AER Arann has expressed confidence the new route from Shannon to Rennes will prove a success and the Mid-West will see an influx of French tourists this summer.
The seasonal service to the Breton capital - which operates under the Aer Lingus Regional brand as part of its franchise agreement with Aer Arann - commenced last Saturday and will operate weekly until September 1.
“We’re delighted to provide this convenient, direct link from Shannon to northern France. This new Shannon route is very attractive for both markets providing tourists from Shannon with direct access to Rennes,” commented Aer Arann interim chief executive Sean Brogan.
“Similarly, we are opening an important air link directly from Rennes encouraging French tourists to visit Shannon and its surrounding regions bringing welcome tourism to the area. This is our third Rennes summer seasonal route which will operate in addition to services from Dublin and Cork and we are confident that it will be a success.”
Aer Lingus chief commercial officer Stephen Kavanagh expressed his delight at the expansion of “the strong business and tourism links that exist between Ireland and Brittany and we look forward to welcoming more and more passengers on board our services over the summer”.
And Shannon Airport director Mary Considine has appealed to “tourism agencies here to capitalise on a new market for the wider west of Ireland region” and to outbound tourists to support the route.
Among the attractions are Rennes itself, with its distinctive architecture, markets and cafe culture.
The Breton language, its music and Celtic heritage are celebrated in the cities of Lorient, which hosts its celebrated InterCeltique music festival in August, and Quimper, Limerick’s sister city. Brittany is also famed for the deserted beaches and rugged landscapes of Finistere and the Pink Granite Coast.
The route operates every Saturday, departing Shannon at 3.30pm and returning from France at 7.05pm. One-way fares start from €59.99 and are can be booked on www.aerlingus.com.
Along with the new connection to France, Aer Lingus Regional has also added capacity to its Edinburgh route and has based a second 66-seater aircraft at Shannon and increased job numbers at the airport by 20 this year. Aer Arann/Aer Lingus Regional has expressed satisfaction with the performance of its routes from Shannon to Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham.