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Service goes west with Shannon link.

The Midlands is to get its first air link to the West of Ireland.

The Shannon-based, private company AB Airlines is to start up a service from Birmingham to Shannon this spring.

The fast-expanding carrier, which plans to be listed on the London Stock Market shortly, is to introduce daily services from Birmingham International Airport to Shannon starting on Friday May 22, in time for the late spring bank holiday.

The new routes complement the airline's three times daily Gatwick - Shannon flights.

Flown by AB's 104 seat BAC 1-11 aircraft in a two-class layout, the flights will be a code-share with Aer Lingus, AB's first such marketing arrangement.

"The new services are significant in a number of ways but most importantly opens up Shannon and the West of Ireland to a new market," said Mr Robert Hardless, AB Commercial Director.

"Shannon is at the centre of some of the most beautiful and enticing parts of Ireland. Galway, Kerry and Killarney are within easy distance, as is the city of Limerick. There are attractions to cater for all tastes and pockets.

Shannon itself is a major centre for the electronics and aerospace industries. We have high expectations for this route which has been long needed," he said.

Mr Seamus Kearney, chief executive of Aer Lingus Commuter, said. "This service demonstrates Aer Lingus's determination to prudently expand our business and develop a better range of services for our customers. We are delighted to work with AB Airlines inproviding this service which complements our Birmingham-Cork and Birmingham-Dublin services.

"Aer Lingus has been an operator at Birmingham International Airport for a very long time. It has a splendid location, roadwise, and of course its own Intercity railway station."

Fares for the new Shannon services start from pounds 89 return.

Founded in 1993 AB Airlines has been operating to Shannon from London - Gatwick since December 1995. It also flies Gatwick-Berlin and Gatwick-Lisbon and recently announced plans to float on the London Stock Market.

A parallel daily service to Shannon from London-Stansted will be introduced on May 22
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 9, 1998
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