Daily direct US service essential for industry & jobs in mid west

June 12th, 2009 - Pat Breen
Reports that Aer Lingus is planning to axe transatlantic services through Shannon, just one day after Delta said it is scrapping routes to the US, is a massive blow for the region which will have serious consequences for its employment base, according to Fine Gael Deputy Foreign Affairs Spokesman and Clare TD Pat Breen.

“A daily direct US service from the mid west is essential to sustain industry and jobs. The 65 US companies in the mid west, which employ some 11,000 people, are heavily dependent on these services. The loss of Delta’s services from Shannon is a body blow in itself, and a move by Aer Lingus to axe its Chicago and New York winter services would have devastating consequences.

“Transport Minister Noel Dempsey must intervene immediately at board level to ensure that Aer Lingus does not implement these cutbacks, and to safeguard year-round services. The US Pre-Clearance facility should have been put in place in tandem with the Open Skies Agreement. But because the Government dragged its heels, any advantage that Shannon Airport had over Dublin has now been eroded.

“While an increase in the Aer Lingus’s connectivity to Heathrow is very welcome, in no way does it compensate for the loss of direct transatlantic services. Daily services to destinations across the US are essential to retain jobs and maintain some level of competitiveness.

“The Government must also abolish the €10 Air Travel Tax the introduction of which is nonsensical at a time when the entire aviation industry is in free fall.”