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Aer Lingus shelves loss-making flights

Irish airline Aer Lingus has announced it will suspend loss-making transatlantic flights from Shannon Airport for nearly three months next year.

The airline said its decision followed a detailed review of route profitability, and revealed the New York and Boston routes had an average operating loss of €11m every winter since 1995.

The suspension from January 5 to March 27 will eliminate four flights every week between Shannon and New York and another four flights between Shannon and Boston from the Aer Lingus schedule. Aer Lingus said the flights would be reinstated for the rest of 2011.

It said the Boston and New York routes from Shannon had incurred "significant losses" in winter months in 14 of the past 15 years.

Numbers had also been declining on the routes in winter months for a number of years.

A spokesman for the airline told RTE the suspension could lead to short time working and unpaid leave for cabin crew and cargo staff during the months of suspension.

Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive said: "Aer Lingus is committed to the Shannon market as an important part of our network.

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"However, in order to maintain the viability of our Shannon transatlantic operations throughout the remainder the year, the three month suspension of these routes when seasonal demand is at its lowest is crucial."