Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus are ready to launch new routes to America

By Sarah McCabe

Aer Lingus will launch three new transatlantic routes tomorrow, including flights to Los Angeles and Hartford, Connecticut.

The third route is not yet known though Miami has been suggested as a likely destination by industry experts.

The new routes will require the airline to take on more staff, it is understood.

Aer Lingus will be implementing some staff reductions in areas like finance and procurement as it merges with new owner IAG — but expects its net headcount to have increased by the end of 2015.

The carrier is reported to have received a financial incentive of around $5m (£3.2m) to launch flights between Bradley International Airport in Hartford as well as two years of free landing charges.

The Connecticut airport is thought to have courted Aer Lingus for months.

Bradley International has no existing transatlantic services after the axing of an Amsterdam route in 2009.

The state is sandwiched between Massachusetts to the north, and New York to the west and south.

The LA route, meanwhile, reopens a service that was cancelled at the beginning of the recession.

 The airline suspended flights between Dublin and LA in November 2008, as it announced plans to dramatically reduce capacity on its long haul US routes.

At the time, the decision was blamed on higher fuel costs, a weak US dollar and the economic slowdown.

Today Aer Lingus is in expansion mode following the IAG takeover.

The pending announcement of long haul routes follows recent news of new short haul routes including flights to Manchester, Montpellier and Pisa.

It has launched a revamped website and online booking system as well as a new brand campaign, ‘Smart Flies’, which includes a partnership with the IRFU.

A new frequent flyer scheme to replace the airline’s popular Gold Circle Club will also be revealed in the coming weeks, called ‘Aer Club’.

It will be a distinct Aer Lingus programme, as opposed to an IAG plan.

It will provide more redemption opportunities with IAG’s other airlines and partners through a new common currency.

Dublin Airport has welcomed the Aer Lingus route expansions announced so far, as it continues to enjoy a strong year.

The airport saw passenger numbers rise by 15% in the first eight months of 2015.

Belfast Telegraph