Seats to New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Newark open for booking online
AER Lingus is currently selling tickets for Shannon-New York and Shannon-Boston flights on its website, while American Airlines has said it will resume Shannon-Philadelphia next May.
If the Aer Lingus links are restored it would be a particularly significant boost for Shannon Airport, as those routes are particularly significant to tourism and foreign direct investment in Clare and the surrounding counties.
On aerlingus.com on Wednesday Shannon-Boston services are being offered from March 10 and Shannon-New York from March 27.
While the seats are on sale, the airline was less than positive when asked for a comment. “Aer Lingus is currently flying a significantly reduced schedule across the North Atlantic.
“This schedule remains under constant review for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. All factors will be taken into account in that review, including this week’s announcement of the lifting of the ban on entry of EU citizens into the US,” said a spokesperson.
It may yet be the case that the airline decides that the level of demand from the public isn’t sufficient to justify the resumption. However, given that the services were viable pre-pandemic, the fact that it is going so far towards restoring them is encouraging.
The American Airlines Shannon-Philadelphia service began in 2013 with the economy at a particularly low ebb, but it achieved high load factors quickly and remained in operation on a seasonal basis since then.
Meanwhile, United have confirmed that they intend to offer Shannon-Newark from March 27 next year. Just outside New York City, Newark is an important hub in US terms. It handled over 46 million passengers in 2019 and the link with Shannon will offer onward connectivity to many parts of the US.
In a statement this week Shannon Group said it is pleased with the progress towards recovery that has already been seen.
“We have been in constant discussions with all our airline partners on the resumption of transatlantic services for 2022.
“These efforts will intensify as we continue to build back air services and look to restore our connectivity lost to the pandemic.
“We know it will take a number of years for aviation to recover to pre-pandemic levels, but with 18 Ryanair winter services secured to Spain, Italy, Hungary, the UK, and Scotland, six of which are new routes, and the Shannon/Heathrow service, we are pleased with what has been achieved to-date for Shannon Airport.”
In the Dáil this week Limerick TD Kieran O’Donnell stated that the links between Shannon and Heathrow, Boston and New York are of particular importance to the airport and he asked Tanaiste Leo Varadkar if there have been discussions with Aer Lingus, which services all three routes.
Responding, Mr Varadkar said, “While I cannot go into any details around discussions with individual airlines, I can say the Government will be willing to put money on the table to incentivise airlines to restore routes that were lost during the pandemic.
“Of course, we have in our mind a hierarchy of routes that are most important. I do not think that the Deputy is too far off the mark in that regard.”