THE NUMBER OF PASSENGERS passing through Shannon airport dropped by 14 per cent between 2011 and 2012.
The airport saw a decline from 1,625,453 in 2011 to 1,394,781 this year. That marks a total decline of 230,672.
A fall-off in troop movements through Shannon airport accounted for 145,953 of the decline, 63 per cent overall. Shannon remains the State’s third largest airport.
It was announced in December that Shannon Airport and Shannon Development are to merge, leading to the creation of 850 jobs. The Government granted the airport full independence from Dublin Airport Authority to merge with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new publicly-owned commercial entity this year.
Commenting on 2012 passenger figures at Shannon, a spokesperson for Shannon Airport said that while 2012 was “a difficult year, the decline over recent years slowed considerably and we believe that 2013 will mark the turning point for the airport as recovery firmly takes hold”.
The spokesperson noted that transatlantic was down by 10 per cent in 2012 but the airport is anticipating an increase of 22 per cent alone in passenger numbers on transatlantic services in the summer season this year thanks to new routes coming on stream for Philadelphia and Chicago; the return of Aer Lingus early on JFK New York and Boston; and Delta’s return on JFK.
Outside the US, it also has a new route announced for Faro, as well as a doubling of its services to Bodrum in Turkey for the summer season.
In time, after a really difficult four years for the airport, 2013 will be seen as the turning point. In addition to the gains we have already secured, the newly independent Shannon Airport will be marketed aggressively and competitively this year also for a range of other sustainable routes that we have identified.
The spokesperson added:
We are confident that the newly independent [airport] will be making further announcements as the year goes on regarding new services and strengthening of existing successful services.
Yesterday it was announced that passenger numbers at Dublin airport were up 2 per cent.