Shannon plans for Paris route dealt blow

EFFORTS by Shannon Airport to secure a replacement airline to take over the successful Shannon to Paris route, which will be axed by Ryanair in November, have been dealt a severe blow with two more operators confirming they have no plans to take up the service.

Earlier this month, Ryanair confirmed it will cut services at Shannon by 21% from November 1 in protest at Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) plans to increase passenger charges at Shannon by €1.53. The airline will completely axe the Shannon to Paris operation despite its success and profitability. The route has been yielding an average load factor of 89%. Four airlines have to date turned their backs on the profitable route, two of which previously operated the service. Aer Lingus and Cityjet had already ruled out a return to the route while British Airways and Easyjet have become the latest operators to turn down a chance to take over the operation.

A British Airways spokeswoman stated: “British Airways doesn’t operate flights which don’t touch the UK.”

Easyjet, however, went a step further and said: “We have no plans to enter the Republic of Ireland market.” The airline withdrew services from Shannon in 2006 just a year after commencing operations there.

Aer Lingus, which operated a service between Shannon and Paris Charles De Gaulle until October 2001, had already ruled out reopening the route. A company spokeswoman said: “We have no plans currently to service this route.”

CityJet, which also operated a Paris service until October last year, has also confirmed that it “currently has no plans to return to the route”.

However, two airlines, Aer Arann and Flybe, have not completely dismissed taking up the axed route while BMI and bmibaby have yet to confirm their respective positions.

Despite the recent appointment of an examiner to the company, Aer Arann has said: “Aer Aran is very pleased with the performance of the four routes that it launched from Shannon this summer and the very positive reaction that the airline has received throughout the mid-west. We will continue to look at the potential to expand the services that Aer Arann operates from Shannon.”

A Flybe spokesman said: “While there are no immediate plans at present, Flybe continually monitor opportunities and we are always looking to grow our network wherever possible.” Earlier this month Flybe announced plans to take over three Ryanair routes in Belfast.

Clare and Shannon councillor Patricia McCarthy said: “This route is not a gamble for any airline and that is why it is so surprising that Ryanair plan to terminate it. With a load factor of 89% this was a successful route, there is no question about that.”

A Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) spokesman said: “We are engaged in ongoing marketing and promotion of Shannon Airport for services to all leading destinations and this includes Paris.”


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