Distributive policy

Dáil committee calls for aviation policy after Shannon visit

Members of the Oireachtas transport committee with members of the Shannon Group management team during their visit to Shannon Airport.

CALLS have been made for a national aviation policy that would see a more balanced distribution of flights to Shannon and other regional airports.

The call came from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications after its chairman, Limerick Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, led a delegation of committee members on a visit to Shannon Airport the week last.

The delegation met with Shannon Group Chairman-Elect Conal Henry, Managing Director Mary Considine and members of the senior management team who briefed them on the current operating environment, the progress of the recovery from the travel restrictions of Covid and future growth prospects.

Deputy O’Donnell said committee members were impressed with the experience the airport now offers passengers, which has been enhanced by the installation of a new security system and the facilities of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) airport.

“We also discussed the airport’s plans to establish major European hub connectivity and the committee reiterated its call for a review of national aviation policy to ensure a balanced geographical distribution of airport traffic.

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“We see Dublin increasing its share of air traffic volumes and continually coming under severe pressure on passenger capacity. At the same time, Shannon has spare passenger capacity for over two million passengers. In 2019, the airport had 1.7 million passengers and could accommodate up to 4.5 million.

“We have recommended that a new National Aviation Policy be developed and prioritized by the government, establishing a coordinated national approach to ensure a balanced recovery and growth in the aviation sector over the medium term,” added the Deputy Minister O’Donnell.