A taste of Ireland to celebrate new airport route launch
Fifty leading business figures from Essex experienced the sights, sounds and flavours of the Emerald Isle during a glamorous event at Orsett Hall, Thurrock (1 May 2012).
The evening was hosted by the Essex Chambers of Commerce in celebration of the exciting new business and tourism link between the county and Ireland created by daily flights to and from London Southend Airport and Dublin, starting on 10 May with Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann.
Business and leisure travellers will soon be able to take advantage of connecting Aer Lingus transatlantic flights via Dublin to New York, Boston, Chicago and Orlando. Not only that, passengers on these flights can also take advantage of the unique US Customs and Immigrations pre-clearance facilities at Dublin Airport, allowing them to arrive in the USA as domestic passengers.
The evening started with a sumptuous meal designed to showcase the highlights of Irish cuisine, starting with Black Velvet cocktails (Guinness and champagne), followed by Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail, Irish Fillet Steak and a selection of Irish Cheeses.
The after dinner speech was provided by Tim Jeans, whose career in aviation has spanned almost twenty-years (including serving as Managing Director of Monarch Airlines and Commercial Director of Ryanair). He gave the assembled guests his insight into the economic benefits created by partnerships between regional airports, airlines and local businesses.
Guests were then treated to the very best in contemporary Irish entertainment from Trad on the Prom - a world class show featuring an electrifying mix of music, song and dance. The cast, who flew into Essex especially to perform, included Máirín Fahy on fiddle and vocals (who has performed as a soloist on the world famous Riverdance shows and with the legendary folk bands, The Chieftains) plus Claire Greaney, the current female Irish Dancing World Champion.
“This route will play a vital role in bringing people from Ireland into Essex, benefiting local businesses and boosting the economy,” said Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce. She added: “We are delighted to have been able to show our membership a taste of Ireland and explain how beneficial this new route can, and will, be for them.”
Philip Miller, Executive Chairman of the Southend based Stockvale Group (including Adventure Island and Sea-Life Adventure) said “Obviously people from Southend are going to go to Ireland – it’s just so easy, drive into Southend airport, pop up to the counter and you’re practically there. It’s almost like getting a bus! Hopefully in return we are going to see the Irish people coming back here to Essex. It’s a win win for us all.”
Paula Fisher of South Essex based Practical HR added “I think they are a tremendous opportunity for everybody, from a business point of view and also a personal point of view. I think it will bring a lot more business into the area and so secondarily we will be picking up some of that business – so it will be good for the economy overall.”
Mark Pendlington, Director of the Anglian Water Group concurred “Our exports and our economic link with Ireland are among the most important for UK PLC. We export more to Ireland than most other countries around the world and this link will allow Essex to connect directly with Ireland and will be a real boost for Essex’s place in the global marketplace as it competes to win across so many businesses and sectors. This is the gateway to global markets, to North America and the important Irish market.”
Speaking at the event, Aer Arann Interim CEO Sean Brogan said “We are delighted to be extending our Aer Lingus Regional network from Dublin to London Southend and we are confident that this route will drive traffic into Essex and its surrounding catchment area benefiting local business and tourism. For the people of Essex and East London, this service provides convenient and hassle-free access not only to Ireland’s capital but also on transatlantic services to the USA and we look forward to welcoming passengers on board our services from 10 May.”
Alastair Welch, Managing Director of London Southend Airport believes the new routes will be a popular addition to the airport’s portfolio: “Dublin is a welcome addition to the services we offer, especially with the very exciting potential for convenient onward journeys to the USA. We look forward to welcoming Aer Lingus passengers for both Dublin and America to our brand new passenger terminal and redeveloped airport.”
London Southend Airport will become a fully operational international gateway during 2012. A new Control Tower, extended runway, airport railway station providing fast and frequent train services direct to Stratford (site of the 2012 Olympic Games) and London Liverpool Street, a new passenger terminal and Holiday Inn hotel make up the development highlights under Stobart Group’s ownership. More at www.southendairport.com
Aer Arann is Ireland’s regional airline, operating 550 flights per week across almost 30 routes throughout Ireland, the UK and France under the Aer Lingus Regional brand as part of a franchise agreement with Aer Lingus. The airline’s fleet currently consists of four ATR 42s and eight ATR 72s. With headquarters located in Dublin, the airline is renowned for its customer service. Its bases are located in Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Waterford. For further information visit: www.AerArann.com.
Essex Chambers of Commerce exists to support the ambitions and interests of the County's businesses and to open valuable doors on their behalf. As a fully independent body, it offers a comprehensive and continuously developing range of business services and plays an important role in representing the views and needs of business at local, regional and national level. More at www.essexchambers.co.uk
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