The Shannon stopover as we refer to it here dates back to the days when SNN
was a necessary port of call on Europe-US flights due to the limited range of aircraft in use back then. When longer range aircraft came on the scene, the Irish goverment enacted this law to protect SNN
, so it had a guaranteed source of traffic: ALL
flights, by all airlines operating Ireland-US had to stop at Shannon inbound and outbound before continuing on to Dublin, or the US. You must bear in mind (because I know this law sounds crazy) that Shannon is located in what was then quite a poor part of a poor country: Shannon airport was a major driver of growth for the west of Ireland.
However, things have changed. Ireland is now a very wealthy country, but a certain group want this crazy law maintained, continually saying things like "Shannon will die as an airport if the stopover goes". There was already a change in the 90's when direct flights ex Dublin were allowed as long as for every flight into Dublin, there was one to Shannon too. In CO
's case, this means serving both airports with one flight in the Winter, but seperate flights to each in Summer. EI
, with more destinations can do things differently, so all LAX
flights only serve DUB
. All ORD
flights originate in SNN
, but stop in Dublin inbound and outbound, thus giving DUB
the benefit of a direct flight. To compensate, all BWI
flights go via SNN
There have been significant movements to get this changed for years; none of the airlines are happy about it: and DL
in particular have threatened to pull out on Numerous occasions. In reality, the goverment wants it gone, but politicians from the Shannon area seem to always hold a balance of power that makes it very difficult to get this crazy law changed. Now, with EU/US negotiations taking place, it is finally being taken out of their hands.
I am from Shannon myself, but a supporter of free and unrestricted access, so I believe this law should go. Dublin will always have higher demand: it's the capital and by far the largets population. I am not worried for Shannon as it too has a strong (but not as large) market, and will, I believe, retain the transatlantic network it needs, as determined by the market forces.
Lastly, this law does nothing to boost the numbers of flights out of Ireland: if anything it limits it. The airlines have talked of adding many new flights out of DUB
to the US. The market is there and does not need artificial stimulants, britpilot777.