*Traffic has increased at Shannon Airport over the past month with the resumption of transatlantic services. Photograph: Joe Buckley
SHANNON AIRPORT can help lift the entire Mid-West region by building year-round access to a major European hub, a county councillor has argued.
Government support is needed to assist the Shannon Group “build regular access to at least one of the major European hubs by promoting the West of Ireland Tourism product in their hinterland,” Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) stated in a recent proposal to Clare County Council. His call was seconded by Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND).
Presently, Shannon Airport is the only International Airport in the country without connectivity to a major European hub.
McMahon previously raised the matter with Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan (GP) during his last visit to the county. “We need a new route that would operate all year round and would benefit Shannon and whole area. I am talking about Frankfurt and Amsterdam, a European hub would be of benefit”.
According to the Newmarket-on-Fergus representative, various Governmental departments need to “get together for once” with Chambers of Commerce in Shannon, Ennis, Limerick and Galway plus representatives from the hospitality industry “to put money in place” so that the routes can be operated.
In February 2008, CityJet announced a route between Shannon Airport and Charles de Gauille Airport in Paris, it operated twice daily until October 2009 with the airline citing the continuing economic downturn of the time for leading to a steep decline in its performance. It said passenger numbers made the possibility of breaking even very unrealistic. The return of the Aer Lingus route to Heathrow at the time was also a factor.
CityJet had considered introducing a service between Shannon and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam in December 2007, which would link the mid-west region with one of the largest hubs in Europe. The idea gained traction given the positivity which followed its announcement of the Paris service but once again, the recession put paid to the idea.
Aer Lingus in November 2019 announced new routes from Shannon Airport to Paris and Barcelona but the onset of COVID-19 ensured they never took flight with the national flag carrier later making the decision to remove its cabin crew base from Shannon.
Following a meeting with former Minister for Transport, Shane Ross (IND) in February 2019 during his only visit to Shannon Airport whilst in the role, Shannon Group were asked to submit a detailed plan on connecting the Airport to a major European hub. Little came of this proposal.