PASSENGER numbers at Shannon increased by almost 10% in July, the second consecutive month of growth recorded at the airport.
And airport chief executive Neil Pakey said the growth might have been more pronounced still had it not been for Irish people deciding to holiday at home during the recent heatwave.
Compared to July 2012, total traffic grew by almost 20,000 to over 177,000 last month. This continues the positive trend which started with an 8% increase in June, the first month-over-month increase recorded at Shannon in five years.
Increased seasonal services with United and American Airlines to the USA meant that the July increase was most evident in the transatlantic market, up by almost 40% to 54,000 passengers.
“We are delighted to have achieved a second successive month of growth at Shannon. The figures very much reflect the enhanced level of services delivered at Shannon this year, not least on US destinations thanks to new routes to Philadelphia and Chicago, on top of already having Newark, JFK and Boston services,” Mr Pakey commented.
“This has been very positive for tourism market here, from Cork right up to the northwest as Shannon is the only airport on the entire western seaboard with transatlantic services. The increase is all the more encouraging given the anecdotal reports from travel agents here that the good weather caused a lot of people to holiday at home rather than book last minute trips to the sun, which would have pushed our figures up even higher.”
Hoteliers across the region have been reporting a “big increase in US visitors coming through Shannon” as well as the unexpected increase in local custom associated with the good weather, Mr Pakey said.
Figures from the August bank holiday weekend, meanwhile, show a 10% increase on the same period in 2012.
And in further good news for the airport, Ryanair has announced it is restoring its Liverpool route to a year-round service.
This means an additional 12,500 seats are available between Shannon and John Lennon International over the winter months.