Shannon annual profits jump 34%

Profits at the independent Shannon Airport have jumped 34% in just one year with passenger numbers up 17% and European traffic up 70%.

That is according to the first annual report from Shannon Group plc, which runs four business units including the airport: Shannon Heritage, Shannon Commercial Properties, and the International Aviation Services Centre.

The group employs 600 people at peak season and recorded a €21.1m turnover in its first four months and returned a post-tax profit of €600,000.

The report, which covers the financial period from when the group was established on September 5 to December 31, 2014, were published yesterday.

They show Shannon Airport’s profitability for the full financial year 2014 improved by 34% on the previous year, with earnings of €4.6m before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (the practice of reducing the value of often intangible assets to reflect their reduced worth over time).

The airport recorded a 17% increase in passenger numbers, with European traffic showing the largest gains with a 70% increase.

Transatlantic traffic increased by 10% and UK traffic recorded a 5% increase.

The airport spent €4.4m improving infrastructure, including an airport runway overlay upgrade, fire safety upgrade works, a new retail IT system, and a new traffic management system.

The group’s plan to develop a cargo hub at the airport was boosted this week by Turkish Airlines, through its subsidiary Turkish Cargo, announcing Ireland’s only direct all-cargo air service from Shannon to Chicago, operating weekly on Fridays.

The report shows Shannon Heritage, the company’s heritage visitor attraction business, reported its best operational year since 2007, with an 11% increase in visitor numbers in 2014 to 637,000, admissions to day visitor attractions up 13%, and a turnover of €11.9m for the full financial year ended December 31, a 7.6% increase on the previous year.

The group said these results show a clear correl-ation with passenger growth at Shannon Airport.

Shannon Commercial Properties’ operating profit for the full financial year 2014 amounted to €600,000 compared to a loss of €1.6m in 2013.

Following a review of its property portfolio, it is planning major investment in key areas within the Shannon Free Zone to improve occupancy rates.

Group chairwoman Rose Hynes described the results as “satisfactory” given that the period covered by the report is off-peak for the airport and Shannon Heritage.

She said the group is embarking on a five-year strategic programme to address under-investment and improve cost efficiencies. Ms Hynes said she was confident that

”Shannon Group will make an enduring positive impact on our communities and the economic landscape of Ireland”.

The report was published a day after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Shannon Airport’s business model represents a race to the bottom that saw it taking 100,000 passengers off Cork Airport.

Meanwhile, Cork Business Association will host a business breakfast on Tuesday with Kevin Toland, chief executive of Dublin Airport Authority, to discuss the future of Cork Airport.

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