Fly to the Kingdom? 9,500 extra seats added on Dublin to Kerry flights
Aer Lingus Regional is bumping up capacity to Kerry by 30pc this winter, the airline has said
Aer Lingus Regional is to boost its Dublin to Kerry services by 30pc this winter, the airline has announced.
The move will see 9,500 extra seats added to the government-subsidised Kerry route over the winter months.
It comes as part of a broader Aer Lingus Regional announcement to grow its Irish services to over 735,000 seats across 20 routes this winter.
Earlier this year, Stobart Air - which operates Aer Lingus Regional services under a franchise agreement - renewed its contracts to run Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes between Dublin and Kerry and Donegal until 2022.
The Dublin to Kerry route, on which one-way fares start from €41, will be serviced by a larger, 72-seater ATR72-600 aircraft.
At its peak in the mid-late 2000s, Kerry Airport was processing up to 420,000 passengers a year, with PSO routes running up to four times daily.
Numbers plummeted during the recession, but have been rising again in recent years, according to its spokesperson, Basil Sheerin.
"Last year, we were up 3pc overall to 335,000 passengers," he said.
"We're seeing a pick-up. I think there is confidence back in air travel again, and people are spending on holidays and short breaks.
"We credit Stobart for working hard on this route."
As well as the Dublin PSO routes, Kerry hosts several Ryanair services, including summer flights to Faro and Alicante and year-round services to London Luton, Stansted, Frankfurt Hahn and, as of last winter, a flight from Kerry to Berlin.
Aer Lingus Regional's winter 2018 schedule kicks off on October 28, and will also see an extra 70,000 seats added to its Dublin to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay and Cork to Manchester services.
"Our increased route capacity will not only benefit our passengers traveling out of Ireland but will also be hugely beneficial to passengers traveling to the US via Dublin as they can save time by availing of the Dublin preclearance service,” commented Graeme Buchanan, Managing Director of Stobart Air.