The new owners of Aer Lingus have been accused of treating Shannon as a ‘second-class’ airport after several flights to and from Boston were cancelled this week.
The aircraft that should have operated the flights was taken out of service for maintenance on Monday while a replacement plane was not available.
As a result, the Shannon to Boston service, and it’s return legs, did not operate on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or yesterday (Friday).
Passengers booked on these flights were instead rebooked and services to and from Dublin and transported between the airports by road. On Wednesday and Friday, passengers were ferried between Shannon and Dublin Airports by air.
International Airlines Group (IAG) has been called on to ‘step up’ and treat Shannon Airport and it’s customers with some respect by ensuring a back-up aircraft is available in the future.
In October, Aer Lingus cancelled the same service from Shannon to Boston and moved that aircraft to Dublin to operate a flight to Toronto.
Fianna Fáil’s Transport spokesman Deputy Timmy Dooley is calling on IAG to ‘step up’ now and treat Shannon with the respect it deserves.
“It’s a totally unacceptable situation that Aer Lingus, now part of such a major airlines group, doesn’t have a replacement aircraft available when needed. Instead, they would sooner see customers at Shannon inconvenienced before it’s other passengers.
There’s no way that IAG would allow Aer Lingus cancel a service from Dublin or Heathrow so why should passengers at Shannon be left carrying the can again. Shannon has been relegated to being a second-class airport in the mind of IAG,” Deputy Dooley said.
“Since the sale of Aer Lingus, the Government has no capacity to influence how the airline is run. It’s a disgrace that when an aircraft is removed from service, with the resultant cancellation of flights over a protracted number of days, that there is no back-up plan,” Mr Dooley added.
A spokeswoman for IAG said: “Under IAG’s structure, Aer Lingus, as with all the airlines in the Group, is responsible for its own operation.”
Aer Lingus said: “We have experienced disruption to our Shannon-Boston service this week due to a technical issue with an aircraft. The aircraft has undergone maintenance and continues to require further work.
As a result flights to and from Shannon and Boston have been cancelled and guests have been re-accommodated on flights between Dublin and Boston with transport provided between Shannon and Dublin.”
“We apologies to guests for the inconvenience caused to their travel plans. We are endeavouring to minimise disruption as much as possible,” the airline added.
“In times of disruption our priority is to minimise disruption and inconvenience to our guests’ travel plans. In a rare situation where a flight is cancelled our operations team review the entire schedule to determine the best solution to re-accommodate those guests affected,” the airline said.
“In some cases this necessitates the cancellation of another service as the best option to recover the situation in the most efficient manner and causing the least disruption to guests.Some of the key criteria used include frequency of schedule and number of guests booked.
Where a schedule is infrequent it can often be more efficient to cancel an alternative service where those guests can be re-accommodated with ease on an another Aer Lingus service. The only criteria used centre on minimising disruption and maximising customer satisfaction,” the airline said.