Shannon welcomes status as independent airport
Shannon Airport yesterday celebrated the beginning of a new era as it officially became an independent entity.
Separation officially took place from the Dublin Airport Authority at 11.59pm on December 31st. The first passengers through the newly autonomous airport arrived on the Aer Lingus EI-110 flight from JFK at 5.08am yesterday.
The airport will start operations on a solid footing with its €110 million debt written off and with a business plan with an immediate focus on increasing passenger numbers and route development.
The airport will also work towards the development of the International Aviation Services Centre at Shannon, which is targeting the creation of a significant number of primarily aviation-related jobs within three to five years, building on the existing cluster of 40 aviation related companies in Shannon.
The second of a two-phase process for the new Shannon Airport entity will see the merging of the airport by July 1st, 2013, with activities of a restructured Shannon Development, including its considerable land-bank and associated rent-roll.
The 2011 accounts for Shannon Development show that its rental income from its properties totalled €12 million.
Newly appointed Shannon Airport Authority chair Rose Hynes said: “We finally have our long-awaited freedom to determine our own future. Independence is the single most important enabler of future success for Shannon. This is an opportunity for the airport to commence a new chapter in its proud history.”
Shannon Airport director Mary Considine said: “We are setting out today to create a vibrant and sustainable future for this airport, its staff, customers and the wider region.
“Our attention will immediately focus on growing passenger numbers . . . We have an excellent start, thanks to significant announcements on transatlantic and European services over the past two months.”
‘No silver bullet’
Ms Hynes told Clare County Council last month that “there is no silver bullet for Shannon, we need to develop a wide range of opportunities here”.
She said the writing off of Shannon’s €110 million debt is “a game changer”. However, she warned: “If we don’t grow the passenger numbers, there is no future; 1.5 million passengers per annum is simply not sustainable.”