Shannon transatlantic traffic rose 4pc while 1916 exhibition attracts 160,000 visitors

  • Transatlantic passenger numbers up 4pc on 2015
  • British market up 7pc despite Brexit concerns
  • Visitor numbers rise 30pc at Shannon Group tourist attractions

The key transatlantic market helped drive passenger numbers at Shannon Airport last year, as the Shannon Group released its full 2016 passenger figures for 2016.

A total of 396,708 passengers used Shannon from its five American destinations – JFK New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia. The airport faces competition from Cork Airport this year with the launch of Norwegian’s flights to the Boston area.

The group said the British market remained buoyant (up 7pc) despite Brexit uncertainty, with 758,371 passengers recorded,  Commercial terminal flights at Shannon were up by 5.5pc with an average of 45 commercial daily.

Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group

Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group


Passenger numbers increased for the fourth consecutive year with over 1.74m flying through the airport. This was a 2pc increase on 2015 and brings to 24pc the total increase in year-on-year passenger numbers since the airport was separated in 2013.

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Visitor numbers at Shannon Heritage’s portfolio of owned and managed day visitor attractions and evening entertainment venues in Clare, Limerick, Galway and Dublin grew by 30pc.

In all, 904,859 people visited the popular visitor attractions, which include Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in Co Clare, Limerick’s King John’s Castle and Malahide Castle and Garden in Dublin. The 1916-focused GPO Witness History exhibition, which opened in Dublin at the end of March 2016, attracted 160,000 visitors from March onwards.  Bunratty Castle and King John’s Castle saw visitor numbers increasing by 9pc to 352,286 and 5.4pc to 109,674 respectively.

Shannon Airport’s key capital spend was a €3m investment in enhancing the Transit Lounge and European departure gates, while at Shannon Heritage €1m was invested in creating the new-look Bunratty Retail Emporium, extended retail store, a new café, enhanced entrance and refurbished admissions building.

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Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas said: “Shannon Airport and Shannon Heritage are really good barometers for business and tourism activity across the wider region we serve and we saw further growth in both again last year.

“We are encouraged by the tremendous support we receive from our stakeholders across the region and the West including the County Councils, the business community and Chambers of Commerce, the national jobs creation agencies, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, and the national tourism agencies, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland.  We look forward to working even closer in 2017 to progress our aim of promoting the area as a premier location for tourism and industry.”

Shannon Group Chairman Rose Hynes said:  “It was a positive year for the group on a number of fronts, with Shannon Airport and Shannon Heritage both achieving gains. Almost two and a half years after the establishment of Shannon Group, we are entering a new phase where the focus is on investment, achieving further growth across our business units and getting our cost base in line. Shannon Group will continue to drive and enable growth in the wider region in 2017 and beyond.”

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