Shannon management fear upgrade costs will become 'material financial burden'

Shannon management fear upgrade costs will become 'material financial burden'

Shannon airport has stated that the €9.7 million costs associated with the upgrading its hold baggage screening system “will place a material financial burden on the airport”.

The airport has just signed a contract with Dublin based Flynn Contractors to carry out the works which have a contract value of €9.73 million.

A spokeswoman for Shannon airport said on Wednesday that Shannon Airport “will incur significant cost in order to meet its obligation to comply with the new regulatory requirement to upgrade our hold baggage screening system”.

She said: “Under EU rules airports with less than three million passengers are eligible for Government funding for these types of project. However, unlike the privately-owned airports in the State, Shannon Airport has not received confirmation of any Government financial support for the hold baggage screening upgrade project and accordingly this project will place a material financial burden on the airport.”

The Dept of Transport today gave little encouragement that Shannon airport will receive any funding for the project.

A spokesperson at the Dept of Transport stated that the Shannon Group plc is a commercial State company and “in line with Government policy, Shannon Airport, which operates under a clear commercial mandate, is entirely funded from its own internal resources”.

Clare Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley said that Shannon airport is under financial pressure as the anticipated passenger numbers haven't come about.

Referring to Shannon airport separating from the daa, Deputy Dooley stated: "Independence hasn't worked.”

Deputy Dooley said that Shannon airport needs to set out a clear strategy to Government on what funding is required for specific areas.

In response to Deputy Dooley’s comments, Acting CEO of Shannon Group, Mary Considine stated: “Since separation from daa, Shannon Airport has seen a 34% growth in passenger numbers to the end of 2018.”

She stated: “After six successive years of growth, traffic levels at the airport will be down this year owing largely to the world-wide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jets on safety grounds.

Ms Considine stated: “It is important to keep perspective, particularly when factors like this are entirely out of our control.”

Ms Considine stated that the global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft has has taken 120,000 seats out of the Shannon market this year.

“In light of the slowdown in the global economy and the uncertainty of Brexit, this is a particularly challenging time for global aviation. In the last week alone, we have seen the closure and suspension of flights by three European airlines.

She went on: “On a Shannon Group perspective, we have made significant progress across Group companies investing in our airport, property portfolio and at our visitor sites which has resulted in significant economic benefits for this region. Shannon Group is a major economic asset in and driver of the Irish economy. The Group is a key enabler for tourism, FDI and our exporting indigenous industry.”

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