Aer Lingus has decided to scrap its direct flights to the United States from Shannon, according to media reports.
The two aircraft based there will be moved to a UK regional airport and used to launch US services. As is usual with Aer Lingus, which is well known for seeking inducements to open routes, it seems that the flights will go to whichever airport is willing to offer the airline the most money.
(Back in 2018, as we wrote about, Aer Lingus was brazen enough to launch a public competition, offering to launch flights to the US city which handed over the most ‘incentives’.)
This money is usually directed from the tourism budget when it is US cities involved. Since I doubt any UK city would be willing to fund Aer Lingus flights, it is likely that the money will come from the airport. This could be in the form of cash payments or substantial discounts on landing and passenger fees.
There is no indication that these flights will stop in Dublin on the way.
Where may Aer Lingus fly from?
The Irish Times reports that six regional UK airports have submitted a bid. Edinburgh and Manchester are the only two which were named.
What aircraft will Aer Lingus base there?
Shannon is currently the home of two Airbus A321LR aircraft.
We have written about the Aer Lingus A321LR fleet a few times, including here. This is a new long range (hence the ‘LR’) version of the single aisle A321 aircraft.
It is capable of flying from Ireland, and presumably the UK, non-stop to the US East Coast. Shannon currently serves New York and Boston.
The A321LR has a rather nifty flat bed business class seat which you can see here. The business class cabin has 16 seats.
This appears to be a long term deal
The Irish Times reports that Aer Lingus is offering a three year contract to the winning airport.
This is bad news for Shannon, which is also facing the loss of flights by Delta and United to the US. American Airlines is the only airline which is currently offering flights to Shannon for 2021.
For UK based HfP readers, this is good news. There will be new Avios-bookable flights to the US East Coast from a UK regional airport.
The Irish Times report is here.