Restored Shannon / Heathrow Aer Lingus Connection Welcome – Breen

December 22nd, 2008 - Pat Breen
Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare TD Pat Breen has welcomed today’s (Monday) news that Aer Lingus is set to restore connectivity to London Heathrow and expressed his hope that this was the first step towards restoring full connectivity in due course.

"I welcome today’s news; the return of Aer Lingus on the Shannon/Heathrow Route is a big boost to the region as we struggle to maintain competitiveness at a time of unprecedented economic crisis. The withdrawal of Heathrow connectivity was a serious blow to this region last year with both the tourism and business sectors in the mid-west bearing the brunt of the fall out in the intervening period. Jobs have been haemorrhaging from the region as substantial additional travel costs were added to bottom line of businesses operating here in the mid-west. The tourism industry has also paid a huge price having witnessed a significant drop in the number of bed-nights spent in the region."

"Today’s news is due in no small measure to the huge sacrifices made by the Aer Lingus Shannon Staff past and present who have taken care of the travelling public so well over a long number of years and who have remained loyal to the airline and have now accepted a restructuring package which secures the restoration of the Shannon/Heathrow Link. I hope that in time this will lead to the restoration of full connectivity.

"Over the past number of weeks Ryanair have also raised the stakes when, as part of their takeover offer, they promised to restore the Heathrow Service."
"While today’s news is a huge boost to this region particularly in the current economic climate the reality is that this service should never have been withdrawn in the first place. This was a profitable route carrying over 360,000 passengers annually, 60,000 of which were American tourists back tracking into this region. Nothing has changed to convince me that this decision was made for anything other than politically expedient reasons and it could have been avoided if the political will was there to do so."