Shannon Airport’s passenger numbers have turned a significant corner, with figures for June showing an 8% increase on the same month last year, including a 38% increase in US passengers.
The development has seen month-over-month passenger numbers grow for the first time in five years at the airport and comes just six months after Shannon set out on life as an independent entity.
The increase has been most pronounced in US passenger numbers, which have shown a 38% hike on the same month last year, largely due to the commencement of United’s Chicago service on 6th June and a Philadelphia service with US Airways on 22nd May.
It is the latest in a series of positive developments on transatlantic operations this year at Shannon. It follows the announcement two weeks ago by Aer Lingus that it is to increase frequency on its existing Boston and JFK New York flights next year, resulting in a 25% increase (50,000 passengers) on its transatlantic passengers at Shannon in 2014.
Overall, passenger numbers grew to 160,573 in June, from 148,531 last year. European services also contributed significantly to the increase, up by 18% on the same month last year. Major contributing factors here were the return of the Ryanair Alicante service, the airline’s additional frequencies on Palma and the commencement of Aer Lingus flights to Faro in the Algarve.
Meanwhile, 2012 Red C market research illustrates Shannon’s importance in terms of delivering US tourists, and therefore spend, in counties from the West down to the South West and even up as far as the capital. The research shows that of the US transatlantic passengers who arrived through Shannon last year, 46% holidayed in Clare, 43% in Kerry, 30% in Galway, 26% in Dublin, 24% in Cork and 17% in Limerick.
Neil Pakey, Shannon Airport Chief Executive, said: “We are very encouraged by this increase. It is down in no small way to the hard work of our team in securing a range of new services and is a really good start to life as an independent airport.
“The growth in US passenger numbers is particularly encouraging for the regions we provide services for as tourism estimates are that US visitors spend, on average, 60% more than other tourists in Ireland.
“Our catchment includes some of Ireland’s leading tourism counties, so having a significantly improved range of services this year, especially on transatlantic routes, is extremely important to these counties.
“We are also encouraged by the number of Shannon passengers now visiting Dublin. The regions we serve offer a distinct Irish holiday experience but the quality of our road and public transport network now also enables visitors to easily access Dublin for one or two-night stays while basing themselves here.”