Limerick is set to benefit significantly from Shannon Airport’s enhanced 2014 summer season schedule, with research on passenger destinations from last year illustrating the airport’s influence on visitor numbers to the city and county.

Following the growth in transatlantic services last year, US frequencies have also dramatically increased this year, bringing in greater numbers of US tourists, who on average spend 60% more than any others.

The last two weeks alone saw the resumption of United Airlines’ Chicago service (daily from June), which on the back of its success last summer will have 88% additional capacity this year.  Delta Airlines has returned with its daily JFK New York service, while US Airways is back with its daily Philadelphia flights and Air Transat begins its weekly Toronto service.

This is on top of the significant commitment by Aer Lingus on transatlantic routes this year, which has seen it almost double capacity, with daily Boston and six-times weekly New York flights.  A big plus here also is that these services are year-round for the first time since 2009.

All of these, in addition to the nine new European/UK routes – Ryanair with Munich, Paris, Faro, Warsaw, Krakow, Nice, Poitiers, Berlin, Fuerte-ventura, and Aer Lingus Regional with Bristol, are set to boost passenger numbers into Limerick even further.

Research on passenger trends through the airport from last year shows that more UK passengers into Shannon last year visited Limerick than any other county, with 35% (over 65,000) of those surveyed from Shannon’s biggest market stating they were spending time in Limerick.  Limerick was also the top destination for European passengers, with 36% spending time in the city/county.

Visitor numbers to Limerick through Shannon are set to increase significantly this year thanks to the new routes and network enhancements across a total of 16 services. The June Bank Holiday weekend just gone illustrated the bounce as passenger numbers were up by 18% over the weekend compared to last year.

The research also shows the importance of Shannon’s transatlantic services to accommodation providers, with 54% of all passengers staying in hotels, 10% in B&Bs, 7% in self-catering, 6% with others, while 37% were returning diaspora who stayed with friends and relatives.