2014-02-17 13:08:10 - Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy says he believes Shannon Airport’s decision to expand its programme of hangar development has the potential to lead to significant growth in the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector as well as the composites industry throughout the Mid-West Region.
The Shannon-based Senator was reacting to the announcement by Shannon Airport that it is to embark on a programme of new hangar development after achieving full occupancy of its existing capacity.
Senator Mulcahy said the new development will help Shannon to position itself as “a one-stop-shop for all airline needs”, including use of hangars to house aircraft and pilot-training, but primarily for the MRO sector.
He continued: “It is clear that the future viability of Shannon Airport and surrounding businesses cannot be justified through passenger growth alone, and that the development of ancillary aviation business is key.
“The level of existing use of aviation-specific hangars along with the planned construction of a new hangar means that Shannon Airport is working towards establishing itself
as an international aviation centre of excellence. Shannon is well positioned to develop as an aviation services centre considering the availability of zoned development lands, established expertise, geographical location on the western edge of Europe, availability of highly qualified third level graduates, and its aeronautical engineering courses, flexible workforce, time zone and language.
“It is critically important for the future viability of Shannon Airport and the surrounding area that given the global nature of the aviation business and the reality that companies can relocate to numerous other aviation centres that every effort be made to protect existing employment levels at existing anchor companies, as well as attract new aviation business. The first and main requirement in this regard is the provision of new hangar space.
“The existing use and planning expansion of hangar space and ancillary facilities presents significant job creation opportunities for airlines and MRO companies, most of which are SMEs. Furthermore, the greater the level of activity at these hangars the more we will see a growth in the composites industry as companies, particularly those involved in the manufacture of aviation parts, consider relocating to or establishing operations around the airport and throughout the region.
“The onus is now on all agencies involved in attracting industry to the Mid-West to begin promoting the aviation facilities that management at Shannon Airport are developing. The benefits for the wider economy in doing so are significant,” concluded Senator Mulcahy.