1.7m passengers make 1996 the best year for Shannon


SHANNON Airport had its best year for traffic in 1996 with 1.74 million passengers using the airport - an increase of 31,000 on 1993, the previous best year.

Mr Barry O'Shea, General Manager of Aer Rianta at Shannon, said yesterday in an end of year statement that the growth over 1995 amounted to 11 per cent and revenue was up by 12 per cent, mainly through growth in the duty free shops, Shannon Aviation fuels and catering.

Overall terminal traffic was up by 14 per cent, but transit traffic, which was in the past a major factor, showed only a 2 per cent increase.

Transatlantic traffic at 510,000 passengers showed an increase of 10 per cent and UK traffic, at 467,000, was up by 24 per cent.

The transatlantic increases, Mr O'Shea said, were attributable to extra services by Aer Lingus on the Boston and Chicago routes, and by World Airways on the New York route.

The entry of AB Shannon, which brought more than 100,000 passengers on the London route, and the doubling of services by BA Express on the Shannon route, were responsible for the cross channel increases.

Mr O'Shea said growth figures for this year looked promising, particularly for the US, with the doubling of services to Chicago and the introduction of a new service by Aer Lingus to Newark in New Jersey.

French company Corsair is due to begin a new twice weekly Wednesday and Sunday service from Shannon to Paris next Wednesday.

It will be operating 131 seater Boeing 737 400 aircraft.

It is 50 years since Aer Lingus began a direct service between Shannon and Paris.