JUST over 352,000 people used Shannon Airport in 2020, a 79% drop on 2019, Shannon Group has revealed.
Shannon Group’s heritage sites, which include Bunratty and King John’s Castles, had 302,000 visitors last year, which was down by almost 69% on 2019.
CEO of Shannon Group Mary Considine said that while Covid-19 did huge damage to its business, there is a basis for recovery. “Covid-19 had a devastating impact on two of our three business operations, but with the right supports, the foundations for recovery exist within Shannon Group, namely our improved core airport infrastructure, vibrant property portfolio, strong tourism offering and vibrant aviation cluster.”
Aviation is on the floor now, but she says there are positive signs for Shannon. ““With Ryanair set to reopen its base and operate 14 new routes from Shannon for Summer ’21 there are green shoots, but we recognise that recovery will be slow, rebuilding will take time, but we will get there. Crucial to recovery will be the lifting of global travel restrictions once it is safe to do so. Also vital is the accelerated and successful rollout of the national vaccination programme. The speed at which vaccines can be rolled out nationally and internationally is directly linked to our economic recovery.
“We know that prior to COVID-19 Shannon Group’s activities supported over 46,000 jobs, generated an economic impact of €3.6 billion per year and contributes €1.1 billion in Exchequer returns, and this is why it is vital that seeds of recovery are nurtured. We welcome the commitment in the Programme for Government to deliver the capital programmes required to support services and ensure safety at our state airports and this continued support for the airport will be vital as we recover from the current crisis.”
The property side of Shannon Group did perform well during 2020, and the development of three advance manufacturing and logistics facilities totaling 148,000 square feet in the Shannon Free Zone was completed, with MeriaGTx taking two of them. Also US cybersecurity management company Exida established a European base at Shannon, creating 25 jobs.
“We have seen how the regeneration work we are doing at Shannon Free Zone is breathing new life into the region. It has stimulated FDI and indigenous investment, creating jobs for our young people,” said Ms Considine.
“Shannon is resilient, our people are resilient. We have come through many crises in the past and we got through them by preparing and planning for the future. How we manage through this storm is equally important and we are determined and focused on navigating our way through,” she concluded.