Shannon airport recovery continues

Shannon Group chief executive Neil Pakey
Shannon Group chief executive Neil Pakey

Shannon Airport’s growth has been maintained into the autumn with passenger numbers over August and September showing a 22% and 17% increase, respectively, on the same months last year.

Meanwhile, Red C research conducted with non-Irish resident transatlantic passengers through Shannon shows that Kerry, Clare and Galway top the league table of counties benefiting from the growth in US visitor numbers through the airport since separation last year.

The August and September passenger growth figures are further good news, ten days after Shannon scooped the top award at the European Regions Airline Association Awards.  The biggest percentage growth on the same months last year was across the airport’s European network, with a 73% rise in August (up from 36,702 in same month last year to 63,422 this year) thanks to the eight new destinations across the airport’s continental network.

August also saw a 9% increase in transatlantic passengers numbers, while there was also a gain of 5% in UK traffic. September also showed vast growth on twelve months earlier, with a 51% increase in passengers using European services (from 32,342 in Sept 2013 to 48,874), an 11% increase in transatlantic passengers and UK up by 3%.

Welcoming the figures, Shannon Group chief executive Neil Pakey said, “What is most pleasing is we are achieving growth across all our markets.  Last year we saw the biggest gains on transatlantic but this year the biggest increase has been in European services, with growth also on our UK network.

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“All of this is particularly important this year with the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way.  Shannon is the only airport on the Atlantic seaboard that services Ireland’s three main markets, Europe, the UK and US Airport so it is the key gateway airport for the Wild Atlantic Way. It is good news all around that we are achieving these growth levels this year.”

Meanwhile, latest Red C research at Shannon show that Kerry is the county benefiting the most from increased transatlantic passenger numbers at Shannon, with 39% of transatlantic passengers interviewed in the survey this year having holidayed in The Kingdom, up from 31% in the same survey last year.

Clare continues to be the county most visited by transatlantic passengers at Shannon, with 52% of respondents stating that they spent time in the Banner County, up from 46% in the same period last year.   Galway also performed well, with 34% of respondents saying they visited the county, again up (from 29%) on last year.  Cork, likewise, benefited from the growth with 25% of those interviewed confirming they spent time there, up from 22% from the corresponding period last year.

The research also indicated a growing trend of transatlantic passengers through Shannon visiting Dublin, with 29% reporting that they spent time in the capital compared to 17% last year.

Said Mr Pakey,  “The Red C research has given us some interesting indicators.  Transatlantic passengers spend more than any others, not least as they typically stay longer, so it is great to see all the key tourism counties serviced by Shannon benefiting.”