Paris link helps Shannon Airport bounce back

SHANNON is successfully managing the connectivity crisis triggered by the January 1 termination of the Aer Lingus Heathrow service, the airport director said yesterday.

A replacement service to Paris is being well received by people needing long-haul connections in and out of Shannon.

Shannon Airport director Martin Moroney said: “It is not all solved, but I think the vast majority of customers say the replacement CityJet service to Charles de Gaulle is fine and we are over the hump... CityJet and Aer France are very happy and they are getting a high 70% load factor.”

Mr Moroney expects CityJet to grow the Shannon/Paris service, which provides two flights a day on a 50-seater aircraft. He said it would continue to work towards acquiring other key hub connections through Amsterdam and strive to win back a Heathrow connection.

Mr Moroney was speaking at a Ryanair press briefing at the Clarion Hotel in Limerick at which the airline announced a route from Shannon to Berlin to start on May 30.

Ryanair marketing manager Caroline Baldwin said: “To mark the opening of the route we are releasing 10,000 seats from Shannon for just €10.”

Under a five-year deal struck in 2005, Ryanair gets cut rates at Shannon in return for delivering two million passengers by 2010. Last year it accounted for 60% of the airport’s 3.6 million passengers.

Mr Moroney said: “We are thrilled at the manner in which Ryanair have built up their numbers at Shannon.”

Despite the economic slump in the US, Mr Moroney said he was confident transatlantic numbers would hold up over the coming months.

Shannon has drawn up an expansion programme with the goal of achieving one million transatlantic passengers within five years and a further four million to EU destinations. A €3 million marketing strategy has been drawn up to promote Shannon as a gateway to the Western seaboard.

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