Passenger numbers at Shannon Airport are expected to be up to around 1.8 million by the end of this year representing over 30% of an increase since the airport became independent, separating from the Dublin group five years ago.

Passenger traffic at the airport has grown by over 400,000 since 2013, when the airport began managing its own business future after new legislation allowed it function independently of the Dublin Airport Authority. 

2018 will be its best year in over a decade.

The news about another year of growth comes as Ryanair announced its launching a new twice weekly service from Shannon to East Midlands in the UK beginning next April, and also announced the return of its twice a week service to Bristol.

This will bring to 18 the number of Ryanair services out of Shannon next summer including a new service to Ibiza.

The increased passenger figures come as a result of strong capacity on the transatlantic routes out of Shannon with the addition of Norwegian Air service into New York, and more frequency on European routes.

Shannon Airport MD Andrew Murphy said the new service gives them another option in the UK for passengers and builds on the very strong year with the commencement of the Barcelona Reus and Bristol services.

The Shannon group was recently named Company of the Year at the annual Limerick Chamber business awards for its contribution to the region.

The group employs 650 people across four separate entities, Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties, Shannon Heritage and the International Aviation Services Centre.