Shannon sees profits take off as passenger numbers rise
Operating profits at Shannon airport and its two subsidiary property and tourism firms rose last year.
That is according to the chief executive of the Shannon Group, Neil Pakey, who said yesterday that the group is planning "an ambitious investment programme" throughout the Shannon group.
In an interview, Mr Pakey said that the airport is projecting single-digit growth in passenger numbers in 2015.
In 2014, the airport enjoyed a 17pc increase in passenger numbers to 1.639 million passengers largely on the back of new Ryanair services.
"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.
The Shannon group - which employs 600 at peak season - is not due to publish its annual results until the end of the month or in early May.
However, Mr Pakey did say that operating profits increased at the airport and its two subsidiaries, Shannon Commercial Properties Ltd (SCPL) and Shannon Heritage Ltd, in 2014.
On the group's investment programme, Mr Pakey said: "The interesting thing about the whole business has been the under investment of previous years, whether it is the airport and some of the product in the airport", adding that "some of it is getting old and tired".
Mr Pakey said the investment programme will extend to SCPL whose property portfolio includes the Shannon Free Zone and Shannon Heritage Ltd whose visitor attractions includes Bunratty Folk Park and Castle.
On the investment programme in SCPL, Mr Pakey said: "It is self evident that some of the buildings are in a state of dilapidation.
"They have lacked severe investment over the last number of years. They need ongoing investment and we want to rectify that."
Mr Pakey said Shannon Heritage's products also require fresh investment and confirmed that consultants hired to carry out a strategic review of Shannon Heritage have completed their work.
He described the work as "very good and thorough" and said some of its findings point to under investment in tourist attractions and marketing in recent years.