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U.S. troops at Shannon airport Photo by: Google Images

Shannon Airport may lose U.S. troops

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U.S. troops at Shannon airport Photo by: Google Images

A German airport has filed a bid for the contract to host U.S. troops as they stop over for refueling to and from various worldwide destinations- a contract that is worth millions of dollars.

More than one million U.S. troops have gone through Shannon airport since 2006 while en route to war torn countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ireland now fears losing such a contract to the Germans.

Shannon airport, which has lost several airline contracts over the past few years, is dependant for its survival on the U.S. military contract to continue its success.

The Irish Independent reports a potential 60 percent drop could come into effect if the no-frills airline Ryanair decide to pull all its services.

Ryanair, Shannon's major operator, has now slashed its operations at the Irish airport after failing to secure a cut-price landing charges deal.

Earlier this month the airline cut its flights at Shannon by over a fifth.

Where the carrier once boasted 35 destinations in 2008, it is left with just six routes this winter.

According to the Independent, “From a high of 3.6 million passengers in 2006 and 2007, the figures decreased to 3.2 million in 2008 before dropping to 2.8 million last year.”

It is anticipated this year's figures will drop by almost half to 1.5 million.

Former SAA board member, Tadhg Kearney, said the airport does not have a future if it cannot not hammer out a deal with Ryanair.

"It (Ryanair) is the biggest low cost carrier in the world.

"There is nobody else who would come into Ireland and compete with Ryanair and deliver big numbers into Shannon which has a low population catchment area.

"Shannon needs big numbers to survive," Kearney said.
 

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