Shannon Group making an enormous contribution to sustaining economic recovery throughout the West of Ireland – BREEN

May 7th, 2015 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen T.D. said today that the Shannon Group Results for 2014 are testament to the Government’s decision to establish the Group and the Group is making an enormous contribution to sustaining economic recovery throughout the West of Ireland.

“For the first time in six years, the Airport has delivered double digit growth. Sustained growth across all its transatlantic services and expansion of their European destinations network was a key contributory factor to this success.

The good news for the Group is that all units across the Organisation have contributed to positive figures. Shannon Heritage experienced an 11% increase in visitors while the Shannon Commercial Properties delivered an operating profit of €0.6 million compared to a loss of €1.6 million in 2013.

I commend the Management and Staff at the Shannon Group plc., for the tremendous work that they are doing to transform the Airport, the Industrial Estate and the visitor attractions in the Region.

I know that the Group are working hard to encourage Airlines to maintain and grow their traffic into the Airport. The recent granting of fifth freedom rights to Turkish Airlines to operate Cargo services in both directions from Istanbul and Chicago which will bolster their efforts to develop the Airport as a Cargo Hub, while the Group are also advocating for investment in the Shannon Industrial Estate.
Recent claims that the increased Shannon Airport delivers no added value to the Country are very much wide of the mark. Shannon Airport generated €150 million in tourism spend in 2014, which is a 17% increase in 2013 and communities all along the communities along the Western Seaboard have benefitted from the influx of additional tourists.

It is unwise to be blaming Shannon Airport for the demise of Cork Airport. Shannon Airport is only now reversing the decline in passenger numbers that it suffered after years of decline under the previous Administration. In 2007, there were 3,620,623 million passengers recorded at the Airport, that number had fallen to 1,757,895 million in 2010 and while this year’s figures are extremely positive at 1,639,315 million, the Airport has to continue to focus on sustaining this growth. While Cork Airport turns its attention to Shannon Airport, passenger traffic at Dublin Airport is accelerating. 21.7 million passengers used the Airport last year, an extra 1.5 million on the previous years when 24 new routes were added to their network.
T
he establishment of the Shannon Group has allowed Shannon Airport to increase its traffic, create jobs and support development in the wider region. The abolition of the air travel tax , the implementation of the 9% tourism VAT rate, the introduction of a package of measures to stimulate aviation related activity and the designation of the Wild Atlantic Way have helped to re-establish Shannon Airport as the key economic driver for the West of Ireland and I am hopeful that the Group can sustain this growth going forward.

ENDS