In a statement issued today (Wednesday, 27 May 2015), the presidents of Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon while welcoming the government’s decision to support IAG’s offer for Aer Lingus stated that a diminution in air connectivity to key European and transatlantic hubs, not ownership, was always the critical issue for the Chambers, which collectively have a membership of 1,355 employing 46,000 people.
“The statement issued by the government with regard to the sale has dealt with connectivity in a very clear way, “ the presidents said.
“We welcome the confirmation of the indefinite retention of the 23 Aer Lingus slot pairs connecting Ireland to London Heathrow. While the guarantee is for a seven-year period, which may seem a relatively short period in aviation terms, it is now up to all stakeholders, including the Chambers, to manage the risks of what happens afterwards by highlighting, building on, and developing the opportunities for further Aer Lingus and IAG services from Shannon.
“The Shannon Heathrow services have high load factors and, with capacity on the route set to increase, the opportunities to enhance this further are evident given the strong business and tourism base in the Shannon catchment area.
“The potential to further expand the benefits of flying Shannon can now be expanded to UK provincial and other cities, through promoting the benefits of using Shannon’s pre-immigration inspection for passengers travelling to the US. Shannon’s strong transatlantic links and its ease of access offer enormous potential.
“Shannon’s existing transatlantic services with Aer Lingus and IAG partner American Airlines can also be linked to the wider IAG network. The government, in its statement, has singled out opportunities for each of the Irish airports, including proposals to develop Shannon’s New York and Boston services as well as promoting existing LHR services via the IAG network.
“The decision has now been made; this provides a foundation and a time period during which the risks to connectivity from a new ownership model can be managed but more importantly, the timeline can be used to highlight and develop the opportunities that an uncongested Shannon airport and its vibrant tourism and business base provide to Aer Lingus and the global IAG network.
“Shannon and its partner chambers in the Atlantic Corridor will continue to work together with Shannon Airport, business and tourism interests to focus on the opportunity we can collectively provide to Aer Lingus and IAG to generate new and expanded services to and from Shannon
“The decision to invest the proceeds of the sale in a new connectivity fund offers the potential to use the proceeds to further enhance balanced economic activity throughout Ireland,” the presidents concluded.
Statement issued on 27 May 2015 by Dympna O’Callaghan, molly d marketing
Ennis Chamber President: Pat Morris
Galway Chamber President: Frank Greene
Limerick Chamber President: Catherine Duffy
Shannon Chamber President: Kevin Thompstone