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Future of Regional Airports after Inter-Urban Motorway Completion

  • 05-04-2010 7:52pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,084 ✭✭✭ veryangryman


    Heard a mention of Waterford Airport and a polite but firm message to start a dedicated thread. So here it is...

    I think that Galway is doomed. Waterford, id actually say "could" survive given that there is no rival airport within a reasonable distance (even with the 2 hour ish drive to Dublin). With Knock growing from strength to strength, i would say its curtains for Galway.

    Donegal/Sligo i would say will just about survive. No decent infrastructure in the north-west to speak of wrt Donegal. Sligo, yeah you could make the point about Knock but i still think it will sustain itself (government grants will still cover if not). Kerry also needed for people not mad enough to drive the 200 odd miles to the smoke to go on hollybobs.

    Side topic: I think that Knocks only weakness is its infrastructure. A decent road either side of it and it could rival Shannon for Short-Haul
    Tagged:


Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,013 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Galway is doomed due to the reliance on flights to Dublin.

    Waterford never had these and is now more easily accessible so with proper marketing it MIGHT actually do better.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,711 ✭✭✭ Cosmo Kramer


    Galway has got to be in desperate trouble now that the M6 is fully operational. If you take out flights to Dublin, there is little else left there anyway (just Edinburgh, Luton and Manchester), it cannot handle 737s and is unlikely to ever be able to, and with Aer Arann and Aer Lingus now in cahoots, I don't see Aer Lingus' new regional venture moving into Galway. It will probably stay open for island hopping etc., but has little future otherwise.

    Sligo only has flights to Dublin, as long as they're subsidised they'll keep going, if the subsidies are pulled Sligo will go too.

    Donegal is similar to Sligo but it has a flight to Glasgow because of the historical connection there. It will probably just about keep going as is.

    Knock should be OK, its a long way from Dublin and has a huge catchment area. It is also surprisingly profitable as an airport. Its long runway is a great advantage to it compared to the other regionals. But even still passenger numbers there are only just about holding steady at around 600,000 to 700,000.

    Shannon, although not a regional, has huge issues as well. With the Ryanair service reduction it is apparantly a ghost town after lunch once the transatlantics leave, and Aer Lingus are still considering major cutbacks there also for the coming winter.

    Further south of that I'm not so well up on. Cork and Waterford should have decent catchment areas and Kerry seem to be keeping a few Ryanair flights going.

    But Galway will be the big loser from the motorway expansion, because it is now so easy to get from Galway city and the east of the County to Dublin. The road to Shannon is also coming along very well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 242 ✭✭ sonyair


    Shannon, although not a regional, has huge issues as well. With the Ryanair service reduction it is apparantly a ghost town after lunch once the transatlantics leave, and Aer Lingus are still considering major cutbacks there also for the coming winter.

    Aer Lingus Regional are in talks with the SAA about routes and Aer Lingus
    are also in talks to base a a320 and a330 so it might not be all bad


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,013 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    It will probably stay open for island hopping etc., but has little future otherwise.

    That moved to the other Galway airport a long time ago (Connemara Regional) to cut flight times.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,967 ✭✭✭ Chris_5339762


    It could go either way. Dublin people may want to avoid Dublin airport so head to the regionals.

    Cork, Shannon and Knock should be the only ones. Waterford and Galway are just too close to other airports and should go.

    Cork serves the south.
    Shannon can serve the transatlantics.
    Knock serves the northwest.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,638 Zoney


    If it had genuinely been 2006 that the interurbans were finished, and M18 was also complete by now, Shannon Airport would have been far more viable regardless of how the smaller regional airports would have gone (even at present there seems little point in Galway and with an M18 and M17 to Tuam, even Knock wouldn't have been viable if Shannon still actually had flights available)

    So I would in fact have welcomed the motorways from this perspective too.

    Chris: Shannon should have more European destinations - why should the entire Midwest and West have to travel to Dublin? (Cork is less of an option as it's on the wrong side of the city, has less destinations and the N20 is a goat track with less public transport options).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    Dublin will always be the pre-eminent airport in the country, it's well within driving range of the islands population and offers numerous destinations, none of which bar PSOs are forced to land there.

    Shannons future is as a US military hub, it has had numerous Euro destinations but no one bothered using them, just like transatlantic stopovers, failed tax incentives and special state agencies all of which have tried and failed to turn Shannon, a small town in the middle of Clare, into something its not.
    It could go either way. Dublin people may want to avoid Dublin airport so head to the regionals.

    I find it unlikely people from the Dublin urban area will choose a Knock or a Shannon above using Dublin airport. Perhaps people in the remote parts of Dublins hinterland like Westmeath & Laois might use them, but with improvements in the GDAs public transport system (primarily Metro North) then i think the Dublin area will stick to the local airport.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,967 ✭✭✭ Chris_5339762


    Zoney wrote: »
    Chris: Shannon should have more European destinations - why should the entire Midwest and West have to travel to Dublin? (Cork is less of an option as it's on the wrong side of the city, has less destinations and the N20 is a goat track with less public transport options).

    Agreed. But if the M20 was built and the CNRR done (also Dunkettle) then Shannon and Cork airports are only about 1h15m from each other.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 878 rainbowdash


    Cheap bus links will put Dublin airport to a lot of places under 2.5hrs on the motorways. Ideally one airport somewhere in the midlands with good road and rail links to all areas would be the best but this will never happen.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,830 ✭✭✭ markpb


    Ideally one airport somewhere in the midlands with good road and rail links to all areas would be the best but this will never happen.

    Airports work best when located beside cities because that's where the demand is. Having an airport that's equally accessible for the entire country but relatively inaccessible for cities would be a disaster.

    Besides, we don't do good rail links in this country :)
    I find it unlikely people from the Dublin urban area will choose a Knock or a Shannon above using Dublin airport.

    Exactly. The queues in Dublin Airport might be a pain but I can get from my apartment to a departure gate in 55 minutes and from wheels down to my apartment in 28 minutes. Even if the queues were much, much worse, there's no saving at all in going to another airport.


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,013 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    I have chosen the regional airports (Waterford and Galway) out of preference before; but with reducing traffic numbers everywhere not only do they have less routes; Dublin is quicker to get through. T2 should improve that more.

    Then again, Galway Airport is still only 75mins from my door to the gates, pretty much any time of year; and Dublin is a lot more than that in summer.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,981 ✭✭✭✭ mike65



    Shannons future is as a US military hub.

    Interesting!

    Waterford Airport never had a PSO, hasn't seen a flight to Dublin since 2003 and has generally has had to live on its wits rather than handouts/favours.

    The passenger "subvention" at €16.55 is the highest but the lowest PSO* is €33.00 (for Kerry), while the highest is €99.00 (Knock and €0.95 subvention on top).

    Year____Passengers
    2003----24,000
    2004----55,000
    2005----71,000
    2006----85,000
    2007----116,000
    2008----144,000

    A fly in the ointment is the scrappage of the runway extension announced in March by Minister for Stasis Noel Dempsey. which would have oppened it up to A320/B737 scale craft. But I suspect it will happen at some point.

    Airport Economic Impact Assessment Word Doc 420k

    *PSO 2006 figures


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,016 ✭✭✭✭ Mc Love


    Shannon would be ok if it was controlled by Shannon and not dublin


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    mike65 wrote: »
    Interesting!

    Waterford Airport never had a PSO, hasn't seen a flight to Dublin since 2003 and has generally has had to live on its wits rather than handouts/favours.

    The passenger "subvention" at €16.55 is the highest but the lowest PSO* is €33.00 (for Kerry), while the highest is €99.00 (Knock and €0.95 subvention on top).

    Year____Passengers
    2003----24,000
    2004----55,000
    2005----71,000
    2006----85,000
    2007----116,000
    2008----144,000

    A fly in the ointment is the scrappage of the runway extension announced in March by Minister for Stasis Noel Dempsey. which would have oppened it up to A320/B737 scale craft. But I suspect it will happen at some point.

    *PSO 2006 figures

    The only thing which is a bigger waste of money in Irish Aviation besides PSOs is grants to minor airports for things like runway extensions, Let Waterford airport pay for it themselves rather then relying on pork from the state.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 KevR


    Shannon, although not a regional, has huge issues as well. With the Ryanair service reduction it is apparantly a ghost town after lunch once the transatlantics leave, and Aer Lingus are still considering major cutbacks there also for the coming winter.

    I do think that Shannon would be a lot better off had it not been for the disgraceful government travel tax.

    I'm not surprised to hear it described as a ghost town most of the day. City Link have cut most of their Galway-Shannon buses since Ryanair started reducing flights out of Shannon.

    It's funny though that I ended up flying from Dublin many times when there were suitable flights available from Shannon because of the poor public transport to Shannon. Flying from Shannon and taking the bus to the airport, I'd often end up arriving in the airport 2/3/4 hours before the flight and often had to wait a similar length of time for a bus back up to Galway when I landed back in Shannon.
    In contrast, there is something like 70 buses each way between Galway and Dublin Airport every day. They go nearly every 15 mins almost if you can be flexible with the bus operator you travel with.

    I have never flown from Knock because there is no public transport to/from the airport and their flight options always seemed rather poor even compared to Shannon.

    When the M18 Gort-Crusheen opens I think Shannon should be rebranded as 'Limerick-Galway Airport'. In all honesty, how many tourists would actually want to go to Shannon town? And the name 'Shannon' for the airport could easily be confusing for someone looking to visit Ireland what with the River Shannon stretching up along a lot of the country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,304 ✭✭✭ serfboard


    Thanks to veryangryman for starting this thread. It may have been my comment in the M9 thread that you refer to ;) ... but this is now well worth discussing with MIUs due to complete this year.
    The only thing which is a bigger waste of money in Irish Aviation besides PSOs is grants to minor airports for things like runway extensions, Let Waterford airport pay for it themselves rather then relying on pork from the state.

    I have no problem with (sustainable) regional airports getting some capital grants from time to time. It's current expenditure pork (in the form of PSOs) that I have a problem with. Anyway, did I hear somewhere that the EU might take a look at these again now that we have good roads in this country.

    If so, I think Sligo, Donegal and Galway are finished.

    Our friends in the North are building a new dual carriageway from Derry to its airport, so that can cater for Donegal/Sligo. People from the West can go to Knock.
    KevR wrote: »
    I have never flown from Knock because there is no public transport to/from the airport and their flight options always seemed rather poor even compared to Shannon.

    Sorry Kev, you are misinformed. Bus Eireann have at last taken the very sensible decision to route their no. 64 Galway to Sligo bus via Knock airport, so there are now seven direct public transport services per day.
    KevR wrote: »
    When the M18 Gort-Crusheen opens I think Shannon should be rebranded as 'Limerick-Galway Airport'. In all honesty, how many tourists would actually want to go to Shannon.

    Good idea. When Gort->Tuam completes, Shannon will be probably 45 minutes from Galway. Also, the Shannon tunnel will make it more attractive for people from the likes of Tipperary, Offaly and north Kerry.

    However, I also take the point about how empty Shannon seems now. I flew from there recently and the place is like a big empty barn.

    Kerry and Waterford airports I'm not so sure about. It's impressive that Waterford has never had a PSO and still survives. However, it only has one operator and that's Aer Arann - should anything happen to it, there might be a different story. If the airport does succeed in getting its runway extension it would be able to open the airport up to others (and not just Ryanair - BMI Baby or Easyjet for example). I can't see it getting the runway extension for a number of years, specially with Martin Cullen now out of politics.

    As well as which, what will the impact of improved journey times to Dublin mean for the airport? If the likes of GoBus started doing a motorway service direct from Waterford to Dublin Airport how would that impact?

    Kerry still has a PSO and (until May) only one operator - Ryanair. We've seen what they can do with Shannon, and their volatility makes them unreliable. However, Kerry does have a 737-capable runway, so that does offer them the option of landing another carrier should Ryanair pull out. They also have an impressive list of Bus Eireann connections. (Of course, if they got their heads together down there, the railway station could be moved a few hundred yards to right outside the airport. Making it the only airport with a train connection in the country :)). And while some parts of it are good, the state of the N22 around Macroom and Ballyvourney, as well as remaining roundabouts on the Cork SRR, make Kerry people think twice about using Cork.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 KevR


    serfboard wrote: »
    Sorry Kev, you are misinformed. Bus Eireann have at last taken the very sensible decision to route their no. 64 Galway to Sligo bus via Knock airport, so there are now seven direct public transport services per day.

    Well that did only start a couple of months ago. I haven't done much flying since the turn of the year..

    Do you know if there was anything else before this was introduced? I remember looking a few times over the last couple of years and not being able to find anything suitable.

    It's good that there is a service there now but 1hr 45mins travel time seems a bit much and only 7 services each way per day could cause problems. Shannon used to have a lot more buses everyday than that and was only 1hr 15mins on City Link and I still ended up having to use Dublin a lot when there were suitable flights from Shannon because bus times completely didn't suit flight times.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    SXL should be the one under greatest threat. The BE change to serve NOC directly ex Sligo combined with the cost and environmental impact of extending the SXL runway into the harbour wetlands should be curtains.

    A terrific deal could have been done at the height of the boom. Move Air Corps HQ to SNN from Baldonnel (closed and developed), with government flights based at DUB and rotary army/garda support going to the Curragh. The crosswind runway at SNN could have been rebuilt from the proceeds, with US trooping flights going through the military facility rather than the main passenger terminal. You could still do it but the net proceeds from Baldonnel would be substantially lower as you still have to remediate fuel spills etc. first and the demand for building land has vaporised.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    KevR wrote: »
    Well that did only start a couple of months ago. I haven't done much flying since the turn of the year..

    Do you know if there was anything else before this was introduced?
    You had to get the bus to Charlestown and change to a shuttle from Charlestown to NOC.


  • Registered Users Posts: 600 ✭✭✭ Neworder79


    Ireland West Airport - Transport Links

    Galway-Sligo-Donegal bus route 64 has been stopping at Ireland West since February, but it seems to be a half hearted "trial" by Bus Eireann and a lot less than the originally promised 6 routes. With over 630,000 using the airport in 2008, and almost continuous growth in routes over 10 years including 4 more Ryanair routes this year, it is beyond belief that there is was no public transport in place before 2010 for tourists arriving in the West, especially with hundreds of Bus Eireann buses passing the airport gate or within 15 minutes detour on N17/N5 weekly. On one occasion last summer all hire cars and taxis were booked out at Knock and there were a lot of tourists left stranded wondering where was the island of welcomes.

    Bus Eireann did announced 6 routes serving Westport, Ballina, Donegal, Sligo, Derry and Galway would be linked via the airport back in 2005. It was publicised in the media and large decals printed on the side of western buses and ministers back clapping on the radio. The airport built a bus stop and changed the entrance gates to suit BE, but by 2007 nothing had happened and with local TDs and the airport starting to grumble it was "sanctioned" again by the DOT in a pre election stunt with more media and celebratory press releases.

    Again nothing happened. Bus Eireann launched several routes from the west to Dublin airport, including Sligo, Ballina, and hundreds of scheduled and private services through Cork and Shannon were added. Last year the airport told Dempsey they would have to make their own plans if something didn't happen and within a few months the Galway bus was announced. So either our elected transport officials are completely incompetent, time wasting idiots, or there was some political lobby who didn't like the growth at Ireland West.

    The image below was a mockup from another discussion to show how easily existing transport modes and airports could be integrated today to give the West a basic public transport system at virtually no cost.

    ProposedIntigratedBusNetwork_WestRe.gif


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,105 Stinicker


    What I think needs to happen is for to develop Shannon Airport into a regional airport of Limerick/Galway similar to Munster/Osnabruck in Germany and cut their fees, Ryanair would still be there only for the fees. More Military operations should be done there and also route a few flights away from Shannon to Cork and give Cork transatlantic access.

    Cork badly needs a few Transatlantic flights and if they had a twice weekly service to New York and weekly during the winter it would be a huge success especially for Tourism in Cork and Kerry.

    Kerry Airport is doing well and is totally shielded from the Motorways given Kerry's total isolation from the rest of the country and Ryanair have seven routes adding Weeze recently. Aer Arran are back with Manchester and Kerry and Knock Airports are both doing well. Galway Airport is surplus to requirements and its future is probably in private aviation like Weston. Waterford Airport similary is surplus to requirements and a Motorway to Cork would really help things if the N25 was ever to become the M25, Cork Airport should be grown more by feeding passengers from Waterford and Limerick via the M20 if it ever materialises.

    Kerry people are put off Cork by the state of the N22 and the Ballyvourney-Macroom section and the ripoff parking charges, a week away from Cork could see the parking cost more than a return ticket and getting someone to drop off and collect is bothersome due to the distance and bad roads, thus Kerry Airports popularity.

    The Future of Irish airports is in Dublin, Cork as the two big players with Knock, Shannon and Kerry as strong regional, Derry will grow and serve the North West and as for the rest they will be all but a memory.


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