passenger numbers will continue to be negative during the first quarter of 2011 but thereafter will be positive.

Ryanair dropped 15 destinations last summer

According to anna.aero’s research, Ryanair has, at one time or other, operated non-stop flights to almost 50 destinations across Europe from Shannon. The number of destinations served at any one time peaked in 2008 at around 30. Between the summer of 2009 and 2010, Ryanair reduced its network from 25 destinations to just 10. The 15 dropped routes are summarised in the following table:

Country Airport (original launch date)
Belgium Brussels Charleroi (26 April 2001)
France Carcassonne (12 October 2006)
Germany Düsseldorf Weeze (3 May 2005)
Italy Milan Bergamo (3 May 2005), Venice Treviso (12 October 2006)
Poland Krakow (12 October 2006), Lodz (4 December 2006)
Portugal Faro (12 October 2006)
Spain Alicante (31 March 2008), Girona (3 May 2005), Murcia (22 February 2006)
United Kingdom Birmingham (7 November 2007), Bristol (30 October 2005), Glasgow Prestwick (4 December 2003), Manchester (22 February 2006)
Source: anna.aero database

As a result of these network changes, Ryanair’s destinations this summer are limited to Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Malaga, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca and Wroclaw, plus several destinations in the Canary Islands.

Aer Lingus takes up challenge of UK routes

The four routes to the UK dropped by Ryanair were all replaced relatively quickly with Aer Lingus Regional services, operated by Aer Arann’s ATR 72s. Although the routes have now returned, weekly capacity is much lower with 70-seat turboprops replacing 189-seat jets. So far during the winter season, Ryanair has re-started services to Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, while Aer Lingus has started flying to Paris CDG, replacing the Air France service that was discontinued.

Launch date Destination Carrier Weekly frequency
1 July 2010 Birmingham (BHX) Aer Lingus Regional 6
1 July 2010 Bristol (BRS) Aer Lingus Regional 6
1 July 2010 Glasgow (GLA) Aer Lingus Regional 7
1 July 2010 Manchester (MAN) Aer Lingus Regional 7
31 October 2010 Gran Canaria (LPA) Ryanair 1
3 November 2010 Lanzarote (ACE) Ryanair 1
17 December 2010 Paris CDG (CDG) Aer Lingus 3
27 March 2011 London Gatwick (LGW) Aer Lingus 7
27 March 2011 Edinburgh (EDI) Aer Lingus Regional 5
2 April 2011 Fuerteventura (FUE) Ryanair 1
Source: anna.aero new route database

From the beginning of the summer season, Aer Lingus will be picking up Edinburgh services that Ryanair dropped this winter (again operated by Aer Lingus Regional), as well as starting a new daily service to London Gatwick using its own A320s.

To follow the fortunes of the airport over the coming months, remember to check out anna.aero’s unique, free, downloadable spreadsheet of monthly traffic and trend data for over 300 European airports.

European Trends 2011 - Speadsheet Download


  1. Patrick says:

    In fact the 2010 data is now available from the really quite useful Irish Central Statistics Office website (www.cso.ie), from which traffic by geographic region can be derived. If accurate, the CSO data indicate that total SNN international traffic was 1.35m in 2010.

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