Collaboration between Shannon and Dublin Airport can create “a win-win situation,” the Chairperson Designate of Shannon Group has said.
Speaking before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications, Pádraig Ó Céidigh revealed that he has already been contacted by the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority, Dalton Philips “offering to co-operate and work with me and with us in any way he possibly can, which I welcome”.
He stated, “This is not an either-or situation. This is about working together for Ireland Inc. We have a slightly different roles and objectives. Shannon Airport has an objective for that region and Dublin Airport has a slightly different objective in the same industry. There is no reason, in the context of a small island with a population of approximately 5 million. for us not to work together and create a win-win situation. One of the first things I will be looking at is how we can work with Dublin Airport to create a win-win situation”.
Ó Céidigh was speaking in response to queries from Clare TD, Joe Carey (FG). Deputy Carey noted that 46,500 “jobs hang on the back of Shannon and its well-being”. There is a feeling amongst the business community in the Mid-West that the appointment of the Galway man “is a shot in the arm” for the region.
Carey detailed, “Even prior to Covid-19, Shannon Airport was struggling to gain market share. The key issue is addressing the imbalance between Dublin Airport and the rest. One of Mr. Ó Céidigh’s targets should be to amend national aviation policy and have positive discrimination towards Shannon Airport because it is much more than an airport. It is an economic driver and businesses that are in Shannon or the mid-west region are there principally because of the presence of Shannon and the connectivity it provides”.
During a recent meeting with the Irish Hotels Federation held at the Inn at Dromoland, the Clarecastle man said a conversation with Lahinch hotelier, Michael Vaughan left an impression on him. “He said they had 30 Americans that night and that every one of those had entered the country through Dublin. They had to sit on a bus or in a car and come down to Lahinch to overnight, play golf and so on. Why are these people not coming through Shannon Airport? Part of Mr. Ó Céidigh’s objective should also be to restore transatlantic routes, build on that traffic, re-establish the three daily direct return routes to Heathrow and get a bigger slice of the aviation cake nationally for Shannon”.
Ó Céidigh voiced the need for active engagement with all stakeholders in the region, the management team, staff and business communities. “Together we can put Shannon Airport on the map and I am confident of that. From a board perspective and as already indicated, the big objective is to get us back to 2019 levels. That includes three Heathrow flights a day and transatlantic routes. We are going to do everything in our power to achieve that but the support of the committee and of key stakeholders is important”.