Earlier this summer rumors were swirling about a possible UK base for some Aer Lingus planes. It now appears that Manchester is the airport of choice for those operations. The carrier secured just over 1,500 new slots at the airport, enough to operate a full summer of flights with four long-haul aircraft.
The application calls for three A321LR and one A330 to be based at the UK’s second gateway city for the season.
While most similar applications include destinations the Aer Lingus filing does not, leaving the door open for plenty of speculation as to what the new route map might look like. The carrier did just secure membership in the Oneworld transatlantic joint venture, giving it some additional backing from partners to help boost sales on the routes.
Los Angeles or Las Vegas could be options with the A330, and Aer Lingus would not have competition on those routes. Virgin Atlantic previously operated them but its Summer ’21 filing suggests those routes will not return. Delta Air Lines planned to run Boston service in the summer of 2020 but that obviously did not fly. The carrier did not request those slots for 2021. And American Airlines is shrinking its planned Philadelphia service to fly from 4 June to 8 September, but it is unlikely Aer Lingus would try to augment that given the joint venture in play.
Oman Air (Muscat), Hainan Airlines and Westjet (4x weekly Halifax) also cut their presence at Manchester for next summer, though it seems unlikely Aer Lingus would try to backfill any of those routes.
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