SHANNON Airport’s recovery continued in October, with the month showing a growth in passenger numbers of almost 5% on the same period last year.
After years of decline, the airport has been moving in the right direction since the summer, with consistent monthly improvements.
In October there were 116,901 passengers at Shannon, compared to 111,699 in October 2012.
The biggest increase in October came in European traffic, although US traffic was also up by 4%.
Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said the October figures rounded off a great week for the region, in which Limerick’s programme for its year as the National City of Culture was unveiled.
“This week is a special one for the region, with the very exciting programme launch for Limerick National City of Culture 2014. The Shannon Group will play a pivotal role in the project by bringing in visitors for the many flagship events in the programme next year. We are equally pleased that Shannon Heritage will also be contributing significantly to the programme through cultural attractions and particularly through a range of arts activities at King John’s Castle. This is our fifth successive month of growth and a really positive sign for the year ahead.”
News of the improvement in October came less than two weeks after Ryanair announced eight new services from April of next year to Berlin, Paris, Fuerteventura, Warsaw, Faro, Munich, Nice and Krakow.
Mr Pakey said the signs are very encouraging for further growth in 2014. “Three of those cities, Berlin, Paris and Krakow, are former European Capitals of Culture so the opportunity to drive inbound tourism for Limerick next year from these locations, and indeed right across our network, is now much stronger.
“It’s shaping up to be a really exciting year for the west. In addition to our already outstanding tourism product and Limerick National City of Culture 2014, we also have the Wild Atlantic Way project getting underway. We hope the Wild Atlantic Way initiative will be one of the great tourism success stories for years to come for Ireland. Our continued growth and addition of new services will be central to its success as Shannon will be the premier gateway for the route, which runs from Donegal to West Cork.”
Meanwhile, the site of Galway Airport is being sold to the two Galway local authorities, by its owners Galway Chamber.
In a statement, the Chamber said the continued operation of an airport there isn’t viable.
“Galway Chamber, as the majority shareholder in Galway Airport, welcomes the decision by Galway City Council and Galway County Council to purchase the strategically important site at Carnmore.
“This has been the objective of Galway Chamber since it learned that the airport facility at Carnmore was no longer viable, without Government subvention, as a licensed aerodrome. It became imperative to Galway Chamber that the 115-acre site on the east side of the city would continue in community ownership and continue to play a role in the strategic development of the region.”