Aer Lingus announces surprise new transatlantic route
'Seamless to Seattle'
Transatlantic routes are like buses these days. You wait ages for one to come along, and then several arrive all at once.
This morning, Aer Lingus unveiled its latest North American destination - Ireland's first-ever direct scheduled service to Seattle, in Washington State.
The four-times weekly route will commence on May 18, 2018, using an Airbus A330 with lead-in fares from €259 each-way as part of a return trip.
The announcement comes just over a month after its last reveal, a four-times weekly service to Philadelphia, set to commence on March 25th.
Before that, a new Dublin to Miami service launched in September.
In total, the airline has introduced four new long-haul aircraft and six new transatlantic routes since its acquisition by IAG in 2015, including LA, Newark and Hartford, Connecticut.
Dallas had been widely tipped as its next US airport, and Aer Lingus has also been examining a possible Las Vegas connection, but America's Emerald City beats both out of the blocks - not least due to its strong business links with Ireland.
Local tech giants Microsoft and Amazon both have massive bases there, and the Irish aircraft leasing sector can connect directly to the home of Boeing.
From a visitor perspective, Seattle is the home of Grunge, Sub Pop, US coffee culture (yes, Starbucks included) and foodie Meccas like Pike Place Market.
The new route is also, of course, a boost to inbound tourism and Dublin Airport's efforts to grow itself as a hub for transatlantic traffic in Europe.
Aer Lingus's new routes mark "the most significant expansion in the airline’s history," it now says, creating some 600 new jobs in the past three years.
Seattle alone adds 50,000 additional seats to its 2018 programme, with total transatlantic capacity now set to exceed 2.75 million seats for the year.
Nor is it stopping any time soon.
IAG plans to further boost the airline's fleet over the next five years, with several new Airbus A321Neo long-range (LR) aircraft due to arrive from 2019.
Similar to the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft used by Norwegian, the a narrow-body, single-aisle Airbus will open up all sorts of transatlantic options.
Additional North American expansion next year will include twice-daily flights to Chicago and a daily service to both San Francisco and Los Angeles.
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