Aer Lingus is continuing its expansion of routes from North America to Ireland. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Irish Echo Staff
Aer Lingus will have two new landing spots in North America from next summer.
The Irish carrier has announced that from the summer of 2019 it will operate to Dublin out of the twin cities of Minneapolis-St Paul in the U.S., and Montreal in Canada.
The news follows the recent announcement by American Airlines of a service to Dublin from Dallas/Fort Worth beginning next summer.
The two new North Atlantic routes will bring to fifteen the number of direct services from the U.S. and Canada operated by Aer Lingus.
“We are pleased to announce two new transatlantic routes from our Dublin hub with daily direct service to Montreal and Minneapolis-St Paul commencing in summer 2019. These destinations each have a rich heritage, vibrant culture and much to offer visitors travelling for business or leisure,” said Aer Lingus CEO, Stephen Kavanagh.
Brian Ryks, Executive Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said: “Minneapolis-St. Paul and Dublin are both important centers for commerce and culture, with vibrant arts and entertainment offerings.
"I am very pleased that Aer Lingus will provide a direct connection between the cities, creating opportunities to strengthen economic and cultural ties on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Philippe Rainville, President and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal said: “We are tremendously proud to welcome Aer Lingus, the 37th airline to join the great Montréal-Trudeau family,” he said in reference to Montreal’s airport which is named after Pierre Trudeau.
"I’m sure travelers will appreciate this year-long direct connection and am confident this new collaboration will be a successful one," Rainville said.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, welcomed the announcement.
“Today’s announcement is more good news for tourism to the island of Ireland as we prepare for 2019. We work very closely with Aer Lingus and we look forward to co-operating with them to maximize the promotion of these new flights from Minneapolis and Montreal.
"As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated. They are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism."
The daily flight to Ireland's capital city marks the sixth nonstop European destination from MSP and gives area travelers a new, and possibly more affordable, way across the Atlantic Ocean, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.
Added the report: Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of a handful of destinations to benefit from Aer Lingus' rapid expansion in North America.
The airline offers nonstop service between Ireland and New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn.
The airline, which was owned by the Ireland government before being privatized, is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group, which also owns British Airways and Iberia. Competition on transatlantic flights has increased in recent years as European ultra-low-cost airlines like Norwegian Air and Wow Air have started flying to select U.S. markets.
Aer Lingus is classified as a mainline carrier, akin to Delta or United airlines in the U.S., but looks like it's on its way to becoming a discount carrier, said Bob Mann, an industry analyst and former airline executive.
"All that competitive exposure to Ryanair in the E.U. mandated it," he said.
"Aer Lingus is not a discount carrier, but they do try to remain competitive," said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, a fare-monitoring website now owned by TripAdvisor. "They do tend to have some pretty good fares."
He compares Aer Lingus to Icelandair in terms of service and pricing.
Aer Lingus will fly the route, which begins July 8, on a Boeing 757 aircraft. The year-round route will be flown daily during the summer months and four times a week during the winter months.