By Sean Moriarty

The man who successfully negotiated Ryanair’s London service to and from Kerry Airport could be the vital link in the airport securing a regular flight to and from Amsterdam Schipol.

Back in 2001, Aghadoe-based Peter Bellew secured the Kerry Stansted link with the Irish airline during his tenure as the airport’s marketing manager.

A short time after this Ryanair recruited the County Meath native as its Deputy Head of Flight Operations and he worked his way up the role of Director of Flight Operations before joining Malaysia Air as Deputy Chief Executive in 2014 and three years later returned to Ryanair as its Chief Operating Officer.

However, last week he announced he had left the airline again and on Thursday EasyJet announced that he would become Chief Operating Officer for the Britain-based budget airline.

At the first meeting of the newly elected Kerry County Council, on July 15, Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae’s first motion called for an international PSO between Kerry Airport and Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Schipol is considered a world hub, it is the third-busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume with over 63 million in 2017, and the busiest in Europe in terms of aircraft movement. It is served by a trans-continental rail and road network.

It is also one of EasyJet’s biggest European hubs offering more than 15 flights a day to and from the airport.

Healy-Rae is the second elected member of Kerry County Council to push for Amsterdam after Tralee Mayor Cllr Jim Finucane called for it previously in June 2017, around the same time Mr Bellew returned to Ryanair.

“If we are serious about creating more business opportunities and attracting a new tourism market, we need to connect ourselves to the world and we have a way of doing that, create an International PSO from Kerry Airport to Schipol Airport, Amsterdam,” Healy-Rae said. “By doing this, you have right away opened yourself to over 200 worldwide destinations. 71 million people travelled through Schipol Airport in 2018 and by having a well marketed route to Kerry, we could be getting our fair share of this and adding to the 2.3 million visitors we had to Kerry in 2018.”

It is not clear when Bellew will take up his new role, October will probably be the earliest but given his track record at Kerry Airport and Ryanair he is best qualified to realise these political dreams.