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AN ESTIMATED €5m concession contract will be put up by Shannon Airport to operate its restaurants, cafe and bar outlets. 

Shannon Airport is in recovery mode following the lifting of Covid-19 air travel restrictions and the new tender is projecting passenger numbers to increase more than three fold this year to 1.33m.

According to the tender, the Airport is projecting to return to 77pc of 2019 pre-Covid passenger numbers and the
1.33m passenger estimate follows 379,935 passengers at Shannon during the pandemic hit 2021.

The tender states: “SAA’s business strategy, which initially focused on stabilization during Covid, is now firmly in recovery and rebuilding. SAA is committed to maximising all opportunities to build back stronger”.

The new contract is due to commence in November of this year and continue for five years with a further option of a two year extension.

As part of the tender, Shannon Group is inviting tenders to operate a landside restaurant and bar currently trading as JJ Ruddles; an airside bar and restaurant currently trading as The Sheridan Bar; an airside restaurant and food court currently trading as Zest At! and an airside cafe past the Post US Customs and Border Protection site and currently trading as Harry’s @ 8.

Sheridan’s Bar is named after the chef, Joe Sheridan, credited with inventing Irish coffee in 1943.

The current operator of the outlets is Zest at Limited and it is open to the firm to lodge a tender to ensure the continuation of its business at Shannon Airport.

According to a spokeswoman for the Shannon Group Zest at Ltd “has operated a number of food and beverage outlets in the airport under separate contracts following competitive tendering arrangements since the first contract in 2016”.

The operation of the airport businesses was severely hampered during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The most recent accounts for Zest at Ltd show that it recorded post tax losses of €163,094 in 2020 and followed post tax profits of €224,300 in 2019.

Zest at Ltd is part of the Tsez Financial Holdings Ltd group and the group recorded pre-tax losses of €622,156 in 2020 and the 2020 loss followed a loss of €618,724 in 2019.

This followed revenues declining by 64pc €14.53m to €5.2m in 2020. Group numbers employed during 2020 reduced from 245 to 94 and they have since rebounded with the lifting of restrictions. The 2020 loss takes account of €660,371 in Government grants and non-cash depreciation costs of €346,929.

Directors’ pay, including pension contributions, declined from €1.04m in 2019 to €528,327 in 2020 made up of pay of €134,347 and pension contributions of €393,980.

The closing date for tenders is August 3rd.

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