Airline drops Shannon route over aircraft shortage

Airline drops Shannon route over aircraft shortage

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Shannon Airport’s 2022 schedule has been dealt a blow with news that American Airlines will not resume operations next May as previously planned and announced.

The airline has confirmed that it ‘must make several changes to the schedule’ which will see no service between Shannon and Philadelphia in 2022.

The airline confirmed in September however that it planned to resume its Shannon to Philadelphia service from next May committing a larger Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet on the route instead of the narrow-bodied 757 previously used.

In September, an American Airlines spokesman said: “We’re already selling tickets between Shannon and Philadelphia starting May 9. The route is scheduled to operate with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft with three classes – Main, Premium Economy and Business.”

The change in aircraft type from the narrow-bodied 757 to the large wide-bodied 787 on the Shannon to Philadelphia service would have added considerably more capacity and additional classes on the popular route.

The announcement was broadly welcomed by Shannon Airport, the collective Chambers of Commerce of Shannon, Ennis, Galway and Limerick as well as the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).

The airline has now confirmed to staff however that it will not fly to Shannon or some other destinations in 2022 as a result production holdups at Boeing which have delayed delivery of ordered 787 Dreamliners.

The airlines Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja issued a memo to company staff this morning confirming: “Due to the lack of widebody aircraft, we must make several changes to the schedule, including eliminating or delaying several routes for summer 2022. We will no longer serve to Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; or Hong Kong. We’ll continue to evaluate these routes as more aircraft become available and would like to be able to serve them again in the future.”

The memo added: “This weekend we will load our summer 2022 long-haul schedule, but it will not have the growth we initially expected. Boeing continues to be unable to deliver the 787s we have on order, including as many as 13 aircraft that were slated to be in our fleet by this winter. Without these widebodies, we simply won’t be able to fly as much internationally as we had planned next summer, or as we did in summer 2019.

The airline’s schedule has been impacted by delays in delivering new Boeing 787 Dreamliners – Image: American Airlines

When contacted this afternoon, the airline confirmed: “Due to ongoing delivery delays with several Boeing 787 aircraft, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue service between our Philadelphia (PHL) hub and Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI), and Shannon, Ireland (SNN). We’re proactively reaching out to customers affected by these changes to offer alternate travel arrangements. We thank team members who served our customers in EDI and SNN and are working closely with them during this transition.

A spokesperson for Shannon Group said: “The aviation sector has taken a battering during the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery was always going to take time. Due to a shortage of aircraft as a result of delayed delivery of Boeing 787 aircraft, American Airlines have been forced to reduce a number of routes they operate worldwide. Among these is their Philadelphia to Shannon service. However, Shannon Airport is working with them on restoring this service for 2023. In the meantime Shannon will see the welcome resumption of transatlantic services next year to New York and Boston with Aer Lingus, and to Newark with United.”

On checking the airline’s website, customers can still book a flight from Shannon to Philadelphia however they will have to fly to London’s Heathrow first.

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