NEW management at Shannon Airport believe they can halt the slide in passenger numbers in 2013 after a sixth consecutive year of decline was recorded over the last 12 months.
Figures released for 2012 show an accelerated rate of decline - at 14% - last year from 1.6 million passengers to just under 1.4 million. The drop in passengers recorded in 2011 was around 7% while the fall-off in 2010 had reached 37% with the withdrawal of many Ryanair services.
Figures from the DAA - from which Shannon has now formally separated - show the numbers using Dublin Airport rose by 2% during 2012 while Cork’s fell slightly from 2.4 million to 2.34 million.
Much of the drop at Shannon last year is accounted for by reduced through-traffic of American troops. Almost 150,000 fewer soldiers passed through Shannon, making up almost two thirds of the overall decline.
A spokesperson for Shannon commented: “While 2012 was a difficult year, the decline over recent years slowed considerably”.
“For example, transatlantic was down by 10% in 2012 but we are anticipating an increase of 22% alone in passenger numbers on transatlantic services in the summer season this year thanks to new routes coming on stream for Philadelphia, Chicago; the return of Aer Lingus early on JFK New York and Boston and Delta’s return, also on JFK.
“Outside the US, we also have a new route announced for Faro, as well as a doubling of our services to Bodrum in Turkey for the summer season.
The spokesman predicted that, in time, 2013 would be “seen as a turning point” as the new airport company “aggressively markets” the airport for routes already identified.
“We are confident that the newly independent team at Shannon will be making further announcements as the year goes on regarding new services,” the spokesman said.