WHILE the Shannon Group has reported a surge in profits last year, the company are well aware that the operation of the airport is facing a very difficult few months.
Post-tax profits rose 43% to €21.6m last year despite the first drop in passenger numbers at the airport in six years.
The Shannon Group runs not only the airport but Shannon Heritage, Shannon Commercial Properties and the International Aviatiion Services Centre.
The group head Mary Considine Considine warned troubling times are on the way, saying: “We are living in an unprecedented era of uncertainty with the full impact to public health and the economy of Covid-19 yet to be determined. The speed and impact with which the virus has disrupted day-to-day life is unlike anything we have experienced in living memory.”. from across the region dialled into an online meeting with the Shannon Group to discuss the huge challenges facing Limerick’s local airport.
The vast majority of operations at Shannon Airport are at a standstill as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world.
It’s as yet unclear when operations will resume, although this week, budget carrier Ryanair released a video which outlined the hygiene measures it will take once its aircraft are fully operational again. The airline said it is aiming for a July return.
Meanwhile Limerick polltopper Sinn Fein's Maurice Quinlivan was joined by Clare TD Violet-Anne Wynne and Deputy Martin Browne of Tipperary for the meeting with Shannon Group chief Mary Considine, which was held online
Speaking afterwards, he said: “Unsurprisingly the challenges the Airport now face are huge, both financial and logistically, given the total shutdown of international flights and tourism as a whole on the island. Shannon Airport acts as a vital gateway for tourism and business coming into Limerick and the wider Mid-west and also offers citizens here with great connectivity to swathes of the world.”
Mr Quinlivan urged whoever makes up the new government provides subvention to the regional airports to ensure flights can take-off when the coronavirus pandemic restrictions are finally lifted.