New Shannon entity predicted to create 3,000 jobs
An independent Shannon Airport combined with the landbank of Shannon Development could “conservatively” generate between 3,000 and 3,500 new direct jobs over the next five years, according to a Government-appointed task force.
This is separate of construction jobs and would revolve around growing air traffic at the airport and establishing an international aviation services centre.
This and other recommendations underpinned the Cabinet’s decision on Monday to approve the separation of Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) by the end of this year.
This will be announced on Monday at an aviation conference in Dublin by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.
The reorganisation of Shannon Development is expected to happen by July 2013. This will involve the landbank being merged with the airport into a new entity.
The Aviation Business Development Task Force, headed by Bord Gáis chairman Rose Hynes, submitted its report to Government recently. It said it had obtained “specific commitments” from two existing companies in Shannon to expand their employment with the addition of almost 1,000 jobs. It said these jobs were contingent on Shannon’s separation from the DAA.
The task force concluded that an independent airport combined with the landbank from Shannon Development could be “successful and sustainable” and “contribute significantly” to the economic development of the midwest.
Shannon Airport currently employs 230 staff directly, while an additional 1,600 work in neighbouring aviation-related businesses.
The task force predicted that the airport could attract up to 2.5 million passengers annually within three to five years. That compares with the 1.5 million expected in 2012.
It said the airport had the potential to attract new airline services by offering a competitive and flexible tariff structure.
The task force also identified Shannon’s potential to become a “strategic transit hub for passenger and cargo airlines”. In order to help develop aviation-related activities in Shannon the task force has made a separate submission to the Department of Finance about possible incentives for the sector. It is understood next week’s budget might contain some of these incentives.
The task force warned that Shannon Airport’s cost base was out of kilter with its peers, partly due to reduced traffic levels. It said productivity improvements and flexible work practices could reduce this disadvantage.
“Unless the new entity can align its cost base with that of its competitors it will be unable to compete and to develop its activities.”