*A deserted Shannon Airport car park. Photograph: Joe Buckley
A Clare TD is leading the call for the creation of an “air cargo bridge” at Shannon Airport post-Brexit.
Establishment of an air cargo bridge could rejuvenate Shannon and the Mid-West but also provide opportunities for the Irish economy according to Cathal Crowe TD (FF).
He outlined, “I’ve been speaking extensively with Damien Regan from Sixmilebridge and Kieran O’Callaghan from Limerick in recent months and I formally requested that they be given an opportunity to come before our committee to outline this excellent plan”.
“Although air cargo only accounts for 1% of all cargo exported from Ireland, it has a very high monetary value – it’s estimated it counts for 30% of the value of all our exports. At the same time, we are trucking exports from Shannon to the UK, for it to be flown to every corner of the globe which makes zero sense. Damien and Kieran are proposing that post-Brexit we would have an air cargo facility to ensure that Ireland is perfectly positioned to be a stepping-stone between North America and Europe,” Deputy Crowe explained.
Shannon Airport’s runway and facilities make it the best positioned Airport in the country for the proposal, they argued. “I made the point, as I have done before, that Boston Scientific continue to manufacture high end medical devices with each cargo crate valued at around a million euro – yet these crates sit on the apron of Shannon’s runway, in close proximity to grounded jets, get trucked by night to Rosslare and on to Heathrow, from where they get flown to their international destinations.
Crowe told a recent sitting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee that the Irish government look at what the Luxemburgish state has done to guarantee solid air connectivity for its cargo outputs “CargoLux is owned by the Luxembourg government, which has a 56.6% stake – has recorded annual profits €200 million. Although civilian air travel might be down, there is no slowing of the movement of cargo between countries. This is a unique opportunity and there’s an essential need for an air cargo to be developed here. I don’t think trucking can meet the needs of our nation and I hope the government can consider state involvement.”