Breen welcomes inclusion of the Shannon Aviation and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill on the Government’s Autumn Legislative Programme

September 19th, 2013 - Pat Breen

Clare TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen has welcomed the commitment of the Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar T.D. to the development of Shannon Airport. Deputy Breen’s comments follow the publication today of the Government’s Legislative Programme for the autumn and the inclusion of the Shannon Aviation and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill in the Autumn Schedule.

Under the legislation, a new State company, Shannon Group plc, will be established and the existing shareholdings held by the Government in both Shannon Development and Shannon Airport Authority will be transferred to it.

“The latest passenger traffic figures from the Airport are testament to the role an independent Shannon Airport Authority will play in the region’s economic recovery. Figures for August 2013 revealed growth for the third consecutive month, following on from June which revealed the first increase in passenger traffic at the airport in over five years. This is adding to the renewed optimism about Shannon Airport amongst tourism and business interests not only in the region but across the international aviation sector.

“The challenge is to sustain that growth going forward. In my role as Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, I have held several meetings with a number of aviation companies to encourage them to consider setting up in Shannon and the passage of this legislation will further copper fasten their confidence in the airport.

Increased Traffic into Shannon Airport has a very positive spin off for the Tourism Industry here in County Clare and reports from across the county are that 2013 was a very good year for the Tourism Industry. The Gathering has played a major role this year and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of visitors particularly from North America. The American market is hugely important for Clare tourism, as US visitors are more likely to stay longer and spend more while they are here.

And the signs are positive that this transatlantic confidence in Shannon Airport will continue into next year. The restoration of Aer Lingus all year round services to Boston and New York is a tremendous boost for the Airport and for tourism and business interests in the Region and this move together with the commitment of United Airlines, Delta and US Airways to Shannon Airport will help to counteract the trend in recent years whereby the Shannon Region was losing out to the East Coast.

This Government is committed to supporting the resurgence of Shannon Airport and the passage of this legislation will deliver the final piece of the jigsaw ensuring that we have a strong and independent authority in place at Shannon Airport which will play a key role in stimulating aviation, tourism and business activity in this Region.