WHILE there has been some reluctance to publicly state short term targets for a recovering and restructured Shannon Airport, a report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport states that the aim is to have 1.9 million passengers in 2014.
That would mean an increase of just over 500,000 on 2012, meaning around 10,000 extra people per week would have to be using the airport in 2014.
It also notes the more long term target of 2.5 million passengers by 2018, a figure that Leo Varadkar said has to be met to give the airport a sustainable future.
The report containing the information was compiled by the Oireachtas Joint Committee of the Oireachtas and is on the General Scheme of the Shannon Aviation Services and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2013.
The committee that prepared the report is chaired by Mayo TD John O’Mahony. Fourteen other TDs, one of which was Clare’s Timmy Dooley and six senators are also on it.
One of the report’s conclusions was that there may be a need to clarify the exact role of the newly formed Shannon Group, which will run the airport and the property portfolio of what was Shannon Development. “Stakeholder concerns over the naming of a restructured and streamlined Shannon
Development as ‘Shannon Commercial Enterprises Ltd’ may reflect an overall lack of clarity over the intended more focussed, commercial remit of Shannon Group. This conclusion is arrived at in the context of suggestions of a continuing role in driving the economy of the Shannon-Limerick area and the wider national economy. More defined objectives for the Group or a statement as to its continuing status (or otherwise) as a regional development agency may be merited to ensure functions are clear and to avoid any misrepresentation or duplication with existing State bodies.”
It also called for efforts to be made to make sure that best practice applies to term limits for board members and the chief executive, the appointment functions of the Chairman in relation to the boards of subsidiary companies and the appointment of worker directors to boards of subsidiary companies.
The report notes that around 40 companies, one third of those in the Shannon Free Zone are already related to aviation, while there are plans to make it a major centre for aviation services.
In another conclusion it calls for there to be certainty that Shannon Group has access to sufficient funds. “More detailed comparative analysis may be required to ensure that the Group’s proposed borrowing limit is sufficient, takes account of the commercial realities of the Group and to avoid any necessity to have recourse to exchequer funding.”