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
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?