Airport blasts O’Leary comments out of the sky

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Galway Airport bosses have lashed out at Michael O’Leary’s recent suggestions that there is no future for the airport.

In a statement released this week, airport bosses slammed the Ryanair chief executive claims, with managing director Joe Walsh saying that Galway Airport, as a strategically important air access resource on the western seaboard will continue to be developed and expanded to meet the demand for convenient air access and connectivity to and from the region.”

Last week Mr O’Leary questioned the long term future of all the country’s regional airports, even Knock, a destination Ryanair uses.

He said, “There is no future for Donegal, Galway, Waterford, Sligo, and even Knock, despite the fact we fly there, is pretty flaky as well.

“There is no getting away from the economics of this country. There are four million people here and we have 11 airports. Bristol is a city of ten million and it has one airport. Our airports would not survive without massive subsidies. We subsidise everyone on the Knock-Dublin route to the tune of €120 each. At a time when there are schools and hospitals in need, it is insane to be subsidising the rich to fly between Knock and Dublin.”

And in response to the claims, Peter Allen, president Galway Chamber said Galway Airport has a key role to play in facilitating the achievement of the Government’s objective of balanced regional development. “Connectivity is massively important for the business community along the west coast therefore we welcome the Government’s continued support of the Galway – Dublin PSO route.

“As President of Galway Chamber and board member of Galway Airport I congratulate the management of Galway Airport on their continuing efforts to provide customer friendly facilities for the users of the airport and I extend my congratulations to Aer Arann who, in partnership with the airport, have delivered superb flight services on the Galway-Dublin route more than the last 10 years,” he said.

Galway Airport has been in business for over 20 years and flies to destinations such as Dublin, London, Luton, Manchester, and Amsterdam.

In 2007, according to its own figures, passenger numbers passing through the airport grew by 27 per cent.

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