THE latest traffic figures for Shannon Airport show a continued decline in passenger aircraft but an increase in the niche business jet market being developed at the airport.
Figures from the Irish Aviation Authority show commercial terminal flights at Shannon were down by 1.3 per cent in June compared to the corresponding month last year and averaged out at 63 movements per day over the month.
The statistics show that marginal increases in commercial jet movements in Dublin - up 1.5 per cent - and in Cork, up 1.3 per cent with 72 daily movements were recorded.
While Shannon was the only DAA airport to show a decline in June, the performance is gradually improving over the year. There were almost 10 per cent fewer commercial movements in Shannon in April in April 2012 compared to the previous year.
Over the first half of the year, commercial flights were down by 3.8 per cent at Shannon, compared to a 4.2 per cent decrease in Cork and a 1.4 per cent decline in Dublin.
Better news for Shannon was last month’s record increase in business jet movements. There were 460 in all, an increase of 26 per cent on June 2011 which airport director Mary Considine described as an “exceptional” performance.
“The increase in June is very welcome as all gains in the aviation industry are hard to make right now. While terminal traffic remains our priority area, we have also been putting increased focus on business aviation at Shannon in recent years as it is a potential growth area. We have witnessed steady growth as a result and June has been an exceptional month,” said Ms Considine.
Shannon is the only airport outside of North America which is able to pre-clear private and corporate jets destined for the United States. This means passengers can complete customs and immigration checks in Shannon and are effectively regarded as domestic flights thereafter, opening up hundreds of smaller airport destinations in the USA.