Monday 19 August 2019

Dublin Airport growing at Shannon's expense - CEO

Bunratty Castle is included in the Shannon Free Zone
Bunratty Castle is included in the Shannon Free Zone

Gordon Deegan

The chief executive of the Shannon Group PLC has claimed that policy in Ireland is leading towards the country having only one airport - at Dublin.

Addressing members of Clare Co Council at their November meeting yesterday, Matthew Thomas said that was the only conclusion to take from figures showing that Dublin Airport has increased its market share from 72pc in 2005 to 87pc now.

Mr Thomas said that Dublin's consolidation of the market was happening incredibly fast.

Mr Thomas said that Shannon Airport's share of a growing market has reduced from 5.4pc to 5.1pc since the airport achieved independence from the DAA.

Mr Thomas said that in spite of the reduction in market share, the airport was the least affected by Dublin's growing dominance and has managed to increase passenger numbers by 25pc.

He said that the Shannon Group is looking to change the "very immature" Government policy in the area.

The ceo also stated that the Shannon Group has "huge investment plans".

The group has responsibility for the Shannon Free Zone and a number of tourist attractions including Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Mr Thomas said that the Shannon Group hopes to press ahead with building the world's biggest airport hangar next year.

He said: "The building of hangars are central to the growth of the aviation and aerospace cluster at Shannon. Hangars are low margin and expensive. We hope to build the world's largest one next year if the financials add up."

Mr Thomas also stated he hopes the group will embark on multi-million-euro investment at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

"We are currently negotiating with Fáilte Ireland on this. Fingers crossed. They say that they have a limited pot of money but we are hoping to make Bunratty a top-flight attraction in Ireland.

"What we are looking at Bunratty to take it do a completely different level.

Mr Thomas said that all investment by the Shannon Group is self-financed, as the Shannon Group receives no government funding.

Irish Independent

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