Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD, was in Clare this morning where he announced funding for five of the state’s airports including Shannon.
Shannon Airport plays a crucial economic role across the West of Ireland, with their most recent Economic Impact Assessment calculating that the airport generates close to €1 billion annually to the economy and supports approximately 13,695 jobs.
Committed to the continued success of the Airport and consistent with the Programme for Government action to deliver capital programmes required to support services and ensure safety at our State and regional airports, Minister Chambers took the opportunity, during his visit, to announce capital funding, under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025, of over €10.63 million supporting our regional airports at Shannon, Donegal, Knock and Kerry. As with the previous two years under this Programme, these allocations will contribute towards capital investment in the areas of safety and security at airports, whilst also supporting projects with a sustainability focus.
From within this allocation over €4,623,486 has been earmarked for Shannon Airport.
Speaking at Shannon Airport, Minister Chambers commented: “I am pleased to be back in Shannon Airport today. Shannon Airport is the State’s third busiest airport, welcoming over 1.5 million passengers last year, which represents an 88% recovery on 2019 passenger traffic. I am delighted to hear that the airport is well on track for another busy year in 2023. Already this year, the number of passengers travelling through Shannon Airport during January and February were up by 21% and 17% respectively compared to the same periods in 2019. This demonstrates the effective delivery of services, by the dedicated staff and management team who deliver for passengers on a daily basis, in meeting the extremely strong demand for international travel.”
Announcing this funding allocation, Minister Chambers said, “I am delighted to announce this funding today, which will support significant airfield rehabilitation works at Shannon Airport this year, as well as three new passenger airbridges. This will bring the number of new airbridges supported by way of Exchequer funding at Shannon Airport to six since 2021. Security screening equipment upgrades are also being supported, along with the continued support for water supply system upgrade works. Continuing to assist Shannon Airport in transitioning to a low carbon economy, support for the replacement of four airport operational vehicles with electric vehicles is being provided. This builds on the seven safety, security and operational vehicles already replaced at the airport by way of Exchequer funding in the past two years.
Today’s announcement is a very positive day for the sector and demonstrates Government’s sustained commitment to the aviation sector, with 2023 promising to be a year of growth and increased connectivity at our regional airports.”
Commenting on the funding announcement for Shannon, Mary Considine, CEO of The Shannon Airport Group said, “We warmly welcome today’s announcement by Minister Chambers of capital funding of over €4.6 million under the Regional Airports Programme. This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting the region’s connectivity and the broader economic benefits this brings to the region.
“The capital funding announced today will support the ongoing programme of replacement of our passenger airbridges, essential airfield rehabilitation works and other projects as we continue to rebuild post-Covid.”
This funding announcement will also support similar projects across Donegal, Knock and Kerry airports. While Cork Airport is not eligible for supports under the Programme in 2023, €6m is being provided, in principle, to the airport for the commencement of a significant CAT 3 security screening project in 2023. The project is currently being assessed by the Department in line with the Public Spending Code.
To date, Government has provided funding to support projects employing this CAT 3 security screening technologies at Shannon, Donegal, and Kerry airports, with Ireland West Airport (Knock) receiving approval today for this security screening technology as part of their funding allocation under the Regional Airports Programme.
This security screening technology allows both electronic devices and liquids to be left in hand luggage for screening, expediting the whole security screening process and enhancing the overall passenger experience at airports.