Published on December 1st, 2014 | by Jim Lee0
Shannon re-launches Duty Free as benefits of independence flow
Shannon Airport’s growth has been maintained into the autumn with passenger numbers over August and September showing a 22% and 17% increase, respectively, on the same months last year. Traffic on cross channel routes was up 5% in August and 3% in September, on Continental routes 73% and 51% and on transatlantic 9% and 11%. Transatlantic passengers seem to have travelled more extensively than last year within Ireland as proportions visiting each of Clare, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Kerry all increased. However, Stobart Air, the franchise operator of the Aer Lingus Regional services to Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh, has confirmed that it is reviewing its operations at Shannon Airport. This follows reports that company staff at Shannon were told of the airline’s plans to close its base there. According to the airline “nothing has been finalised”, it’s understood that staff will be offered the opportunity to move to Dublin with redundancy being offered to those not prepared to relocate. While the Shannon services enjoyed 43% increase in passenger numbers during September compared to the same month last year. Stobart dropped its Shannon to Manchester service a day after Ryanair commenced operations on the same route.
On 10th November the Shannon Group announced the re-launch of Shannon Duty Free, taking it back to its original title, under which it was established almost 70 years ago, making it the first and oldest duty free in the world. Starting out from these humble beginnings, this pioneering initiative in Shannon spawned a world-wide industry with thousands of Duty Free Shops around the world now generating billions of euros in revenue annually. The re-launch sees the introduction of new signage and branding, a new supplier in the world renowned Gebr Heinemann, and new product lines and layouts are in the process of being implemented as Shannon Duty Free strives to establish a more effective, exciting and profitable retail outlet. Shannon Duty Free now offers an incredible 60 brands including top names in Irish and European products.
Shannon Airport has recently won a number of awards including the European Regions Airline Association top accolade for airport achievement just 10 days after a global award for marketing excellence and a few months after they won the Airport of the Year award at the Irish Aviation Awards. Its chairperson, Rose Hynes has been named the Limerick Person of the Month recently for her role in leading the turnaround at the airport since it was made independent in January 2013. Not so pleased is Tralee TD Arthur Spring who has heavily criticised the Shannon Group’s role in managing Kerry Technology Park. He says the legislation to establish and Independent Shannon Airport means that facility – a direct competitor with Kerry Airport – is threatening the viability of the business park in Tralee. However, latest Red C research at Shannon show that Kerry is the county benefiting the most from increased transatlantic passenger numbers at Shannon, with 39% of transatlantic passengers interviewed in the survey this year having holidayed in The Kingdom, up from 31% in the same survey last year.