Saturday 24 March 2018

Scotsman faced challenges to grow struggling airport

Neil Pakey. Photo: Tom Burke
Neil Pakey. Photo: Tom Burke
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Today, Neil Pakey will be unveiled as the 'Limerick Leader' person of the month. He'll now go forward to contend for the award for person of the year.

And it's with that backdrop, and rumours over the nature of the apparent tensions between Mr Pakey and the Shannon Group chairperson Rose Hynes, that the aviation boss will bow out of his role.

While the Scotsman who once ran Liverpool John Lennon Airport is chief executive of the Shannon Group, it's the Shannon Airport division that grabs most of the headlines.

Although Shannon has had reasonable success in luring new services and generating passenger growth, it does so in a sector where it will always play second fiddle to Dublin. There's only so much domestic traffic that Shannon can drum up from its hinterland, and while its connections with the United States are welcome, they will always have limited scale.

And Shannon Airport always knew that its appeal to carriers and its potential for passenger growth would be limited and it would need to carve out new revenue streams.

It had been hoped to develop a major cargo hub at Shannon, in a €20m partnership with US firm Lynx. That deal had actually been engineered by the DAA in 2012 before Shannon split from the group.

But that project won't now proceed, upping the ante for Shannon to seek new business ventures.

Irish Independent

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