The acquisition by Transaero Airlines, Russia's second largest airline company, of the Air Atlanta Aero Engineering maintenance company at Shannon was formally marked today with the launch of the new company Transaero Engineering.

The company currently employs 241 staff and performs maintenance services on Boeing 737, 757 and 767 aircraft for passenger, cargo and corporate airlines and aircraft leasing companies.

It hopes to expand its staff by adding the maintenance of larger 747, and 777 aircraft to its line.

The company has also just launched its aircraft engineer apprenticeship campaign in which it hopes to train up to 15 aircraft maintenance apprentices this year.

The Taoiseach Mr Kenny attended the formal launch today and said Transaero's acquisition of the Shannon facility for the maintenance of its aircraft was a major vote of confidence in the workforce in Shannon, and the addition of new aircraft types to their product range would mean more jobs for skilled and qualified staff in the future.

The Managing Director of Transaero Airlines Alexander Krinichanskiy said they had been very impressed by the dedication of the Irish staff, and their task was to keep the workforce busy into the future. He said Shannon airport and its surrounding infrastructure offered excellent opportunities for expansion which was one of the key drivers in their acquisition.

Speaking about Shannon airport, the Taoiseach Mr Kenny said the Government will be making a decision in the coming weeks about the future direction of Shannon airport.

He said Shannon had a number of unique features including the longest runway and the largest airport fuel storage capacity in the country, and pre clearance facilities for the US. He said the Cabinet decision would be based on how best Shannon could develop and prosper for the benefit of the entire region.