Next summer a new direct route will operate from Shannon to Toronto plus there is the return of a service to Reus in Spain, 100km from Barcelona and convenient for holiday destinations along the Costa Dorada at Salou and Cambrils.

The announcement was welcomed by Pat Breen, Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Employment, commenting on the new service to Canada, he expressed the hope that this will be popular with business travellers and tourists. A new Boeing 737 MAX 8 will be used on the service which will operate four days a week for almost six months from 2nd June until October 13th.

Minister Breen believes these direct flights to Toronto will open up more trade, investment and tourism opportunities for Clare and the Mid-West. “With the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) agreement about to kick in, and both Ireland and Canada looking to diversify their trade and investment links across the world, the development of a strong relationship between our neighbours to the west and an industrial area like Shannon and the Mid-West is beneficial to both countries.”

“These new direct flights four times a week from Shannon directly to Toronto will allow local SMEs to look at Canada to break into the export market. Canada’s affinity and proximity to Ireland – the nearest English speaking country to Ireland apart from Britain, our common law heritage, and the similar parliamentary system makes us ideal trading partners,” he said.

According to Minister Breen, there is a strong affinity for Ireland among Canadians with 14% of Canada’s population claiming Irish descent. He also noted that “Ireland, and particularly the west of Ireland is also growing in favour among Canadian travellers. Over 165,000 Canadian tourists visited Ireland in 2015 spending an estimated €133 million. 2016 was the best year ever for Irish tourism from Canada – with visitor numbers increasing by 16% over 2015.”

Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, said, “It is wonderful to have more flights to strengthen the bonds between our two countries. Canada is a wonderful place for holidays and business and I look forward to seeing increased levels of tourism and trade because of this great new initiative.”

Flights to Reus will operate from March 27th until October 27th twice weekly and will provide a city break destination for people in the region.

The new services were welcomed by Transport Minister Shane Ross who said they are, “testament to the appeal of Ireland’s West and Mid-West as a premier tourist and business destination.” Minister Ross believes the Canadian service will provide a major boost for Irish tourism as well as creating trade opportunities. He said both announcements demonstrate a demand for services on transatlantic and European routes from Shannon which benefit the business and tourist industries and give passengers more choice.

Meanwhile, the Irish Aviation Authority’s recent traffic bulletin notes that August was a record-breaking month as the tourism boom continues. There were 110,020 traffic movements at all State airports in Dublin, Cork and Shannon. Commercial terminal flights were up by 4.4% in Dublin, 3.6% in Cork and 2.8% in Shannon.