The announcement includes a new daily Bristol service, Manchester frequencies to increase from two to three times daily, and Birmingham to double its existing daily flights. The announcement will also lead to the creation of 20 new jobs at Shannon Airport.
Neil Pakey, Chief Executive of Shannon Group plc, said that the announcement brilliantly rounds off a really positive first year for the independent Shannon Airport. “This is excellent news for Shannon. All three destinations have much to offer Irish travellers from a business and leisure perspective and the extra capacity will also be hugely beneficial for tourism across the wider West of Ireland region.
“Aer Lingus Regional will now have 96 UK regional flights a week to and from Shannon next summer and anticipates growing passenger numbers to 240,000 next year and to 250,000 in 2015. This illustrates its very strong contribution and commitment to Shannon.
“The services are timely with the commencement in March of the Wild Atlantic Way route, which we believe will be one of the great success stories of Irish tourism for many years to come. The additional capacity will also be a boost for Limerick National City of Culture, with all three cities having a noted cultural offering and interest and this represents further opportunity for Limerick in the important year ahead.
“We have had a positive start to life as an independent airport, with summer passenger numbers recording month-over-month increases on last year of close to 10% and up to 40% on transatlantic. 2013 was all about stopping the decline and stabilising passenger numbers. We achieved that and are now in growth mode.
“We have a strong wind at our sails now for 2014, including through today’s very positive Aer Lingus Regional announcement, and expect we will achieve significant growth in capacity next year for the first time in half-a-decade.”
Simon Fagan, Aer Arann’s Chief Commercial Officer, said that the Shannon expansion programme was a key part of the airline’s growth plan, and will provide further choice for passengers flying to and from the region. “We are delighted to announce our Shannon expansion programme. The airline is determined to grow both our passenger numbers and route network. The addition of a new destination and the doubling of our capacity on two key routes from Shannon provides real choice to the travelling public, and will serve to bring further visitors to the region.”