Killeen Welcomes Aer Lingus Announcement On Shannon To Heathrow Service

Monday, 22 December 2008 - Minister of State and Clare T.D. Tony Killeen today welcomed the restoration of the Shannon to Heathrow Service by Aer Lingus.

Minister Killeen said that the airline’s decision to reinstate the service was commercially based, just as the original decision to end the service had been.

“Aer Lingus’ move to reinstate flights between Shannon and Heathrow bears out exactly what I said in August 2007 when the airline announced it was withdrawing the service; it was a commercial decision by the airline to remove the service. The commercial reality in the meantime has changed dramatically, however,” stated the Minister.

He continued, “As a result of the downturn in the aviation sector, it did not make commercial sense for Aer Lingus to continue leasing two of its Heathrow slots.   The dramatic reduction in the cost base at Shannon Airport has also played a significant role in the return of the Heathrow service.”

Meanwhile, Minister Killeen acknowledged the importance that the Government attached to the resumption of a Shannon Heathrow service. He explained that such support from the Government was of paramount importance, on foot of its responsibility for balanced regional development.

Minister Killeen said today’s announcement would help Shannon Airport to expand its operations in the coming months.

He added, “Coupled with the advent of Open Skies, Shannon Airport has successfully weathered the huge economic downturn and its significant impact on the aviation sector. The airport is well placed to prosper and expand when the economy eventually and inevitably rebounds.”

“I also would like to compliment the Shannon Airport Authority, staff at Shannon Airport and the people of the West of for their steadfast commitment to seeking the reinstatement of this vital service. I wish Aer Lingus every success with the new service, which commences in March 2009,” said Minister Killeen.

Meanwhile, reacting to the news that the Government is postponing the separation of Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports until 2011, the Minister said, “It is in Shannon Airport’s interest to have the maximum level of independence and flexibility. The board which has been in place since the enactment of the relevant legislation has enjoyed some notable successes and I am confident it would achieve even more once full autonomy is granted.”

“The Ministers for Transport and Finance have examined the business plans for each airport and they are not satisfied that Cork and Shannon have sufficiently strong income bases to operate independently at this time. However, I believe that in the longer term independence from the DAA is the most desirable outcome for Shannon Airport,” he concluded.


Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations

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