DIRECT flights from Shannon to the Algarve are set to return next summer with confirmation that Aer Lingus is to offer three weekly services to Faro.
It restores a route last plied by Ryanair in 2009 and was a casualty of the collapse of Ryanairâ€™s base deal in that year.
One of Europeâ€™s most popular summer sun destinations, Aer Lingus intends to operate the Shannon-Faro service on a seasonal basis.
It follows a number of positive announcements in relation to the summer 2013 schedule ex-Shannon, including new services to Chicago (United) and Philadephia (US Airways), Deltaâ€™s commitment to continue summer services to New York JFK and additional charter flights to the sun.
Shannon Airport anticipates that the Faro service will â€œgenerate an additional 20,000 passengers through the airport next year and provide a welcome boost for sun seekers and holidaymakers from the west of Irelandâ€.
Welcoming the announcement, Shannon Airport director Mary Considine said: â€œthis is excellent news for Shannon Airport and more so for the many thousands of people from the west of Ireland that travel to the Algarve every year, be it for annual sun holidays, short leisure breaks or golf trips. 2012 has been challenging for Shannon in terms of airline services and passenger traffic volumes but we are finishing out the year on a really positive note with recent announcements, not least the addition of this extremely attractive Faro service with Aer Lingus. It is also a clear indication by Aer Lingus that it has potential for growth at Shannon, particularly on European routes.â€
In addition to the Faro service, Aer Lingus has brought forward the recommencement of services to New York and Boston to March 11 after transatlantic services go on hiatus over the winter months.
Commenting on the announcement, Aer Lingus director of communications Declan Kearney said: â€œWe are delighted to launch a new service from Shannon to the popular holiday destination and gateway to the Algarve, Faro. We look forward to welcoming customers on board the new service.â€
Flights to Faro will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, commencing on the May 1. Flights go on sale on www.aerlingus.com this Thursday, with fares starting at â‚¬59.99 one-way.
The airline is expected to carry in excess of 570,000 passengers through Shannon in 2013.