Shannon airport bosses planning hangar for world’s biggest aircraft

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Matthew Thomas Shannon Group
Shannon Group chief executive Matthew Thomas

An airport hangar capable of accommodating the world’s largest aircraft could be under construction at Shannon Airport next year “if the financials add up”.

Addressing a meeting of Clare County Council yesterday, Shannon Group chief executive Matthew Thomas said they hoped to press ahead with building the world’s biggest airport hangar next year.

“The building of hangars are central to the growth of the aviation and aerospace cluster at Shannon. Hangars are low margin and expensive. We hope to build one capable of accommodating the world’s largest aircraft next year if the financials add up,” he told the council members.

And he revealed that the group hopes to embark on a multi-million-euro investment at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park “to take it to a completely different level”.

As the Shannon Group receives no Government funding and is completely self-financing, they are involved in negotiations with Fáilte Ireland about the project.

“They say they have a limited pot of money but we are hoping to make Bunratty a top-flight attraction in Ireland,” Mr Thomas added.

On a broader level, the Shannon Group boss was highly critical of current policy which he said was leading towards the country having only one airport – at Dublin.

This was the only conclusion to take from figures showing that Dublin increased its market share from 72 per cent in 2005 to 87 per cent in 2017.

Mr Thomas said that Dublin’s consolidation of the market was happening incredibly fast while Shannon’s share of a growing market has reduced from 5.4 per cent to 5.1 per cent since the airport achieved independence from the DAA.
This was despite the fact that the Mid West airport managed to increase passenger numbers by 25 per cent over the same period.

He said that the Shannon Group is looking to change the “very immature” Government policy in the area.

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