TRANSATLANTIC traffic at Shannon Airport is set to grow by more than 20% next summer with four major airlines serving New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia over the peak season.
Delta has this week confirmed it will again operate a summer service - which is profitable for the airline - to New York JFK.
It follows soon after US Airways announced it was recommencing summer services to Philadelphia after a four-year break and United confirmed it was re-establishing an air bridge to Chicago - albeit on a seasonal basis - last operated by Aer Lingus in 2009.
The Irish airline has in recent years curtailed its transatlantic services ex-Shannon between January and late March but it is believed Aer Lingus in 2013 will recommence services two weeks earlier than this year to take in St Patrick’s Day.
Around 50,000 seats are available on the Chicago and Philadelphia routes alone this summer. Total transatlantic passenger numbers in Shannon in 2011 fell by 8% to just under 320,000 but 2013 now looks like a year of recovery.
Delta will add 2,300 seats a week to and from New York JFK.
“Shannon has long been a favourite destination for US holidaymakers and it makes sense to operate our service when customers most want to visit – during the summer months,” said Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s senior vice-president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“Operating routes on a seasonal basis is a proactive and successful measure we have taken to protect our revenues by matching capacity to demand. We look forward to flying thousands of US tourists to the west coast of Ireland next summer, boosting the local economy.”
Declan Power, aviation business development manager at Shannon, said Delta had carried almost 1.6 million passengers through the airport since 1986.
“Following a very successful operation through Shannon this year we are very happy that Delta Air Lines will continue to serve Shannon during 2013. The support that the airline receives here in the Irish market as well delivering business and tourism visitors from the USA to the West of Ireland has ensured that the route has remained viable and profitable for the airline. Delta is the longest serving US carrier at Shannon and we will continue to work with the airline with a view to expanding its operations further over the coming years,” Mr Power said.