Incoming Shannon Group Chair Concerned Dublin Is Sucking Air Traffic Out Of Rest Of Country

Photo (c) Shannon Chamber

The incoming Chair of Shannon Group says he shares concern that Dublin is sucking air traffic out of the aviation industry elsewhere in the country.

Conal Henry is due to be appointed to the role folowing an appearance before the Oireachtas Transport Committee and he’s expressed confidence that passenger numbers at Shannon can be restored to pre-pandemic levels.

He believes it will requires all stakeholderes in the region to come together, however.


Conal Henry is to be appointed to the role of Shannon Group Chair following an appearance before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has said he hopes this can be arranged at the earliest opportunity.

Conal Henry has held senior management positions including Founder and Chair of Fibrus Networks and Chief Executive Officer of e|net, now NBI, while he also served on the Board of Shannon Foynes Port Company.

A former Commercial Director at Ryanair, Conal Henry believes the role of Shannon Group Chair is an important one for the economic development of the Midwest.

He says the entire aviation industry has been gripped by crisis since Covid and that there’s no one in the industry who isn’t facing into significant challenges.

He doesn’t want to set targets, saying you’ll either beat it or miss it, but he does aim to help grow passenger numbers beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Mr Henry has told Clare FM that he’s looking forward to getting his teeth into his new role.

Conal Henry is the third Chair of the group since 2020, having accepted the post just one week after the resignation of Pádraig Ó Ceidigh, who stepped down from the position after only six months.

The Founder of Aer Arann Express and Aer Lingus Regional said at the time that it would be more than a full-time job to do the role to the degree and detail required to get the airport to reach it’s potential.

This prompted calls from some quarters for the role to be restructured, but Conal Henry says he’s not sure that Shannon Airport needs a full-time Executive Chair to augment the strong management team already there.

He says says it’s not the right time to pause airport recovery plans.

Calls have been made in recent weeks for new legislation that would see airlines legally obiliged to ensure a certain number of flights at Shannon.

It followed strong criticism levelled at Dublin Airport over long queues at security and passengers missing flights there.

Conal Henry says Dublin Airport is sucking all of the traffic out of the aviation industry elsewhere in the country and he believes that needs to be addressed.