AER Lingus has confirmed that it has cancelled a number of flights between Cork and London Heathrow over the next two months ‘due to operational reasons’.
The flights are believed to be the 8.15pm flight from Cork to Heathrow on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the 10.15pm flight from Heathrow on the same dates.
However the exact flights have not been confirmed by the airline.
It is expected the changes will take effect from October 11th – but this date was not confirmed by Aer Lingus.
‘We have cancelled a number of flights from Cork to Heathrow and from Heathrow to Cork during October and November due to operational reasons,’ a spokesperson told The Southern Star this week.
‘We apologise to our guests for any inconvenience caused. We have notified guests of the cancellations and offered a choice of alternative flights, or a full refund. These cancellations are specific to certain dates and do not represent a change to our overall schedule from Cork Airport, where we remain the largest carrier operating the widest network with a total of 19 routes.’
Cork Airport said the cancellations were a matter for Aer Lingus, but added: ‘Aer Lingus advise us it is for commercial reasons with cancellations from Shannon and Dublin also.’
There was concern that the flight cancellations will involve one of the busiest social weekends in Cork city – the October Bank Holiday Jazz Weekend – and that one of the airport’s most vital routes has been affected.
Enniskeane businessman John Hosford – a long time campaigner for Cork Airport – said the route was a lifeline for many businesses in Cork, and it was a pity to see it affected.
‘I hope their commitment to this route is more stable than that, considering that IAG gave a commitment to Cork regarding the Heathrow route in the pre-takeover period,’ Mr Hosford told The Southern Star, referring to the takeover of the Irish airline by global giant IAG last year.
Mr Hosford said the move made it all the more important to ‘bang the drum’ loudly for Cork Airport. Other commuters took to social media this week to vent their dissatisfaction at the move.
On the Cork Airport Supporters page on Facebook, a number of commentators referred to the need for an ‘independent’ Cork Airport, which was not reliant on the DAA in Dublin.
Ken Donnellan, who posted the original comment, claimed the route was ‘one of the busiest into Cork’ and that the 10.15pm Heathrow to Cork flight was ‘always full’. He also called into question IAG’s commitment to Cork, given the original four slots would be reduced to three, for the time involved.