Mary Considine, CEO of the Shannon Airport Group, has described the strong recovery at Shannon Airport as having exceeded expectations. The group welcomed over 1.51 million passengers to the airport in 2022 – a 300% increase on 2021 figures, and an 88% recovery of pre-Covid 2019 passenger levels.
“The accelerated pace of the rebound in air travel from Shannon has exceeded our expectations and shows the pent-up desire for international travel, following the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions,” said Considine.
European services recovered strongly in 2022, with over 532,000 passengers travelling through Shannon. This surpassed 2019/pre-pandemic levels by 7% and was a 225% increase on 2021. Shannon recorded over 638,000 passengers on its UK services in 2022 – a 309% increase on the previous year.
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After an absence of almost two years, transatlantic services returned in March 2022 and saw a strong rebound of almost 240,000 passengers on services to New York (JFK), Boston and Newark. A further boost is expected from May 2023, when a new daily non-stop seasonal service to Chicago commences.
“The airport was included in the Regional Airports Programme for the first time during the pandemic and allowed us to undertake critical safety and security projects. We are grateful to [the] government for including us in this programme. The work we did with these funds shows just how important it is for Shannon to remain in the programme, as we rebuild in the aftermath of Covid.
“The introduction of our new, faster airport security screening facility continued to have a positive impact in 2022. The new system eliminates the 100ml-only rule, halving the time spent going through security screening. We have seen an increase in people from all over the country using Shannon Airport, as they now realise how easy it is,” said Considine.
Commenting on the outlook for this year, Considine said, “Prospects at Shannon look bright for 2023, and this year we will operate 35 routes. Last year we secured four new services – to Barcelona/Girona, Marseille, Malta, and a service to Paris – with new airline partner Vueling. We are delighted to be giving our customers more destinations to choose from – in fact, we will have more routes this year than we did in 2019, with six brand-new destinations. These six new services are to Naples, Béziers, Newcastle, Porto, Liverpool, while our transatlantic services will be enhanced with the addition of Chicago.
“These new services, combined with initiatives like Ryanair’s €10 million investment in their maintenance facility at Shannon, and the delivery of our property investment strategy across the Shannon campus, have cemented the upward trajectory of our recovery.”
Activities In 2022
In 2022, the group invested over €21 million across the Shannon campus to provide property solutions for its business customers. During the year, the sod was turned on two new developments on the campus: an €8 million multi-use industrial space spanning over 60,000 square feet, and a €6 million R&D technology facility spanning over 40,000 square feet.
In addition, the group supported the delivery of smart-city infrastructure across the Shannon campus by Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI). It also completed the handover of a new building to FMCI for its full-scale development centre and test bed for mobility technologies.
On the tourism side, considerable work was undertaken by the Shannon Airport Group and Clare County Council on the transfer of the Shannon Heritage visitor site to the council. Discussions are ongoing. Shannon Heritage sites performed strongly in 2022, with visitor numbers back to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, as a result of the resumption of international travel.
Speaking about the company’s new sustainability strategy, Considine said, “At the Shannon Airport Group, we know that our activities and our airport operation, in particular, are important to our community and stakeholders. They provide a key engine that fuels economic well-being for our region and beyond.
“Embedding sustainability was a key focus for the group in 2022, and we delivered a number of programmes, from employee well-being and CSR to energy-saving, carbon reduction, and recycling initiatives. We are proud to have become the first WHO-designated Age Friendly [the organisation responsible for the national Age Friendly Programme] airport in the world, along with Ireland West Airport Knock.
“We are committed to working with industry partners on creating a more sustainable future, and last year we signed an MoU with the ESB to explore the development of a sustainable green-hydrogen plant at Shannon.
“When the airport performs well, so too does the regional economy. We are committed to working with our partners to explore all opportunities to make our region a place where people will want to live, work, learn and visit.”
© 2023 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.