The Chairman of Shannon Group plc has said the retention of Heathrow slots for Irish airports, including Shannon, must be a priority for Government as it contemplates the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus.
Shannon Group Chairman Rose Hynes said: “Aer Lingus is a valued airline partner at Shannon, operating services to our key markets. 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”
The New Quay native says she expects the long-term protection of each Irish airport’s Heathrow slots will be a “key priority for government” in its evaluation of this takeover bid.
Welcoming comments by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that, as “guardians of the public interest”, the Government has to take into account much wider considerations than the potential monetary value of its shareholding, she said this is further reassurance of the Government’s intention to put connectivity, competition and jobs “centre stage” as it weighs up the merits of the proposed sale.
“Connectivity through the Heathrow slots is, quite simply, vital for industry and business for the country as a whole, but particularly so outside of Dublin,” she added. “Which means it’s vital for the economy, and for attracting inward investment and growing employment over the medium and long term. It’s a factor we expect Government to judiciously measure when considering the more immediate financial gain to the state which the sale would represent.”