Bizarre: Billboard Suggests Aer Lingus Launching Cleveland Flights, But…

Filed Under: Aer Lingus

There are a lot of mysteries in the world. For example, crop circles. Who or what is behind them, and how do they suddenly appear?

Well, the same is largely true regarding a billboard that has just sprung up near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

It appears that in the past couple of days a billboard has appeared near the airport that reads “Aer Lingus Fáilte Cleveland.”

Fáilte is Gaelic for “welcome,” and the billboard also shows the shape of Ohio in gold and Ireland in green.

But here’s the strange part — the airline hasn’t actually announced flights to Cleveland, and an airport spokesperson has confirmed that the airport didn’t buy the billboards.

It also doesn’t look like the airline bought the ads, since it’s not at all consistent with Aer Lingus’ branding (and if the airline bought the ads, you’d think they wouldn’t be welcoming themselves to Cleveland).

So did the tourism board maybe buy them, and if so, did they buy them because the airline is about to announce flights (and this was just put up prematurely), or are they putting these up in hopes of wooing Aer Lingus?

We know that Aer Lingus is currently evaluation more than 15 cities in North America to which they’re considering adding service, thanks to their new A321LRs. Personally I think it’s highly unlikely a new service announcement is imminent (not just for Cleveland, but in general):

  • The airline can’t add capacity in the summer of 2019, due to their aircraft shortage; beyond that, they typically announce new summer routes further in advance (for example, they announced their new summer 2019 routes in August 2018)
  • 16+ months out is generally way earlier than they announce new transtlantic flights, since most flights start in summer, so it’s unlikely they’ve finalized any decisions for summer 2020

For what it’s worth, Cleveland has been trying hard to get a reliable transatlantic airline. At one point the airline had service from Icelandair and WOW Air. WOW Air cut the route due to their financial hardships, while Icelandair is operating the route seasonally.

So I very much could see Aer Lingus eventually starting service to Cleveland with an A321LR, but I just don’t think it’s being announced soon. If the route does happen, it would no doubt receive significant subsidies. For example, Aer Lingus’ route to Hartford got about $13 million in subsidies and incentives in the first two years, including a direct $9 million worth of revenue subsidies. Wow.

That still leaves the mystery of who the heck bought this billboard. Just a very optimistic tourism board, or…?

Regardless, it has nothing on this:

Any theories?

  1. @David Ourisman – There is. This is a dumb comment. You could have just Googled that in the seconds it took you to post this inane reply

  2. EI have stated that they are looking at 15 different US cities for future expansion.

    So this seems to me like the recent NBA situation where various cities started putting up signs welcoming LeBron or some other superstar about to enter Free Agency in the hope that they would influence where they move to. Probably saw it with Amazon HQ2 also where all sorts of cities put ads in national media appealing to be chosen for HQ2.

    In the end it will be whatever incentive that CLE offer that will decide if they are chosen or not.

  3. Cleveland has a great food scene. It’s got a very historically insular attitude—“why don’t you hang out with your kind of people?” Is what I was told by a seemingly educated person there (10 years ago). Though it would seem that things are evolving for the better, hopefully. And, they’re not Detroit. 😉

  4. Really??? This is clearly from someone in Cleveland with too much money who wants a direct flight to Europe. This is not from the tourism board, the airport, or anyone else. And pleading billboards like this are not new in Cleveland, just look back to when Lebron was coming/going…

  5. Cleveland does have a large Irish population so I think that potentially at some point it could work, most likely seasonally.

  6. This makes a ton of sense. United still has the largest passenger volume so a codeshare partner is a great fit. There is a large corporate presence that has been starving for a solid business class since 2009. The best reason is the pre-clearance from Dublin would allow passengers to skip the old Customs facility that people complain about so much. Even if it is “only” an A321LR, that is still a transatlantic non-stop with a solid business class product and connections from Dublin to everywhere on the continent.

  7. The Gaelic is wrong on it as well. The sign says, ‘Aer Lingus Welcome Cleveland’, instead of welcome to Cleveland.

    Would be an interesting route, I hope they go for more secondary cities like Cleveland in the expansion.

  8. @DKB Its used in a similar way here in Ireland, usually a town or city name followed by Fáilte or with Fáilte being the bold text on a sign above a town/city name. I dont think its supposed to be read as a sentence also.

  9. Just a thought, but is there perhaps a 1950s – 60s period movie being shot in that area?

  10. That obnoxious video is about 10 years old. Every city in the world has neglected areas. If you haven’t visited Cleveland and seen our great park system, orchestra, theatre, art museum, homes & neighborhoods, restaurants, arts scene, and high quality of life, don’t be so quick to put us down.

  11. Fairly certain that Aer Lingus will fly there, but somebody just spilled the beans way too early. I heard that Cleveland has the 2nd largest Irish population in the U.S., behind NYC and has a few giant manufacturing corporations that have recently reincorporated in Ireland. Plus a United codeshare partner, so it just makes sense.

  12. The two Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos are two of the best videos on the internet. Thank you.

  13. Here, here RamblerAm67. Only those who have never visited or lived in Cleveland have negative comments. Walk a mile in our shoes and you won’t want to leave. Show me anywhere else with culture, food scene, Great Lake (foreign visitors have remarked “I didn’t know there was an ocean”), first-class medical care and higher learning institutions, sports, etc., with the affordability of housing that rivals my hometown? Don’t think you can.

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