Chicago flights boost for Shannon
THERE WAS good news for Shannon Airport this week, with US airline United announcing it will launch flights from Chicago to Shannon next summer.
The flight will only operate from June 6th to August 26th but it should help to boost tourism in the mid-west during the peak summer period and attract new business to the airport and the region.
Shannon has been more about losing routes than gaining them over the past five years, with passenger traffic at the airport halving.
I’m told other new route announcements are in the offing, which is positive in the run-up to the airport’s planned separation from the Dublin Airport
Authority and merger with the landbank of Shannon Development.
It seems United is in for the long haul at Shannon. Continental, which merged with United two years ago, began flying there in 1998 and, unlike Aer Lingus, it operates a year-round service to Newark/New York from the Clare airport.
“We are committed to Shannon in the long term,” Greg Hart, United’s senior vice-president of technical operations told me at its international media day this week.
“We have flown there for many years and it’s done fairly well for us.”
He also said United’ new Washington DC-Dublin route had “done as we expected”. “It’s opened up new opportunities and has really worked out well.”
United previously flew twice daily from Dublin to Newark, one of Continental’s main hubs.
One of those flights was switched earlier this year to Washington DC, which was one of United’s main hubs.
Hart said the merger of the two airlines in 2010 made such a switch possible and had boosted the variety of services it can offer between the US east coast and Dublin.
“It has also improved the performance of the remaining services from Newark [to Dublin] as well,” he added.