Business, tourism and community groups met last night to discuss their concerns for the future of Shannon Airport. The meeting was convened in light of Ryanair’s decision to further reduce services at the local airport as well as Aer Lingus’ planned suspension of transatlantic services during the winter period.
Meeting attendees, including representatives of Shannon Town Council and Clare County Council agreed for a small group to seek an urgent meeting with Mr. Brian O’Connell, the Chairman of the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA), to ascertain what plans have been established to build traffic and provide additional services.
Group Chairperson, Mayor of Shannon Cllr. Tony Mulcahy says there is growing concern among the entire community regarding the situation at Shannon Airport. He explained that the purpose of the meeting was to see what positive actions could be taken to support the future development of the airport.
“Everybody is genuinely concerned about the developing situation at Shannon but as individuals feel powerless to make a difference. We all need to take the situation very seriously and use whatever networks and contacts that we have to create an awareness in the region and beyond of the importance of a successful airport in our region.
“There are many positives that we can build on including the potential of a cargo hub and the immense benefits of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility. For now we need to collectively come together and do whatever we can to support the airport.
“We also want to see what we can do and what initiatives can be implemented in the region to save our airport. We must act now and we will be seeking full support from our government representatives to ensure that Shannon can again be a vibrant airport”, concluded the Mayor.
Hotelier John Madden, who has operated for over 40 years in the local sector, says he has witnessed a “frightening decline” at Shannon Airport in the last two years.
“Shannon airport is one of the West of Ireland’s greatest assets in terms of generating both tourism and industrial business to the region over a long number of years. However, it is very clear on the ground that traffic at Shannon has reached a historic low.
“There is a serious challenge facing Shannon. Businesses in the region need to act now if the situation is to be prevented from deteriorating to a point of no return. Marketing initiatives need to be strengthened to support existing services and attract new services to the airport. An autonomous airport authority is also required to allow the airport to grow in the future", added Mr. Madden.
Ted Germaine, proprietor of the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon noted that the Mid West required a vibrant Shannon Airport to support new and existing business in the region.
“Shannon has a new unique selling point as the only European airport with complete pre-clearance for customs and immigration for US entry. A more direct role for the Shannon Airport Authority in managing the airport’s affairs would undoubtedly breathe new life into the County Clare Airport and deliver real potential for growth in the future. The subsequent knock on effects for tourism and business would be significant, especially at a time when the sector is experiencing its biggest challenge in many years”, stated. Mr. Germaine.