Why Aer Lingus Is Expanding Its US Network
When British Airways parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) decided to purchase Aer Lingus earlier this year, it said it wasn’t just for the coveted gates at busy London Heathrow already occupied by the Irish national carrier. No, IAG said, Aer Lingus would make a big splash on its own.
This morning, it just jumped into the deep end of the pool.
In the single largest expansion of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic network since it began overseas flights in 1958, the airline is adding three more U.S. cities to its destinations from Dublin beginning next year.
The airline will commence a year-round direct service between Los Angeles and Dublin starting in May 2016 with five services per week. Direct daily year-round flights will start in early September from Newark, New Jersey to Dublin. And a third new route will commence in late September with a daily service from Hartford, Connecticut to Dublin.
The international marketplace is red-hot right now, with such airlines as Wow!, Norwegian and Ryanair looking to fly transatlantic routes from Europe to the U.S. As long as travel stays as constant as it has been, these are lucrative routes for airlines.
Moreover, Aer Lingus has a big advantage at its Dublin airport base with the convenience of U.S. Customs and Border Protection services.
“Ireland’s geographic location and US immigration pre-clearance provides IAG with the natural gateway to build our business between Europe and North America through Aer Lingus,” Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG said in a statement. “This is the first step in our plans to add North American destinations, bring new aircraft into the fleet, increase passenger numbers and create new jobs. This shows also our keenness to develop Dublin as another key hub within the Group.”
Aer Lingus already has nine existing routes to the U.S. from Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Toronto to Dublin, and Boston and New York to Shannon. With the three new routes beginning next year, Aer Lingus’ total long-haul seat capacity will grow by more than 17 percent in 2016, representing the fourth consecutive year of more than double-digit long haul growth.
Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Executive, Aer Lingus, said in a statement: “We are delighted to be delivering on the growth opportunities that being part of International Airlines Group presents. The introduction of these three routes will open up new tourism and business opportunities with improved connectivity through our Dublin Gateway. We look forward to welcoming guests on board our new services in 2016.”
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