The Aer Lingus hub at Manchester, UK is taking a delay. Citing slower than expected reopening of the US-UK travel corridor, Aer Lingus will delay the launch of US routes two months, now planning New York and Orlando flights to begin on 30 September 2020.
This announcement is the latest blow to an aviation market many expected would be one of the early international recovery stars. With vaccination rates relatively high in both countries airlines and other travel industry groups have pressed for a travel bubble or general reopening of the borders between the two countries.
Following meetings at the G7 Summit recently in Cornwall, UK, however, US & UK leaders could only muster support for a task force to study what a reopening timeline will look like.
Further limiting the viability of the route is a lack of regulatory approval to operate the services. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority is yet to complete its review and and confirmation of the Aer Lingus UK operating certificate. Without that in hand the flights cannot legally operate. Moreover, the US Department of Transportation will not allow the carrier to sell seats originating in US until the license is received.
The delay in committing to border reopening – as well as some hesitancy among travelers given the UK’s willingness to quickly change its mind on which countries require quarantine on return – also impacts booking willingness on the part of travelers. Racing home from Portugal after a change in the classifications is far easier than scrambling to secure a flight home from the USA.
On the plus side, Aer Lingus remains confident that Barbados service, slated to launch 20 October, remains on schedule.
Passengers holding tickets on an affected JFK or Orlando flight are eligible to receive a full refund, re-accommodation on an alternative service or the option of a voucher with an additional 10%, for use across the Aer Lingus network over the next five years.
More Aer Lingus UK details:
- Aer Lingus adds Manchester base for Summer 2021
- Aer Lingus Launches UK subsidiary, applies for US route authorities
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