Monday, May 15, 2006

Good news, bad news for Irish transport interests

If you had an ear to the ground on the various transit bulletin boards in Ireland such as boards.ie, Irish Railway News or Platform 11, the unofficial protest of the new intercity trains was entirely unsurprising as the wardrums were beating for weeks now. What was surprising is how the media seem to have been blindsided by it. I also find it odd that so few Irish bloggers found the strike worth talking about with a few exceptions like the Limerick Blogger and Planet Potato. Most interesting of all is that Phil Flynn seems to be back making money at the mediation trough. What's a pen gun between friends?

The good news is Aer Arann's order for 10 new ATR72-500s to partly replace its existing ATR72-200s and partly as an expansion to increase routes from 45 to 75 including flights wholly within the UK and Continental Europe. Aer Arann has played a cute game, ducking and diving into and out of routes, following the profit (and cleaning up on the subsidies) but always with an eye to expansion, most recently picking up the pieces in Cardiff when Ryanair and Air Wales departed within days of each other through cutback and shutdown respectively. Bombardier did pitch their Q400 to Aer Arann but as an existing customer the order was ATRs to lose.

Meanwhile another Irish investor in aviation looks like striking it big - Dermot Desmond is rumoured to be close to selling London City Airport for EUR600m (C$900m). (rego required)
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