The Shannon Group plc wants to develop a close partnership with key stakeholders in the Shannon Region and West of Ireland in order to create a real economic counter-balance to Dublin, according to the newly appointed Group Chief Executive, Matthew Thomas.
Speaking at a Shannon Chamber luncheon, his first official public function since taking up the post recently, Mr Thomas stressed that one of his key priorities will be to forge a cohesive drive with business, tourism, local government, chambers of commerce and other interests. “We want to create a platform together that will attract more jobs and tourists to the Region, leading to increased passenger numbers through the airport,” he said.
Mr Thomas continued: “The Shannon Group has invested over €45m since 2013 in enhancing the customer experience across our portfolio and in developing improved property solutions. Almost 200,000 sq ft of new space is being developed at Shannon Free Zone – this includes a new office block, a new advanced technical manufacturing unit, new facilities for the aviation cluster and incubation space at the Zone.
“I envisage that this investment will be accelerated in 2017 and over the following years. However, Shannon Group is not operating in isolation and it is only by working closely with regional stakeholders that we can achieve our common goals,” he added.
As part of this coordinated regional approach, Mr Thomas indicated that the Group plans to promote Shannon Airport as the natural gateway to the whole Wild Atlantic Way, including making the Airport itself feel and look like the entrance to that highly popular route.
In welcoming Matthew Thomas to Shannon and the Region, Julie Dickerson, President of Shannon Chamber said that Shannon’s great achievements in regional development over the decades should now inspire the Region’s stakeholders to work together to meet today’s challenges.
“While a thriving capital city and hinterland east region are essential to a vibrant Ireland, it is absolutely vital that the rest of the country experiences its fair share of economic activity, job creation and enterprise growth. The Shannon Region has a major role to play in leading that drive,” she said.
Also speaking at the Chamber luncheon, Patrick Jordan, owner of Atlantic Aviation Group outlined the company’s investment and expansion plans at Shannon. These include the acquisition of the former Kraus & Naimer 65,000 sq ft building at Shannon and converting it into an Aviation Training School, which is due to open in December.
The luncheon, one of a series of business networking forums organised by Shannon Chamber, was sponsored by Avara Pharmaceutical Services, Shannon, Atlantic Aviation Group, Shannon and Local Enterprise Office, Clare.