MIAMI – Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (EI) is seeking permission from both British and US authorities to operate routes between both countries in 2021, portal Routes Online reported on December 11. The airline is planning to enter the markets next summer, with three initial routes based out of Manchester Airport (MAN).
As stated in the portal, “the Dublin-based airline has applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate services to Boston (BOS), New York John F Kennedy (JFK) and Orlando (MCO) with two Airbus A330-300s,” with two A321LRs that due for delivery in February and March.
A subsidiary called Aer Lingus (U.K.) Ltd has been formed to fly the transatlantic routes, with the UK Civil Aviation Authority expected to issue an air operator certificate in early 2021. The US-UK routes, however, will be operated under the same IATA code as Aer Lingus.
Seeking to Fill Thomas Cook Gap at MAN
In the filings to the US Department of Transportation, EI seeks to fill the gap that Thomas Cook’s shutdown in September 2019 left in some routes from Manchester.
“With the closure of Thomas Cook Airlines in September 2019, all nonstop routes to the US from Manchester in 2021 are forecast to be served by only one operator, and 70% of the peak summer capacity is anticipated to be operated by Virgin Atlantic,” the airline said.
EI’s filing also mentioned that “in the first year of operations, Aer Lingus (U.K.) anticipates providing additional flight options on the routes Manchester-New York (JFK) and Manchester-Orlando, and providing service on one currently unserved route, Manchester-Boston.”
The carrier expects to fly once-daily year-round service to JFK, as well as daily summer flights to BOS. Services between MAN and MCO will be flown daily during the summer and four times a week during the winter season. Aer Lingus hopes to start on the routes during summer 2021 and, for that reason, it has urged the DOT to quickly approve its request. It is known that EI has secured 1,500 slots at MAN for the season.
Both the UK and the US have officially signed an open skies agreement on November 17, that ensures flights between both countries after January 1, 2021, when the post-Brexit transition period ends.
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