Shannon Airport chief promises turnaround this year

Shannon Airport, in County Clare

Chairwoman of Shannon Airport Rose Hynes, speaking at the launch of a new United Airlines seasonal service from Shannon to Chicago, has said it is now self-sustaining and pledged its fortunes will be turned around this year.

"We are projecting that we are going to grow the passenger numbers. We are not giving projections at this point – it is just too soon to say," she said, according to the Irish Independent.

When asked whether the airport could return to profit this year after years of successive losses, Ms Hynes said: "This year, we expect that we will turn things around. I am not saying any more than that."

The new Shannon entity is due to be merged with Shannon Development, which will  enable it to draw funds from Shannon Development's annual rental stream. However, legislation allowing for the merger of Shannon Airport with Shannon Development has now been delayed until fall.

When asked how the airport would fund itself before the rent revenues came on stream, which Ms Hynes had revealed would be some months after the passing of the legislation, she said: "The airport has its own facilities, its own operations. It is independent, it is self-sustaining. That's the way it was always intended and that is the way it is."

She added: "The airport is on its own, it is an independent airport."

Ms Hynes, who said she was "absolutely thrilled" with the new Chicago route, also confirmed that the airport was currently in discussions with several other airlines on establishing new routes.

"We have a lot of discussions under way – we are expecting good news again. We have a lot of things under way; I just can't tell you how quickly we can pull it off."