Two airlines have announced new services from Shannon Airport in recent weeks.
Air Canada is to run a direct service to Toronto, operating from June to October next year. The service will operate four days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Outlining the potential for the service Andrew Murphy, managing director, Shannon Airport said: “The decision by Air Canada to introduce a direct service between Shannon and its hub in Toronto is fantastic news for the airport and for Ireland. The new service will undoubtedly provide a major boost for Irish tourism and create new trade opportunities. Canadian tourists are high spenders and businesses along the Wild Atlantic Way in particular will benefit as the route will deliver significant Canadian visitors directly to their doorstep. We look forward to working with Air Canada and our tourism trade partners to ensure the success of the new service.”
Acknowledging the major supportive role played by others in securing the new route, Mr Murphy said: “We were delighted with the encouragement we received from Minister Pat Breen, the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers and the Irish Ambassador to Canada Jim Kelly, all of whom were of great assistance, along with Tourism Ireland, in facilitating Shannon Airport’s participation in a recent trade mission to Canada and ultimately securing the new service. Their support is very much appreciated.”
The service opens up trade and tourism opportunities as Toronto Pearson International Airport is an Air Canada hub — from here passengers can connect to more than 190 onward destinations on five continents.
Commenting on the significance of the announcement Matthew Thomas, CEO, Shannon Group, whose previous role before joining Shannon Group was with the Vancouver based Vantage Airport Group, said: “Securing this direct Canadian service for Shannon has been one of our top priorities for some time now. Full credit is due to our Shannon Airport aviation development team for their phenomenal efforts which is seeing their hard work paying off. I would also like to acknowledge the role of our key stakeholders, Minister Breen and Ambassadors Vickers and Kelly whose efforts cannot be understated.
“The arrival of the service further strengthens our long haul connectivity and enhances our links with what is the world’s largest group of airlines, Star Alliance. This route delivers a real opportunity for this part of the country to become a gateway into the EU for Canadian business. We look forward to welcoming the airline on board next year. Canada has always been a hugely important market for Irish passengers who will be able to take advantage of Air Canada’s extensive route network throughout the Americas.”
There are over 4.4 million Canadians of Irish descent, making the Irish among the largest ethnic groups in Canada.
Welcoming the announcement, the Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, said: “It is wonderful to have more flights to strengthen the bonds between our two countries. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon Group’s chairman and CEO in County Clare. I experienced first-hand the incredible heritage and tourist attractions and I know they will prove popular with Canadian visitors. Equally, Canada is a wonderful place for holidays and business and I look forward to seeing increased levels of tourism and trade because of this great new initiative.”
Highlighting the business benefits Trade Minister Pat Breen said: “I congratulate both Shannon Airport and Air Canada on the announcement of the new route which will no doubt prove popular with both business travellers and tourists. As Ireland’s seventh largest trading partner outside of the European Union, direct services like this provide Irish companies with improved access to international markets. I look forward to welcoming the first visitors from Toronto when the new service takes off next summer.”
"There were over 200,000 Canadian visitors to Ireland in 2016 and the addition of this new route will ensure that more Canadian visitors get to experience the amazing beauty and hospitality of this part of our island," said Blaithin O’Donnell, Air Canada sales manager, Ireland. "With the signing of the CETA trade agreement between the EU and Canada, business travel between the two countries is also set to increase, which this new service will be ready to facilitate. I would like to thank the support of Shannon Airport who have been working with us to set up this new route and we look forward to welcoming our first Toronto bound passengers on board on June 2 2018.”
Closer to home, Ryanair is to launch a new twice-weekly service to Barcelona-Reus from March 2018. The flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, departing Shannon at 10.50am; return flights will leave Barcelona-Reus at 2.50pm.
The service will give passengers direct access into one of the leading holiday regions in Spain, including one of Europe’s most popular city destinations, Barcelona.
In addition to the Catalan capital, which is just 90 minutes away, Reus also serves Costa Dorada and its famed beach destinations such as Salou and Cambrils.
The region also boasts one of Europe’s largest theme parks, PortAventura World, just 15 minutes from Reus Airport.
Commenting on the announcement Andrew Murphy, managing director, Shannon Airport, said: “This new Ryanair service from Shannon to Barcelona-Reus is very welcome news for the airport. We know that this will also be welcome news for our passengers as Barcelona-Reus is not only a popular sun destination, but this new service opens up the European city break market for people in the region, providing direct access to the beautiful city of Barcelona which is less than a 90 minute journey by train and bus from the town of Reus — only 10 minutes from Reus Airport. In addition, we are sure that the service will be welcome news to many football enthusiasts out there as this offers them the opportunity to watch FC Barcelona in action."
Declan Power, head of aviation development at Shannon Airport, said: “In terms of new sun destinations for Shannon, Reus has been high on our list so we are delighted that Ryanair has come on board with this service. The airline, which will operate 15 services from Shannon next summer, expects to carry 20,000 passengers on the route. This is another welcome boost for Shannon and the region and we look forward to working with them to ensure our passengers take absolute advantage of this exciting offering.”
Flights can be booked now on www.ryanair.com
For more information on these and other flights from Shannon visit www.shannonairport.ie