Aer Lingus suspends Dubai route in favour of US flights
Aer Lingus put an end to months of speculation by finally suspending its ailing flights to Dubai in favour of extra flights to existing US destinations.
Announcing the move, the company said the switch had been made because of "significant demand" for US flights.
Dubai's axing had been widely rumoured, but Aer Lingus insisted the two-year-old route was merely suspended from March, while "potential operations to Dubai on a seasonal basis remain under review".
Aviation sources, however, said the route was effectively dead and buried.
Dubai was Aer Lingus' first venture east, the airline's only venture outside the US, and one of the first routes announced under the stewardship of chief executive Dermot Mannion.
When details of the route's poor performance first emerged, the aviation industry was highly critical of the airline's failure to make a go of it. However recent reaction to the move was more positive.
"With only nine long-haul aircraft it is a question of optimising revenues on a limited number of assets to maximize returns, and management has shown a keen focus on returns in shifting capacity after only three seasons," says Neil Glynn of stockbrokers NCB.
The capacity from Dubai will be used to increase frequencies to San Fransisco, Orlando and Washington, the airline said.
Aer Lingus also announced new routes from Dublin to Ibiza and Cork to Jersey yesterday, as well as extra frequencies across a range of other short haul routes. These new flights, will be served by three new short haul planes.
Some sources suggested Ryanair could soon follow Aer Lingus onto the Ibiza route, since the low cost carrier has recently launched to the Canaries.
It is understood, however, that while Ryanair has had "intermittent" talks with Ibiza over the years, the airline feels the airport is "far too expensive".