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Matteo Curcio

Delta backs Shannon with return of JFK route from this Saturday

DELTA are about to commence its Shannon-JFK service, with this Saturday seeing the first flight leave Shannon for JFK.
Speaking to The Clare Champion this week, Delta Vice President EMEA Matteo Curci said that the level of interest in the service has been very strong. “In summer 2024 we are growing in Ireland about 35%, which is very significant when you think that the overall market capacity is growing at around 10%. We are investing in Ireland.
“Going back to 2006 we always flew Shannon with the 757, a narrow bodied plane. This year for the first time we are introducing the 767, a wide bodied plane, which means the customer will have a greater opportunity to experience our products.”
The flights will have four product experience choices, Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin.
Customers are now able to pre select meals and by the end of the year Delta plan to have free wifi available on all flights.
Mr Curci said that there is a lot of onward connectivity available to passengers upon touching down in JFK, one of the biggest hubs in the US.
“JFK Shannon will be daily, and more importantly beyond JFK there will be connections to more than 70 destinations across the US with the Delta network. The strength of our domestic network across the US is parallel, and this flight will open up a lot of US points from passengers leaving Shannon.”
There is a lot of interest in the US in what the west of Ireland has to offer, he feels. “Most of the passengers are US passengers coming to visit the Wild Atlantic Way and Galway and of course there is a lot of golfing activity. We are very excited about the bookings, we are seeing good results.”
The passengers on the Shannon-JFK route are far more likely to be Americans visiting Ireland than Irish people visiting America.
“It depends on the month, but it could be nine to one or eight to two. This is a trend we are seeing across the board and I think it’s down to a few things, the US point of sale strength given the strength of the US dollar, as you know the US exited Covid very strong and we are seeing a trend of a new generation buying experiences and wanting to travel rather than buying goods and that has accelerated the demand. This is common across Europe.
“The US market has recovered quite well and this component that we call premium leisure or leisure, has been the one that recovered the fastest. If you look at our network employment post Covid, this summer we will fly the largest transatlantic network that we have ever seen. Last year was also the largest we had seen. If you imagined in 2020 that transatlantic in 2023 or 2024 would be bigger than 2019, none of us would have taken that as a bet.”
Corporate travel is not what it was pre-Covid, but it is starting to come back. “In the last few months we are seeing an acceleration of corporate travel, which is also exciting as Ireland is an important base for many US corporations. Across both the US domestic market and transatlantic we are seeing corporate demand recovering and accelerating.”
Is there any chance that Delta will run new services from Shannon? “Look, it’s too early to say. We need to start this JFK route, hopefully our expectations are met, and we are always looking for opportunities to grow.”
Generally Americans are less likely to visit Europe in the year of a Presidential election, but he says that 2024 is an exception.
“It is a fact that a presidential election does that in history, but we’re not seeing that now. We’re seeing very strong demand and so we are looking at this summer with extreme excitement.”
Mr Curci said that he believes the aviation sector is responding well to the challenge of climate change. “I think it’s something we all need to face together, and we are all committed to zero emissions by 2050. It requires super strong collaboration among governments, corporations and stakeholders.
“Sustainable aviation fuel is what we are championing and it’s the best solution out there. We need stakeholders to work together, we need consortiums to drive that. The other thing is going to be continuing to reduce waste.
“When you think about new generation planes versus old generation planes, there is a significant difference. There is easily 20-25% less fuel emissions, there is less noise, there are a lot of elements that impact on the community. I see enough momentum from the entire sector to suggest we will get to a solution. Of course that solution will require time and effort.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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