The new Chair Designate of Shannon Group hopes to see traffic numbers at the airport return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

Appearing before the Oireachtas transport committe Pádraig Ó Céidigh told politicians that Government supports will be necessary in order to facilitate such growth.

Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, 1.7 million passengers travelled through Shannon Airport.

Mr Ó Céidigh said he would like to see Shannon included in the State's Regional Airport Programme.

This programme allocates funding to country's smaller airports, but Shannon is currently not included.

He also called for the abolition of landing and airport charges for a period of three years.

Mr Ó Céidigh said he believes it would help to develop new routes such as Boston and New York, as it would give airlines certainty and space to develop a new market.

"There are other airports around Europe who are looking for Aer Lingus and Ryanair airplanes, who are offering those types of deals... if we are not on the pitch, we're not in the game", he told Committee Chair Kieran O'Donnell.

Mr Ó Céidigh believes that these supports, including the airport's addition to the Regional Airport Programme, could be put in place within a matter of weeks if Cabinet approved it.

"Well then I suggest that Cabinet should come to Shannon as quickly as possible", Fine Gael's Kieran O'Donnell told the Committee.

There were also calls for an increase in Heathrow services from one flight per day to three and for the establishment of a route to another European Hub.

Senator Timmy Dooley suggested that Shannon Airport develop its own airline, to avoid being at the "whim" of international airlines.

"The big leasing companies have a lot of planes on their balance sheet so I think it could be a good time to try something like this", Senator Dooley said.

He was told by Pádraig Ó Céidigh that this was an "innovative idea" but would be very challenging and could perhaps be a longer-term strategy.

"We would not be the first airport to consider doing something like that", he said.

It's understood that the Committee will write to the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, suggesting that Pádraig Ó Céidigh be appointed as executive chair of the airport, as this would allow him to have a more hands on role.

The Shannon Group company, which includes Shannon Heritage and Shannon Properties, is worth an estimated €3.6bn the Committee heard, supporting 46,500 jobs across the mid-west region.