2021 was ‘another challenging year’, but there are positive signs for the future, says Shannon Group CEO

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With an 8% increase in Shannon Airport passenger numbers, the Shannon Group CEO says there are reasons to be optimistic in 2022, writes Shauna McCrudden

Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group plc. Pic: Arthur Ellis.

Mary Considine, CEO of 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.”

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Shannon Airport passenger numbers rose 8% in 2021 compared to 2020. Most travel took 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.  

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“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.”

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.”

The Group’s property development activities across the Shannon campus remained strong in 2021. 

“During the period of severe travel restrictions on aviation, we took the opportunity to futureproof key elements of our airport infrastructure and continue our property investment strategy across our Group campus. We have worked hard to improve the airport experience for all our customers. 

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“While 2022 will still be a challenging year, and there is still a considerable journey ahead of us, there are positive signs of recovery which give us confidence.”

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