THE Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Airport, is calling on the Government to safeguard EU connectivity for the Mid-West and Western regions in a post Brexit environment.
Shannon currently has UK hub connectivity through London Heathrow, which will continue to be hugely important, but as the UK exits the European Union, the airport will then be without connectivity into an EU hub.
Shannon Group chief executive Matthew Thomas said: “European hub connectivity is vital for our tourism and business customers. It provides the air access needed to grow tourism numbers, to conduct business and attract FDI investment from Europe.
“While European connectivity is currently serviced through the London Heathrow hub, the reality is that in a post Brexit situation, the West of Ireland will be without this critical EU connectivity.
“We are engaging with Government to secure strategic routes. We also believe that targets should be set for the national tourism agencies to grow visitor numbers into the regions. Government’s Ireland 2040 plan rightly highlights the importance of ‘high quality international connectivity’. We are looking for the mechanism to be put in place to ensure connectivity to a key European hub is in place for the West of Ireland.
“In light of the challenges Ireland would face from Brexit, particularly a hard-Brexit, it is of paramount importance that we safeguard our European connectivity. We believe that a strategic route development fund and regional tourism targets are essential and we would welcome Government’s and stakeholder support to see these asks implemented,” Mr Thomas concluded.
by Tom McCullough