Independent TDs from across the west of Ireland are calling for a range of urgent State supports for Shannon Airport after Shannon Group updated them on how business operations at Shannon Heritage and Shannon Airport have been “decimated” as a result of Covid.
In a meeting today with Mary Considine (CEO, Shannon Group) and Ray O’Driscoll (Chief Operating Officer, Shannon Group), Michael McNamara (Clare, Independent Group), Noel Grealish (Galway West, Regional Independent Group), Richard O’Donoghue (Limerick County, Rural Independent Group) and Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon Galway, Independent Group) were informed that Shannon Group is facing weekly revenue losses of €1.3m and is expecting annual revenue for 2020 to be down by 80%.
The TDs were also told that Shannon Airport anticipates 350,000 passengers in 2020, down from 1.8m passengers in 2019.
The TDs gave a commitment to Shannon Group to meet with the Taoiseach, Minister for Transport and airline representatives with a number of key requests:
• That Ireland sign up to the EU-wide traffic light system, which is to be agreed upon by the EU Council of Ministers on 13 October and will see regions being marked green, orange, or red depending on their rate of Covid-19 cases
• That testing protocol be agreed at all Irish airports to satisfy the requirements of destination airports
• That national aviation policy be amended in line with EU law to enable State-owned airports such as Shannon and Cork access State funding for capital expenditure projects.
Following the meeting, the TDs stated, “It was outlined clearly to us that 2020 was shaping up to be a very positive year for Shannon Airport but the collapse of transatlantic passenger traffic, which is essential for the tourism and multinational sectors (FDI) across the west of Ireland, has led to the decimation of the airport and Shannon Heritage. There is a general acceptance internationally that the aviation sector will not return to 2019 levels of business until 2024 at the earliest, but even this target is dependent on State supports being made available to airports like Shannon and Cork. Changes to national aviation policy, which would ensure carriers do not fly exclusively into Dublin, must be matched with the necessary funding.”
The delegation that met with Shannon Group today was representing a group of Independent TDs comprises Michael McNamara (Clare), Michael Collins (Cork South West), Thomas Pringle (Donegal) Sean Canney, (Galway East) Catherine Connolly, Noel Grealish, (Galway West) Danny Healy Rae, Michael Healy Rae (Kerry), Richard O’Donoghue (Limerick), Michael Fitzmaurice, Denis Naughten (Roscommon Galway), Marian Harkin (Sligo Leitrim) and Mattie McGrath (Tipperary).