For the first time in a decade, Shannon Airport recruited four new airlines within the space of a year.
Kuwait Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa and Norwegian Air International were all secured for new services by Shannon Airport in 2016. It highlights how successful the airport has become since it became independent from the Dublin Airport Authority in 2012 according to Rose Hynes.
Ms Hynes is the Chairman of Shannon Group plc and addressed elected members of Clare County Council at its January sitting of which took place in the viewing gallery of Shannon Airport.
In her view, the local authority played a significant role in breaking away from the DAA. “The relationship between us can really make things happen. Separation was a game-changer for Shannon and it marked a beginning of a new era for the Airport and the wider region. As I’ve said this would not have happened without the relationship between us. You have power in your way of making things happen and we together connect to greater things”.
“Since the Airport’s independence, we’ve filled the first phase of our business objective, reversing the decline in airport passenger numbers, establishing Shannon Group, integrating its business, growing visitor numbers at Shannon Heritage and we’re addressing the historical under-investment inherited by us”, she said.
She outlined what the aims of Shannon Group have been since its establishment in August 2014 when it brought together the airport, Shannon commercial properties with a clear commercial mandate. “The focus of the board and senior management team has been on positioning the group for future growth. We’ve begun a programme of investment across the group, we’ve invested over €45 million on a range of activities to enhance our customer experience and to address the historic long-term development.
“Our mission for Shannon Airport is to continue to drive the traffic numbers to increase the connectivity and boost the financial performance and to support and develop Shannon’s aviation industry cluster. We’re working with our airline partners to maximise potential for Shannon, for the first time in ten years we’ve secured four new airlines within the space of a year, Kuwait, SAS, Lufthansa and Norwegian and we look forward to building on this capacity. We believe there is capacity for further growth, not least through tourism given Shannon’s place as the gateway airport to the Wild Atlantic Way”.
A native of New Quay, the North Clare woman said that features introduced by the airport such as an upgrade of the terminal building, new dining and duty-free experiences, plus new facilities to make it easier for passengers with autism and special needs is just the start of enhancements that they plan to roll out.
Rose expressed her confidence for what the future holds for Shannon. “We have launched a major €21 million programme, firstly as an investment programme with Shannon Free Zone and we’ve made significant progress on that, this investment is crucial and our plans are ambitious. Our aim is to provide state of the art business accommodation, the type of advanced facilities that IDA Ireland has told us will assist them in attracting foreign direct investment to the region. We are also working with our stakeholders to attract more companies involved in aviation, there are more than fifty aviation businesses at Shannon which is the largest single cluster of aviation industries in the country.
“Under our IASC brand we’re working independently with the national agency partners to market the cluster and the synergies we have by bringing their businesses to Shannon, I can say we probably have the best relationship at this time than we’ve had in a long long time with those agencies so we’re very confident about the future. We’re committed to fulfilling Shannon Group’s role as a catalyst for economic growth and to attract in more tourists to the region, this required investment in our Shannon Heritage tourist products to match the best across the Europe and to allow us to continue to serve and showcase Ireland’s rich heritage”.
Recent developments at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park show the group’s commitment to investing in the Shannon Heritage owned tourist attraction. “For almost fifty five years now Bunratty Castle and Folk Park has been a tremendous heritage asset and a magnet attraction drawing visitors to spend time in the area benefitting a range of service sector businesses. To ensure that this remains the case in the future we have completed a major investment involving the development of a new retail store, online brand, a new cafe named Mr O’Regan’s and new attractions around the park, the development has resulted in an extra thirty staff being employed at the site”.