Number Of People Who Passed Through Shannon Airport Decreased By 79% Year-On-Year In 2020; Shannon Group Committed To Rebuilding In The Aftermath Of The COVID-19 Pandemic
The number of people who passed through Shannon Airport decreased by 79% year-on-year in 2020 to just over 352,000 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CEO of Shannon Airport operator Shannon Group, Mary Considine, has affirmed that the group is committed to restoring air services to Shannon Airport and visitor numbers to the group's heritage sites as soon as the aviation and tourism sectors reopen.
The number of people who visited Shannon Group's heritage sites, which are heavily reliant on international visitors, decreased by 69% year-on-year last year to over 302,000.
"COVID-19 Had A Devestating Impact" But "There Are Green Shoots"
Considine stated, "COVID-19 had a devastating impact on two of our three business operations, but with the right supports, the foundations for recovery exist within Shannon Group, namely our improved core airport infrastructure, vibrant property portfolio, strong tourism offering and vibrant aviation cluster.
"With Ryanair set to reopen its base and operate 14 new routes from Shannon for summer '21, there are green shoots, but we recognise that recovery will be slow, rebuilding will take time, but we will get there. Crucial to recovery will be the lifting of global travel restrictions once it is safe to do so. Also vital is the accelerated and successful roll-out of the national vaccination programme. The speed at which vaccines can be rolled out nationally and internationally is directly linked to our economic recovery.
"We know that prior to COVID-19 Shannon Group's activities supported over 46,000 jobs, generated an economic impact of €3.6 billion per year and contributes €1.1 billion in Exchequer returns, and this is why it is vital that seeds of recovery are nurtured. We welcome the commitment in the Programme for Government to deliver the capital programmes required to support services and ensure safety at our state airports, and this continued support for the airport will be vital as we recover from the current crisis."
Not All Bad News
Considine continued, "While our aviation and tourism businesses suffered as a result of COVID-19, it wasn't all bad news for Shannon Group. Our property business remained strong and we were able to continue to deliver on our property development strategy at Shannon Free Zone...We have seen how the regeneration work we are doing at Shannon Free Zone is breathing new life into the region. It has stimulated FDI [foreign direct investment] and indigenous investment, creating jobs for our young people.
"We have upgraded our core airport infrastructure and built world-class property solutions that have attracted FDI and indigenous companies to locate here and create jobs.
"When people are ready to fly, we look forward to welcoming them to the airport where we have put in place COVID-19 protocols to ensure they feel safe and comfortable. We also have safety measures in place at our heritage sites, and we look forward to welcoming visitors when we reopen."
Considine concluded, "Shannon is resilient, our people are resilient. We have come through many crises in the past and we got through them by preparing and planning for the future. How we manage through this storm is equally important, and we are determined and focused on navigating our way through."
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.