Spanish low-cost airline Vueling looks set to pull out of both Cork and Shannon airports this summer.
While a comment is awaited from the carrier, Cork Airport has confirmed that Vueling will cease operations from the airport in June. The airline currently operates twice-weekly services between Cork and Paris Orly as well as Shannon and Paris Orly.
A spokesperson for Cork Airport said: “Vueling will cease operations from Cork to Paris (Orly), with the last flight operating on June 11. Cork Airport understands that the rationale behind the cessation of services is attributable to capacity issues in Paris (Orly), with the Cork-Paris (Orly) service being one of three routes that will cease operating.
The spokesperson also confirmed, however, that from later this month, Air France will offer a daily service from Cork to Paris (Charles de Gaulle) while in late September and October, Aer Lingus will also operate twice-weekly services to Charles de Gaulle to cater for rugby fans travelling to the Rugby World Cup.
There had been speculation since earlier in the year that Vueling would cease operating services from Shannon to Paris Orly. It now looks like flights from Shannon will end on June 10 just eight months after the service commenced.
The twice-weekly flights, which began last September, provided passengers the option of flying to the French capital from Shannon for the first time in almost seven years. Paris was previously served by both Ryanair and Aer Lingus both of whom later axed their routes more than once.
Ryanair had operated a service to Paris Beauvais but pulled it in 2010 despite its success and profitability. The airline did so at the time in protest at Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) plans to increase passenger charges at Shannon.
Aer Lingus took up the slack from the loss of that route by resuming flights to Paris Charles De Gaulle for the first time in almost a decade. The service was however short lived.
Ryanair later restarted the route after the Irish Government abolished its controversial ‘travel tax’ but the carrier later dropped it again citing “aircraft capacity constraints.”
In November 2019, Aer Lingus confirmed that it would add two new routes, including Paris, to its Shannon schedule from 2020. However, with the onset of the covid pandemic, that plan was scrapped.
Independent TD for Clare Michael McNamara said: “This is very disappointing and underlines the transitory nature of route selection by airlines. It highlights the challenges posed for smaller airports like Shannon in securing and retaining routes to major cities and key hubs.
A comment is awaited from Vueling while Shannon Airport Group has referred any queries regarding Vueling’s schedule to the airline.
Vueling is part of the IAG (International Airlines Group) which includes Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and others. The low-cost airline based at Viladecans in Greater Barcelona and is Spain’s largest air carrier by fleet size.