The airline is taking delivery of up to 12 new A321 NEO Long Range Aircraft between 2019 and 2021, which in addition to its current A330 fleet will result in significant additional capacity on its North American network. Now it needs new routes to keep all its aircraft busy.
Aer Lingus has launched a ‘Request for Information for Commercial Support for Transatlantic Network Development (RFI)’. The process presents a unique opportunity for North American airports and their local communities to invest alongside Aer Lingus in the introduction or expansion of Aer Lingus service.
Multiple studies have shown the economic multiplier benefits of international air service. Aer Lingus would operate to Dublin, Europe’s fastest growing transatlantic hub, offering both US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance and extensive onward connectivity throughout Europe.
The process is extended to both airports not yet served by Aer Lingus for new route opportunity and those already served by Aer Lingus, for increased capacity/frequencies. The process applies to both the A321LR aircraft as well as existing A330 aircraft, as wide-body capacity may become available by substitution with the new A321LR aircraft.
Airports along with local government, business and tourism bodies are being invited to submit information to assist in building the commercial and operational case to operate a new direct route by April 6, 2018. Shortlisted airport meetings will take place at the end of April at ‘Routes Europe’ conference, followed by an official announcement of 2019 destinations in early May.
The growth in transatlantic operations is a key element of Aer Lingus’ strategy of expanding its Dublin Airport base into a major hub. While traditionally Aer Lingus connected Ireland and North America, today more than a third of Aer Lingus transatlantic guests are connecting through Dublin onto its extensive UK and European network.
Greg Kaldahl, Aer Lingus Chief Strategy and Planning Officer said: “Aer Lingus has a proven track record in developing new and profitable transatlantic routes. Having doubled the scale of our transatlantic operation over the past five years we continue our mission to be the leading value carrier on the North Atlantic. This is a great opportunity for economic growth through tourism and commercial links for regions and airports in North America, and we are confident that many communities will choose to engage with us in this exciting process.”
Aer Lingus will this summer operate its largest ever transatlantic network, now flying direct on 15 North American routes including new routes Dublin-Seattle and Dublin-Philadelphia which will begin operating as part of this year’s summer schedule.