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Aer Lingus plans to grow its long haul routes from Manchester

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An interview with Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton in the Irish Independent last week (paywalled) shows support for a ramping up of direct long haul flights from Manchester.

Aer Lingus currently flies direct from Manchester to New York, Orlando and Barbados. We reviewed the Aer Lingus Manchester to Barbados flight here, photo above.

To quote:

Aer Lingus A330 Manchester

“We’ve made huge in-roads into the Manchester-North American market,” according to Embleton.

In 2019, Aer Lingus had a 3pc share of the transatlantic market from Manchester, with all that traffic at the time transferring to US destinations via Dublin. The collapse of Thomas Cook that year provided the catalyst for Aer Lingus’ entry to the Manchester direct transatlantic market.

This year, Aer Lingus expects its transatlantic market share in Manchester to be about 20pc, with the vast majority of passengers travelling directly to destinations such as New York, Orlando and Barbados. IAG revealed earlier this month that Manchester accounted for 13pc of all Aer Lingus transatlantic capacity in 2022 and 8pc of Aer Lingus capacity across its entire network.

“If customers can fly direct, they will want to fly direct,” says the Aer Lingus boss. “To be able to provide that direct service to them is good for us, for them, but it also builds the Aer Lingus brand awareness.”

She says there are “plenty of other places” in the US that customers in the northern UK want to fly to.

“It makes Aer Lingus more front of mind when they think about flights,” she believes. “I think it’s a win-win for us. I can see Manchester growing many-fold for us.”

The airline has six more A321XLR aircraft on order, for delivery from late 2024, which will add to the current long-haul fleet of 23 planes and allow further growth.

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Comments (77)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Matthias says:

    On the flipside, the Milan BA lounge is excellent including some nice made-to-order hot food.

  • TimM says:

    “The airline has six more A321neo aircraft on order, for delivery from late 2024, which will add to the current long-haul fleet of 23 planes ”

    A321s are not normally considered ‘long-haul’. I assume this is the LR version allowing transatlantic routes in short-haul comfort.

    They are not going to be flying to Australia non-stop.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Sadly this likely means the likelihood of getting a narrowbody on a major route like DUB-JFK or DUB-BOS goes up. Not ideal in J cabin, as more seats are the 2-2 variety and only 1 forward toilet. Even worse in Y where friends tell me the lack of bulkhead seats and general moving around space on the cabin was a severe detriment to their experience.

    • Rob says:

      Will fix, sorry. Meant XLR.

    • Rhys says:

      Even most ‘long haul’ aircraft can’t fly to Australia non-stop 😉

      • TimM says:

        It depends where you start from.

      • Matarredonda says:

        Indeed so. The 350-10000 being specially modified for Qantas.

        • Mark says:

          Not to mention the 787-9 that Qantas flies non-stop from London to Perth, which does already exist in significant quantities. In principle several other existing long haul aircraft should be able to manage it too, albeit (as with the 787) with payload restrictions. Sorry Rhys 😉

          • Michael Jennings says:

            Qantas did fly LHR-DRW with both the A380 and the 787 at various times due to Covid restrictions; My first time doing UK-Australia non stop.

  • Andrew. says:

    This is the interesting bit:- “She says there are ‘plenty of other places’ in the US that customers in the northern **UK** want to fly to.”.

    Perhaps EDI/GLA? United (this summer) are operating two flights a day to NYC, plus daily flight to Chicago & DC, along with Delta operating daily flights to Boston, Atlanta & New York.

    Someone at IAG must be looking at this and noting that, say, up to 750 Scottish & North England passengers a day are choosing a direct flight on a US Airline to visit NYC over transitting through T5.

    • Ironside says:

      “Someone at IAG must be looking at this…”

      They should be, although it’s questionable what they would ever do about it.

      When even LGW in its BA pomp was seen as sort-of-a-hub-but-kind-of-an-outstation, the thought of pushing the boundaries of London Airways must bring a out a cold sweat in whomever remains at Waterside.

      • Mark says:

        They are doing something about it by setting up the Aer Lingus UK base at MAN at least, which presumably has a much lower cost base than BA could achieve, and makes the difference in enabling commercial viability for a considerably smaller hub then Heathrow or Gatwick.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      She meant more flights from MAN to the US surely? It’d take a hell of a bribe ticket price wise to make me give up a MAN-DUB-USA connecting flight in favour of a direct MAN-USA. I value US preclearance at DUB very highly as someone ineligible for Global Entry. Bizarrely (from my perspective), you now regularly see people flying DUB-MAN-JFK/MCO. I get a nervous shudder on their behalf when I think of them exchanging US preclearance on a direct DUB service for a cross-terminal transfer at MAN.

      • dougzz99 says:

        When I’ve pre-cleared at Dublin it’s always been with GE so not really experienced the normal version. But what I have noticed on each occasion is huge queues. Isn’t this really exchanging a poor experience at the destination for a poor experience at source?
        In some ways it’s worse as you have the double security which without PC you don’t get.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          Not like for like no. DUB segregates J passengers at pre-clearance. US immigration on arrival does not. Uncle Sam gives no special treatment.

          Also to be realistic, the vast majority of those in those huge queues are Irish passport holders and given their low risk profile each transaction with a desk agent is short and sweet and the huge queue moves at a pace. That’s far from the experience if say landing at SFO when a plane load of Brits can end up in a huge queue behind multiple arrivals from east Asia and South America.

      • TimM says:

        As was pointed out, pre-clearance at MAN has been rumoured for some time.

    • NorthernLass says:

      Manchester is in the north of England, not the north of the UK lol!

      I can’t understand why no airlines rushed to fill the MIA gap left by Thomas Cook (?) It would be a hugely popular route giving access to south Florida, the Caribbean and LAtin America.

      EDI is currently better served than MAN on some routes, despite only having half the number of passengers. It’s a pity there are no MAN-EDI flights any more, it would be a nice alternative to LHR!

      • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

        Who needs flights when we have Transpennine Express….oh wait…

        • TimM says:

          Yes, where I live, near the Poet Laureate (known to complain about the rail service), we have the unique privilege of the most expensive train line per unit distance and the least reliable in Europe – I imagine the World but those figures are not available. The Huddersfield Line is operated (sort-of) by Transpennine. When I return to MAN, it will be the dreaded replacement bus service, on a weekday!

          Decades of managed decline have brought us the legendary Manchester Airport Experience and the Northern Rail Experience. For those who don’t know where the North of England is, it is well worth a visit for a laugh.

  • Paul says:

    I was in Schipol yesterday. Aspire is closed, though signage for both the closed BA lounge and the Aspire lounge still exist, so ignore it, otherwise you’re in for a lengthy walk back to Cafe Flor. Not that you’ll be missing much; the offering at Cafe Flor is dismal – I spent 5 mins there before heading to the fresh market on the way to the D gates.

    • Gail says:

      I was in Amsterdam on 8th March and had to use the Aspire lounge using my Silver status. They were very welcoming but the food choice was very limited. Very disappointing.

  • A350 says:

    Just need to Aer Lingus to join oneworld like IAG said they would once when they purchased them!

  • Jim says:

    I was at Schipol last week. The Aspire lounge was open and I used Priority Pass to access (I was flying with KLM). The BA lounge next door is closed and is piled up with tables and chairs so definitely isn’t being used for anything at the moment as it’s looks a mess.

  • zapato1060 says:

    Will be leaving from AMS to MAD in 3 weeks time (Sunday at midday). Flying Economy and hoping to use my Plat PP. So Im I right in thinking there are no lounges for me?

  • Traumahawk007 says:

    Massive opportunity by EI to fill the gap left by AA & TCX.
    VS seem to be dithering on routes & opening Clubhouse in T2; they used to serve LAS, MIA, LAX & SFO.
    AA definitely has plans to bring PHL back but seem to be waiting for the A321XLR. Perhaps lack of suitable efficient airframes & crew is holding things up with most airlines.
    EI big bonus now with Avios & 241.
    Pre clearance would be bonus but why is why should a UK citizen need it or Global Entry when we allow US citizens in via our E-gates with no equivalent ESTA requirements. UK Gov should sort it out (Quid Pro Quo)

    • Rhys says:

      …because it is cheaper for the UK to allow US citizens to use the eGates, that’s why. Of course, if you want to fund the additional officers needed to do in-person checks then feel free!

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        People forget that the reason we allow EU passports to still use the e-gates and no passport stamping is cost cutting it’s not because we are being nice to them.

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