Shannon Airport Group contributes almost €4 billion to the Irish economy

The Shannon Airport Group contributes almost €4 billion (€3.96bn) to Ireland’s GDP and supports over 20,300 jobs, according to a new report.

Published today, the report independently produced by economic advisory firm Oxford Economics, highlights the significant positive impact of The Shannon Airport Group to the Irish and Mid-West economy in 2022.

It also considers the catalytic benefits of Shannon Airport to the Irish economy, through connectivity, tourism, and trade. In addition, it makes a number of recommendations to maximise the contribution that The Shannon Airport Group makes to the Mid-West and Irish economies to help rebalance national growth.

The Oxford Economic Impact report quantifies The Shannon Airport Group’s economic contribution to the Irish economy. The analysis reflects the direct, indirect, and induced contribution that it makes through its own activities, and the activities of firms operating in the Shannon Campus and Group’s other business parks in the Mid-West and South-West of Ireland.

Findings also show that Shannon Airport is an enabler of trade through the facilitation of imports and exports. In addition, Shannon Airport-facilitated tourism is a major contributor to Irish GDP.

This is reflected in a series of testimonials in the report outlining the positive impact of the Group, from organisations including Northern Trust, Ei Electronics, Jaguar Land Rover, Chambers of Commerce, University of Limerick, and IDA Ireland.

Commenting on the findings, Neil McCullough from Oxford Economics and one of the report’s authors, said: “The Shannon Airport Group makes a major economic contribution to the Mid-West region and Ireland, and has the potential to do even more in the future.

“However, one of the areas we note in our report is that Ireland’s aviation policy has to date failed to create a level playing field for Ireland’s regional airports to flourish. Given that airports can drive regional growth, and that Project Ireland 2040 aims to rebalance growth across Ireland, there is a strong argument for providing state aid to Shannon Airport.

“There is strong evidence that airports can have a positive impact on local and regional economies and Governments are recognising the benefits of having a balanced aviation sector.

“If a country has an excessive reliance on a single airport, it can concentrate economic growth and any disruptions could cause a significant impact on the tourism sector, as well as the economy as a whole.”

To maximise the contribution that The Shannon Airport Group makes to the Mid-West and Irish economies, the report makes a series of recommendations including:

• Government should update the Irish Aviation Policy published in 2015 to help it achieve the long-term growth targets set out in Project Ireland 2040.

• Government should review its decision to exclude regional airports above one million passengers from state aid within the Regional Airports Programme.

• Government and tourism boards should further promote Shannon Airport as the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way. Ease of travel, both through the Airport and onward to other destinations is a clear aspect that differentiates Shannon’s offer to prospective visitors from that of Dublin, which is more prone to congestion.

Mary Considine, CEO of The Shannon Airport Group said: “We welcome the report’s findings and recommendations, which ultimately highlight what we have achieved and can further achieve with the right policies and supports in place.”

While speaking at the launch, Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD said: “The Government recognises the impact The Shannon Airport Group has as a major economic driver for the region in attracting both FDI and indigenous business, along with providing vital air connectivity for the Mid-West and beyond. The airport has made a strong recovery from the collapse of air travel during Covid.

“Shannon has a key role to play in rebalancing Ireland’s aviation landscape, alleviating the congestion at Dublin Airport and delivering balanced regional development for our country.”

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