| 16°C Dublin

The Punt: Aer Lingus coins it in US


Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is set to begin direct flights to Connecticut in September next year after trousering a hefty load of cash from the State government there.

The 'Hartford Courant' reported that the carrier is getting "$9m in taxpayer-funded assistance to offset losses in the airline's first two years of service - plus another $5m in fee waivers and marketing money". Kerching!

The airline's boss Stephen Kavanagh told the newspaper that Aer Lingus was targeting international business travellers with the service, which is the first transatlantic flight to Connecticut's Bradley International Airport since the crash.

He said he was grateful for the State support - quelle surprise - but added that Aer Lingus was taking the biggest risk.

"It's our capital. It's our aircraft. It's our profit and loss account being tested here," he said.

"Ultimately, this is a very big investment from Aer Lingus. We're doing it because we expect it to work and we will work hard for it to work."

He estimated that Aer Lingus would end up putting $50m into the project, for which it has added a 174-seater Boeing 757 to its fleet.

To the Punt, Connecticut is most notable for being the home of wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, whose catchphrase is 'No chance in hell'.

Aer Lingus will hope that saying doesn't apply to the route's prospect of success.

Medical device makers' gongs

Congratulations to the Irish Medical Devices Association, which has just won the Punt's 'Statement of the Bleeding Obvious' and 'Mandy Rice-Davies' awards for the month of November.

The remarkable achievement comes as a result of a recent IMDA statement that said "delivering a modern healthcare system must be a top priority for the next Government", which shook the Punt's belief that leeches and hacksaws would be a vital part of the HSE's future armoury.

Later in the same statement, the IMDA did not say that the next Pope must be a Catholic and that bears have occasionally been known to defecate in woodland. But they did say that the Government should do more to assist the sector out by cutting capital gains tax and 'help medtech business win by ensuring the Knowledge Development Box supports different ways of generating intellectual property'. To paraphrase Ms Rice-Davies's immortal line, they would say that, wouldn't they?

Black Friday backlash

The 'Telegraph' reports that the Black Friday retail gimmick is facing something of a backlash across the Irish Sea.

Experts have said the promotion is encouraging retailers to sell at low margins or losses, at a time when normally they'd be looking for full whack.

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of business.

This field is required

The newspaper reports that a survey by Barclays indicates that more than three quarters of UK retailers are expected to hold a Black Friday promotion.

"Retailers now face a prisoner's dilemma - if you know that there is a peak in trading and you don't participate then you're leaving your rivals to mop up," Mike Stewart, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said.

But that's not stopping Andy Thompson, chief executive of the hilariously named clothing and accessories retailer Fatface, from making an effort to change things.

This year, instead of discounting, the company is going to give money to charity, he said.

"Constant discounting is sucking the life out of the high street and Black Friday has simply added insult to injury".

Meanwhile, Asda boss Andy Clarke said that during last year's promotion, sales at the supermarket's core food business actually dropped.

It's dropping Black Friday too.