I welcome the decision taken by Minister Varadkar to publish the Booz and Co. report today have called for this action. I took the opportunity of submitting an extensive submission to Booz and Company where I outlined some of the possibilities and potentials for the future of Shannon Airport. Quite simply, unless action is taken, the future of Shannon Airport is in doubt. Passenger numbers have halved in recent years. It’s clear that the current governance and financial model behind the Airport is not working for it or the region.
I welcome the fact that Booz and Co. sees the merits in a new governance model for Shannon, with buy-in from local stakeholders. I also welcome the vision outlined in relation to industrial lands adjacent to the airport and the potential for Shannon to become a major cargo hub. The next phase in this process is for a decision to be made, having considered the report in full. Minister Varadkar has indicated this will happen by Easter. Should legislation be needed then we will work efficiently and quickly to bring this into effect.
For years, the issue of the economic viability of Shannon Airport was kicked down the road by successive Fianna Fáil governments. Within a year in office, Fine Gael and Labour have taken on this issue. A healthy Shannon Airport translates to a healthy Mid-West region and we must now seize this chance to get the governance model at Shannon Airport