Reacting to commentary that Aer Lingus may be considering moving aircraft, currently assigned to connect Shannon with Boston, New York and London Heathrow, to a UK regional airport, the Presidents of Shannon and Ennis Chambers have vehemently stated that Shannon Airport simply cannot lose this level of essential connectivity.
“We would urgently appeal to and call on Government to engage with IAG, the ultimate decision makers concerning Aer Lingus’ future in Shannon. While airlines may choose to relocate for financial reasons, the loss of connectivity to and from Shannon should be regarded by Government as a national economic issue, and one that requires intervention at State level. Transatlantic traffic feeds the West of Ireland, Wild Atlantic Way and the Atlantic Economic Corridor resulting in North American visitors accessing Ireland through Shannon Airport spending a higher percentage of time and money in the West of Ireland than those who access via Dublin. Taking away the transatlantic fleet and service from Shannon is unthinkable,” the Presidents stated.
“In a recent survey of members as to the essentiality of Shannon Airport to their business, the unanimous response was that having an airport that offers connectivity to both the US and mainland Europe was a highly important consideration for both the multinational and indigenous company. Connectivity is a very important part of many companies’ value propositions to locate in and operate from a west of Ireland region.
“Whilst companies may not currently be travelling, they are still looking to a future when connectivity between Ireland and its key markets will be permissible. It’s not only about companies getting to their markets, it’s about getting customers to come to the region. The majority of companies set up in Shannon and the region due to the air connectivity. To lose this will affect in a large way foreign direct investment (FDI) and could ultimately result in some companies possibly relocating or reducing investment here. The recommendations made by the Aviation Recovery Taskforce issued in early July for rebuilding regional and international connectivity need to be urgently implemented to ensure vital connectivity for Shannon is restored,” the Presidents added.
Commenting on the impact such a loss of connectivity would have on the tourism and hospitality sector, they said: “It is unimaginable that Shannon would have very limited connectivity to transatlantic markets. Whilst travel is currently very much restricted, we must retain confidence that the trade we have lost due to the pandemic will be restored and that visitors will once again choose Ireland as a leisure destination. Any loss of transatlantic routes would diminish that hope and make it considerably more difficult to attract visitors to the west of Ireland.
“The reversal of the reported withdrawal of Aer Lingus services from Shannon requires swift and urgent Government intervention,” the Presidents concluded.
Statement issued by:
Stephen Keogh, President, Shannon Chamber
Allen Flynn, President, Ennis Chamber