There are reports that the DAA is considering charging passengers directly for using Shannon Airport.

The proposal would see passengers paying the airport manager directly for using Shannon Airport.

It remains to be seen whether or not the proposal would result in cheaper flights from Shannon for passengers, or cheaper flight costs for the airlines using the airport.

There is a serious issues now with falling passenger numbers at Shannon Airport, with a decline of about 900,000 passengers over the past three years. We need action immediately. I welcome the fact that the DAA are at least beginning to realize the extent of this issue.

This proposal needs to be discussed more in depth with the various stakeholders in the region. The one outcome we cannot have is a rise in ticket prices out of Shannon Airport.

I believe that the first step which needs to be taken to make Shannon more attractive and cost competitive is the removal of the disastrous €10 travel tax. We know already that this tax doubles many winter flights out of Shannon. In a highly competitive international climate, Shannon cannot afford to carry this needless levy any longer. This week I will be speaking in Dáil Éireann during a Fine Gael Private Members Motion on the travel tax. I encourage all Mid-West Deputies to support the motion when a vote is called Wednesday night..

While the current proposal from the DAA could make ticket prices cheaper, passengers would still have to pay the levy directly. Currently these levies are discounted significantly for airlines using Shannon. Therefore, passengers could be facing an additional €7.50 charge for departing from Shannon, on top of the government €10 levy.

The tourist sector in the Mid-West is on its knees at present and any proposal which would place additional financial burdens on passengers to fly from the region will be met with strong opposition.