Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Aer Lingus reopens Shannon route

Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus' decision caused uproar in the Shannon area

Aer Lingus has announced plans to resume flights between Shannon airport in the west of Ireland and Heathrow airport in London in March 2009.

The airline had been under pressure from the Irish government to reinstate the route after controversially scrapping it in January.

Separately, Aer Lingus said it expected to be profitable in 2008.

It also reaffirmed its desire to remain independent after a hostile takeover bid from Ryanair.

"We are very pleased to be in position to recommence the Shannon-Heathrow service and I want to acknowledge the huge contribution of our staff and Shannon Airport Authority in making this a reality," said Aer Lingus boss Dermot Mannion.

The route was closed in January after 60 years when the airline transferred its Heathrow slots to Belfast International for commercial reasons.

"The restoration of global connnectivity for the mid-west region is all the more important now in these particularly difficult economic circumstances," said Irish transport minister Noel Dempsey.

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