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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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850 jobs promised as Shannon Airport and Shannon Development to merge

The Government made the announcement today, saying that Shannon Airport will be granted full independence and a new commercial aviation and trade entity will be created.

Inside Shannon airport
Inside Shannon airport
Image: Sean MacEntee via flickr/Creative Commons

THE GOVERNMENT HAS confirmed that Shannon Airport and Shannon Development are to merge, leading to the creation of 850 jobs.

The Government has decided to grant Shannon Airport full independence from Dublin Airport Authority on December 31 2012 and merge it with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new, publicly-owned, commercial entity in 2013.

The airport has been loss-making since 2008 and passenger numbers have fallen by 60 per cent over the past five years, which has been described by the Government as “untenable”.

Today, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton and Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar confirmed that the Government will now implement the decision taken in principle last May.

Jobs

They said that specific commitments for the creation of 850 jobs have been secured from two Shannon-based companies, as part of plans for an International Aviation Services Centre.

They said that these commitments depend on the separation of Shannon Airport from the DAA. The ministers added that a report from the Aviation Business Development Task Force, set up by the Shannon Steering Group:

also states that the Aviation Services Centre ‘is conservatively projected to create and maintain 3,000-3,500 new direct jobs within five years, not including construction jobs’.

This decision “will grant Shannon Airport the long-awaited freedom to determine its own future in the best interests of the airport itself and of the Shannon region, and merge it with a restructured Shannon Development”, said the Ministers. The new entity will include Shannon Development’s extensive landbank and will be tasked with developing an international aviation centre of excellence.

Potential

Minister Varadkar said he is satisfied that Shannon Airport can perform to its full potential “without the constraints of remote oversight and DAA control”.

The International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) in and around the airport, will build on activities already undertaken in Shannon such as aircraft maintenance and leasing.

Minister Bruton said that this merger “will act as a catalyst for economic development and job-creation in the region”.

By merging a strong independent Shannon Airport with the extensive property holdings, experience and expertise of Shannon Development we will create a strong new State company which will work with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland on developing an International Aviation Services Centre in the region.

Strategy

Last May, Minister Varadkar and Minister Bruton were tasked by the Government to develop an implementation strategy for the new entity and assess the feasibility of creating an international aviation services centre with the airport as its hub.

They were assisted by a steering group of senior officials from five Government departments and two task forces. Legislation will now be drafted to establish a new, publicly-owned commercial Shannon entity comprising the airport and the restructured Shannon Development.

This legislation will also make a change to the name of the Dublin Airport Authority to take account of the new ownership structures, and should be enacted by the middle of 2013.

It is now intended to make appointments to the boards of the Shannon Airport Authority and Shannon Development to ensure that the necessary work is undertaken in relation to the changes.

Earlier today, Ireland West Airport Knock said that it may have to launch a legal challenge against the Government’s subsidy and support plans for Ireland’s airports. It said that in particular, this included the separation of Shannon Airport from the DAA.

Read: Ireland West Airport Knock threatens legal challenge over Shannon plans>

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