Limerick losing out as US passengers at Shannon surge

Limerick is losing out to Cork, Kerry and Clare in the big surge in US visitors coming in through Shannon Airport, a study has found.

Red C research conducted with non-Irish resident transatlantic passengers at Shannon shows that Kerry, Clare and Galway top the league table of counties benefiting from the growth in US visitor numbers through the airport over the past year.

Of US passengers arriving at Shannon this year, only 17% visited Limerick, compared to 22% last year However, surrounding counties have all shown big gains from the increased Shannon business.

The overall August and September passenger growth figures show 22% and 27% increases respectively over the same two-month period last year. The biggest percentage growth was across the airport’s European network, with a 73% rise in August (up from 36,702 in same month last year to 63,422 this year) thanks to the eight new destinations across the airport’s continental network.

August also saw a 9% increase in transatlantic passengers numbers, while there was also a gain of 5% in UK traffic. September also showed vast growth on 12 months earlier, with a 51% increase in passengers using European services (from 32,342 in Sept 2013 to 48,874), an 11% increase in transatlantic passengers and UK up by 3%.

Welcoming the figures, Shannon chief executive, Neil Pakey said: “What is most pleasing is we are achieving growth across all our markets. Last year, we saw the biggest gains on transatlantic but this year the biggest increase has been in European services, with growth also on our UK network.”

Red C research at Shannon shows that Kerry is the county benefiting the most from increased transatlantic passenger numbers at Shannon, with 39% of transatlantic passengers interviewed having holidayed in Kerry, up from 31% in the same survey last year.

Clare continues to be the county most visited by transatlantic passengers at Shannon, with 52% stating that they spent time in the county, up from 46% in the same period last year. Some 34% said they visited the county, up (from 29%) on last year. Cork benefited from the growth with 25% of those interviewed confirming they spent time there, up from 22%.

“Transatlantic passengers spend more than any others, not least as they typically stay longer, so it is great to see all key tourism counties benefit,” said Mr Pakey.


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