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Shannon Group’s boost to economy as its three companies record significant growth in 2018

  • Shannon Airport passengers up by 6.5%
  • Shannon Heritage visitors up by 4.3%
  • Shannon Commercial Properties completes €40m first phase investment programme

Wednesday, 30 January 2019:  Shannon Group plc delivered a fourth consecutive year of growth in 2018, with the Group’s impact on the economy of the West of Ireland and beyond increasing as all three of its companies achieved notable growth.

2018 results for Shannon Group companies Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage and Shannon Commercial Properties show that each continued the strong momentum built since the Group’s establishment in 2014.

Key results:

  • Shannon Airport enjoyed its best year this decade with growth of 6.5% bringing total passenger numbers to over 1.86 million – delivering, in total, 33% growth since 2013 when it began operating independent from the DAA
  • Shannon Heritage, the largest commercial operator of day and night-time visitor attractions in Ireland, continued to grow, with a 4.3% increase in visitor numbers to a record high of 924,718
  • Shannon Commercial Properties completed the €40 million first-phase of its ongoing investment programme at Shannon Free Zone, more than doubling occupancy rates to 94% since 2013.

Said Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas:  “2018 was a really positive year for Shannon Group. As a primary catalyst for economic growth for the West of Ireland and beyond, we fully understand that our improved business performance stimulates economic benefits both regionally and nationally. Shannon Group’s activities support 46,500 jobs annually. When we grow, the economy grows and 2018 was our best year collectively across the Group since its formation.

“We are set on an ambitious course, investing aggressively in our businesses to drive further growth in the years ahead. In tandem with this, we are fully committed to the National Planning Framework ambitions and have put in place measures to play our part in helping Government deliver on its promise of generating 75% growth outside of the capital by 2040.”

Commenting on the results, Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Group said:  “Shannon Group has had another very successful year.  Each division of the Group – Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage, Shannon Commercial Properties – performed very well in 2018 despite often very challenging and uncertain commercial conditions. We are determined to build on our successes to date and to maximise the opportunities in each of our businesses. As a very significant business in the regional and national economy, we are committed to working in partnership with all our stakeholders to ensure a very vibrant future for Shannon Group and our region.”

Shannon Group 2018 highlights:

shannon group annual report
Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas and Chairman Rose Hynes

Shannon Airport

  • 6.5% increase in passengers to over 1.86 million– first time 1.8m mark broken since 2009
  • UK and transatlantic markets biggest performers, up 7% on each
  • On transatlantic, Shannon operated six airlines to seven destinations – the airport’s biggest number of services to the US/Canada in 17 years
  • Six years of continuous growth -passenger numbers up 33% since the airport became independent in 2013
  • During 2018 there were 25,556 take offs and landings from the airport’s newly resurfaced runway, which at 3,199 metres (10,495 ft) is the longest runway in Ireland
  • New Toronto service with Air Canada, new Ryanair services to Barcelona-Reus, Bristol and Liverpool flights, while the airline also increased Manchester frequencies. In 2019, a new Ibiza and East Midlands service with Ryanair and their Alicante service going year–round.

Shannon Commercial Properties

  • Completed its €40 million first phase investment strategy
  • Over 150,000 sq ft of renovated or new builds completed at Shannon Free Zone in 2018
  • Invested €15.6 million on range of key projects during 2018
  • Among projects completed during the year include GE Sensing Expansion Project, Advanced Technology Manufacturing Unit (ATMU), Starbucks and numerous upgrade projects
  • Occupancy rates at Shannon Free Zone now at 94%, have more than doubled since 2013
  • Since 2015 the company has delivered over 650,000 sq ft of new or upgraded office, manufacturing and warehouse facilities at the Shannon Free Zone
  • Among new companies established at Shannon Free Zone in 2018 were Jaguar Land Rover (with the creation of 150 jobs), Edward Life Sciences, Aero-Zone, STS UJet Group, Stratos, Aerospace Asset Trading, Aerospace Inspection, Euro Superabrasive and Starbucks
  • The Gateway Hub co-working space for small business and entrepreneurs at Shannon Airport House in Shannon Free Zone is now home to FroschCTM, InflightFlix, Sonas Aviation, Airborne Capital, The Air Law Firm.

Shannon Heritage

  • 4.3% increase in visitor numbers to 924,718 – double what visitor numbers were in 2012
  • Last year’s performance was assisted by the addition of Newbridge House & Gardens in May, in partnership with Fingal County Council
  • Over 73,000 visitors attended the annual calendar of seasonal events – Easter, Halloween and Christmas – a 32% increase on 2017
  • Shannon Heritage visitor attractions generated 253,000 bed nights, supported 840 direct and indirect jobs and generated an economic value of €28 million to the Irish economy in 2018
  • Shannon Heritage invested over €1 million in capital investment projects to enhance and upgrade visitor sites during the year.

About Shannon Group

Shannon Group plc formally came into existence in September 2014. It is owned by the Irish State and has a commercial mandate. It’s business spans Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage.

Shannon Group supports over 46,500 jobs, generates an economic impact of €3.6 billion per year and contributes €1.1 billion in Exchequer returns.

Shannon Group is led by its Chairman, Rose Hynes, and CEO, Matthew Thomas.

About Shannon Airport

Shannon is Ireland’s second-largest long-haul airport.  It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (the only airport in Ireland not to close on Christmas Day). Shannon offers 31 direct services to destinations that include some of the world’s largest airport hubs, such as London Heathrow, Boston, New York JFK and Newark. It is the only airport in the West of Ireland with direct US connectivity, which plays a critical role in facilitating economic growth.

Over 40% of US FDI companies are within the airport’s catchment reflecting its importance as a key FDI enabler for Ireland. In 2018, Shannon Airport handled 1.86 million passengers. The Airport is also the base of the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), Ireland’s largest aviation and aerospace industry cluster.

Shannon Commercial Properties

Shannon Commercial Properties (SCP) owns and manages seven business and technology parks, including the iconic Shannon Free Zone. All in all, SCP owns over 2 million sq ft of building space (equivalent in area to about 17 Croke Park pitches), more than 245 buildings, and approximately 1,600 acres of land. SCP also manages the Shannon Airport property portfolio and works closely with the airport and IASC to formulate plans for future aviation development.

SCP is currently undertaking a significant investment programme to deliver new advanced manufacturing units, warehousing and Grade A office space, which will enable more FDI and the growth of indigenous companies. The 600-acre Shannon Free Zone is SCP’s largest business park and Ireland’s largest multi-sector business park outside of Dublin.

About Shannon Heritage

Shannon Heritage is Ireland’s leading commercial operator of tourism attractions. In total, Shannon Heritage manages eight attractions located in the Mid-West and in Dublin.  The attractions include Bunratty Castle, Clare; King John’s Castle, Limerick; the GPO Witness History, Malahide Castle and the latest addition, Newbridge House & Farm (in partnership with Fingal County Council).

Since 2012, total visitors to Shannon Heritage attractions have doubled, increasing from 460,000 in 2012 to 924,718 in 2018.  Shannon Heritage sites are a key attractor for tourists visiting Ireland: 40% of European visitors; 34% of US visitors and 32% of visitors from the rest of the world visit a Shannon Heritage attraction while they are in the region.

For further information, contact:

Nandi O’Sullivan

Head of Communications

Shannon Group plc

M: +353-86-237 1510

T: +353-61-712890

email: nandi.osullivan@shannongroup.ie

web: www.shannongroup.ie