Fine Gael Clare TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen, has today (Wednesday) warmly welcomed the announcement by Aer Lingus that it is restoring its year round service linking Shannon to Boston and New York. The move has been made possible thanks to a deal to allow the airline to lease smaller B757 aircrafts.
“This is fantastic news for Shannon Airport, and comes just after new CSO figures confirmed that the number of American tourists coming to Ireland is up by more than 12%. Shannon and the wider region will now be in a prime position to not only benefit but further boost this surge in US visitors.
“I have been urging Aer Lingus for a number of years to look at ways to serve these US destinations year round, and I am delighted that this has now become possible through a deal the airline has reached to lease three B757 aircrafts. These are smaller, fuel efficient planes, which can carry 188 passengers. They should be much better suited to the routes, as the airline previously had problems filling the larger A330 planes during the winter.
“The restoration of these services greatly enhances connectivity between the Shannon region and the east coast of the United States, and it’s a major boost for for the New Shannon Airport Authority and for tourism and business interests in the region. The fact that New York and Boston are traditionally home to large Irish communities, combined with the increase in US visitors choosing to holiday here, should mean that these new routes are busy all year round.
“The announcement also has the potential to provide a great winter tourism boost, as Aer Lingus joins United Airlines in serving the east coast of the United States year round from Shannon. The move will also help to counteract the trend in recent years where the Shannon region was losing out on coach tours to the Eastern part of the country due to the absence of year round services. Flights into Shannon from the US all year round should help to increase the number of coach tours in Clare and the wider region; something that will be warmly welcomed by tour operators, local hotels and B&Bs.
“Transatlantic services at Shannon Airport are set to increase by 25% this year, due to the expansion of services by a number of airlines including United Airlines, Delta and Aer Lingus. I also welcome confirmation from Aer Lingus that it is opening a new route between Dublin and San Franciso, and I hope Shannon Airport can continue to target links with similar destinations on the west coast of the US.”