As Brian has previously noted, it sounded great at the time (well, to most vaguely northern ears, at least), but it seems that things are going sour for Aer Lingus and Belfast International Airport. P O’Neill comments on an interview in the FT with Aer Lingus CEO Dermot Mannion, who, presumably under the extreme pressure of the oil crisis is now developing a set of nicely cold feet. O’Neill’s take:
At the time that Belfast was announced, Aer Lingus said it had selected it as an alternative to a base in England (Birmingham was mentioned), and part of the logic was to run Belfast with a lower cost base than Dublin. Now all of sudden Aer Lingus is again looking at non-Irish bases and still in search of lower costs. And their response to Ryanairs calculations that they are not filling seats out of Belfast is to claim that even Ryanair cant make money on its flights out of there! To state the obvious, if Ryanair has half the cost per bum-in-seat of Aer Lingus (as the article says), how does EI expect to make money operating from Belfast?
Indeed. And it seems one of the Chuckle Brothers’ first rabbit-form-a-hat tricks is in trouble already within nine months of beginning operations. Favourable demographic or no favorable demographic… the market is on the squeeze…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty