Shannon Airport to submit plan for ‘vital major European hub connectivity’

Shannon Airport is the only international airport in the country not connected to a European hub

Shannon Airport is the only international airport in the country not connected to a European hub

SHANNON Airport management have been asked to submit a detailed plan on connecting the airport to a major European Hub as Brexit looms.

The move was confirmed by Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell who arranged a recent meeting between the Shannon Group and Transport Minister Shane Ross following a request from the group. Shannon is the only international airport in the country not connected to a European hub.

It currently has UK hub connectivity through London Heathrow, which will continue to be hugely important connectivity going forward. But in a Brexit situation, Shannon will then be without connectivity into an EU hub.

The high-level meeting took place on February 6 to discuss a range of matters relating to the Shannon group, including, their five year strategic plan and re-establishing a major European hub for the airport as well as Brexit. Senator O’Donnell said it was a “very constructive meeting”.

“Minister Ross is very supportive of plans to progress linking Shannon Airport with a major European Hub. To this end, at the meeting, he asked Shannon Airport management to provide him and his department with a detailed plan to connect to a major European hub. Furthermore, Minister Ross made it clear that he is very keen for increased competition to be provided to Dublin Airport by Shannon Airport.

“Fundamental to the Project 2040 plan is to promote stronger regions outside of Dublin, with Shannon Airport being one of the key drivers here. I feel very strongly that Shannon Airport must be fully Brexit ready for all eventualities. 

“Whilst it has very good transatlantic and UK connectivity through Heathrow, Shannon is currently the only international Airport in Ireland without a direct European hub with Brexit looming. Having a major European hub has to be a priority as it would greatly contribute to providing a competitive counter-balance to Dublin and the Eastern seaboard.

“Shannon Airport is an asset of key strategic importance not only to this region, but, also to Ireland. Having UK, Transatlantic, European and Worldwide major connectivity at Shannon Airport would further improve the competitiveness of the Airport as well as the industry and tourism offer here.

“I will continue to work with the Shannon Group in raising this matter with Government, including Minsters Ross and Coveney to ensure that Shannon Airport can re-establish vital major European hub connectivity as quickly as possible,” Senator O’Donnell said.

Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas had called on the government in November of last year to safeguard EU connectivity for the Mid-West in a post Brexit environment.

He called for the establishment of a connectivity fund and for regional tourism targets to be set in the event of a British withdrawal from Europe.