End of a Shannon era

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The Aerofirst duty free shop at Moscow airport that was developed by the Shannnon-based ARI group.

THE DUTY Free operation which put Shannon airport on the world-wide map when it introduced the concept in 1947 has said goodbye to the last Shannon based employees of the company, Aer Rianta International (ARI).

When Shannon gained its independence from the Dublin Airport Authority, (DAA) part of the deal was that the duty-free operation should remain with them.

The last eleven staff employed by ARI in Shannon have now either been redeployed, retired or accepted a voluntary severance package.

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The Duty Free operation out of Shannon was at one stage worth €1 billion a year and the concept was one which was adopted internationally, such was its success.

A spokesman for ARI said that the “Global travel sector is constantly changing but we will always be proud of our roots in Shannon”.

The spokesman explained that the decision to end the operation in Shannon was influenced by the exit of ARI from the Ukranian and Russian markets in 2013.

ARI employs 3,000 people in 16 locations world-wide including 300 at its operations in Cork and Dublin. Turnover is in excess of $1 billion.

Staff working for ARI at Shannon had been employed largely in buying a support functions for the Russian and Ukraine markets.

Business went down again after the new Shannon Airport Authority awarded its retail contract to a group other than ARI.

Of the staff who remained in the employ of ARI, the majority chose to take early retirement or severance and just a small number opted to transfer to Dublin.