Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, is to expand its services at Shannon Airport, including the addition of 100,000 passengers, new and expanded routes, and the creation of 20 jobs, the airline announced today.
The airline said it expects as a result to grow total passenger numbers from Shannon to 200,000 by the end of 2014, rising to 240,000 passengers by the end of 2015. The airline confirmed that the decision to expand its services to and from Shannon was directly related to the Government’s budget announcement to abolish the travel tax from April 2014.
The new daily Bristol service, commencing on 3 April next, builds on expansion at Aer Lingus Regional over the past 12-months. Further announcements regarding new routes and services from other airports will be made shortly.
In addition, the airline unveiled that it will double capacity on its Shannon Birmingham route, and an additional service on its Shannon Manchester service. Shannon Manchester will now operate three daily flights, with two daily flights on the Shannon Birmingham route. Aer Lingus Regional is offering preclearance connectivity from Birmingham and Manchester onto Aer Lingus’ expanding services to New York and Boston via the Shannon morning services.
Aer Lingus Regional, which aims to double passenger numbers to over two million over the next five years, has overseen a 10 per cent rise in its passenger numbers in 2013 compared to the previous year.
Making the announcement in Shannon alongside the airport’s Chairperson and Chief Executive, Aer Arann’s Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Fagan said its Shannon expansion programme was a key part of the airline’s growth plan, and will provide further choice for passengers flying to and from the region.
Mr. Fagan said: ‘We are delighted to announce our Shannon expansion programme. The airline is determined to grow both our passenger numbers and route network. The addition of a new destination and the doubling of our capacity on two key routes from Shannon, provides real choice to the travelling public, and will serve to bring further visitors to the region. Our decision to move ahead with expansion in Shannon is directly related to the recent Government decision to abolish the travel tax, and is further evidence that sound policies can contribute to solid growth”.
Commenting on the new Shannon Bristol route, and the Manchester and Birmingham expansions, Mr. Fagan said: “Bristol is one of the UK’s most vibrant cities, and is a popular destination from our other airports. We are delighted to add it to our Shannon offering because of Bristol’s close proximity to Bath, Cardiff, Newport and Gloucester which is ideal for traveling Rugby fans. We expect to carry 25,000 passengers on the Bristol route in the first year, operating daily flights”.
Manchester and Birmingham are two of the UK’s biggest cities, with strong leisure and business relevance to passengers in the region. Equally, the two cities have large populations who can now benefit from further choice when looking to Shannon.
“Aer Lingus Regional will be working hard with our various partners such as Shannon Airport, Discover Ireland, Chambers of Commerce and local businesses to promote the additional services and ensure their future success. Aer Lingus Regional is committed to providing its customers with easy, convenient regional connectivity and great value for money. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board these new flights”, added Mr. Fagan.
Commenting at the launch today, CEO of Shannon Group plc, Neil Pakey said that the announcement of these additional services caps an excellent year for the airport: “This welcome announcement by Aer Lingus Regional is excellent news for Shannon and, indeed, the wider West of Ireland region. There is already very strong demand for Aer Lingus Regional’s Birmingham and Manchester services, while Bristol has in the past been a very successful route here so we are really pleased with this Aer Lingus Regional commitment. There is very strong inbound and outbound potential on these routes from both business and tourism perspective and we look forward to working with tourism agencies to make sure that this excellent opportunity on both sides of the Irish Sea is maximised”.
Commenting on the new service, Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport said: “The Bristol-Shannon route has proved popular with passengers when operated in the past. Now, with economic conditions improving in both countries, we are confident the demand is there for it to be a success again, making business and leisure travel between South West England and South West Ireland more convenient”.