Ross Perot's firm may set up base at Shannon


AER Rianta executives have begun preliminary talks with the transportation company owned by American billionaire, Mr Ross Perot, about establishing a base at Shannon Airport.

A further meeting with the Texas based company, Alliance, is scheduled for later this month. A decision on whether the project will go ahead is expected by the end of the summer.

The airport authority has also reached advanced negotiations with the Russian Airline, Aeroflot, on establishing a cargo hub at Shannon for moving goods between the US and Russia. Some test flights have taken place, a spokesman for Aer Rianta said yesterday. It is now a question of getting a commitment to do it".

A successful outcome in both cases is expected to bring a substantial boost in terms of new jobs for the Co Clare airport.

It is understood that Alliance is considering setting up a cargo handling and aircraft maintenance operation at Shannon as part of an aviation based business park. This would give the group access to European markets.

Alliance is said to be also considering expanding in South America and in the Far East.

The spokesman stressed that talks between Aer Rianta and Alliance were still at a preliminary stage.

Moves to create a cargo hub at Shannon to link the US and Russia are at a more advanced stage.

Aer Rianta, says that this joint venture with Aeroflot would require a relatively small investment as there is already adequate capacity at the airport to cope with any increased traffic.

Aeroflot currently uses the airport as a hub for transferring passengers between Russian Republics, such as Latvia and Estonia and the US and it is hoped that a similar system can be arranged for cargo transportation.