The plan is understood to involve the creation of a new authority for the airport with a ‘debt free’ position.
The backdrop of this is of course job creation but also to drive the region and put a firm structure in place for the future of the airport and the midwest.
The plan will also include the use of the 2000 acre ‘land bank’ within the airport and surrounding industrial estate to create an aviation and logistics hub.
Limerick TD Keiran Donnelly told Limerick’s Live 95fm radio station that this will put shannon at the heart of a progressive future for the region and that this is a tangable postive step for the airport.
A decision on the matter is believed to have been made at Cabinet yesterday following study of a consultants’ report furnished to Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar late last year.
Under the plan announced by Minister Varadkar, the mid-west airport would remain in public ownership, possibly with a role for Shannon Development in managing the facility, as the agency’s investment roles have been assumed into the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
It is expected that the Government will write-down or leave Shannon’s debt with the DAA. The facility is understood the airport to have been in deficit by €8m last year, and could have long-standing debt totalling €100m.
This decision will come as a relief to people within in the region who have long felt that the DAA was not helping the airport reach it’s full potential. Now it seems that with this annoucement they will get their way. This now means that Shannon Airport will operate independently of the DAA and allowed the full autonomy of decision making needed to bring the airport up to a money making, not a money losing position.
Minister Varadkar said: ‘This is a significant step in developing the aviation sector in Ireland and securing the future of Shannon Airport. It heralds a new era for the Shannon region’.
“I firmly believe that this is the best way forward for both Shannon Airport, Shannon Development and the Mid- West region. We want to recapture the pioneering spirit of the people who gave us the airport and the Shannon Free Zone concept, so that we can provide exciting and innovative opportunities which benefit business, tourism, and job creation in the region, and across the country. Our task now is to develop these proposals in more detail.”