Business fears loss of slots


aer lingusby Bernie English [email protected]

BUSINESS concerns have been added to calls from politicians to ensure that any sale of Aer Lingus will not mean the loss of connectivity to Heathrow.

A joint statement by the Chambers of Commerce from Limerick, Shannon, Ennis and Galway says the potential loss of the Heathrow slots are “at odds with government plans for balanced regional development,” and would hit business in the region badly.

Irish Hotel Federation Midwest representative Michael Vaughan warned of a repeat of what happened the last time Shannon lost connectivity in 2007 when the slots were transferred to Belfast.

“The impact was immediate for one element of tourism in particular, the organisation of conferences and seminars. Business people simply would not travel to the region if there was not direct access”.

Shannon Group chairman Rose Hynes said the retention of Heathrow slots must be a priority for the Government.
“Heathrow is the single most important gateway for business to and from key international markets for Ireland. It’s essential that current slots and frequencies are retained and contractually protected for the individual Irish airports, including Shannon,” she said.

And Element Six executive Ken Sullivan said: “This region is every bit as dependent now on Shannon-Heathrow services as it was back in 2007″.