Monday 19 August 2019

Boeing grounding 'costs Shannon region €58m'

Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport

Gordon Deegan

The world-wide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft will cost the region served by Shannon Airport €58m this year.

That is according to the acting CEO of the Shannon Group, Mary Considine, who told a special meeting of Clare County Council yesterday that the loss of 120,000 passengers from three services affected by the Boeing Max grounding will end six years of passenger growth at Shannon Airport.

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Ms Considine said that passenger numbers at Shannon have increased by 34pc since separation from the DAA, but added that the loss to the region as a result of the Boeing Max grounding will be "huge", putting the estimated cost at €58m to the area for 2019.

The grounding of the Boeing Max has resulted in the axing of two services by Norwegian Airlines to the US and one Air Canada service to Toronto for 2019.

Ms Considine told the meeting that the grounding of the Boeing aircraft had resulted in the loss of 13 services per week at Shannon. Transatlantic passenger numbers have increased by 48pc at the airport since separation from the DAA, and Ms Considine said that Shannon had been disproportionately affected by the Boeing 737 Max issue due to it being more reliant on the US than other Irish airports.

She said that the airport's passenger numbers will be down this year after six years of growth, adding: "They are the facts and the hard reality because you can't replace those services overnight." 

Ms Considine said there is no stone being left unturned by Shannon Airport's staff to ensure the success of the hub.

She said: "We want the airport to not only succeed but to grow.

"We have ambitious targets…If we are not ambitious, we are going nowhere. OK, we may not achieve it this year or next year, but we will get there."

The acting Shannon Group CEO told the meeting that "a lack of support is curtailing our ability to fund other projects and address historic under-investment".

CEO of Clare County Council Pat Dowling told the meeting that "the dominance of Dublin Airport cannot be allowed to spell the death knell of Shannon".

At the meeting, the Shannon Group was criticised by a number of councillors for not marketing the airport at the successful staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Lahinch.

In response, Ms Considine said the airport would have loved to have been involved in marketing at the Irish Open event, "but our budgets didn't allow that".

Irish Independent

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