Breen warns Shannon Airport suffering death by 1,000 cuts as US Airways pulls route

October 29th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael Clare TD Pat Breen has warned that Shannon Airport is suffering death by a thousand cuts, as US Airways became the latest airline to axe a service from the airport, and said every effort must be made to protect Aer Lingus’s own transatlantic services.

“The loss of the US Airways Shannon to Philadelphia service is another major blow for the airport. This airline has been a valuable customer at Shannon since it launched flights there in 2003. Its Philadelphia route has opened up a brand new catchment area for tourism into the west of Ireland.

“The loss of this route means that a potential 70,000 visitors have been lost to the mid west, as more than 40 US cities feed into Philadelphia. Now that Delta has signalled its departure from Shannon, Continental is the only remaining US Airline still serving the airport. It’s tragic that Shannon’s Pre-Clearance facilities are not being fully utilised, given the huge advantages they offer passengers.

“Fianna Fáil remains wedded to the ludicrous travel tax, which has caused untold damage to Ireland’s aviation sector. The Government has also failed to act on the recommendations in the Mid-West Task Force Report, which is still gathering dust. The group’s Chairman criticised the Government’s failure to take action last weekend.

“Transport Minister Noel Dempsey should now state clearly how he plans to safeguard transatlantic services at Shannon. And we also need a detailed explanation about why the €53 million tourism development package, promised when Open Skies was introduced, has still not been implemented.

“But given the Government