AN UPTURN in fortunes at Shannon Airport is having a knock-on effect for Limerick with hoteliers reaping the rewards, according to Cllr Joe Leddin.
With traffic figures up to 178,000 in July – an increase of 9% on the same month last year – the Labour councillor said those who had campaigned for Shannon to be freed from the shackles of the DAA were being vindicated.
“The separation of Shannon Airport was a key commitment that I campaigned for as a local councillor for many years. The airport is a critical piece of infrastructure in the revitalisation of Limerick and the Mid-West region,” said Cllr Leddin.
“Separating the airport from the DAA has allowed for the establishment of a professional committed board of experienced people that have both the skillset and vision to develop Shannon Airport to achieve its full potential.
“The Government’s decision to separate Shannon Airport was opposed by Fianna Fail who for years stood idly by while passenger numbers continued to fall, placing the very viability of the airport at stake.”
An independent entity since January 1, the intervening months have seen Shannon win new routes and expand existing services to the United States, mainland Europe and the UK.
“The continued announcement of new routes and carriers using Shannon is delivering real economic benefits to the local services and hospitality sector with most Limerick hotels experiencing significant increases in business turnover this year,” said Cllr Leddin.
And airport chief executive Neil Pakey described similar feedback from the hospitality sector.
“Generally, we have received very positive reports from hoteliers and other accommodation providers across this region on the summer season. They have done better than they expected from the domestic market because of the good weather but, on top of that, have benefited from the big increase in US visitors coming through Shannon,” Mr Pakey said.
“This has really driven growth as US visitor spends a lot more than tourists from any other country so we are delighted to have made this contribution and are focussed on keeping up the momentum.”