Shannon Can Capture the Many Profitable Opportunities from the Global Aviation Industry…Shannon Chamber

 The  Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe T.D. {right} with Sean Flannery, VP GECAS Shannon (left) and Julie Dickerson, MD Shannon Engine Support and Shannon Chamber director. – Photo: Kieran Clancy  23/11/2015 ©

Aviation is a key cluster for Shannon, with over 40 companies already involved in aircraft and engine leasing and finance, maintenance repair and overhaul, regulation and manufacturing, and key stakeholders are clearly intent on capturing many new profitable opportunities from the global aviation sector for the region.


This was the key message emanating from Shannon Chamber’s Christmas lunch, held in Dromoland Castle Hotel today (Monday 23 November 2015) at which the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe T.D. was keynote speaker. The lunch was sponsored by Shannon-based GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), a world leader in aviation leasing and financing, and co-sponsored by Eirtech Aviation, Shannon Group plc, Laya Healthcare and Dromoland Castle Hotel.


Addressing the lunch, which was attended by almost 200 Shannon Chamber members and their business associates, Minister Donohoe said:  “The Government recognises the importance of aviation to Ireland and is committed to creating an environment in which the industry can maximise its potential for the benefit of the wider economy. After a gap of nearly two decades since a formal statement of Government objectives for Irish aviation was published, the new National Aviation Policy for Ireland will provide a positive pathway for the development and growth of the aviation sector in Ireland, creating jobs both directly and indirectly.


“The actions set out in the Policy plot a pathway to enable the Irish aviation industry to build on its existing strong reputation to compete effectively in this growing global market place. Its specific aim is to: enhance Ireland’s connectivity by ensuring safe, secure and competitive access responsive to the needs of business, tourism and consumers; foster the growth of aviation enterprise in Ireland to support job creation and position Ireland as a recognised global leader in aviation; and maximise the contribution of the aviation sector to Ireland’s economic growth and development. It will also create an environment that will encourage the industry to increase connectivity to and from Ireland for the benefit of the travelling public, Irish tourism and Irish business,” the Minister added.


Welcoming the Minister to Shannon, Chamber director Julie Dickerson, managing director of Shannon Engine Support said that while Shannon Chamber was most encouraged to note that many of the issues addressed by the Chamber in its submission to the Policy’s formulation were taken on board, it was concerned that little reference was given to the possibility of removing anomalies, such as curtailed opening hours for aviation pre-clearance. 


Calling on the Minster to consider a change of this nature, Ms Dickerson said: “Business jets may not conform to the current pre-clearance opening hours that exist for passengers. An inability to get pre-clearance out of normal hours might serve as a hindrance to the Policy’s goal of making Shannon a designated centre of excellence for business aviation. “


Addressing the infrastructural needs of the region, and thanking the Minister for delivering the final piece of the M17/18 motorway from Gort to Athenry, Ms Dickerson requested that additional key pieces of infrastructure, particularly the extension of the M20 Cork to Limerick route and connecting the N69 to the M20/M7, to deliver better connectivity between the port of Foynes and Limerick/Shannon, was equally imperative.


“If we want a country where people and businesses have opportunities to meet, connect and interact; a country where people can create and grow businesses in their own place; a country where each and every geographical hub has the opportunity to develop and grow, then we must put the infrastructure in place. That must be done in advance of demand to create opportunity,” Ms Dickerson added.


Executive vice president, technical for GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the commercial aviation leasing and financing unit of General Electric (GE) and also general manager of GECAS Limited, based in Shannon, Sean Flannery is equally determined to develop Shannon and Ireland’s aviation sector to its full potential.


“Having made an in-depth submission to the National Aviation Policy, we would hope that the many detailed action items outlined in the Policy will be addressed and that Ireland will leverage its strength in aircraft leasing to establish itself as a global hub for aircraft financing.


“We particularly hope that, with Ireland’s reputation for aircraft leasing, the opportunities that exist in areas such as aircraft transitioning will be capitalised on. With over 2,000 commercial aircraft moved between airlines by leasing companies, and their requiring substantial work in the transition to meet company and regulator’s requirements, Shannon is well placed to develop as an aircraft transitioning centre. A move in this direction will underpin the success of the aircraft leasing and MRO sectors and support their future growth,” Mr Flannery added.


Shannon Chamber’s Christmas lunch was attended by almost 200 business executives from the wider Shannon area.