Shannon Airport seeking to cut costs to fund investment

Shannon Airport seeking to cut costs to fund investment

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

Shannon Airport has confirmed plans to introduce a voluntary redundancy scheme for staff over the age of 55 and to realign the airport’s status as a category 9 airport which means it would no longer facilitate certain sized aircraft.

The airport achieved independence on January 1st 2013 and in 2015 the possibility of redundancies was mooted as the airport confirmed it would need to address its cost base. While a voluntary redundancy scheme is now formally proposed it’s not known how many jobs the airport is seeking to cut.

Shannon is licensed by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) as a Category 9 aerodrome. This is an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) categorisation and means the airport has the capability of handling the fire and rescue requirements of aircraft up to a certain size.

However, under new proposals, the airport will be downgraded to become a “flexible Category 9” service.

As a category 9 airport, Shannon can accept aircraft of all types – Photo: © Pat Flynn

It has been long known that operating as a Category 9 airport is significantly loss making for the airport and it’s understood that only a small fraction of aircraft fall within the category.

A worker with one of several fixed base operators (FBO’s) at Shannon said: “This could mean that certain airlines on whom we rely for a lot of our business may not come in here anymore. If they can’t come into Shannon, they’ll go to Prestwick or Leipzig or somewhere else.”

A spokesman for Shannon Airport said: “Shannon Airport has proposed the introduction of a range of measures to reduce costs and help facilitate a €44m investment programme over the next five years. Among these projects is the overlay of the airport runway commencing this summer at a cost of €15m.”

“Shannon Group is committed to developing and investing in our airport and what the Group is proposing are measures to manage its business more efficiently to enable reinvestment back into the Airport. We have commenced discussions on proposals to operate to optimal manning levels to meet the needs of our airline customers.” the spokesman said.

File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

According to the airport these proposed measures include the realignment of Shannon Airport from a full-time Category 9 to a flexible Category 7 service.

The spokesman added: “This and other operational changes may result in a lower employee requirement and, to that end, we are proposing a Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme to employees over the age of 55 years as at 1st January 2017.”

“We are also seeking to agree a redeployment programme for a number of business areas. We also require a number of measures which are vital to ensure we meet the needs of the business in the most cost effective manner. Among them are roster and shift changes, and work practice changes and efficiencies,” the airport has confirmed.

The spokesman added: “These savings will bring Shannon’s competitiveness closer in line with accepted international aviation standards and ensure revenues are available to reinvest and drive employment elsewhere on the airport campus.”

Following its separation from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) passenger numbers at Shannon increased from 1.4 million in 2013 to 1.64m the following year. The rising trend continued into 2015 with a further increase in passenger numbers.

Despite the loss of some routes, other carriers have been attracted to the mid-west airport including SAS and Norwegian.

 

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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