Government needs to level playing field for Shannon Airport as report shows it is major economic driver

Mary Considine, CEO The Shannon Airport Group, Neil McCullough from Oxford Economics and one of the report’s authors and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD. Photo: Arthur Ellis.

SHANNON airport contributes almost €4 billion to the Irish economy and sustains more than 20,300 jobs.

That’s according to a major new report, independently prepared by economic advisory firm, Oxford Economics and the report’s author has slated aviation policy for it’s failure to date to level the playing filed for regional airports.

And at the launch of the report this morning in Shannon Airport, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers, announced the creation of a renewable aviation fuel task force which would look to the west for the development of such a fuel hub.

Addressing the gathering of aviation representatives, politicians and the media, one of the author’s of the report, Neill McCullough, said the findings show that it is a major economic driver in the region but “the airport could do more”.

“One of the areas we note in our report is that Ireland’s aviation policy has to date has failed to create a level playing filed for Ireland’s regional airports to flourish.

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“Given that airports can drive regional growth and that Project Ireland 2040 aims to rebalance growth across Ireland, there is a strong argument for providing state aid for Shannon Airport.”

Mary Considine, CEO of the airport told the Limerick Post after the launch, that the airport is “very happy with the rebound we have achieved (post Covid) and we are very pleased with the report, highlighting that the airport contributes €4 billion to the economy and supports 20,000 plus jobs, it’s about what further? Where from here? We are ambitious and we want to grow.

“We know that this activity is vital for Ireland 2040 and their (the government’s) own plan for regional development…we are calling on the government to revisit the aviation policy, to align it with Ireland 2040, because it predates Ireland 2040 and to support regional connectivity because we can help them to deliver their own ambitions.”

Minister Chambers told the Limerick Post that while the launch today was about national and regional growth, there are other opportunities in aviation in the context of sustainability, where we can mould a new approach for Irish aviation.

Speaking about the setting up of an aviation fuel task force in the coming weeks, he said: “Aviation fuel has developed quite significantly since (the aviation policy was drawn up) and we need to bring the stakeholders together to see what is possible. And we know that the renewable opportunities are in the west of Ireland.”

Along with feeding €3.96 billion into Irish GDP, Shannon supports more than 20,330 people and the impact from trade brings a further €1.36 billion to Irish GDP, along with €146 million in tourism spend and 12,350 more jobs as a result.