by Bernie English [email protected]
EARNINGS at Shannon airport have taken off again, with the returns for last year showing a rise in profits for the airport as well as its subsidiary property and tourism firms.
And Shannon Group chief executive Neil Pakey is predicting even more growth in passenger numbers in the coming year, although the increase will be in single figures as opposed to last years 17 per cent increase.
In 2014, the airport saw 1.639 million passengers through its doors, largely boosted by the new routes launched in the Ryanair comeback.
“Overall, we are going to be looking at growth this year. It is not going to be the same level as last year and it is going to be single-digit growth,” said Mr Pakey.
And after delivering the good news about the profits increase, the chief executive said the board was planning an investment programme for the airport where some of the facilities and product are “getting old and tired”.
Mr Pakey said the investment would extend to the property portfolio which covers the Shannon Free Zone and Shannon Heritage whose visitor attractions include King John’s Castle and the Bunratty folk park and castle.
He confirmed that some of the buildings in the property portfolio need a severe investment injection as the necessary finance had been lacking in recent years.
“It is self-evident that some of the buildings are in a state of dilapidation and we want to rectify that”.
He also confirmed that a firm of consultants have now finished a review of the Shannon Heritage tourism product.