Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, has today announced a 10% increase in passengers flying the Dublin—Kerry and Dublin—Donegal Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes in the past six months since the PSO renewal on 1 February versus the same period last year.
The airline, has operated these routes on behalf of the Irish Government since 2015. The recently renewed contract will see Stobart Air operate the PSO services until 31 January 2022.
Since 1 February the airline has increased passenger numbers on both routes, carrying an additional 12% passengers on the Dublin—Kerry route and an additional 7% on the Dublin—Donegal versus the same period in 2017. In total, the airline has carried over 48,000 passengers on the routes in the first six months since the contract was renewed.
Reviewing passenger figures today, the airline reports that 23% of passengers on the Donegal Dublin route take a day trip, while one quarter of passengers are travelling for business.
On the Dublin Kerry route, 27% of passengers travel for business, 13% use the service for leisure, while one in 10 passengers take a day trip. 15% stay overnight in Kerry.
The routes also allow seamless connectivity for passengers travelling from Kerry and Donegal to North America on Aer Lingus mainline services, via Dublin Airport.
In 2017, more than 84,000 passengers flew to Kerry and Donegal. This number is expected to grow significantly over the duration of the contract to a combined total approaching 100,000 passengers a year.
Since the renewal of the PSO routes, Stobart Air has invested €14m in its fleet, with the Kerry route utilising a larger ATR72-600 aircraft providing 50% additional capacity, while the Donegal route has benefited from a new aircraft.
Commenting today, Graeme Buchanan, Managing Director of Stobart Air, said: “We are delighted with the increased success of the PSO routes in the first six months since our contract renewal. The investment in the fleet has added to the increased numbers, giving passengers additional comfort and service on these routes.
“Linking rural regions to the capital means more opportunities for work, business and leisure. It’s also hugely important for the tourism industry, connecting people, via Dublin Airport, easily and conveniently to the Wild Atlantic Way.
“We’re confident these routes will grow and develop further, and we look forward to continuing to work with Kerry and Donegal Airports over the next few years to build on this success.”
Commenting on behalf of Kerry Airport, Peter Moore General Manager welcomed the 12 % increase of passenger numbers between Kerry & Dublin.
“2018, to date has been a great year for our Dublin- Kerry route. We are delighted with the passenger response on the route as it’s a clear justification for the renewal of the PSO and it supports Governments commitment to the region. The new ATR 600 has provided an extra 50% capacity as well as additional comforts and is an added advantage at busy times. Equally as important we are seeing and a marked improvement on passengers availing of interlining ticketing through the Aer Lingus network, in particular from US destinations. Interlining allows passengers to book and check through luggage to the final destination and takes a lot of stress and worry away from passengers.”
Anne Bonner, Managing Director Donegal Airport commented: ‘We are delighted with the passenger growth on the Donegal – Dublin route and with the feedback on the service. The introduction of a new ATR600 aircraft by Stobart Air on this route has increased customer satisfaction and the overall on-time performance. The Aer Lingus Regional branding is also a major factor with many passengers making onward connections. It has enabled substantial investment in joint marketing campaigns by the airport and the airline with the tourism and business development agencies which is now delivering and projecting further growth into the future’ she added ‘We hope to expand Donegal’s access on the Aer Lingus network to additional European and UK destinations and are actively working with the carrier to enable the links’.