Government plans to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority and to merge it with Shannon Development represents a bright new day, not only for the Airport but for the entire Mid West Region.

Shannon Airport has been neglected for years, with decisions regarding its future continually being put on the long finger. The result of this inaction has been the decline in passenger numbers through Shannon and the deterioration of business activity at the Airport. I am delighted with today’s announcement which signals an end to the neglect of Shannon Airport and a firm focus on developing the potential of the aviation sector in the region.

The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs earmarked industries with significant growth and job creating potential, of which the aviation sector is one. Little more than a week ago, we saw the strengthening of Shannon Airport’s links with Russia with the formal launch of the takeover by Russia’s second largest Airliner, Transaero, of the Air Atlanta Aero Engineering (AAAE) Facility. It is high time that Shannon Airport and the entire region is given the chance it deserves for its full potential to be explored. Today’s announcement does just that.

The full details of the separation of Shannon Airport from the DAA and the subsequent merger with Shannon Development have yet to be worked out. As stated in the Booz Report which was commissioned last year by the Government, this will be done in such a way to ensure the viability of both entities into the future.

The restructuring of the enterprise agencies within the region – with Shannon Development’s indigenous enterprise functions transferring to Enterprise Ireland and its foreign direct investment functions going to the IDA – will work towards securing future investment for the region with the potential to create much needed jobs.

The new Shannon Airport will be a dynamic resource for the region, delivering more routes, passengers and cargo, as well as a dramatic increase in new airport ancillary activity. Overall, the Government is determined to lead a revitalised and reborn Shannon Airport which will deliver a regenerated, economically viable and thriving facility from which growth and jobs will come.

Today’s announcement points the way forward to a bold new beginning for Shannon and a long awaited end to the days of neglect for the Mid West Region.