*Kevin Thompstone. Photograph: Joe Buckley
A clear plan for route recovery for services to Shannon Airport needs to be identified to safeguard the hundreds of jobs reliant on air traffic in the region.
Case studies showcasing data on the impact of Shannon Airport to a number of businesses in the Mid-West was detailed at a recent briefing organised by Shannon Chamber as part of their efforts to stress the need for multi-annual funding for Shannon Airport.
Current board member of Shannon Chamber, Kevin Thompstone outlined, “real business data shows the strong association between Shannon Airport connections to source markets and overseas bednights” for a number of hotels in the catchment area.
Dromoland Castle had 16,000 North America room sales in 2019, between 75 to 80 percent of these used Shannon Airport as an entry or exit point. 100 percent of the 1,600 UK room sales used Shannon to access Dromoland in 2019. Up to 300 people were employed at Dromoland Castle at this time with €21m detailed as the local economy and exchequer spend as a result of its trade.
“Unless we get access back, it will be practically impossible for Mark Nolan and his team to get back to this level. That means 300 jobs and a five star hotel is at threat,” the former CEO of Shannon Development warned.
Similarly, all of the 1,500 UK room sales at the Shannon Springs Hotel in 2019 availed of Shannon Airport to make their trip. For their 9,500 US room sales, 95 percent utilised Shannon Airport. There is a workforce of 60 at the Shannon Springs Hotel with an estimated local economy and exchequer spend of €5.5m.
All of the 15,000 North American bed sales at the Grand National South Court Hotel used Shannon as an exit or entry point while over 95 percent of the 3,000 UK room sales in 2019 did likewise.
Detailing a case study on Pat Keogh Chauffeur Service, Thompstone said it was a clear example to showcase the “devastating impact of air traffic collapse on a previously viable and successful ground transportation business”. He stated, “the business has almost collapsed and route recovery is key to getting the business back to where it was previously”.
A 56 percent reduction in transport of airline crew was recorded by the Shannon based chauffeur service last year. Up to 65 percent of the guests that availed of the business owned by the Newmarket-on-Fergus are typically from North America. Last year, it recorded a 90 percent reduction in its revenue.