Tuesday 26 September 2017

Aer Lingus misses out on transatlantic route battle

IAG boss Willie Walsh. Photo: Bloomberg
IAG boss Willie Walsh. Photo: Bloomberg

Julia Fioretti and John Mulligan

The Aer Lingus brand won't be used for IAG Group's planned low-cost long-haul airline, ceo Willie Walsh said yesterday.

IAG owns Spain's Iberia and Vueling airlines, as well as BA and Aer Lingus. It is looking to offer low-cost long-haul flights from airports other than Barcelona in its efforts to compete on transatlantic routes, managers confirmed yesterday.

The company's new budget operation will not be operated by Vueling, which is focused on short-haul, nor will it use the Aer Lingus name because that brand is not as well known outside of Ireland, Willie Walsh said.

IAG said late last year it would start budget flights to US destinations in June, using short-haul operator Vueling to feed passengers through Barcelona's El Prat airport to the longer routes.

"This is the start of something that will be a significant part of IAG ... we think Barcelona is a great place to start," Mr Walsh said at an aviation conference in Brussels.

Rivals Norwegian Air Shuttle and Wow Air are stepping up transatlantic flights. "It's good to see how consumers have responded to the customer proposition that he (Norwegian ceo Bjoern Kjos) has put in the market and that's encouraged us to look at doing different things," Mr Walsh said, adding tickets would be available soon.

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