Updated 5.09 PM
RYANAIR SAYS IT will “respond positively” to the Government’s scrapping of the travel tax by increasing passengers at Irish airports by one milllion next year.
The airline announced today that it has invited representatives from five Irish airports to meetings this week to discuss its plan to grow traffic by at least one million passengers a year from April 2014.
The €3 travel tax applied to passengers departing from Irish airports but yesterday it was announced that it will be abolished with effect from 1 April 2014.
Ryanair says that traffic has been down at Irish airports by 30.5 million passengers since the travel tax was introduced in January 2009 but believes that “much of this traffic can now be recovered”.
Deputy CEO Micheal Cawley said today that the repeal of the travel tax restores Ireland’s competitiveness and attractiveness overseas:
“This travel tax, originally €10, in 2009 caused Irish air travel and tourism to suffer precipitous losses in recent years,” he said.
Ryanair had long been an apposed to the tax and at one point claimed that it was in fact illegal.
The airline claims that the one million additional passengers will include 500,000 visitors, more than the increase seen as a result of The Gathering in 2013.
Ryanair said that it expects the traffic growth to be across both new routes and existing ones, the details of which are yet to be decided.
“Subject to final negotiation on new routes and additional frequencies on existing routes with the individual airports, we hope to be in a position to announce details of new route and traffic growth plans at the Irish airports over the coming weeks,” said Cawley.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has welcomed welcomes Ryanair’s commitment, saying they are “fully supportive of any airline that plans to grow in the Irish market”.
A DAA spokesman this afternoon said that they have already seen an extra one million passengers in Dublin airport over the past 12 months with growth also expected at Cork Airport next year.