Stobart Air, the franchise flying partner to Aer Lingus, has confirmed that it is reviewing its operations at Shannon Airport.
Confirmation came last night (Wednesday) following news that company staff at Shannon were told on Tuesday of the airline’s plans to close its base there.
While the airline has said “nothing has been finalised”, it’s understood that staff will be offered the opportunity to move to Dublin while redundancy for those who would not wish to relocate was also discussed.
Formerly Aer Arann, Stobart Air currently operates services from Shannon to Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh on behalf of Aer Lingus under the Aer Lingus Regional brand which was established in 2010.
The airline enjoyed 43% increase in passenger numbers at Shannon during September compared to the same month last year.
Last month however, Stobart axed it’s Shannon to Manchester service a day after Ryanair commenced operations on the same route. The airline denied however that it’s decision to withdraw its Manchester flights was connected with Ryanair taking up the popular route.
A Stobart Air spokeswoman confirmed last night: “We are currently finalising our 2015 schedule, which will include further positive developments in our route network.”
“As part of this, we are reviewing our operations at Shannon. Full details of our 2015 schedule will be outlined in the coming weeks,‘ the airline added.
One airline employee said: “I can’t say we’re surprised they dropped the Manchester route last month, because you just can’t complete with Ryanair, but nobody was expecting this.”
“The load factors during the summer were actually very good so we can’t understand it at all. We’ve been told that we can move to another base and for those who don’t want to do that, they will only get the statutory redundancy,” he added.
A spokesman for Shannon Airport said: “We are in ongoing communications with Stobart Air and we await the outcome of their review.”
It’s known that the airline is looking at expanding services from both Southend and Carlisle airports in England which are owned and operated by the Stobart Group.
Stobart Air is also planning to operate a new service from the UK to Dublin to serve passengers who want to avail of Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance facilities.
Dublin is one of only two airports in Europe that offer pre-clearance. The other is Shannon where the facility was the first to be established outside of the US.