New RTÉ documentary goes Inside Shannon Airport

New RTÉ documentary goes Inside Shannon Airport

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Shannon AirportA new six-part RTÉ series giving an exclusive look into the workings of Shannon Airport begins this Thursday.

Since becoming independent from the Dublin Airport Authority in December 2012, Shannon Airport now stands alone as a leading publicly owned commercial airport and is now operated and run by the Shannon Airport Authority plc. ‘Inside Shannon’ takes a look at how the Airport is prospering since this historic move.

Viewers will discover what life is like behind the scenes at Shannon as they are taken on a behind the scenes journey that shows the daily occurrences and issues dealt with in the Airport.

Episode one airs at 19:00 this Thursday with the return home of WBO middleweight world champion, Andy Lee and a radical change to the duty-free area some of the many features broadcast.

Speaking exclusively to The Clare Herald, series producer Michael Lynch outlined why Shannon Airport was the chosen destination for the documentary. “Shannon went independent in 2012 so we wanted to see how an airport that was working on its own. The other two airports are linked to the Dublin Airport Authority so Shannon was on its own so it was interesting to see how they would deal with that”

Managing Director with AVG Productions, Lynch is confident that the documentary will benefit Shannon. “Totally, how can you pay for six half hours on RTÉ ONE in terms of exposure. It’s probably like the season on The Shelbourne last year and maybe The Gleneagle that also got huge PR value”

Series Producer, Michael Lynch.
Series Producer, Michael Lynch.

Filming for ‘Inside Shannon’ commenced towards October/November of last year and according to Michael took the best part of a year. Having spent so much time at the Airport, he is full of praise for it and the people who work there “It’s an amazing airport, extremely friendly, definitely growing and the staff are intent on it taking off if you pardon the pun”

Previous shows produced by Michael and the team at AVG Productions include ‘Taking Care of Business’, ‘Animal Rescue’ and ‘The Enforcers. He believes having studied the finished product that it is a good if not better than similar airport documentaries “I think it stands up to any of the other channels we’ll say the BBC and ITV airport programmes. We weren’t actually basing it on that, it’s an Irish version of that”.

An unprecedented look at how Shannon Airport is run is divulged in the documentary as cameras follow staff from across the airport who are faced with the challenge of reviving Shannon’s fortunes while dealing with the day-to-day demands of an international airport.

One of the members of staff featured throughout the six-part series is Operations Director, Niall Maloney who spoke with The Clare Herald. He said there was a feeling of heading into the unknown when news emerged that the documentary was happening but states the trust between the film crew and staff was very important.

“To be fair a lot of it boiled down to the personalities both from the film production company and our own staff and there was an element of trust built very early on in the process and it was something that continued through the whole period of filming”.

March 2013 saw Neil Pakey appointed as the first CEO of Shannon Airport Authority, the man responsible for rebranding of the Liverpool Airport so that it was named in honour of former Beatle, John Lennon.

Niall is full of praise for Pakey since his arrival and he highlighted how their working relationship operates. “He’s upfront, an ideas man where I am the doer, I turn ideas into reality. Something like the Runway Run, Neil might have the idea but I actually turned it into reality with the support of the rest of the operations team”.

This year alone Shannon Airport has hosted unique such as the second annual Runway Run along with a special Airshow to mark the anniversary of the first transatlantic flight from Shannon. Maloney feels these events are incredibly important. “We’re doing things that are different but it’s a way to get the message out there that we are an airport, we fully are engaged in the Community we live in and things are on the up and up but it is a challenge environment nevertheless”.

Shannon Airport Operations Director, Niall Maloney.
Shannon Airport Operations Director, Niall Maloney.

The past decade has been an eventful one for Shannon Airport. Along with securing its independence from the DAA, there have been events during the economic downturn that had Shannon in the depths of despair with a number of slots pulled by service carriers. Niall points to innovation and the building of sustainable roots as key reasons why they are currently on an upward spiral.

He added “What we have seen since our Independence is a growth in our business and the challenge really is we are where are today but how do we take the next step forward and grow the business for the next five years, I personally have the view I’m like a guy in a team I’ve got hold of the jersey in my role today but it’s my responsibility to ensure that we pass on the airport to the next generation in a much better place than where we left it and that really is the key task”.

A Limerick native, Niall admits that the documentary has helped to portray a previously unseen life in the Airport. “I think first of all it has shown a different side to the airport, its shown a very vibrant airport with an enthusiastic workforce, it demonstrates people who have a pride in the airport and demonstrates the effort’s placed in the community but also it demonstrates an airport that is looking to go somewhere in terms of growth”.

According to the Operations Director, a great sense of pride is evident with Clare people when it comes to Shannon Airport and they will be reminded why in this documentary that introduces some of the characters that help to make the Airport tick. Viewers are invited to join the conversation on Twitter using #InsideShannon. A trailer for Thursday’s opening episode is below.