Aer Lingus adds 250,000 seats and five new routes for summer 2016
La Dolce Vita in Dublin
Aer Lingus's Summer 2016 schedule will include new direct routes from Dublin to Pisa, Murcia and Montpelier.
Further new routes for 2016 include direct flights from Cork to Dussedorf and an extension of the airline's new winter service from Dublin to Liverpool.
The schedule sees a major investment in sun holidays, with significantly increased frequencies on Faro and Malaga services across Irish airports.
In total, the new routes, increased frequencies and larger aircraft will support 250,000 additional seats for summer 2016, Aer Lingus said.
The schedule includes a new mid-Friday morning flight from Dublin to Malaga, an increase from four to seven Dublin-Alicante flights weekly, an extra weekly flight to Venice, and extra capacity on sun destinations including Palma and Lanzarote.
The increases are partly due to this summer's "disappointing weather", the airline says, but an improving economy, the growing use of scheduled flights by tour operators and Aer Lingus's acquisition by IAG are also contributing factors.
Dublin Airport, which has seen passenger numbers rise by 15pc in the first eight months of 2015, welcomed the route expansions.
“We are particularly pleased that Aer Lingus will launch flights to Montpellier in Southern France, which is a new route for Dublin Airport,” said its Managing Director, Vincent Mr Harrison.
As well as its new Dusseldorf route, the schedule sees Aer Lingus add capacity on its Paris, Barcelona, Palma and Faro services from Cork Airport.
It also gives Shannon Airport 55,000 additional seats on summer 2016 services including Heathrow (35,000 seats), Faro and Malaga.
The expansions come as Aer Lingus begins to roll out a new "smart" website that allows customers to set up personal profiles, freeze fares for €5, and check in up to 30 days in advance of travel.