Shannon airport has announced that its American Airlines route to Philadelphia will see increased capacity next year, “as the airline continues to build on the growing demand for flights between Shannon and its Philadelphia hub”.

The seasonal route will commence on April 5, 2018, a month earlier than usual, and will run until “early October”. In total an additional 50 return flights will be added, increasing capacity by 18 per cent.

The airport’s MD Andrew Murphy said that there had been a 60 per cent increase in capacity since 2013.

“The additional capacity will not only have a positive impact for inbound tourism for the West of Ireland providing a boost for the tourism industry along the Wild Atlantic Way, but will also provide increased opportunities for business connectivity as people using the service will be able to connect at the American Airlines leading hub airports,” said Murphy.

“It is also a very popular destination given its historical significance in the US and its strong Irish community. We look forward to partnering with American Airlines on making the expansion a real success.”

Shannon airport said that the route – operated by a B757 aircraft – carries over 38,000 passengers annually. Recent new routes including Norwegian’s services to Stewart International and Providence Green airports mean that US capacity from Shannon will be over 550,000 seats in 2018.

The airport recently introduced a combined EU/US pre-clearance checkpoint trial, eliminating the need for US bound passengers to queue twice for separate security checks. Shannon says that it is the first airport in the world to trial the time saving system.

American Airlines recently announced plans to launch new routes from Philadelphia to Budapest and Prague.,