PASSENGER traffic at Shannon suffered a further seven per cent decline in 2011 but acting airport director Niall MacCarthy said there were “some positives” in 2011 and for the year ahead.
Shannon’s seven per cent market share among the three state airports is now the lowest in the airport’s history. At 1.6 million passengers, it handled more than two million passengers less than the peak in 2006 – the first full year of the former Ryanair deal – and also significantly less than the average 2.4 million handled between 2000 and 2004, before the base deal with Ryanair.
Among the positives during 2011, according to Mr MacCarthy was Aer Lingus Regional stepping into replace much of Ryanair’s previous UK service, increased services with some transatlantic carriers and extra summer charters to and from mainland Europe.
“On the US front, Delta Air Lines grew its JFK traffic significantly and United/Continental Airlines became the largest single customer on transatlantic services to Shannon for the very first time as it increased flights during the peak summer months,” said Mr MacCarthy.
“As part of our efforts at improving the level of service into British regional points, we now have daily connections and double daily connections to key cities in Britain and Shannon continues to be the only airport for the west of Ireland with connectivity to Heathrow, one of the world’s most important airport hubs.
“With its Shannon-based aircraft, the Aer Lingus Regional services to Manchester increased to double-daily services during the year and the company also added a new route to Edinburgh which collectively delivered a significant growth in passengers for the airline.”