UPDATE! Chambers unite in support of Shannon Airport calling for urgent government action 

chambers unite

Chambers unite – Chambers representing businesses have united in a submission to the government today for supports to help Shannon Airport.

NEWS UPDATE – Joint chambers meet with Ministers Ryan and Naughton on Shannon Airport

Thursday 17 September 2020:  The joint chambers of Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon have said they have been encouraged by Ministers Eamon Ryan and Hildegarde Naughton’s commitment to address aviation policy in line with the goals of Project Ireland 2040 following a meeting this week.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State at the Dept. of Climate Action and Transport Hildegarde Naughton facilitated a virtual meeting on Monday with the joint chambers at short notice in light of growing concerns about Shannon Airport and the impact COVID-19 is having on air travel and access to western regions.

During the one hour meeting the four chambers impressed on the ministers the critical importance to business in the regions of access to European and transatlantic markets.  They urged the government to work with the airlines to protect slots and asked for conditions to be attached to any funding packages for Aer Lingus and Ryanair that routes into regional airports be restored and further strategic routes be developed.

“This was an urgent meeting for the Chambers on a matter of critical importance to our members and the regional economy.  It was encouraging that the Ministers prioritised the issue and coordinated their diaries to take the meeting together at short notice.  It demonstrated the seriousness with which they are both treating the current situation in Shannon airport,” said Dee Ryan, Limerick Chamber CEO.

Said Helen Downes, CEO Shannon Chamber: “Engagement at the meeting was strong; the Ministers were both very aware of the challenges that Shannon faces in the short-term because of COVID and in the longer term around route development and aviation policy.”

Said Margaret O’Brien, CEO Ennis Chamber: “In the midst of the crisis there is an opportunity to rethink connectivity into the country.  With the Mid West and West so heavily reliant on tourism and hospitality sector, it begs the question why 96% of all new airline routes developed for the country go into Dublin.”

Said Kenneth Deery, CEO of Galway Chamber: “The Ministers were very aware of the direct link between airport growth and regional growth and we really impressed on them the need for policy change in the long term to ensure that, unlike the situation that prevailed as we emerged from the crash, the recovery is not just for Dublin Airport and the Dublin Region.  We were very encouraged by their commitment on this and look forward to ongoing communications with them.”

Meanwhile, the Chambers welcomed the decision to adopt the European Union traffic light system for aviation as an important initial step for getting Ireland back flying but that a lot more needs to be done.

“The Chambers urge government to be strategic in measures to support the recovery of the aviation sector. As an island nation heavily dependent on air access to the European market, we can not afford to  allow airlines to fail or to miss this opportunity to reset regional connectivity for the benefit of the entire country.” concluded Dee Ryan.

Chambers unite in support of Shannon Airport calling for urgent government action 

chambers unite

The CEO of Limerick Chamber, Dee Ryan (pictured above), has said that a comprehensive plan needs to be put in place to ensure that Shannon Airport is primed for the global aviation recovery. 

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 –

Chambers representing businesses that directly support over 100,000 jobs across the Mid-Wet and West have united in one voice in a submission to the government today for supports to help Shannon Airport navigate the current crisis and establish a new model for aviation in Ireland.

The submission from Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon chambers, which collectively represents 1,358 businesses across the Shannon Airport catchment, the proposals have been forwarded today to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan ahead of a meeting sought by the group with him last week.

The chambers, in their joint submission, state that the ability of firms located in Ireland to do business internationally, and the attractiveness of Ireland for foreign firms, labour, and tourists depends on aviation. “As such, the business community in the Mid-West and West of Ireland is deeply concerned following recent decisions by Delta and United Airlines not to resume flights from Shannon Airport in 2021. These concerns have been further exacerbated by recent reports regarding the potential transfer of Aer Lingus aircraft serving routes to the US and UK away from Shannon Airport to alternative UK regional airports,” the submission states.

The chambers say that Ireland’s travel restrictions are among the most restrictive in Europe and the longer these restrictions are in place, the greater the risk they pose to our competitiveness and future economic recovery.

“While the business communities of the Mid-West and West appreciate that public health advice must take priority, we cannot ignore the fact that government-imposed travel restrictions are forcing airlines to make decisions that will have severe repercussions for regional economies. It is now time for the government to intervene and provide a support package for stricken airlines in order to ensure our connectivity into the future.”

The chambers call on the government to adopt a strategic approach to support for airlines that are struggling to cope with the impact of COVID-19 and to follow the footsteps of Austria and France by ensuring that any support package has strong environmental conditions attached.

They also urge Minister Ryan to take the opportunity to advance the main objective of Project Ireland 2040 through the attachment of binding conditions for strategic route development into regional airports that will assist in addressing the regional economic imbalances. They outline seven asks that cover both the current crisis and the need to adopt new aviation policy measures that will enable growth at airports in the regions, in line with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.

The specific asks are:

  • As soon as public health advice allows, implement fully the recommendations of the Aviation Recovery Taskforce
  • Provide support packages for airlines who will maintain and develop routes from Irish regional airports. Any such supports should have conditionalities attached regarding
  • New route development into strategic markets to strengthen regional airport connectivity
  • Targets on carbon emission reductions
  • In support of Regional Spatial Economic Strategy, undertake an assessment of economic activity around regional airports to identify the strategic routes that present the highest economic value for the corresponding regional economies
  • Align the Regional Airports Programme with EU criteria so that both Shannon and Cork airports can access capital supports
  • Align National Aviation Policy with Project Ireland 2040 and strengthen the role of airports as key strategic assets for balanced regional development. The business communities call for the establishment of an independent body with statutory oversight for balanced air traffic development across the Irish airport network.

Specifically relating to operations at Shannon Airport, the chamber further requests the government to:

  • Urgently appoint Chair to lead Shannon Group
  • In addition to direct Government funding, allow cross-subsidisation to use profits from other divisions within the group in support of strategic route and cargo operations development to ensure the long term-viability of Shannon Airport.

“The critical importance of Transatlantic and European routes with Aer Lingus into Shannon airport cannot be overstated,” the submission states. “This connectivity to other markets is vital for FDI and indigenous businesses operating across Industry and Tourism in the Mid-West and West. As we continue to navigate through the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, we urge the Minister to ensure that these links to vital markets are protected and new routes developed in support of economic recovery.”

The CEO of Limerick Chamber, Dee Ryan, has said that a comprehensive plan needs to be put in place to ensure that Shannon Airport and Mid-West/West of Ireland is primed for the global aviation recovery. chambers unite chambers unite

Said Ms Ryan: “We are deeply concerned by reports that Aer Lingus may be considering moving aircraft used on Heathrow and transatlantic services at Shannon to UK regional airports to commence transatlantic services from there. We call on the airline, the Government and the airport to come together for meaningful discussions to ensure that the best possible solution for everyone is found.”

For the Shannon Airport website, click HERE

For more stories on Shannon Airport, click HERE

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