Aer Lingus’ Manchester Transatlantic Flights Going On Sale Soon

Filed Under: Aer Lingus

Airlines sure are trying new things during these tough times. Several weeks ago I wrote about how Aer Lingus is planning on operating transatlantic flights out of Manchester in the summer of 2021, and also shared the routes the airline is planning.

We now have reason to believe that these flights will go on sale as of later this week, around January 8, 2021. This is exciting for a couple of reasons, as I’ll get into below.

Aer Lingus’ transatlantic Manchester plans

We learned quite a bit about Aer Lingus’ transatlantic plans several weeks back, when the airline was granted slots at Manchester Airport. According to the filing at the time:

  • Aer Lingus was granted over 1,500 new slots at Manchester Airport for the summer 2021 season, which goes from late March through late October
  • The airline stated that it would base four aircraft out of Manchester, including one A330 and three A321LRs, though the destinations hadn’t been announced at the time

Then in early December 2020, Aer Lingus filed with the US Department of Transportation regarding its planned US service. According to the filing, Aer Lingus will fly:

  • From Manchester to Boston, daily in summer
  • From Manchester to New York, daily year-round
  • From Manchester to Orlando, daily in summer, and 4x weekly year-round

This filing contained a couple of interesting updates:

  • There only seem to be three planned routes, while Aer Lingus could operate up to four routes; it remains to be seen if one of these routes will be more than once daily, or if Aer Lingus just won’t utilize all of its slots
  • The airline now plans to base two A330s and two A321LRs in Manchester (previously the plan was to base one A330 and three A321LRs there)

Aer Lingus will base up to four planes at Manchester Airport

These routes are roughly what I had expected. Several weeks ago I guessed that Aer Lingus’ destinations from Manchester could be Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and/or Orlando (obviously not all of them, due to aircraft limitations).

Aer Lingus’ Manchester routes will go on sale soon

In an updated filing with the US Department of Transportation, Aer Lingus requests approval of its application ASAP. The airline notes that the period for objection of this expansion has passed.

It’s noted that Aer Lingus wants to start selling transatlantic flights out of Manchester as of January 8, 2021, so we could potentially be just days from learning all of the details of these new routes.

Why is Aer Lingus expanding out of Manchester?

It might seem random that Aer Lingus would launch transatlantic flights out of Manchester, but this has been in the works for a while, and it kind of makes sense:

  • In September 2020, Aer Lingus revealed that it would cut transatlantic flights from Shannon, and that the airline was in discussions with six UK airports about the possibility of launching transatlantic flights (clearly the airline was looking for some sort of subsidies)
  • Aer Lingus is now going to be joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, which essentially means that the airline can coordinate fares and schedules with American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia
  • Delta and Virgin Atlantic also have a big joint venture between the US and Europe, and Virgin Atlantic has been growing its Manchester presence even pre-pandemic
  • For whatever reason British Airways has steered clear of transatlantic flights from Manchester, so putting another IAG airline in the market could make sense
  • Thomas Cook went out of business last year, though up until that point the airline had the most transatlantic capacity out of Manchester
  • American has permanently canceled its Philadelphia to Manchester route, meaning there’s less oneworld transatlantic capacity in Manchester

Aer Lingus will be part of the oneworld transatlantic joint venture

Bottom line

Starting in the summer of 2021, Aer Lingus hopes to fly from Manchester to Boston, New York, and Orlando. It’s expected that these flights could go on sale in the coming days, as Aer Lingus is aiming to start selling tickets as of January 8, 2021, pending approval from the US DOT. If it doesn’t happen on January 8, it’ll likely happen shortly thereafter.

With Aer Lingus also joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, I imagine we may soon learn about what kind of reciprocity we can expect for frequent flyers. I expect it will be possible to earn and redeem AAdvantage miles on Aer Lingus.

All of this expansion makes perfect sense when you consider that Aer Lingus is joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, which means the airline will benefit from more pricing power and better connectivity.

What do you make of Aer Lingus’ planned transatlantic flights out of Manchester?

  1. Presumably Orlando should be daily in winter and less frequent in summer given that brits don’t need to fly 9 hrs for sun in July (Europe is next door…)… am I missing something here?

  2. @Matt, “am I missing something here?”

    Disney World (& Universal Studios) with the kids, who are out of school in the summer.

  3. I’m somewhat surprised not to see Chicago on this list with the A321LR, just because American flew that route for many years with a 767 before axing it in 2018.

    My understanding is that it would be doable with the A321LR (as it’s roughly a 6,000 km distance between the two cities), but maybe I’m miscalculating. Aer Lingus also seems to have great brand awareness in Chicago, as they fill two A330s from ORD to Dublin each night in the summer. Too bad – I’m a big fan of their J product these days!

  4. Will we see Manchester Airport install US Pre-Clearance facilities? Major selling point for their US flights there

  5. British Airways steers clear of Manchester transatlantic/ long haul because, with very few exceptions, Manchester as a market does not generate premium traffic and it’s not worth BA’s while to have a subfleet of hyper-dense airplanes just for the Manchester market. Aer Lingus is perfect for this market.

  6. Manchester airport did mention when extending/Rebuilding terminal 2 that the plan was for pre clearance at MN like DUB has for US departures so maybe it will come !!!

  7. Manchester has to be one of the worst airports in Europe. That place is a dump. The terminal is old and has a terrible layout. It can take literally hours to get your baggage at baggage claim. The lounges are overcrowded and not attractive at all. Good luck if you are renting a car as you need to walk to a bus stop that could take 30 minutes to arrive and the trip to the car rental is a long journey. Overall, I would avoid that place like the plague.

  8. Yes, MAN is very run down and has a terrible layout (feels like their expansion plan back in the day was “build more buildings” but never bothered to connect them), but from what I am reading there are a lot of renovations and upgrades going on that will hopefully make it a lot better. Also a lot more award availability on the TATL flights to MAN as well. Not sure how much lower the taxes and fees are for flights from MAN vs LHR however…

  9. Smart move from a competitive standpoint, but MAN-US routes rarely make money (expansions have been tried before and all have had mixed to poor results). British Midland tried it, VS has been growing it (but was it really profitable)? Guess we will find out. This is really more about IAG putting a lower cost (and thus lower risk) operator rather than BA at MAN for TATL markets and competing against VS/DL and figuring out what to do with spare capacity as SNN is being drawn down.

  10. Ray – MAN is on a DHS list of possible pre clearance sites but it’s not just the decision of the airport. Both UK and US governments need to agree a treaty and / or pass legislation. Then there is the question over who psys for it – not just setting up the facility but who funds the costs of CBP officers etc etc

    There is space for it in the new terminal but only space. It’s not equipped or fitted out for any sort of occupation.

    In the last 5 years only one airport / country has been appoved as a new pre clearance site – Brussells airport. And that’s just the legal part. As far as I can see no construction work has been commenced or date for it to be staffed by CBP and opened.

  11. @Santastico

    Agree whole heartedly. I flew JFK-DUB-MAN last year with Aer Lingus. I began my journey with a champagne in the glamour of the TWA Hotel bar at JFK and ended it getting lost in the dark hell hole of Manchester Airport complete with broken lifts and travelators. The frequent trains out of Manchester Airport are the best bit about it.

  12. Reaper – convenient to the midlands? I certainly don’t think so. I live near Birmingham and I far prefer to go to Heathrow over Manchester – mainly because of the awful road works M6 and it’s quicker for me to get to Heathrow over Manchester.

  13. I use MAN regularly, but generally only to get to LHR or MAD for connections. Presumably Aer Lingus will be using T2 (the new bit hopefully) rather than T3 (BA/AA terminal) which is pretty dire. Personally, I think they would have been better increasing their connections on the short hop to DUB so that pax could take advantage of US pre-clearance. IMO that’d be a far bigger selling point than a direct flight from MAN.

  14. I’d love to see ORD, too. AA flew that for many years with a combination of aircraft–767, 757, 787 (at the very end).

  15. I can see them possibly moving into T3 for short term until its demolished anyway to connect to BA/AA one world services. If IAG want to use a lower cost airline out of MAN won’t they be looking for feeder traffic too ??

  16. Fantastic news for the North of England! I could also see EI launching flights from Scotland to the US as again there is a large market for it, albeit likely only to NYC/ORD would work. I wouldn’t be surprised to see SQ cancel the SIN-MAN-IAH route as I believe load factors were atrocious on the 5th freedom portion!! I do fear for Icelandair now aswell, the transatlantic traffic from Manchester made up almost 50% of all UK bookings in 2019 so with further competition this could leave them with very little market share.

  17. Being positive – it’s good to hear this at these difficult times.
    I flew the BA 767 regularly bet JFK – MAN and it was v busy in econ and biz.
    EI have a great opportunity and I wish them well. EI can be a great experience with some lovely team members.
    As to MAN, it’s new T 2 continues as does the overall and much overdue development. Staff are to be inducted into the new T2 facilities very soon subject covid furlough this week etc…
    Be positive and have a great , safe new year

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