SHANNON Group has acknowledged that its already disappointing passenger numbers will dip further in 2019.
In a statement on Wednesday, low-cost airline Norwegian said it won’t run any services from Shannon for the rest of this year. “Due to the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 Max by the European aviation authorities, our flights to and from Cork and Shannon will be re-routed via Dublin for the remainder of the summer season. Cork is a seasonal route and the reduced availability of aircraft has led to the removal of Shannon services this winter.”
Later on Wednesday, Shannon Group also released a statement, which said, “The worldwide grounding of the 737 Max aircraft is having a serious impact for Shannon passengers.
“Proportionally, no other Irish airport has such a high level of activity operated by the 737 Max aircraft. At peak, this aircraft type would have operated 13 weekly flights from Shannon to North America.
“We now estimate that the loss of these flights, which include this year’s Air Canada service, will mean a loss of over 120,000 seats at Shannon in 2019 and, as a result, our overall passenger numbers will be down.
“We remain confident that once the 737 Max aircraft is back flying that these services will be restored, as they were extremely popular in 2018.”
Shannon will still be the only Irish airport besides Dublin offering connectivity to the US this summer, with links to Boston, New York, Newark and Philadelphia.
The Norwegian development comes in the same week as CSO statistics show that passenger numbers for the first
quarter increased at Dublin by7.3%, at Cork by 10.7% and Knock by 8.6%. However, Shannon alone went in the opposite direction, down by 2.6% on the first quarter of 2018.
Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley has said the 2012 decision to separate Shannon from the other State airports has not worked. “I’ve made the point from the very start that separation of Shannon from the DAA was not in the region’s best interests and I think I have been proven right.
“All in all, there is a looming crisis at Shannon. Shannon is failing to keep pace with the growth in [Irish] tourism. Obviously that has implications for jobs into the future.
“What we need is a radical shake-up of the board at Shannon Airport,” he said.