Shannon Airport has delivered on its pledge to achieve significant passenger growth in its second year as an independent entity, with end of year figures for 2014 showing a 17 per cent increase on 2013.
In 2013 following separation the airport ended five successive years of decline and in 2014 has delivered significant growth, with passenger numbers increasing from 1,400,032 to 1,639,315.
The growth was achieved on the back of 10 new destinations and 16 service enhancements overall in 2014. The biggest growth market was in European services, where nine new destinations delivered a 70% increase (from 251,813 to 427,887 ). While these included a number of popular sun destinations which return for 2015, growth on European services also drew high numbers of inbound visitors, thanks to the return of links to Germany (Munich and Berlin ) as well new French (Paris and Poitiers ) services – markets with traditionally a strong demand for the unique West of Ireland tourism product.
There was also strong growth (10 per cent ) across the airport’s five US services (Boston, Chicago, Newark, JFK New York and Philadelphia ), building on the increase achieved in the second half of 2013 when the airport enjoyed a 22 per cent uplift in transatlantic passengers.
Shannon’s largest overall market, the UK, continued to recover, achieving a 5 per cent increase in 2014.
The year finished on another monthly high in December with a 7 per cent increase on passenger numbers compared with December 2013. This included a 165 per cent increase on European services.
Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said that the role of the airlines and the response of the market was key. “Our success, in just our first year as an independent entity, in ending five years of successive decline in passenger numbers in 2013 gave airlines the confidence to come in with a range of new services in 2014. The market responded accordingly with passengers returning to Shannon as their airport of choice for access in and out of this region for both business and tourism.
“We remain focussed on supporting our airlines by helping them to grow passenger numbers in 2015. We accept that the market has the capacity to throw up challenges and, to that end, we are closely monitoring events around the potential acquisition of Aer Lingus and implications that may have on Heathrow slots.
“Shannon is the only airport on the western seaboard with connectivity to Heathrow, which gives businesses across the Mid-West and West the one-stop connectivity needed to access key markets across the world. The consequences for the region of the withdrawal of Heathrow services in 2007 showed how essential they are and everything needs to be done to make sure history is not allowed to repeat itself.
“Our target was for double digit growth and getting that up to 17 per cent was very satisfying. Having more people from our catchment choosing to fly from here has been the most pleasing aspect of all. A big difference also was the opportunity for Shannon to emerge as the key access point for air travel for the Wild Atlantic Way,