Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus reopens Shannon route

By Robin Morton

The decision by Aer Lingus to reinstate flights from Shannon to London Heathrow next spring will have no impact on its schedules from Belfast International.

The airline sparked a storm of protest in August last year when it unveiled plans to axe the Shannon service in favour of its new operation from Belfast.

A spokeswoman said: “This will have no impact on Belfast to Heathrow schedule. Two slots will be taken from Dublin to facilitate the reinstated Shannon to Heathrow service.”

Aer Lingus recently celebrated the first anniversary of its services from Belfast, and reported that its bookings were 50% ahead of its business plan.

At Shannon, there were celebrations over the decision to resume flights to London.

Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion said the flights would restart next March. He said: “We are very pleased to be in a position to recommence the Shannon-Heathrow service and I want to acknowledge the huge contribution of our staff and Shannon Airport Authority in making this a reality.”

The Republic’s Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said the London Heathrow link was strategically important for the mid west of Ireland, both from an aviation policy and a regional development perspective.

“The restoration of global connectivity for the mid west region is all the more important now in these particularly difficult economic circumstances,” he said.

“I have taken every opportunity since August of last year to make it clear to Aer Lingus the importance that Government attaches to the resumption of a Shannon Heathrow service.”

He thanked Aer Lingus staff in Shannon who agreed a significant cost cutting package that allowed the service to recommence, and Shannon Airport Authority which fought hard for the route to be relaunched.

Belfast Telegraph