Aer Lingus to fly to 62 destinations from next summer

Airline to fly to 13 US locations from the Republic as it recovers from travel bans

Aer Lingus will operate to Heathrow from Shannon and to Belfast and Gatwick from Knock. Photograph: iStock

Aer Lingus will operate to Heathrow from Shannon and to Belfast and Gatwick from Knock. Photograph: iStock

 

Aer Lingus will fly to 62 destinations next summer, including 13 in North America from the Republic, as it rebuilds following more than a year of Covid travel bans.

The airline said on Thursday it would build from a “strong Christmas schedule” to next summer, when it will fly long- and short-haul services from the Republic and will continue offering transatlantic routes from Manchester.

In a further boost to Irish air travel, Dublin and Shannon airports confirmed that US carrier United Airlines would restore its summer services from each next year.

Aer Lingus plans to fly 71 routes serving 62 different destinations next summer, 16 of them in North America, which will include three services it is launching from Manchester to the US and Barbados.

The carrier highlighted the return of transatlantic travel, which was key to its growth and profits before Covid restrictions shut down most routes.

Aer Lingus will fly from Dublin to Boston, Chicago, LA, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and other North American cities next year. It also plans to serve Boston and New York from Shannon.

In a bid to boost transatlantic flying, Aer Lingus will sponsor a US college football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Nebraska Cornhuskers next August at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The airline intends flying “at least 50” short-haul routes to Europe next summer, 41 from Dublin and six from Cork.

It will operate to Heathrow from Shannon and to Belfast and Gatwick from Knock.

European destinations will include popular sun spots in the Canaries, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

United Airlines

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport confirmed that United Airlines plans to resume summer seasonal flights from there to Washington DC from February and Chicago from March.

This will be in addition to its year-round flights from the capital to Newark New Jersey, a key airport for neighbouring New York.

At the same time, Shannon announced that United would restart its summer flights to Newark from the midwestern airport from late March next year.

Martina Coogan, United’s sales manager for Ireland, declared that the airline was “delighted” to resume seasonal services from here.

Aer Lingus said on Thursday that its most recent customer survey shows two out of three Irish people are planning to travel abroad next year.

Chief strategy and planning officer Reid Moody dubbed the summer 2022 schedule an important step for the airline.

“We’re confident that the demand is there for travel next year, and that is reflected in our announcement today,” he said.

Mr Moody stressed the airline would continue to apply all health and safety measures on its flights.

Similarly, it will continue to offer customers the option of changing flights without paying extra fees up to seven days before take off.

Niall Gibbons, the chief executive of State body Tourism Ireland, said the schedule was a milestone on the road to the industry’s recovery.

“As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, nonstop flights cannot be overstated, so these flights will be absolutely critical to delivery recovery in inbound tourism,” he pointed out.