Future uncertain for Kerry-Dublin route despite growth

Flights on the Kerry-Dublin route are attracting growing passenger numbers but the future of the service remains uncertain.

Passengers on the route jumped by 22% in the eight months to the end of October, according to Aer Lingus Regional, compared to the same period last year when there was a 6% rise.

However, daily flights from Kerry Airport on the route depends on continuation of a Government subsidy, known as a public service obligation grant, worth €3.5m over three years.

The grant —effectively a subsidy to airlines on regional routes — has been extended to February 2015.

Negotiations have been held between airport and Government representatives and Kerry politicians are supporting the case for the grant. The Government will make a decision in February.

Aer Lingus Regional is operated by Stobart Air, which has reported an eighth consecutive month of passenger increases on the route.

Stobart Air managing director Julian Carr said the growth was helped by connecting traffic to North America via the Dublin Airport transatlantic hub.

“Kerry plays a key role in Aer Lingus’ Regional network and transatlantic connections, as demonstrated by October’s strong results,” said Mr Carr.

The Government, meanwhile, has submitted a 2015 to 2019 regional airports programme to the EU Commission for approval. Transport minister Pascal Donohoe said that, on obtaining approval, his department would identify specific supports for each of the four regional airports.


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