Shannon Airport is in celebratory mode after landing its greatest industry accolade yet by winning the overall Airport Achievement Award for 2014/2015 from the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
The award, which was announced at prestigious ceremony at the Catalunya Congress Centre in Barcelona, makes for an unprecedented ten days for the airport in terms of award wins. On Monday week last it landed the most prestigious international marketing accolade for airports under four million passengers at the World Routes Awards in Chicago.
It also follows Shannon Airport’s inaugural Airport Achievement Award at the Irish Aviation Industry Awards in June.
Tonight’s award, presented at the Association’s General Assembly, is the first time an Irish airport has been presented with the overall ERA award, which was established as the ‘ERA Airport of the Year Award’ in 2002. Previous winners of the award include London City, Budapest and Munich Airports.
Shannon stood out from its contenders for ending five years of, what the judges noted was, “seemingly interminable decline” by attracting new airline customers and making a profit in its first year as an independent entity. The judges were also impressed by how independence from the national airport authority was used by management to concentrate on the needs of the local community and stakeholders. Another reason cited for Shannon’s selection for the top honour was how it had put itself at the very heart of the community in the region.
The aim of the award is to recognise the best achievement(s) by an airport over the previous 12 months, which has had a positive impact on intra-European air transport operations. It also aims to foster airline-airport partnerships and encourage best practice. The Award also provides a significant opportunity for the winner to raise its profile both locally and within the international air transport community.
It is judged by a panel of leading experts drawn from the aviation industry, including past and present CEOs of European airlines and airport consultants.
Last year, in just its first year as an independent entity, Shannon managed to halt five successive years of passenger numbers decline and significant losses by breaking even and marginally growing passenger numbers. This year the airport hopes to achieve double digit growth on the back of securing a range of new routes, particularly across its European network.
Shannon Group plc CEO Neil Pakey said that the Airport Achievement Award validated the efforts of all at Shannon, as well as the region, in turning the airport’s fortunes around since independence was achieved. “It is always great news when your customers acclaim you as the best, and for our airlines to vote for us for this prestigious award is fantastic. Credit to the dedicated team at Shannon who help make us who we are.” said Mr Pakey.
“We continue in our efforts to turn the airport’s fortunes in the right direction and this award is a great honour for Shannon, not least given it is the outright award from the European Regions Airline Association. To be the first Irish airport ever to win it is also a huge achievement.
Said Shannon Group Chairman Rose Hynes, “This is great recognition for Shannon and the efforts here in the run-up to and since separation. Shannon was on a downward cycle when it was made independent. But we not alone convinced Government that independence could work but have been very busy making it work since and we don’t intend there to be any let up.
“We said we would stop the decline in year one and move onto growth mode in year two and we are on target for that. We have delivered on our side of the bargain by securing a wide range of new routes and the region we serve has responded, from Cork right up to the North West, in return. This prestigious award, which we are honoured and excited to receive, is recognition of all that hard work.”