Shannon Airport are confident of filling the void left following Norwegian Air’s decision not to withdraw its services from Shannon, Cork and Dublin.
As first reported by The Clare Echo in June, the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX cost the Mid-West region an estimated €60m with Shannon also losing out 120,000 passengers this summer as a result.
Last week, Norwegian confirmed it would not be resuming flights at Shannon which first took off in July 2017. From June of this year, their services have been suspended due to the grounding of 737 MAX by European aviation authorities, as of September 15th the services will be terminated. Flights to Providence from Norwegian were listed as summer 2020 options on Shannon Airport’s in recent days.
Already, Shannon Airport is in discussions with carriers for transatlantic flights in the wake of Norwegian’s departure. Acting CEO of Shannon Group was confident they could get an airline on board given the popularity of US routes but cautioned that it would take time, “It won’t be easy to replace this overnight but the fact there is proven demand will certainly assist”.
“Shannon has an existing network of transatlantic services with Aer Lingus, United, Delta and American Airlines. What’s important is that the Norwegian routes were quite popular to Stewart and Provedence, you look at level of passengers using the routes it demonstrates there is a level of demand for those services from the region which will be very important when we’re out talking to our existing carries and carries looking to expand transatlantic services”.
On why airlines might opt for Shannon as opposed to Dublin and Cork who are also working to secure replacement transatlantic routes, Considine stated, “Shannon is the only airport on the western seaboard with Transatlantic services and I think the fact the services were in place, it’s very unfortunate due to the grounding they are withdrawn but there is a proven demand and that will certainly assist but it will be very important that we work closely with agencies like Tourism Ireland because connectivity to the regions is vital and it’s very important that it is maintained”.
“It’s certainly a significant impact on 2019 and it will takes us a while to replace that traffic into 2020. We would be confident with the right support in place that we would be able to replace that traffic over time”.