The new Aer Lingus base in Manchester, UK is officially open for business. The carrier confirmed its first four destinations in the Americas – New York City, Orlando, Barbados, and Boston – with flights beginning from 29 July. These are the first non-stop flights from the UK across the Atlantic for the airline.
We are delighted to offer high-quality, direct, non-stop, business and leisure travel options, at very reasonable prices for travellers and holidaymakers across the North of England.– David Shepherd, Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer
The New York and Orlando flights commence operations on 29 July. New York will be served daily on a year-round basis with an A321LR. Orlando will see an A330-300 up to five days per week. Barbados flights launch on 20 October, also with the A330. At that time the Orlando service will drop to four weekly flights to support up to three frequencies to the Caribbean island. Service to Boston is planned on the A321LR, commencing “in summer 2022.”
The carrier also highlights a number of connecting markets available via Boston or New York, “with a schedule designed to maximise onward connectivity to exciting destinations such as Las Vegas, Nashville, and Jamaica, and for the first time from Manchester to San Jose, Bermuda and Dallas.”
Limited sales to start
The initial plans to launch Manchester service came out last November and the carrier began the process of applying for a UK operating certificate as a UK-based airline in December 2020. With that certification still in progress, however, the US Department of Transportation placed limits on what the carrier can sell. When the DOT approved the initial sale of tickets on the new routes it explicitly prohibited the company from targeting US customers.
This move was expected based on the US DOT’s partial approval of Aer Lingus’s application to fly to US markets, released on 5 March 2021.
[W]e will require that the Joint Applicants limit their marketing and sales activities to the United Kingdom, consistent with authority or permissions granted by the UK Government….Further, we require Joint Applicants to take appropriate measures to assure that they in fact make no sales in the United States.
Of course, once the UK CAA issues the necessary operating certificate for the Aer Lingus UK subsidiary sales can be expanded to include US-originating traffic as well.
The Barbados government did not implement comparable rules; flights are available today originating in Bridgetown.
Slow rolling the launch
The overall size of the Manchester base also appears to be slightly smaller than was originally anticipated. The company aims to hire 120 employees as it builds up the operations, but the initial flight plans require just two aircraft.
The November application for slots suggested that one A330 and a trio of A321LRs would be used. We now know that just one A330 and one A321LR will be in place to launch service. A second A321LR would be necessary next Summer to add the Boston route.
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