Aer Lingus fills just 33% of route seats

AER LINGUS has managed to fill just a third of seats on average on the controversial Shannon/Heathrow route in its first few days of operation.

The airline resumed the route on Sunday with a 174-seater Airbus A320.

On Wednesday just 35 people flew from Heathrow to Shannon on the morning flight, while 40 passengers were on the same flight on Monday, according to figures.

The busiest flights were the first flight from Shannon to Heathrow on Sunday with 120 people onboard and the evening flight on Wednesday which had 114 passengers.

A spokesman for Aer Lingus said advance bookings on the route are in line with other Heathrow routes from Belfast and Cork, and bookings are “encouraging” considering the airline has just resumed the service.

Aer Lingus sparked controversy 14 months ago when it axed the 60-year-old route, which carried 330,000 annually.

It now provides two daily services, half what it used to operate before it was axed.

In its first six months of operation, the Belfast/ Heathrow service carried 60,000 less people than the airline did on the Shannon route during the same period the previous year.

Last month the airline posted an after-tax loss for 2008 and said it would not meet its earlier forecast for a pre-tax profit in 2009.

Meanwhile the airline said its website had “experienced a huge surge in bookings during March with the highest number of daily visitors recorded on March 10 when almost 250,000... logged on to”.


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