Shannon Airport announced today that Ryanair Group owned low-cost carrier Lauda will begin service to the airport from March 2020. Flying from Vienna twice weekly, it will be the first direct route to Vienna and the first time Lauda has operated from Shannon.
Shannon Airport was helped in securing the route by Tourism Ireland, whose head of business development, Louise Finnegan, is at the AviaDev Europe conference along with Simple Flying. We asked Louise what this new route meant to Tourism Ireland. She told us,
“Tourism Ireland is delighted to welcome this new route into Shannon Airport. This is an important service that will bring great benefits to the west of Ireland region and we look forward to welcoming visitors from Vienna.”
Details of the route
The route will commence in March 2020, running as a summer service through to October 2020. Flights will operate on a Wednesday and Saturday, using Lauda’s growing fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
Lauda and its parent group Ryanair have been struggling to find ways to expand their fleets in time for the projected summer 2020 demand. Although the airline has planned to add four 737 aircraft to its fleet in time for the summer season, it also wants to increase its current A320 fleet from the current 21 to over 32.
With years of waiting lists for new aircraft, Lauda has been looking at the secondhand market to plug the projected shortfall. The recent demise of Thomas Cook has, however, freed up in the region of 60 Airbus A320 family aircraft, which Lauda have been eyeing with keen interest.
Whether this acquisition has been a success remains to be seen, but it would certainly allow Lauda the flexibility to launch this new route (and hopefully some more besides!).
Positive news for Shannon
For airports, route development is a marathon, not a sprint. Managing director Andrew Murphy noted that they had worked long and hard to get this route secured with help from Tourism Ireland. He further noted that the increase of funding for route development, as announced in Budget 2020, was a significant factor.
Murphy commented on the new route to the Irish Examiner saying,
“This will be the first summer service connecting Austrian holidaymakers directly to the Wild Atlantic Way, and as such provides an opportunity to attract more visitors to this breathtakingly beautiful part of Ireland.”
He went on to explain that, not only is this a vote of confidence in the region by one of Europe’s up and coming low-cost carriers, it’s also a milestone for the airport to get a new livery on the tarmac.
Shannon Airport has been one of the worst affected by the grounding of the 737 MAX, losing over 120,000 seats this year. Both Air Canada and Norwegian have pulled services from the airport in relation to the grounding.
As well as linking passengers from Vienna to the beautiful west of Ireland, the service will also connect Irish passengers and connecting travelers to one of the most visited cities in Europe. Flights are already available for sale and bookable right up to October 2020.