THERE IS disappointment at the announcement that Norwegian airlines will not be operating from Shannon Airport for the remainder of the year.
The news was announced this week that the airline would not be operating out of Cork and Shannon for the rest of 2019.
A spokesperson for Dublin Airport told the Leader that “the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft had resulted in Norwegian being forced to significantly reduce its operations at Dublin Airport this year”.
This reduces the number of airlines operating transatlantic flights from Shannon, down to four; Aer Lingus, United, Delta, and American Airlines. It also means that Shannon is the only airport in the country, outside the capital, that is offering flights across the Atlantic.
A spokesperson for the airline has said that passengers will have to arrange their own travel plans to Dublin Airport, where they can claim for expenses.
A spokesperson for Shannon Group said the decision came about as a result of the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft. This, as a result, is having a “serious impact” for Shannon passengers.
“The world-wide grounding of the 737 Max aircraft is having a serious impact for Shannon passengers. Proportionally, no other Irish airport has such a high level of activity operated by the 737 Max aircraft. At peak this aircraft type would have operated 13 weekly flights from Shannon to North America. We now estimate that the loss of these flights, which include this year’s Air Canada service, will mean a loss of over 120,000 seats at Shannon in 2019 and as a result our overall passenger numbers will be down,” Shannon Group spokesperson said.
“We remain confident that once the 737 Max aircraft is back flying that these services will be restored, as they were extremely popular in 2018. Shannon Airport continues to offer very extensive North American services with Aer Lingus, United, Delta, American Airlines all operating successful routes. In addition, we estimate growth in both the UK and European traffic.”
The news of Norwegian inability to operate out of Shannon will come as a second blow to the airport, following the publication of the Central Statistics Office’s aviation figures.
New quarterly figures show that Shannon was the only major airport in the country to suffer from a decrease in passenger numbers. The first quarterly statistics of 2019 show that there was a 2.6% decrease in passenger numbers in comparison to the same time period in 2017 and 2018.
In quarter one of 2017, there were 271,753 passengers, which rose to 277,070 in 2018. However, this dipped to 269,887 in the first quarter of 2019.