Shannon airport ‘key influencer’ for foreign direct investment in Ireland, says business group

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Shannon airport has been described as a “key influencer” for attracting foreign direct investment in the Mid-West by the Limerick Chamber of Commerce and a solution to maintain aviation connectivity needs to be prioritised by the airport, government and Aer Lingus following the airline’s announcement that a review of its operations in Cork and Shannon airport was taking place. 

In July, Aer Lingus’ Chief Executive Sean Doyle said the ongoing viability of their regional bases along with the scale of their flying programme was under assessment. 

Reports have emerged this week that aircraft serving routes to Boston and New York along with London Heathrow may transfer to Britain. 

“We are deeply concerned by reports that Aer Lingus may be considering moving aircraft used on Heathrow and transatlantic services at Shannon to UK regional airports to commence transatlantic services from there.

“Connectivity through Shannon has been a key factor in the economic recovery of the Mid West in the years since the ‘08 recession and we need to ensure that Shannon Airport is resourced so it can move quickly to reinstate transatlantic and European connectivity as soon as public health advice on travel changes.

“We call on the airline, the Government and the airport to come together for meaningful discussions to ensure that the best possible solution for everyone is found,” said Dee Ryan, Chief Executive of the Limerick Chamber.

Ms Ryan said that Shannon airport has been critical in recent years for securing foreign direct investment for the Mid-West region especially in the last five years and that aviation connectivity was very important in the initial recovery from the 2008 recession for the region. 

Ms Ryan said: “So much employment in the Mid-West relies on route connectivity through Shannon. Its catchment has over 40% of all foreign direct investment from the US and it is critically important for tourism, given that it is the gateway airport to the Wild Atlantic Way. 

“So, it’s essential that Shannon is supported and primed for recovery when aviation gets going again. We need to begin planning for the recovery that will inevitably come. Aer Lingus’ services at Shannon will be critical to that.

“Therefore, the Chamber believes it is essential that any government subsidies or supports to airlines will be contingent upon commitments from airlines to increase regional route connectivity.”

The Shannon Group who operate the airport said it is in “ongoing discussions” with Aer Lingus regarding the resumption of its Heathrow and transatlantic operations and said their resumption is critical for business and tourism across western and southern regions.

Aer Lingus would not comment on the reports when contacted by the Irish Examiner.

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