Shannon Airport’s passenger numbers have turned a significant corner, with figures for June showing an eight per cent increase on the same month last year.
The hugely positive development has seen month-over-month passenger numbers grow for the first time in five years at the airport and comes just six months after Shannon set out on life as an independent entity.
Meanwhile, Shannon’s contribution to tourism in Co. Galway has been illustrated by latest research made available today which shows that 30 per cent of US transatlantic passengers, who spend on average 60 per cent more than other tourists to Ireland, who arrived through Shannon last year holidayed in the county.
The overall June increases have been most pronounced in US passenger numbers, which have shown a massive 38 per cent hike on the same month last year, largely due to the commencement of a new United Airlines Chicago service on June 6th and a Philadelphia service with US Airways on May 22.
It is the latest in a series of positive developments on transatlantic operations this year at Shannon. It follows the announcement two weeks ago by Aer Lingus that it is to extend its existing Boston (January ) and JFK New York (March ) flights to daily services next year resulting in a 25 per cent increase (50,000 passengers ) on its transatlantic passengers at Shannon in 2014.
Overall, passenger numbers grew to 160,573 in June, from 148,531 last year. European services also contributed significantly to the increase, up by 18 per cent on the same month last year. Major contributing factors here were the return of the popular Ryanair Alicante service, the airline’s additional frequencies on Palma and Malaga flights and the commencement of Aer Lingus flights to Faro in the Algarve.
Welcoming the increase, Shannon Airport Chief Executive Neil Pakey said: “We are very encouraged by this increase. It is down in no small way down to the hard work of our team in securing a range of new services and is a really good start to life as an independent airport.
“The growth in US passenger numbers is particularly encouraging for the wider region we serve as tourism estimates are that US visitors spend, on average, 60 per cent more than other tourists in Ireland.
“Our catchment includes some of Ireland’s leading tourism counties, including Galway. Having a significantly improved range of services this year, especially on transatlantic routes, is extremely important to these counties.
“We are also encouraged by the number of Shannon passengers now visiting Dublin. The region we serve offers a distinct Irish holiday experience but the quality of our road and public transport network now also enables visitors to access Dublin for one or two-night stays easily while basing themselves here.”