Tuesday 6 December 2016

Aer Lingus Takeover: What does it mean for Cork and Shannon?

'New era' hailed by airports

Published 27/05/2015 | 12:01

Cork Airport launched a new brand identity this year. Pictured are: Robyn Chadwick, The Loop, Rachel Larkin, Communications Assistant and Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director.
Cork Airport launched a new brand identity this year. Pictured are: Robyn Chadwick, The Loop, Rachel Larkin, Communications Assistant and Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director.
Aer Lingus
Donald Trump arriving at Shannon Airport last year.
Cork Airport's new terminal at night. Photo from Fifty Years Have Flown - The History of Cork Airport by Donal O Drisceoil and Diarmuid O Drisceoil, Collins Press, 2011

Cork and Shannon airports have welcomed the Government's support for IAG's Aer Lingus bid. But what does it mean for their passengers?

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With the Government set to sell its 25.1pc shareholding in Aer Lingus, attention is turning towards the practical implications of IAG's proposed takeover.

While Dublin Airport has understandably been a main focus, with up to four new transatlantic routes now on the cards, IAG has also committed to "sustain and grow" services at both Shannon and Cork.

Both of the airports, as well as Ireland West (Knock), have warmly welcomed the news - with Shannon hailing "a new era" for the airline, airport and region.

IAG's proposals for Shannon Airport:

  1. Aer Lingus flights to Boston and New York "are expected to be strengthened" if/when Aer Lingus becomes part of the North Atlantic Joint Business
  2. IAG will consider options to sustain and enhance the existing all-business British Airways twice-daily service via Shannon airport, including by Aer Lingus codeshare and by accepting customers originating from Shannon
  3. Aer Lingus’ future support for existing American Airlines flights to Philadelphia will provide opportunities for additional capacity to the US
  4. Growth opportunities with tourism and business interests in Ireland's Mid-Western region will be pursued together with IAG’s US partner, American Airlines.

"It's good news; it’s a positive opportunity for Ireland, will safeguard the Shannon Heathrow connectivity for seven years and it opens the door to further growth at Shannon,” said Rose Hynes, Chairman of Shannon Group plc.

IAG's proposals for Cork Airport:

  1. Aer Lingus’ service to Paris will be continued and promoted together with more than 30 destinations IAG offers from Paris
  2. Aer Lingus’ Amsterdam route will be continued
  3. Growth opportunities with tourism and business interests in the Munster region will be pursued to exploit the potential that exists in all of the short haul routes currently operated by Aer Lingus from Cork.

“Should the acquisition be completed, we look forward to working closely with Aer Lingus and its new owners to further expand IAG’s offering in the region, be that with Aer Lingus, British Airways, BA City Flyer, Vueling or Iberia,” said Cork Airport Managing Director, Niall MacCarthy.

If Aer Lingus joins the oneworld alliance, passengers at both airports (and Ireland West) would be able to book connecting services to a host of new destinations.

Transatlantic business, already growing steadily at Dublin Airport, looks set for a further boost if the proposed takeover goes ahead - with IAG suggesting Aer Lingus could add four new routes and eight new aircraft by 2020.

“Shannon is one of only two airports in Europe to offer the convenience of US CBP Passenger Pre-clearance," as Rose Hynes points out.

"Not only that, we're the only airport on the entire western seaboard with services to Heathrow, and we’re the gateway from the USA to the Wild Atlantic Way... so we have a very significant market opportunity to explore with IAG."

Meanwhile, Cork Airport has announced the launch of flycork.ie, a new partner website offering exclusive packages from the airport.

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