United Airlines cite 'poor financial performance' for axing of Shannon-Chicago route

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Shannon Airport: Decision was taken despite “best efforts” to convince United otherwise

Shannon Airport: Decision was taken despite “best efforts” to convince United otherwise

UNITED Airlines has said the “regretful” decision to axe its seasonal service from Shannon to Chicago was taken because of the route’s “poor financial performance”.

United is to discontinue the seasonal service between Shannon and Chicago-O’Hare in 2018, with the last flight for this year lifting off on September 6, last.

Shannon Airport has said it is “disappointed” by the decision, which followed the recent suspension of its Newark service until March 9.

United said it had “have regretfully taken this decision because of the route’s poor financial performance. We will contact customers with bookings to re-accommodate and provide refunds where possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

The airline said the Newark flight would resume on March 10 and said it would “continue to serve Ireland with its all-year-round flight from Dublin to New York/Newark as well as seasonal services from Dublin to Chicago and Washington/Dulles.

“This is in line with United’s capacity guidance,” added the spokesperson.

Shannon said the decision had been taken despite “best efforts” to convince it otherwise. Shock greeted the announcement late on Wednesday evening, with industry sources expressing fears about the ramifications for Shannon, while the suspension of the Newark route for the winter was described recently as a “bombshell” to the industry that has caused considerable disquiet among the region’s business community in the process.

The seasonal summer service from Shannon to O’Hare was launched in 2013, running – at least initially – a five times weekly non-stop route.

Shannon managing director Andrew Murphy said the airport was “disappointed by United’s decision to cease its seasonal Shannon-Chicago service next year despite our best efforts and those of Tourism Ireland to reach an agreement with the airline.

“United is and remains a core and valued customer. We remain very committed to working with them and our other airline partners to continue to provide services and access to key markets. Finding a replacement carrier for the Chicago service will be a priority as will maximising the potential for Shannon in the coming years,” he added.