Posted on: 02 December 2014 by Mark Howells
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has taken part in a press conference at Shannon Airport to mark both the airline reaching its 13 million passenger milestone there and the abolishment of the Irish government’s travel tax.
Before the conference, O’Leary surprised Piotr Rachuta, who was travelling back to Poland on the Shannon–Wroclaw flight with his wife Marta and 4-year old daughter Amelia, by announcing him on the airport tannoy as the 13th million Ryanair passenger to travel through the airport. The CEO then presented the family with Shannon Duty Free shopping vouchers and executive lounge passes as well as free return flights and overnight accommodation.
O’Leary then gave away a free flight and a Shannon Duty Free hamper to all passengers on Rachuta’s 10:05 Wroclaw flight.
Commenting on passing the 13m passenger mark, Rose Hynes, chairman of Shannon Airport, said, “As an island nation we are extremely dependent on air links and, as the most westerly region in Europe, here on this side of the island we are even more so.”
“Ryanair, which is playing a major role in the newly independent Shannon’s growth, put on 10 new routes this year and that is going to translate into 167% growth in European passenger numbers through Shannon,” explained Neil Pakey, Shannon Airport’s CEO. “The great thing is that there is a really strong balance between inbound and outbound on this.
“The introduction of services from France and Germany, in particular, has also been hugely beneficial from an inbound tourism perspective and generated a lot of much appreciated revenue for the local economy.”
Pakey then talked about the travel tax, stating, “The abolition of the travel tax has been hugely important to us. The Minister threw down the gauntlet to the airlines when he effectively gave them three months to deliver, or else he would reinstate it. This was brave and imaginative and most importantly it has paid off in terms of stimulating the tourism economy in this country.”