The St. Patrick’s Day exodus to destinations celebrating the national festival around the world went into overdrive today as thousands of passengers jetted out to destinations across the globe today to catch festivities.
The demand for services was such that Aer Lingus brought forward the recommencement of its JFK New York service from Shannon Airport by one week after a two-month winter break.
It resulted in an extra busy morning at the transatlantic gates at the airport, with passengers travelling from as far Dublin, Waterford and Sligo to catch the inaugural flight of the recommenced service, which departed 40 after the busy Boston service.
Among those joining the queue were the Kilkenny and Limerick Rose of Tralee representatives, Vera McGrath and Dawn Ryan, respectively, from the 2014 event, both of whom were travelling out to join with other Roses in the New York parade and making their first trip to the Big Apple.
“There’s around 40 roses going to join the parade and it should be great fun. For both of us it’s our first time going to New York so it’s really exciting. It will be great to meet up with everyone again as well,” said Dawn.
The service also facilitated the travel plans of public representatives heading out on formal business, among them Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council Shane P. O’Reilly. “It’s going to be a busy few days as I will be attending a range of events in New York and then we are going to Rochester, which my own village of Mullagh is twinned with, and Clinton, New Jersey, which was founded by two brothers from Belturbet.
“Some might think Shannon is a long way to go if you’re from Cavan, not least as Dublin is just an hour from where we live, but we are on the motorway very quickly and down here in under three hours. We live in rural Ireland, Shannon is in rural Ireland so it’s great to support it. I would recommend it any day. It’s my first time here and it’s so stress-free it’s unbelievable.”
The service was due to recommence this day week after its winter break since January 5th but was brought forward to cater for demand for seats each way for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Flights will operate daily, except Tuesdays, departing Shannon at 12:20p.m. and arriving at 2:40p.m. New York local-time. The return leg departs at 6:20p.m. local-time, arriving in Shannon at 6a.m.
Transatlantic services have made a major contribution to the resurgence at Shannon Airport since it was made independent two years ago. Last year saw a 10% increase in transatlantic passengers as Shannon built on the momentum of 2013.
Welcoming the recommencement of the service, Operations Director at Shannon Airport Niall Maloney said, “Aer Lingus has a long legacy of transatlantic services at Shannon and it’s great to see them back this year ahead of schedule on JFK to cater for demand around St. Patrick’s Day. Outside of Ireland there are more people of Irish descent in New York than anywhere else in the world and that creates a huge market for services, particularly across the western half of the island with so many people having emigrated from here in the past.
“Shannon is the only airport from Cork right up to the North West with transatlantic services so we play a major role in supporting tourism and industry links with these services. You can see it here today as we have passengers from Waterford, Dublin, Sligo, Galway, May and Cavan. The demand for these services is also growing with the economic recovery both here and the US and, indeed, the success of the Wild Atlantic Way so we are expecting a busy season again and delighted to have the service back.”
Aer Lingus Director of Communications Declan Kearney said, “We are happy to recommence services between Shannon and New York in time for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. We continue to grow our transatlantic business adding extra capacity and a bigger choice of destinations to North America. New connections across the USA allow for seamless transfer options, making Aer Lingus the smart choice.”