Shannon Airport parent company Shannon Group has revealed that the airport's passenger numbers decreased by 8% to 1.71 million in 2019.
The decline in passenger numbers last year followed six successive years of growth at the airport.
Shannon Group said that it mainly attributes the decline to the global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jet, which led to the cancellation of 13 weekly transatlantic services during the peak summer season.
"A Disproportionate Hit"
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In a statement on Shannon Group's website, the group's CEO, Mary Considine, said, "From a Shannon Airport perspective, the global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max for safety reasons saw us lose 120,000 seats, which affected our Norwegian Airlines and Air Canada services to North America. This was a disproportionate hit for Shannon compared to other Irish airports. Last year also saw the ending of Kuwait Airways' transit flights through Shannon to New York, which we secured in June 2016 as a temporary service until the airline received approval for direct flights into the US.
"However, in totality, the year has illustrated Shannon Airport's strength and resilience as we were able to close it out with the announcement of three new services to Paris, Barcelona and Vienna. This has left us quite positive about the year ahead as they will help us return to growth again in 2020.
Exploring Opportunities And Promoting Existing Services
Considine added, "We will not be complacent, though, and the development of high-quality international air connectivity for the people of our region will continue to be a critical focus for us. To this end, we will continue to explore opportunities and ensure our catchment, from the north-west down to the south, is aware of and takes full advantage of the exciting schedule we have across the UK, Europe and the US in 2020. The more our services are used, the more services we get.
"We are very proud of the aviation services cluster in Shannon, and it is wonderful to see the aviation community continue to grow. This year alone we have seen 15 new indigenous and overseas aviation businesses locate in Shannon. This is a clear indication that the Shannon aviation brand, which our International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) is endeavouring to promote, is having real impact."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.