Commercial air traffic in Shannon down by 9%

Shannon Airport, file photo

A drop of over 9% in commercial flights at Shannon Airport last month has been largely blamed on the loss of Kuwait Airways.

The Irish Aviation Authority reported that commercial traffic at the three state airports had climbed by 6.2% (17,996) last month, compared to the same month last year.

However, commercial air traffic at Shannon Airport in Co Clare fell by 9.4% (1,087).

Commercial flights at Dublin Airport were up by 7.5% (15,541) while flights at Cork increased by 6.5% (1,368).

A spokesperson for Shannon Airport said the fall in commercial traffic was largely due to the ending of Kuwait Airways transit flights to New York.

The airport secured Kuwait Airways as a temporary service in June 2016 until it received approval for direct flights into the United States in January.

Because the loss of the airline happened in the off-peak season it had a disproportionate impact on overall traffic, the spokesperson pointed out.

“Shannon's traffic is made up of two components – transit and scheduled terminal traffic. While the impact on transit traffic is evident in this month's figures, we are confident that our schedule passenger traffic will be up year-on-year,” he said.

The airport's traffic will be boosted by new services from Ibiza and East Midlands and further growth on transatlantic services.

The Irish Aviation Authority managed 75,391 commercial and non-commercial flights last month, up 3.5% on the same month last year and climbing 5% for the year to date.

There was a 4.5% increase in overflight traffic – flights that do not land in Ireland, with a total of 22,815 such movements last month and there was a 3.2% increase in North Atlantic flights between destinations in Europe and the US, with 32,496 recorded.

Chief executive of the authority, Peter Kearney, said that despite the positive news they remained cautious about forecasts as Brexit continued to cast a shadow over future potential growth.

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