Posted on: 12 October 2011 by Mark Howells
From 31 October, Aer Arann Regional will suspend services at Galway Airport for the winter season.
The suspended Galway routes will be the Aer Arann Regional flights to and from London Southend, London Luton, Manchester, Edinburgh and Waterford. Passengers with confirmed booking for flights after these dates are being contacted directly by Aer Arann about their travel options.
Booked passengers on all routes will be offered a full refund, but passengers on the Manchester and Edinburgh routes will have a rebooking option, instead of a refund, on Aer Lingus Regional flights operated by Aer Arann from other airports.
Those booked on flights between Galway and Manchester will have the option to travel instead via Shannon, while passengers booked on flights between Galway and Edinburgh will have the option to travel instead via Shannon or Dublin.
Aer Arann Regional and Galway Airport report that they have been working closely together to explore all commercial options in an environment where passenger numbers and revenue have continued to decline. However, they note, “despite the best endeavours of both airline and airport, bookings have continued to deteriorate and all routes are projected to be loss-making during the thinner winter season when bookings are historically lower”.
“We sincerely regret having to make this decision and we particularly regret the impact that this will have on our customers, on our staff in Aer Arann Regional and on the staff of Galway Airport,” commented Paul Schütz, Aer Arann’s chief executive. “The reality, however, is that we are not yet a year out of examinership and we are not in a position to continue to operate routes that are not commercially viable.”
Aer Arann Regional has 35 flight deck and cabin crew based in Galway and all will be offered the opportunity to move to other Aer Arann bases in Shannon, Cork, Dublin and Waterford. A small number of redundancies may arise, should some crew members not be in a position to relocate but it is Aer Arann’s priority to limit the number of redundancies where possible including the potential for staff to take unpaid leave through the winter.
The Aer Arann hangar facility and engineering staff at Galway Airport are not impacted by the decision to suspend services.
“My first concern is for our customers and our staff and we will be doing everything we can for them in the days and weeks ahead,” added Schütz. “Our staff have provided an excellent service to Galway and the West for many years and they have helped to build our reputation as a professional, safe and caring airline. Likewise, our customers deserve our thanks for their custom and remaining loyalty to us and to Galway Airport and we sincerely hope that we will be in a position to serve them again in the near future.
“A number of issues have combined to bring about this decision but the biggest driver is the economy, which has led to fewer people travelling and a significant reduction in fare revenues which is being experienced by regional airlines all over Europe”, Schütz continued. “The emphasis now must be on sustainable services and by suspending lossmaking services for the winter season both Galway Airport and Aer Arann Regional are doing what is best for both businesses at this time.”
In the months ahead Aer Arann intends to work with Galway Airport with the intention that a strategy be put in place for the re-launch of services from Galway at the beginning of the summer season in April.