Aer Lingus has done an impressive job with the way in which they’ve grown their transatlantic route network. Until a few years ago the airline was struggling financially, while now the airline has managed to become profitable while growing.
For example, here are some of their new transatlantic routes in the past few years:
- In May 2018 Aer Lingus added flights to Seattle
- In March 2018 Aer Lingus added flights to Philadelphia
- In September Aer Lingus added flights to Miami
- In 2016 Aer Lingus added flights to Los Angeles, Hartford, and Newark
- In 2015 Aer Lingus added frequencies to New York and San Francisco, and added a new route to Washington Dulles
- In 2014 Aer Lingus added flights to Toronto and San Francisco
The airline has a longhaul fleet consisting of 13 Airbus A330s and five Boeing 757s (which are leased).
For now the airline is maxed out on expansion, as they don’t have any more widebody aircraft on the way.
However, next year Aer Lingus will start their next phase of expansion, as the airline will take delivery of eight A321LRs. Aer Lingus will begin taking delivery of A321LRs in the second quarter of 2019, and plans to take delivery of four of them in 2019, and four of them in 2020.
These plans have the range to fly to the East Coast of the US (and in some cases a little further inland), so really Aer Lingus has a few ways they could use these planes:
- They could use A321LRs to operate flights to new markets that weren’t practical with larger planes
- They could use A321LRs to operate flights to East Coast destinations that are currently served by A330s (either by reducing capacity or by operating multiple frequencies), thereby freeing up A330s to operate longer flights
- They could use A321LRs to replace 757s, and return those to the leasing company
We now have some more general insights into what we can expect from these planes.
This past Friday, Aer Lingus’ CEO said that the airline has a list of three A321LR destinations they’re considering for North America, and that they plan to cut that list to two destinations in the coming weeks.
So we should see two new transatlantic routes with Aer Lingus A321LRs being operated by next summer.
The Irish Times suggests that Pittsburgh and Montreal are two of the cities under consideration for the new routes, which seems reasonable enough. Montreal would be Aer Lingus’ second destination in Canada, while Pittsburgh has been offering big incentives to airlines for longhaul service, and British Airways just announced that they’ll start flying there.
I’m excited to see what exactly Aer Lingus chooses to do with their A321LRs. It sounds like the first couple will be used for new routes. I wonder if they’ll open up new markets for the remaining planes, if they’ll add service on existing routes, or if they’ll use them to free up A330s.
I’m also curious what kind of interiors Aer Lingus chooses. Aer Lingus has fully flat business class seats on both the A330 and 757, so my guess is they’ll install a similar product on the new A321LRs.
What destinations would you like to see Aer Lingus fly to with their A321LRs?
(Tip of the hat to DKB)