Monday 9 December 2019

Aer Lingus adds two new Italy flights and record number of transatlantic seats

Summer 2020 will see its 'greatest-ever' capacity on North American routes, says Aer Lingus

An Aer Lingus aircraft with new livery photographed over Ireland's west coast. Pic: Frank Grealish
An Aer Lingus aircraft with new livery photographed over Ireland's west coast. Pic: Frank Grealish
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Aer Lingus has announced new direct flights from Dublin to Puglia and Sardinia for its Summer 2020 schedule.

The new route to Brindisi in Puglia takes off on May 23 next, operating twice a week on A320 aircraft with fares starting from €79.99 each-way, the airline says.

Flights from Dublin to Alghero commence on May 24, also twice-weekly on an A320 with €79.99 lead-in fares.

The announcements were made at the launch of Aer Lingus's 2020 summer programme - a schedule it says will see its "greatest-ever" capacity to North America.

1.9 million seats will be on sale to transatlantic destinations next summer (up 10pc on 2019), it says, with the Orlando, Florida service moving from four to six flights per week.

Miami will grow from two to three flights per week, while Dublin to Seattle is set to shift to a daily service from five flights weekly.

Fleet upgrades will also boost capacity on routes like Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Minneapolis St. Paul, which will be serviced by a larger Airbus A330, it says.

“Transatlantic growth continues to be our priority," said David Shepherd, Chief Commercial Officer. "Not only does this strengthen Ireland’s connectivity with the United States, but it creates a greater, more efficient connection via Dublin for our neighbours in the UK and Europe.”

By next summer, Aer Lingus also expects to have replaced its Boeing 757 fleet with four new Airbus A321 neo LR aircraft - offering 20pc better fuel efficiency.

Last week, Aer Lingus announced new direct routes from Shannon Airport to Paris and Barcelona, commencing March and May respectively.

Changes from Cork Airport include upping its new Dubrovnik service from two to three flights per week next summer.

Elsewhere, however, Aer Lingus will not reinstate sun routes from Belfast City to Faro and Malaga.

The announcements come as passenger traffic at Dublin and Cork airports continues to grow, though aviation is seeing noticeable turbulence.

Both Hainan and Cathay Pacific have pulled relatively new routes (to Beijing and Hong Kong) from Dublin, the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft has taken a toll on Irish services operated by Norwegian and Air Canada, while WOW air, Thomas Cook, Germania and Flybmi have all gone out of business in 2019.

By contrast, Aer Lingus has been expanding its North American services at pace since it was acquired by IAG in 2015, and is awaiting delivery of over a dozen new A321LRs that will grow its transatlantic fleet to 30 by 2023.

It has also launched a new brand, logo and livery.

Ryanair announced its Summer 2020 schedule last September, with new routes from Dublin to Verona, Marseille, Palanga in Lithuania and Podgorica in Montenegro, as well as a new, twice-weekly flight from Cork Airport to Katowice.

However, Shannon Airport lost out - it highlighted Ryanair's decision to cut services to Bristol, East Midlands and Ibiza from January 2020.

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