THE popular regional service to Edinburgh from Shannon Airport could be restored next year.
The Stobart Air operated Aer Lingus Regional flight, which was one of several cancelled in January, is being mooted for a return, it is understood.
However, reports of Ryanair pulling two routes from Shannon next year are believed to be correct, with the Poitiers and Nice services under threat.
The likelihood is that the airline – which has yet to comment on the reports one way or another – will increase the frequency on its other routes as a result.
A Shannon Airport spokesperson declined to comment directly on the Poitiers-Nice reports, but said: “Ryanair operate to 17 destinations from Shannon, carrying over 800,000 passengers annually. We will continue to work with our airline partners, including Ryanair, to explore new opportunities to deliver further growth.”
The resumption of the Stobart service to Edinburgh would be welcomed, according to Clare TD Michael McNamara, who has called for its restoration.
“The numerous representations I have received from constituents regarding the resumption of the flight would suggest that it would prove to be a successful and profitable connection once again, and would benefit not just the airport and the Mid West region, but also the airline willing to provide the service,” he said.
“I contacted the management at Shannon Airport in the past week and respectfully suggested that the Edinburgh route be reviewed with the appropriate airline carriers. I was satisfied to learn that such talks are underway, and have lent my support by writing to airlines in support of reconnecting Shannon with the popular Scottish city.
“If discussions prove positive I understand there could be new flights connecting Shannon and Edinburgh as early as next Spring,” he added.
A Shannon spokesperson said the airport was “always in conversation” with airlines “with a view to growing existing - and establishing new - services at Shannon”.
Responding to a report about a fall off in passenger numbers, Shannon noted that just two of the last 12 months saw a drop in numbers year on year, with capacity up overall over the last two years.
“This year has been another positive one for Shannon and, together with last year’s growth of 17%, we are looking at 21% growth from where we two years ago,” said the spokesperson.
“This is a very positive outcome in what is an increasingly competitive market and we look forward to building on this into the future.”
There was good news on the transatlantic front for Shannon recently as Delta confirmed its intention to use a large aircraft on its summer service to JFK. The airline is to introduce a larger wide-bodied Boeing 767-300 aircraft on the route, resulting in a 25% increase in capacity, or 17,000 additional seats.
Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said Delta’s expansion of its Shanon service “rovides further opportunity for global connectivity.
“This is excellent news for passengers from this region who want to fly to JFK and beyond but is also excellent news again for the tourism industry here.
“There has been a considerable transatlantic market rebound generally over recent years but there is a particular demand for services directly into the west of Ireland through Shannon and we are delighted to be able to facilitate this through airline partners such as Delta.”