Return of US air services…“a welcome boost for the west of Ireland economy,” says Shannon Group CEO
Thursday 10th March 2022: After almost two years, transatlantic flights have resumed at Shannon Airport, restoring crucial connectivity to the region, and boosting the region’s economy.
This week, Aer Lingus have resumed their services to Boston and New York/JFK from Shannon. Daily flights to Boston resumed today, with a daily New York/JFK service restarting tomorrow, 11th March.
This marks the first transatlantic flight between the Mid-West of Ireland and the USA since March 21st, 2020, following the US travel ban during the height of the pandemic.
Before boarding the new A321LR Aer Lingus aircraft at Shannon Airport for their 7-hour journey to Boston, passengers cleared US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Shannon was the first US immigration pre-inspection facility in Europe established in 1986, later becoming a full pre-clearance operation in 2009, and the following year, the airport was the first in the world to offer full preclearance for private aircraft.
Today’s journey for passengers was made easier by the airport’s recent introduction of a new security screening system which halves time spent in this area and eliminates the 100ml only rule. Shannon is the only state airport in Ireland to operate this cutting-edge technology.
Speaking during the celebratory gate event for Aer Lingus flight EI 135 at Shannon Airport this morning, Mary Considine, CEO of Shannon Group said: “The links between the US and the West of Ireland are a huge part of Shannon’s story. We are delighted to be here today to mark another milestone in the airport’s recovery with the re-establishment of crucial US air links that were suspended as a result of the pandemic.
“It is a fantastic day for our passengers, our staff, the broader airport community and the US Customs and Border Protection team here at Shannon Airport. The restoration of these daily vital U.S. services will be a welcome boost for the West of Ireland economy and will see loved ones and business communities reconnected.”
Speaking on the route restart, Donal Moriarty, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Aer Lingus said: “We are delighted to resume our transatlantic routes from Shannon to Boston and New York, restoring regional connectivity to the mid-west of Ireland and allowing Aer Lingus to unite friends, families, and businesses once more. This summer we will be operating our largest transatlantic seat capacity from Shannon in 17 years.
“Aer Lingus customers will avail of a more innovative and sustainable travel experience as they travel across the Atlantic in our two A321LR neo which will operate from Shannon airport. As always, customers flying to North America with Aer Lingus will enjoy complimentary meals and drinks, endless hours of in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi on board, US Customs and Border pre-clearance at Shannon airport and our unique warm Aer Lingus welcome.”
Attending the event, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton commented: “Almost two years ago to the day, COVID 19 was declared a global pandemic and began to decimate the aviation sector and ground flights worldwide.
“I am very pleased to be here in Shannon Airport this morning to celebrate the resumption of US bound services which will have huge benefits to the economy and tourism in the Mid-West region. The resumption of our US routes will be a welcome boost for the 40 percent of Ireland’s FDI located within this region as they allow companies to get their goods to market and make it easier for people to trade. Aviation is critically important to our economy, both directly and indirectly. It is a key enabler of tourism and commerce, it connects businesses to suppliers and to customers, and it ever-facilitates and sustains our significant levels of foreign direct investment. Most importantly, however, aviation allows us to connect with each other. Family, friends, and loved ones have had to spend significant time apart and for far too long. Our returning transatlantic connections will better allow for the return of our personal connections.”
Concluding Minister Naughton said “Though today is a day for celebration, it is important to take a moment now to remember those caught up in the on-going conflict in Ukraine, and I take this opportunity to appeal for peace. Government will continue to do everything in its power to support the people of Ukraine.”