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Aer Lingus to create 200 jobs with routes to US

By Brian Hutton

More than 200 jobs are to be created with the launch of three new Aer Lingus routes to the US, the carrier has announced.

Direct transatlantic flights will operate from Dublin to Los Angeles, Newark and Hartford in Connecticut from next year, the airline revealed.

Five flights a week will run between Dublin and LA, with daily flights on the other two routes.

The expansion is the first major announcement from the former Irish flag carrier since it was taken over by British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG).

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said Ireland's geographic location and US immigration pre-clearance provides a "natural gateway" to build business between Europe and North America.

"This is the first step in our plans to add North American destinations, bring new aircraft into the fleet, increase passenger numbers and create new jobs," he said.

"This shows also our keenness to develop Dublin as another key hub within the group."

IAG also said it has "firm plans" to launch Wi-Fi onboard its short-haul flights. "We think the technology platforms are well established now and can facilitate our requirement which is for global coverage.

"So watch this space is what I would say," Mr Walsh said.

He also said British Airways had no plans to cut back on capacity at Heathrow after media reports suggesting the carrier had been cutting flights on routes to New York over the summer. Last month, rival Ryanair unveiled another significant expansion of its services from Dublin Airport, but has made no further mention of any possible return to Belfast.

It comes after strong speculation that Ryanair could be set for a grand return to Belfast as it bids on sought-after slots freed up amid the Aer Lingus sell-off.

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