THE Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications this Thursday, January 24, heard Rose Hynes, chair of the Shannon Airport Authority, outline plans to develop Shannon Airport into an economic driver, not only for the Mid-West, but for the country as a whole.
Before her appointment as chair in December, Ms Hynes chaired the task force on aviation business development at Shannon.
Committee chairman Tom Hayes said: “With the airport fully independent since January 1, we heard a candid and determined presentation from Ms Hynes on both the challenges and the opportunities for the airport. Ms Hynes said that, in five years time, she hoped passenger numbers would have increased from current levels of 1.4 million per year to 2.5 million per year, and that Shannon would be transformed into a significant cargo and passenger hub. A significant recovery is already underway, with transatlantic traffic for this summer due to increase significantly.”
The committee heard Ms Hynes assert that the longstanding spirit of innovation that exists at Shannon would be a significant advantage in the creation of an international aviation services centre of excellence.
With 1,600 people currently employed in 40 aviation companies in the area, it is estimated that between 3,000 and 3,500 jobs can be created through such a centre.
“We acknowledge Ms Hynes warning of intense international competition in the aviation management sector, particularly from Asia. The committee takes on board her view that a co-ordinated national approach is required to safeguard and develop Irelands reputation in this lucrative business,” he said.
The committee comprises: Michael Colreavy, Dessie Ellis, SF; Timmy Dooley, Michael Moynihan; FF; Tom Hayes, chair; Terence Flanagan, Noel Harrington, Patrick O’Donovan, John O’Mahony, vice-chair, Brian Walsh, FG; Sean Kenny, Ann Phelan, Lab; Tom Fleming, Ind, and senators Terry Brennan, Sean D Barrett, Eamonn Coghlan, Paschal Mooney, Ned OSullivan.