Aer Lingus Airbus A321-251N Photo: Dirk Grothe

MIAMI — Irish Flag Carrier, Aer Lingus, took delivery of its first Airbus A321LR (EI-LRA • MSN 8887) this past weekend. The aircraft arrived in Dublin on a nonstop delivery flight from Hamburg-Finkenwerder (XFW).

Aer Lingus has an additional 11 A321LRs on order, which will be delivered through to the end of 2021. The type will replace the four Boeing 757-200s the carrier has wet-leased from ASL Airlines Ireland.

The Irish carrier has an additional six Airbus A321XLRs on order, which was placed by the parent company, IAG, last month at the Paris Air Show 2019. Deliveries for extra-long-range variant will start in 2023.

Photo: Dirk Grothe

Aer Lingus plans to use the A321LR to expand its trans-Atlantic route network, using them to start thinner routes, which aren’t sustainable with a widebody aircraft.

It is likely that Aer Lingus will consider launching long haul flights from Cork (ORK), which has a shorter runway than Shannon (SNN) and Dublin (DUB).

Norwegian launched long haul flights to the USA from this airport using its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2017, but they were short-lived and axed by the low-cost carrier.

Aer Lingus’s A321LRs will feature 184 seats in a two-class configuration: 16 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 168 in Economy Class.

The carrier plans deploy the type on its Dublin to Hartford route next month, replacing the Boeing 757-200 that currently operates it, then onwards to Boston, and Washington-Dulles routes from October 2019.

Aer Lingus also plans to start direct flights from Dublin (DUB) to Montreal (YUL) in 2020. These flights were meant to start in August 2019, but due to the Airbus delivery delays, the route has been pushed back.

The A321LR is regarded as a game-changer by Aer Lingus (Airways, June 2019). An exciting few years ahead for Aer Lingus, as they look to expand their Trans-Atlantic network.