Shamrock to be restored at Shannon Airport for St. Patrick’s Day – Breen.

November 15th, 2012 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade has received confirmation from Aer Lingus that they will commence their Summer 2013 Transatlantic Schedule from Shannon Airport two weeks earlier next year (11th March 2013) in order to facilitate the Gathering 2013.

Deputy Breen had written to the Airline seeking their support for the Gathering 2013 in the context of their 2013 Schedule at Shannon Airport.

Welcoming the news Deputy Breen said that “I have been critical of the absence of Aer Lingus Transatlantic Services for St Patrick’s Day from Shannon Airport over the past few years. I am delighted to see now that the Shamrock will be restored to the Airport for St. Patrick’s Day next year, particularly when we are celebrating The Gathering. This year their services recommenced on the 25th March 2012 which was too late for Shannon Airport to benefit from the St Patrick’s Festivities but next summer, this will not be the case with Aer Lingus direct services from Shannon Airport to New York and Boston restarting on the 11th March 2013 Increased Airline capacity into Shannon Airport is critical if this Region is to maximise the benefits from the Gathering 2013 and these additional two week’s service constitutes a 6% in transatlantic capacity across the Airlines Shannon summer scheme, which is good news for the Airport and the Tourism and Business Sectors in the Region.”

“Aer Lingus is also promising to promote the Gathering through their inflight Cara magazine throughout 2013, by inviting travel journalists to visit Ireland to promote the Country, by involving their Sales and Marketing Teams in co-operative marketing programmes in all key markets across Europe and the United States and by staging a major Gathering Festival in September promoting Ireland’s sporting culture. I would urge the Airline to ensure that in all of the promotional activities which they undertake for the Gathering that all of their Services into and out of Shannon Airport feature very prominently in their campaigns.”

“Since the Aer Lingus Heathrow Slots were transferred to Belfast in 2007 by the previous Government, and the service was eventually restored in March 2009, I understand that the Shannon/Heathrow early morning service had been sustained through the leasing of a slot pair. Representatives of the business and tourism community have raised concerns with me in recent times that there was uncertainty about the future of this early morning service. Aer Lingus have now confirmed while the arrangement for the leasing of this slot pair has indeed come to an end that this service will continue, however, as a consequence of the expiration of the arrangement, they are reverting to the historic Shannon/Heathrow early morning summer departure, which was 0850 hrs. When I expressed concerns that this timetable change could affect connectivity from the Region, they advised me that this early morning departure time maintains almost of all the connecting destinations apart from Raleigh Durham, Nassau, Agadir and Split.”

“It is important that Aer Lingus maintain maximum connectivity into Shannon Airport and I have made this point to them.”