Ireland's Aer Lingus to cut transatlantic flights

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM CDT

Citing exceptionally poor market conditions, Irish airline Aer Lingus said Friday it was cutting back transatlantic flights on its winter season later this year.

The former state airline said in April that total revenues fell by 16 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2009 and warned it was facing an exceptionally tough trading environment.

"Aer Lingus' yields have been declining in exceptionally poor market conditions," a statement from the carrier said.

"Most notably, long haul average fares fell by 19 percent in the first quarter of 2009 reflecting weak economic conditions and consumer confidence on both sides of the Atlantic.

"As a first step in right-sizing the business, Aer Lingus will be reducing seat capacity on winter long haul services -- by approximately 25 percent as compared to 2008."

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington said the airline was going through its most difficult period in its 73-year history.

"We are looking at the whole operation of Aer Lingus and we are starting off with the winter schedule."

He said services between Dublin and Washington and San Francisco will be suspended.

Flights between Chicago and Shannon airport in western Ireland will also be suspended.

The moves come as the International Air Transport Association nearly doubled its forecast for global airline industry losses this year to 9.0 billion dollars reflecting a "rapidly deteriorating revenue environment" due to the worldwide economic downturn.

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