Shannon Free Zone crowned “Best Free Zone in Western Europe” by major international awards programme

Shannon Free Zone also wins aviation specialisation award
at fDi Magazine’s Global Free Zones of the Year awards

Award follows joint submission by Shannon Chamber and Shannon Group

Shannon Free Zone (SFZ), which is operated by Shannon Commercial Properties, a subsidiary of Shannon Group plc, has landed major international recognition as a centre of excellence for foreign direct investment by winning an “fDi Magazine Global Free Zones of the Year” award as the best Free Zone in Western Europe. fDi Magazine, part of the Financial Times group, specialises in Foreign Direct Investment (fDi), investment promotion, and Free Zones.

In addition to winning the Western Europe award, SFZ also triumphed by claiming the ‘Specialism Award for Aviation.’ The judges described Shannon as “a globally recognised centre of excellence for aerospace” and noted the role of Shannon’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) in the success of the SFZ.

Shannon Chamber and Shannon Group prepared a joint entry for the prestigious award, which comes on the back of the recent success of Shannon Airport – also part of Shannon Group – in winning the Airport of the Year Award from the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) for the second year in a row.

The annual Global Free Zones of the Year awards from fDi Intelligence – a division of the Financial Times Ltd – celebrate the zones that are best in class, be it within their respective regions, at providing for a particular size of client, or improving their offering through reinvestments, expansions or upgrades.

SFZ not only won the Western Europe Free Zone and Specialism Award for Aviation but received additional commendations with a number of other notable accolades from the awards, namely:

  • Commended for start-up support
  • Commended for facilities upgrade
  • Commended for reinvestment

Said Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes,  “We have a unique and dynamic industrial park on our doorstep here with the Shannon Free Zone, one that has been replicated the world over since it was the first free trade zone to be established, way back in 1959.  The Free Zone is being reenergised at the moment and there’s a new momentum behind it thanks to the efforts of the Shannon Group.

“This prestigious award gives international recognition to the innovation and determination of the Shannon Group in its efforts to attract more investment into the Free Zone and we have every confidence that it will be successful in growing investment and employment there over the coming years.”

Neil Pakey, CEO, Shannon Group said, “Winning this award is a tribute to the growing cluster of aviation businesses at Shannon and the improved connectivity on offer through the Airport.  It highlights Shannon’s attractiveness as a centre for investment, particularly aviation related investment. We have a strong aviation sector here and we are determined to continue to support them through the work of our International Aviation Services Centre. Our recently announced €21 million first-phase redevelopment programme at the Shannon Free Zone will give us a competitive edge in the national and international marketplace and will serve as a catalyst to help create a further wave of investment here.”

Shannon Group Strategy Director and Managing Director of IASC Patrick Edmond said, “fDi Magazine is the world’s premier publication for the business of globalisation so it’s a real honour for Shannon to be recognised in these awards.

“This once again raises the international profile of the Shannon Free Zone and highlights the attractive ecosystem we have in place for businesses in all sectors, and in particular aviation/aerospace. We in IASC are thrilled that the award described Shannon as ‘a globally recognised centre of excellence for aerospace’ and our role is to continue developing the industry cluster here.”

In its citation for the top award claimed by the Shannon Free Zone, the ‘Western Europe’ award, fDi Magazine referenced the Zone’s focus on the aviation sector, which resulted in the specialism award for this sector.  The awards citation referred Shannon Free Zone as a globally recognised centre of excellence for aerospace and aviation services. Its International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) was established in 2014, aiming to support the aviation sector, as well as providing other services such as education and training services in the sector.

With regard to the Specialism Award for Aviation, fDi Magazine said that the Shannon Free Zone has become a big player in the aviation sector thanks to its direct links to Shannon Airport, the excellent air connectivity this brings and having buildings beside the runway.

Plans for upgrading the Shannon Free Zone also drew praise, as did the ongoing reinvestment programme.

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