Aer Lingus Plans Manchester Transatlantic Flights

Filed Under: Aer Lingus

Airlines sure are trying new things during these tough times, with Aer Lingus planning on operating four transatlantic routes out of Manchester in the summer of 2021.

Aer Lingus’ transatlantic Manchester plans

While Aer Lingus hasn’t officially announced anything, a request for slots paints a pretty clear picture of what Aer Lingus is planning for next summer:

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

Aer Lingus will base four planes at Manchester Airport

Why Aer Lingus is doing this

It might seem completely 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, Aer Lingus revealed that it would cut transatlantic flights from Shannon, and that the airline was in discussion 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

Aer Lingus will be part of the oneworld transatlantic joint venture

What routes could Aer Lingus be eyeing? 

Aer Lingus plans to base four planes out of Manchester, including three A321LRs and one A330. The A321LRs could reach most of the US East Coast, while the A330 could even reach the US West Coast.

What routes could the airline be considering? This is purely speculation on my part, but:

  • The A330 could fly to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Orlando (I believe Orlando would be right at the outer limit of the range of the A321LR, or else I’d guess the route would get an A321LR)
  • The A321LRs could fly to Boston, New York JFK, and Philadelphia; American no longer flies between Manchester and New York, and American has a seasonal Manchester to Philadelphia route, though I could see Aer Lingus taking over the route

I’m sure there are some other potential markets for the A321LR that could make sense, depending on whether the priority is to feed into the oneworld network, or operate routes with the biggest O&D demand.

Could Aer Lingus take over American’s Manchester flying?

Bottom line

While nothing has been formally announced, Aer Lingus has received enough slots to operate four transatlantic routes out of Manchester next summer, with three A321LRs and one A330.

This makes even more 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.

Of course it’s possible Aer Lingus still changes its mind on this, as everything seems to be up in the air nowadays. But it does seem very likely to me that this will happen.

What routes do you see Aer Lingus operating out of Manchester?

(Tip of the hat to Wandering Aramean)

  1. Boston, Florida, JFK. Maybe Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Perhaps Chicago.
    I think that AA’s Manchester- Philadelphia is year round (during normal times, of course. Please verify.) That route is heavily supported by the pharmaceutical companies on both ends of the route, and demand for cargo capability AND paid business class has traditionally been on the high end. It was always USAirways’s top performing transatlantic route, and I had heard it had done well for AA too, so I do think it had been year round.
    Fun guessing games these days!

  2. I think Las Vegas and Orlando are good bets for the A330 as they were/are successful for both Virgin and Thomas Cook out of MAN. Los Angeles is another potential and I have also heard Miami. Less likely, but possible is Dallas given American’s connection might there. I think Thomas Cook was serving (or going to serve) Seattle, which I think is a little weird because it isn’t a prime tourist destination, but could be possible with an Alaska partnership.

    JFK, Boston and Chicago would be prime candidates for the A321LR. Maybe Charlotte given the American presence there? Philadelphia is possible, but only if AA gives it up as I don’t think it could sustain 2 flights…maybe.

    I guess there is also popular non-US North American destinations like Toronto for A321 or Barbados for A330.

  3. Agree with @Jason, that American’s Manchester to Philadelphia flight is operated daily year-round due to the route being supported by pharmaceuticals, notably AstraZeneca who have company locations in both Manchester and the surrounding Philadelphia area.

  4. Manchester is a great alternative, if you need to visit anywhere in the UK that’s not the Southeast. And, I’ve long wondered why there’s so little service from there to the USA or Canada. It would seem like a more convenient and cost effective gateway to most of the country – for anyone not going to London. Given the incredible growth in travel between the US and UK over the past 25 years, I would think that any major city in the eastern US could support such service via the A321LR, and the A330 would work for DFW, LAX, LAS, SFO and SEA. If promoted well, you might even need the A330 between MAN and JFK.

    The only potential spoiler to all this is this talk about foolishly increasing the already absurd air duty that the UK government charges travelers. If that fee increases markedly, it could make Aer Lingus look silly pulling down Shannon in favor of MAN when people want to fly from the US to the UK via Ireland to save on the tariff.

  5. Any insight into if Singapore will bring back the MAN –> IAH freedom flight? Took it last year and it was a great experience and way to fly to the North of England.

  6. Reason BA is doing it is because EI has A321LRs (BA obviously doesn’t), and its A330s are denser than the equivalent BA 777-200 so more suited to the market they’re going for. Aer Lingus I’m sure also has a substantially lower cost base.

  7. With the kids of Thomas Cook to Orlando and Virgins Covid fiasco with the Orlando route I’d bet on them flying this route. United also stopped flying MAN to EWR could be another possibility for AI

  8. Not mentioned is that from Ireland EI have pre-clearance from the UK they do not (though I had heard that MAN was in line to potentially get this). The reason I bring this up is EI park in domestic terminals on many of the US airports (JetBlue terminal at JFK and BOS for example). There’s also limited gate space at T5 in JFK so I wonder where they’ll park them. Just a side note really. It was nice doing immigration in DUB it was always very efficient though I’d still prefer a direct route.

    I’ve done BHX-JFK via DUB a few times. Shame EI won’t put service in BHX, there’s no east coast US flights now (except seasonal MCO) service whereas there was one UA & AA serving NYC & it seems quite a lot of connectors fly on the BHX-DUB service to go onwards to the east coast.

    Also EI also codeshare with B6 who have plenty of onward connectivity in JFK & BOS so I can imagine these being 2 strong contenders from MAN.

  9. @stogieguy there used to be plenty of flights between MAN & Canada with air Transat operating flights to YYZ & YVR and a seasonal to Calgary plus air Canada rouge into YYZ the market can only sustain so many seats before saturation or a trip via LHR

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