CITYJET have announced that its Shannon-Charles De Gaulle route, which was introduced after the loss of the Aer Lingus Heathrow service two years ago, will be terminated from October 24. The Charles De Gaulle service offered the global connectivity that had been provided by the Heathrow route prior to its termination.
However, with Aer Lingus restoring the Heathrow service some months ago, it was always likely that the Paris service would be hit.
In a statement, CityJet said the recession had a negative impact on the service’s viability. “Unfortunately, the continuing economic downturn, which has hit the Mid-West particularly hard in recent months, has led to a steep decline in the route’s performance and we cannot foresee passenger numbers and revenues reaching a break-even level. As a result, CityJet and Air France have reached the difficult decision to terminate the Shannon-Paris service from October 24, 2009.”
All passengers who have booked Shannon-Paris flights on or after October 24 are to be reaccommodated on Air France flights from Dublin or receive a full refund.
Following the announcement, airport director Martin Moroney said the service had offered connectivity at a vital time when it began in February 2008 but that the economic slump had hit the airline. “We were delighted that CityJet came in on the route when it did as it restored connectivity to one of the world’s leading airport hubs for the West of Ireland. Unfortunately, air travel has been badly affected by the downturn and in 2009 in particular with CityJet/Air France no exception and we accept their need to cut loss-making routes, which they are doing across their network.
“We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with CityJet and will be keeping lines of communications open with them with a view to attracting them back on this service, and others, as the economy begins to recover.”
A spokesman for Shannon Development said he was disappointed with the ending of the service. “The CityJet decision is a major setback for the region. When the route launched in February 2008 it provided invaluable access to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport, a major global hub with direct connections to over 800 important international destinations.
“This decision will impact on both the business and tourism sectors in the Shannon region. A major year-round access gateway for visitors to the West of Ireland will no longer be available and this will impact on our efforts to grow European business to the Shannon region. In addition to tourism, the CityJet connection was an important business route providing global connectivity for a range of industries based in the Shannon Region and the West.”
Mayor of Shannon Seán McLoughlin said that he felt the route could have been done better with a different approach. “It could have been successful if there had been proper promotion of it and if there had been a better price plan available.”
The loss of the service was blamed on the controversial €10 air travel tax according to Deputy Pat Breen and he called for it to go. “The Government must immediately abolish the €10 travel tax. This punitive tax has had a detrimental impact on services at all major airports, including Shannon. It should be axed before it inflicts any more damage.”