Shannon-Heathrow service ends
The Aer Lingus service between Shannon and Heathrow has come to an end today, after almost 60 years.
The company took a decision last August to transfer its valuable Heathrow slots to Belfast, from where a new daily service to London begins tomorrow.
The controversial decision caused uproar in the midwest and west regions where people feared it would damage tourism and employment in the area.
Industry and tourism sources said it would have disastrous consequences for jobs in the region, and could have a negative impact on visitor numbers to the west of Ireland, because it ended connectivity to one of the biggest and busiest airports in the world.
Aer Lingus stood over its decision, saying it was done for commercial reasons, and it believes it can grow significant business out of Belfast.
The airline refused to change their minds about terminating the service, despite a massive campaign among political, community, industry and tourism figures right across the west - a campaign that also failed to get the Government to persuade the company to retain the service.
The ending of the daily route also means Aer Lingus is seeking 51 redundancies among its staff at Shannon.
As the service ends today, the Mayor of Clare, Independent Councillor Patricia McCarthy, described the Aer Lingus decision as s disaster, both for the company and for the region
Michael Vaughan, who chairs the Irish Hotels Federation in the midwest, said the service would not have been lost if the Governnment had exercised its right to protect the service, which is he said exactly what it retained its shareholding to do.