Published on October 26th, 2015 | by Jim Lee


Shannon Airport news roundup

In a statement on 20th October, Shannon Group plc welcomed the Mid-West Action Plan published the previous day, stating that the plan is entirely in alignment with the strategic direction being undertaken by the Group. Shannon Group Plc is a commercial semi-state company established on the 5th September 2014. Headquartered at Shannon Airport, Co Clare, it brings together Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage, the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) and Shannon Commercial Enterprises Ltd, trading as Shannon Commercial Properties. The Group’s commercially driven businesses are focused on delivering economic benefits for the West of Ireland and the wider national economy.

The plan targets 66 investments for the Mid-West over the period 2015-2019 and singles out aviation as one of the clusters identified for growth, including targeting new inward investment opportunities by marketing the region as a location for FDI by aviation and aerospace companies. It also sets ambitious targets for increasing tourism employment, revenue and visitor numbers.

Key ambitions for the sector set out in the plan are:

  • The formation of a cluster group of aviation and aerospace industries in the region to support collaboration between existing enterprises in the region and to attract further investment in the sector, with the International Aviation Services Centre playing a leading role
  • Enhancing the infrastructure in the region to support growth of existing enterprises and to act as a key selling point to attract further investment in the sector, something to which Shannon Commercial Properties is central
  • Developing marketing packages to promote Ireland and Shannon for aerospace manufacturing capabilities and aerospace/aviation firm.

Consideration is also being given in the plan to a proposed new Aerospace and Aviation Institute, Aero-I, which would form a key part of an overall strategy to position Shannon and the Mid-West region as the ‘Aerospace and Aviation Valley of Ireland’. Based in Shannon, the institute would assemble and align the many assets of the Mid West in a centre for Aerospace and Aviation education and research.

Shannon Airport (IMG4975 JL)

The new Rugby inspired sculpture in the main concourse of the airport

Commenting on the plan, Shannon Group plc Chairman Rose Hynes said, “It is a positive and dynamic blueprint for job creation across the region and very much recognises the role that the Shannon Group, through Shannon Airport, the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) and Shannon Commercial Properties Limited will play in this”.

Shannon Group plc CEO Neil Pakey added, “Shannon and the International Aviation Services Centre is already home to a cluster of some 50 aerospace and aviation companies. We welcome the Plan’s recognition of the importance of such clusters and are committed to working with the other regional stakeholders to build on success to date and to implement the Plan’s actions. In terms of tourism, the plan envisages growing overseas numbers in the region to 1.26million, employment by 25% and revenue to €375million per annum in tourism by 2021”.

Shannon Airport wins awards

On 14th October Shannon Airport received major recognition from the European airline community, after being chosen as this year’s winner of the Airport of the Year Award, from the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), for the second year in a row, the first time this has happened in the history of the award. The award was announced at a gala event at the ERA’s annual General Assembly, held in Berlin. The Airport of the Year Award is intended to recognise airports which have had a positive impact on intra-European air transport operations and which recognise the importance of airline-airport partnerships. Previous winners of the award include London City, Budapest and Munich Airports.

According to the judging panel, Shannon won this year’s award on a number of grounds, most notably for attracting a second based Ryanair aircraft and for the launch of Aer Lingus’ expanded transatlantic services in 2014, resulting in a 17% increase in passenger numbers for the year. The judges also recognised Shannon’s strong route network and range of US destinations in particular.

The Award is judged by a panel of leading experts drawn from the aviation industry, including past and present CEOs of European airlines and airport consultants.

Earlier on 22nd September, Shannon Airport’s status as a key player in the Irish tourism industry was recognised again, as it was on the podium for the third year running, at the World Routes Marketing Awards, held in Durban, South Africa. Shannon was ‘Highly Commended’ from a shortlist of five airports in the ‘Under 4 Million Passengers’ category. It was outright winner of this award last year, having been ‘Highly Commended’ again in 2013. The award was won outright this year by Halifax International Airport in Canada. The global awards, which are voted exclusively by airlines, recognise the marketing and promotional activities of airports and tourism destinations globally.

Shannon Airport welcomes new services, capacity increases

On 8th October, Shannon welcomed Aer Lingus’ decision to increase capacity for summer 2016, on its Heathrow, Faro and Malaga services, an additional 55,000 seats will give Shannon a well-deserved boost, with 35,000 extra seats on services to Heathrow, 10,000 seats to Faro and 10,000 seats to Malaga.

This is in addition to their 20% increase in capacity announced earlier this year for both Heathrow and Lanzarote, which kicks in for the coming winter season and which will see 25,000 extra seats on London and 1,300 seats to Lanzarote.

Welcoming the increase, Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey said, “London Heathrow is our busiest service and the increased capacity on the larger A320 aircraft here is very much in response to demand. In all, Aer Lingus will operate over 81,000 additional seats to Europe and the UK in the coming year”.

Earlier 6th October, the region received a boost for tourism for summer 2016, as a new Austrian charter from Vienna was added to the Shannon schedule. Austrian Tour Operator Prima Reisen will operate a total of seven flights – four in July, two in August and one in September – in 2016, with the airport hopeful of an increase in services over following years. Promotion of the service has already begun, with tour operators and media from Austria visiting the region during the month, supported by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, to experience some of the range of visitor attractions on offer.

Finally, on 28th September, Shannon Airport also welcomed a significant growth for summer 2016 in transatlantic capacity by Delta Air Lines, who will operate the larger Boeing 767-300 aircraft on the service. This will result in a 25% increase in capacity, or 17,000 additional seats. Mr Pakey said that this was “excellent news for passengers from this region who want to fly to JFK and beyond but is also excellent news again for the tourism industry here”.

Shannon traffic figures

Up to the end of September of this year Shannon Airport handled 1,348,321 passengers, up 5% on the same period in 2014. This compares with a total for 2014 of 1,639,315 passengers. Shannon last released traffic figures on 12th August, which were for July and which showed a 3% growth compared to July 2014. July load factors (seats filled) on flights averaged 90%, the highest they have been since the airport gained its independent in 2013.

The table below lists the range of scheduled flights available to and from Shannon for Winter 2015/16. A full Winter 2015/16 timetable can be found here.



About the Author

Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.

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