FIVE thousand new jobs can be created in Shannon by 2018 as Clare’s international airport finally prepares to free itself from the shackles of Dublin Airport Authority control and chart a new independent future for itself.

This ambitious blueprint for Shannon was revealed by senior Cabinet ministers, Leo Varadkar and Richard Burton at an aviation conference in Dublin on Monday, with December 31 next set as formal beginning of the new independent airport freed of its €100m debts and given a start-up fund in this Wednesday’s budget as it begins life as a separate, stand alone entity.

The new airport authority has been provisionally named as NEWCO – a merger between existing Shannon Development and Shannon Airport staff, and in an early move to allay fears among the workforce in the two companies, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton has said “there will be no compulsory redundancies”.

Meanwhile, The Clare People can exclusively reveal that Clarewoman, Rose Hynes, is being lined up to become the first chairperson of the new airport authority. The Bellharbour woman chaired the Aviation Business Development Task Force that drafted the new airport plan, which she says is “the beginning of a new era” for Shannon.

The government has set a target of boosting passenger numbers at Shannon by one million over the next nine years, with Transport minister Leo Varadkar telling The Clare People that “if Shannon can’t achieve that kind of growth, then there is no future for the airport”.

However, it’s in the area of jobs that Shannon can expect its biggest windfall with Minister Varadkar revealing that a new international aviation services centre has “the potential to create between 3000 and 5000 jobs within five years”.

Minister Bruton said the airport’s independence, which will see two companies in Shannon provide up to 850 in the coming months represents “a new chapter in regional development” in Ireland.

For more see The Clare People or visit our Digital Edition.

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