New Year brings new beginning for Shannon Airport – Breen

January 3rd, 2013 - Pat Breen

check-in13Speaking on the eve of Shannon Airport regaining its independence, Fine Gael Clare TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen, said that the New Year will bring a new start for the Airport. Deputy Breen added that the Gathering, which is being launched tomorrow, will provide Shannon with an opportunity to rebuild its passenger base, restore its reputation and re-establish itself as the key economic driver in the region.

“The past number of years have been very challenging for Shannon Airport; a fact exacerbated by the previous Government’s failure to come up with a comprehensive plan for the future of the Airport. Shannon’s difficulties have been played out against the backdrop of turbulence in the global aviation industry due to international downturn. But things are looking up for the industry; Boeing has booked 50 new orders for planes, shares in Bombardier rose last week following the news that Latvia’s Air Baltic has firmed up a tentative order for 10 of its new C-Series jets, and there have been very positive third quarter reports from both Aer Lingus and Ryanair.

“Shannon Airport is ideally positioned to capitalise on this renewed optimism. The new Airport structure will give the local board control over its business development, and already there are a number of positive indicators that the Airports passenger traffic will be bolstered in 2013. United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Aer Lingus and US Airways have all committed to new services and additional capacity into Shannon in 2013, while a number of other airlines are expected to add further services at the Airport once the new structure is in place.

“The Gathering 2013 is coming at an important juncture in the Airport’s history and presents a unique opportunity for the airport to sustain these new services. The new routes which will be available at Shannon Airport next year make it more important than ever for people and community groups organising events around the Gathering to encourage people to use the Airport. In this way, Shannon can serve as the main gateway for people travelling into the West of Ireland to participate in the Gathering.

“Measures focussed on the aviation industry announced in the Budget will further enhance Shannon’s growing reputation as a Centre of Excellence for aviation services. Shannon Airport has the capacity to become a world class aviation centre, with a commitment already secured to create 850 new jobs. It is also important that the Airport’s US Pre Clearance Facility is further developed. I expect that the New Year will bring a further expansion of this service with Military Pre Clearance and talks surrounding the development of freight pre clearance on the agenda. There is significant potential to develop transit traffic by encouraging Airlines to stop off in Shannon and clear immigration before travelling on to the US.

“While 2012 brings to an end to one chapter in Shannon Airport’s history, 2013 opens a new chapter. This will bring many opportunities for the Airport; the new structure will allow it to develop, increase its traffic and create jobs. The Gathering 2013 will help the Airport to sustain these new services, supporting the development of the Airport, with major positive knock on benefits for the entire Mid-West region.”