Shannon top of the world after landing ‘aviation Oscar’ in Chicago

Mike Dwane


Mike Dwane

Neil Pakey, CEO, Shannon Airport
SHANNON Airport has been chosen by international airlines for a prestigious marketing award.

SHANNON Airport has been chosen by international airlines for a prestigious marketing award.

Airport CEO Neil Pakey was in Chicago on Monday night to accept the honour at the World Routes Award, considered the “Oscars of the aviation world”.

Shannon landed the top award for the best marketing of airports handling four million passengers or less - and in so doing beat off the competition from shortlisted airports in Germany, Italy, China and Tanzania. Shannon also managed to go one better than last year, when it was named runner-up in the same category.

Ireland doubled up at the ceremony, with Dublin scooping the top award for airports handling between 20 and 50 million passengers. There were also awards for Brussels Airport and Changi in Singapore.

The awards ceremony was attended by 3,000 delegates representing 300 airlines, 800 airports and 200 tourism authorities from around the world.

In its short lifespan as a stand-alone airport, Shannon has reversed seven years of passenger decline and is back in positive territory after its marketing team won back a number of airlines, enticed new customers and persuaded existing ones to grow services. Management anticipates double-digit growth in total passenger numbers this year.

Speaking from Chicago, Mr Pakey said it was gratifying that Shannon had been recognised by airlines in winning the award, which comes in Shannon’s second year as an independent operation.

“Winning the World Routes Awards is an amazing achievement for Shannon, not least so soon after it was made an independent entity,” said Mr Pakey.

“It’s not just the winning of the award but also the fact that the awards are decided on by the airlines themselves. Airlines are a key constituent and this shows Shannon is turning a lot more heads now.

“It has not been achieved without hard work, however, and there is a lot more of that ahead of us but the World Routes award is outstanding recognition for our team at Shannon. It sends a clear message to them that they are very much on the right track and we continue to remain there. Also, winning this award is worldwide promotion that we simply could not buy and in front of the key decision makers for airlines across the world.”

The awards are part of a wider three-day networking event for airlines, airports, tourism authorities, civil aviation authorities and more from every corner of the globe.