US Airways Brings Philadelphia Link Back to Shannon

After a four-year hiatus, US Airways is to relaunch seasonal flights between Philadelphia and Shannon in the Republic of Ireland during summer 2013.  The carrier will offer a daily flight between May 22, 2013 and September 3, 2012 using a dual-class, 176-seat Boeing 757-200, complementing its existing year-round daily link between Philadelphia and Dublin and daily seasonal services from Charlotte to the Irish capital.

The US major made its debut on the Philadelphia – Shannon route in May 2003 at the same time it introduced flights from the US city to Dublin.  The seasonal service, then operated by a 204-seat Boeing 767, was flown between May and October for six summers before the link was closed in September 2009.  By this time US Airways had already upgraded its Dublin operation to a year-round basis, a route it now serves with a mix of 757 and 767 equipment.

Philadelphia, one of the US’s most historic cities and one-time US capital, was the meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the US and where the US Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776.  It remains today one of the most popular history tourism destinations in the US, with its Liberty Bell – the preeminent symbol of freedom to all Americans – receiving up to two million visitors annually alone.  In terms of business, Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural centre of the Delaware Valley, one the US’s strongest economic zones and one with a large concentration on information and service based sectors.

"As a popular destination in Europe, US Airways is thrilled to return to Shannon, Ireland with seasonal service from our international gateway at Philadelphia International Airport," said Andrew Nocella, senior vice president, marketing and planning, US Airways.  “Philadelphia is a major hub for US Airways and offers onward connections to 175 destinations in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean so this opens up huge opportunities in terms of markets to and from Shannon through Philadelphia.”

For visitors to Ireland, US Airways anticipates a growth in dual route passengers with people potentially travelling one way on the seasonal link to/from Shannon and the other to/from Dublin.   “Beginning next spring, our customers will again have non-stop access to both coasts of Ireland. Customers can begin their trip with the Cliffs of Moher outside of Shannon and end it with the castles in Dublin, seeing all that Ireland has to offer,” added Nocella.

As an additional benefit, customers can clear US customs and immigration before departing Shannon, allowing for a quick and efficient arrival experience at Philadelphia International Airport by entering as domestic passengers.  They are also able to check their baggage through to their final destination if they are transferring in Philadelphia, removing the inconvenience of having to collect checked baggage upon arrival in the US city.

Shannon Airport expects the route to generate an additional 30,000 passengers during 2013.  When US Airways last served the Irish facility from Shannon around 8,000 O&D passengers were flying between the city and Philadelphia every year, although actual passenger numbers on US Airways’ flights were significantly higher due to before and after transfer traffic.  According to Shannon Airport over 320,000 passengers flew on US Airways’ flights on the route in its seven years of operation.

“We have been working hard over the last few years to secure the return of the Philadelphia service with US Airways and we very much appreciate all the hard work put into this by the International Planning team in Phoenix,” said Declan Power, Senior Manager, Aviation Business Development at Shannon Airport. 

The route will also open up another key inbound destination to the West of Ireland in support of overall efforts for tourism initiative, The Gathering in 2013.  “The Gathering 2013 has set a target of an additional 325,000 visitors to Ireland and this new Philadelphia service to Shannon will no doubt assist in a significant way in helping the tourism agencies to promote Ireland in the US over the coming months as we gear up for a festival of all things Irish,” added Power.

This announcement reaffirms the steady recovery in demand for services between Ireland and the US and follows shortly after United Airlines announced a new seasonal link to Shannon from Chicago.  In the table below we highlight the O&D demand between the Republic of Ireland and the US over the past five years, statistics that show a return to growth in 2011 after three years of annual decline.  This growth is expected to continue in 2012 with O&D demand up 0.4 per cent in the first half of this year.

SCHEDULED O&D DEMAND BETWEEN REPUBLIC OF IRELAND AND US (bi-directional O&D traffic)

Year

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Change

2007

2,425,152

9.2 %

2008

2,257,917

(-6.9) %

2009

1,964,848

(-13.0) %

2010

1,817,982

(-7.5) %

2011

1,850,941

1.8 %

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