FEARS that Shannon airport will be left with minimal connectivity have rocked the Mid West region this week with reports that Aer Lingus has offered its transatlantic routes to the UK highest bidder.
Airline bosses are rnot commenting on reports that the national carrier intends to take the two planes which have been grounded at Shannon since Covid struck out of Ireland and into a British airport where self-isolation regulations are not as strict.
If that happens, Shannon will be left with just one transatlantic service next year, operated by American Airlines. Delta and United Airlines have already confirmed they will not resume flights from Shannon in 2021.
Nor is there clarity around the Aer Lingus service from Shannon to Heathrow but a spokesman for the Shannon Group has confirmed that they are in talks with the carrier about resuming Heathrow and US flights next year.
Huge concerns have been raised about the possible move both in the business community and the political arena.
Business leaders are pointing to the necessity of connectivity for new and continued Foreign Direct Investment in the region.
Local politicians are calling for the implementation of aviation recommendations, which would relax the rules on the two-week self-isolation period for travellers arriving from non-green list countries, which include the US.
The aviation industry has also criticised the regulation, saying it is too restrictive both for dwindling tourism and for business travel.
If the airline strikes a deal with one of a number of UK airports reported to be bidding for their business it is likely to last at least three years.
Aer Lingus said it is not commenting on reports of their possible dealings with UK airports which include Manchester and Edinburgh.
More to follow…