The Chambers of Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon, which represent 1,355 members with a combined employment level of 45,700, have welcomed the recent signing into law of the Shannon Airport Bill by President Michael D Higgins.
The Chambers’ concern about the length of time it has taken to complete this very necessary piece of legislation has been well documented but the Presidents are now unanimous in their belief that a new dawn has finally arrived for Shannon Airport with new Shannon Group plc finally being in a position to bring their very ambitious plans for the airport to fruition.
In a stement, they said the ability of the new airport management teams now in place at the airport is clearly evident. A five-year decline in passenger numbers has already been reversed in its first year as an independent entity, and double-digit growth in passenger numbers is forecast for 2014. We can now confidently look forward to seeing further wins for the new strategic business units – Shannon Airport, the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC ), Shannon Heritage, and Shannon Commercial Properties as these new teams become fully operational.
“The Chambers were surprised to learn that EU State Aid rule prevents cross-subsidisation between divisions within the Shannon Group structure. This is a fundamental change from the pre-independence rationale and proposal by government to use Shannon Free Zone rent roll as a key source of working capital for the airport.
“Given that this is no longer possible, our expectation is that any surplus income at Shannon Free Zone will be reinvested in the refurbishment and modernisation of the Zone to attract new mobile investment into Shannon. In addition to aviation, Shannon has a strong cluster of world-class foreign and Irish companies in the ICT, engineering, international services, and life sciences sectors.
“It is essential that Shannon Group, IDA and Enterprise Ireland deliver the continuing flow of mobile investment required to produce further growth and employment in these clusters at Shannon, a key part of the Atlantic Corridor that also includes Limerick, Ennis and Galway.
“The Chambers will continue to work with the Airport to ensure that its true potential on all fronts is maximised,” they said.