Commenting on the news that Aer Lingus is reviewing the viability of its service out of Shannon Airport, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes said that it is incomprehensible that Shannon could lose its essential Heathrow slots.
In a recent survey of its members as to the impact a decision by Aer Lingus to discontinue the Shannon – Heathrow route would have on their businesses, the unanimous response from companies was that it would have a very negative impact, in terms of conducing routine business.
“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. The loss of the London-Heathrow connection would have considerable impact as it not only acts as a hub for companies’ customers and suppliers in Europe but many use it for all onward international travel. It’s not only about companies getting to their markets, it’s about getting customers to come to Shannon.
“As one company put it, ‘if this route was to cease it would have a large impact on our business capability and flexibility that is so crucial to our customers in the EMEA’, added Ms Downes.
Accepting that these are very difficult times for airlines and everyone involved in aviation, Ms Downes added: “We would appeal to and call on Government to engage with IAG, the ultimate decision makers re Aer Lingus’ future in Shannon. Shannon has fought hard over the years to retain these slots, which are worth millions to our economy. It is therefore of national importance that these slots are retained.
Given that the Shannon-Heathrow route was highly successful in the past for Aer Lingus with good seat yields and load factors, the time to intervene in now, not when the slots are lost,“ added Ms Downes.