The first step in creating an industry driven initiative was taken in 2016 with the inaugural Shannon International Aviation Conference (SILC). Fifteen local aviation companies joined forces to create this unique event. The conference was conceived to showcase the location, and develop Shannon as the hub for technical services to support Ireland’s aircraft leasing industry.
The conference was opened by the recently appointed new CEO of the Shannon Group, Matt Thomas, who pointed to the long, well documented history of the airport globally. Shannon is renowned for innovating and driving change in the aviation industry and it was a towering figure in aviation history, Dr. Tony Ryan, who had the vision to put Ireland at the centre of global aviation and Shannon at the centre of GPA’s operations. Opening speaker, Mr. Jim King, former Vice Chairman of GPA took to the podium to illustrate the creation of Shannon Aerospace in the early 1990’s and how a huge step in the creation of sustainable employment with a deep skill set in the Mid-West Region had been taken.
Guests & Speakers
The 150-invited guests, including Senior Leaders from the International Leasing Community, who joined the one day conference had a unique opportunity of a Q&A session with key executives from the Irish Aviation Authority.
Ralph James, Director Safety Regulation: was on hand to outline the support provided to aviation leasing and technology enhancements being undertaken.
Philip Hughes, Director of Commercial, Technology and Training: completed the session with an informative presentation on the new Aerion Solution which will we be managed from the Shannon Air Traffic Centre.
Keynote speaker Pat Byrne, Chairman of CityJet, talked about their exciting future growth plans, creating a new breed of European Regional carrier. Mr Byrne echoed the calls that Shannon could attract aircraft finishing facilities from the aircraft manufacturing sector. He stressed that Shannon needs to “Shout” more on its capability and thanked the organisers of SILC 2016 for “thinking big” for the future.
With so many of the worlds leased fleet managed through Ireland one of the primary goals of SILC was to create cohesion in the aviation community in Ireland. The focus of a very lively panel discussion, moderated by journalist Matt Cooper, brought together key professionals to discuss how Shannon could lead the way as a Global Lease Transition Centre. The conclusion of SILC 2016 was the need to create a working partnership within the Irish Aviation industry, Lessors and Suppliers alike, to determine how Shannon becomes the best location in the world for Lease Transitions. A working group to that end is already established.
The benefits of living and working in the mid-west region and creating a counter balance to the Dublin region was raised by speakers and delegates alike. This project served to give life to the much heralded “balanced regional development”. It was fitting that Rugby played a part in the conference theme with an interesting Matt Cooper interview with local legend Paul O’Connell. The packed daylong conference was complimented by an evening in Thomond Park for the Munster V’s Maori All Blacks game.