Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen has described the decision by United Airlines to increase their capacity into Shannon Airport from Chicago next year by 88% as an important development for the new Airport Authority and for the Tourism Sector in the Mid-West Region. He hopes that the Airlines plans to increase their capacity next year will encourage the Airline to consider further take-offs from the Mid-West Airport.
Welcoming the announcement that United Airlines is to increase their capacity by 88% into Shannon Airport in 2014, Deputy Breen said that “given the success of United Airlines and their on-going commitment to Shannon Airport, I would now hope that the Airline would consider expanding their services even further by providing a direct link from the Mid-West Region to the Mid-West Region in the United States.”
“United Airlines has built a strong relationship with Shannon Airport over the years and I wish to acknowledge that relationship and thank them for their on-going commitment to the Airport. As well as adding the Chicago route to their network out of Shannon last year, the Airline has been providing all year round direct services to Newark, New Jersey since 1996.
I was delighted to join with United Airlines and the Airport Authority to launch the new Chicago Service earlier this year and I am very pleased that service has proved popular with the travelling public and that the Airline is building on this success and are planning to increase their capacity by 88% next year.
The direct link to Chicago has provided a much boost needed boost to the Airport where transatlantic traffic is up 25% this year. It has also provided a boost for tourism providers here in County with many of them reporting a marked increase in visitor numbers from the Chicago area this summer.
Given the success of their Chicago service, I would now urge the Airline to seriously consider further expansion to their Shannon network by providing a direct link from the Mid-West Region to the Mid-West Region in the United States. As well as their Chicago Hub, United Airlines serve Houston, Texas which is the 4th largest city in the US and it is the tenth busiest passenger airport in North America. It has been identified as America’s top city for job creation and is recognised for its strong presence in the energy industry. An opportunity now exists for United to open up a direct link between Houston and Shannon Airport and I would hope that they will explore this potential.
Since this Government has come to office and particularly given the commitment of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar T.D. to the Airport, passenger figures and confidence in the Airport has been restored. For the fourth consecutive month passenger growth has been recorded at the Airport, a new dynamic board led by Chairperson Rose Hynes has been put in situ and a CEO with vast experience in the Aviation Industry, Neil Pakey has been appointed.
The return to growth, United Airlines commitment to increase their capacity and Shannon Airport’s success in receiving a World Routes Award, which I warmly congratulate them on achieving are testament to the policies being pursued by this Government and point to the very positive role that Shannon Airport can play in our path to recovery.