Shannon Airport announces first Aer Lingus service in over 16 months

The service is temporary, due to the closure of Cork Airport for runway works

Shannon Airport in Clare

Pól Ó Conghaile

Aer Lingus will take off from Shannon Airport for the first time in over 16 months on September 13.

Flights to London Heathrow will resume on that date, operating seven days a week with a 17.00 departure time.

The service will only last for 10 weeks, however, as it is being relocated from Cork Airport while runway upgrade works are under way there.

Cork Airport is scheduled to close from September 13 to November 22, with most flights diverted to Dublin.

Like many airports, Shannon was thumped by the pandemic – with passenger numbers crashing by 79pc last year. Aer Lingus’s Heathrow service was its last to operate from the Co Clare airport, in April of 2020. This year, it closed its cabin crew base there.

The aircraft and crew operating the Heathrow route will be based in Dublin, the airline has confirmed.

Beyond the temporary service, it remains unclear if or when Aer Lingus will resume any other Shannon services, either European or transatlantic.

“Future services from Shannon remain under review,” the airline said in a statement.

“We will be working closely with Aer Lingus to build the service and to resume long-haul services,” said Mary Considine, CEO of Shannon Group.

"However, airlines make decisions on routes based on a number of factors, one of the most important of which is how many passengers will travel on their flight,” she added.

“The best way to ensure the Heathrow service, and indeed other routes, remain for the long-term is for people to support them.”

Shannon has seen the return of 18 services since the lifting of travel restrictions on July 19, for which there has been “encouraging take-up”, Ms Considine said.

Ryanair has also announced six new winter services, to London Luton, Budapest, Fuerteventura, Edinburgh, Turin and Birmingham.

The Aer Lingus flights to London Heathrow will operate on six out of seven days with the new A321LR aircraft, which has 16 business class seats. On Mondays, an A320 will fly the route.

In other news, Ireland West Airport in Knock, Co Mayo, has welcomed the arrival of two new year-round services to Manchester and Edinburgh with Ryanair.

Both will initially operate twice weekly.