Aer Lingus to operate third UK route for Virgin
Service from Aberdeen to Heathrow brings daily flights on ‘Little Red’ routes to 26
Virgin have rented four Airbus SAS A320 narrow-body planes and crews from Aer Lingus on a so-called ‘wet-lease’ basis. Photograph: John Decker/Reuters
The service from Aberdeen in Scotland to Heathrow, beginning tomorrow, brings the number of daily flights as part of its “Little Red” domestic service to 26.
The carrier introduced flights from Edinburgh and Manchester last week.
Virgin have rented four Airbus SAS A320 narrow-body planes and crews from Aer Lingus on a so-called “wet-lease” basis, which also includes maintenance, hull and third-party legal liability insurance.
The deal, which was signed last December and commenced on March 31st, is for three years. Virgin expects the service to carry one million passengers a year.
The three routes are the first domestic services offered by Virgin in 28 years after the company began to lose long-haul passengers to BMI when the Deutsche Lufthansa AG unit merged with British Airways last year.
The Little Red service aims to facilitate the one-third of UK residents who live in northern England and Scotland.
Etihad codeshare deal
Meanwhile, Etihad Airways has received approval from the US Department of Transportation to put its EY flight code on Aer Lingus transatlantic services out of Dublin.
The codeshare arrangement will allow passengers to pre-clear US customs and border protection in Dublin, meaning they will effectively arrive in the US as domestic passengers.
US regulatory approval follows last July’s announcement of a historic interline and codeshare agreement between the two national carriers.
Etihad Airways’s chief strategy and planning officer Kevin Knight said the company’s strategic partnership with Aer Lingus “continues to flourish”.
“Enhancing connectivity, making the journey easier and more enjoyable, increasing choice, and seamlessly integrating our operations with those of codeshare partners underpin our strategy for building our global network,” he said.
Etihad Airways already places its EY flight code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin and Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Kerry, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Manchester and Stockholm.
In addition, the airline offers codeshare flights on Aer Lingus services from London and Manchester to Dublin, Cork and Shannon, from London to Belfast and from Cork to Amsterdam.