Call to review Shannon decision


AB Airlines, which has been operating low-cost services from Shannon to Britain for the past three years, yesterday said it wanted the Minister for Public Enterprise, Ms O'Rourke, to review her decision to allow Virgin Express to compete on the Shannon to London-Stansted route.

Mr Brian Beal, AB executive chairman, said at Shannon yesterday: "We have no desire to leave Shannon. We will continue to promote the route. However, if the flights become uneconomic they will close and Shannon will be the poorer."

AB, he said, had already spent £2 million on developing routes from Shannon to Gatwick, Birmingham and Stansted, and had 70 people employed there.

Mr Beal said he was disappointed with the result of the talks the airline had with the Minister in Dublin on Tuesday when it requested her to "have another look at the route allocation involving Virgin Express", which he said was a Brussels-based company.

The Minister, he added, left the airline with the feeling that "maybe she will look at it again and maybe not".

"We are not afraid of competition," he said. "What is needed is a diversity of routes, not competition on those that are still in the development stage."

Mr Seamus O'Sullivan, a former president of the regional branch of IBEC, said AB had made an outstanding contribution to Shannon.