Positive signs for the future, says Shannon Group CEO
Mary Considine (CEO Shannon Group) has described 2021 as ‘another challenging year,’ but says she is optimistic for the future.
Commenting as the group releases its end of year results, Ms Considine said: “Our team at Shannon Group have been unwavering in our focus on recovery and rebuilding to ensure a successful future for our employees, the people and businesses in our region who rely on our Shannon Airport services for their livelihoods. Although it has been another challenging year, having come through the worst of the Pandemic, we are confident that the foundations for recovery are in place”.
“With the welcome announcement of the lifting of restrictions, there is real optimism in the air. While it will still take time for the unwinding of Covid restrictions to filter down into the aviation sector, it is a really positive development for industries devastated by the pandemic”, says Ms Considine.
Shannon Airport passenger numbers rose 8% in 2021 compared to 2020, with most travel taking place in the latter part of the year following the rollout of the vaccination programme and the introduction of the EU Digital Covid Cert enabling the lifting of restrictions on non-essential air travel from mid-July of last year. Almost 380,000 people used Shannon Airport in 2021, compared to just over 352,000 in 2020. This is however still down 78% on 2019, the last full year of operation before the pandemic.
The airport saw a strong recovery in its European and UK services in 2021. European passenger numbers from Shannon recovered to 65% of 2019 levels, and the UK market to 43% of 2019 levels. Both markets saw a fivefold increase in passengers between August and November 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020.
“This summer we will operate services to 25 destinations with 107 planned weekly frequencies. The return of Transatlantic services to Boston, New York (JFK) and Newark from Shannon in March, combined with our strong European summer flight schedule and the return to full strength of our Heathrow services, are reasons to be optimistic”, says Ms Considine.
Commenting on future support for the airport Ms Considine said: “We are very grateful for the Government supports announced during the year, and given the enormous task ahead, our airport will continue to need these supports as we rebuild our business in the aftermath of Covid”.
Significant progress was made during the year on the transfer of the Group’s heritage sites to the relevant local authorities. The transfer of these activities will assist Shannon Group to focus on the recovery of the airport, build back international passengers, while continuing to develop its aviation cluster and associated property activities. Visitor numbers to the heritage sites continued to be impacted by the pandemic recording a drop of almost 50% since 2019 when the sites had 963,000 visitors. However, there was some recovery in 2021 with almost 496,000 visitors recorded, up from just over 300,000 visitors recorded in 2020.
The Group’s property development activities across the Shannon campus remained strong in 2021.