Aer Lingus is once again expanding in North America, adding two direct routes from Dublin Airport (DUB) to Denver International Airport (DEN) and Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP).
Starting on April 29, 2024, there will be four weekly flights to Minneapolis-St. Paul, which will increase to a daily service from October of that year. Dublin to Denver flights will also run four times a week starting May 17, 2024.
The announcements come against the backdrop of Aer Lingus’ ‘Dub Hub’ strategy, which aims to place Dublin at the heart of travel between Europe and North America.
This expansion shows Aer Lingus’ commitment to easy travel between Ireland and the U.S., offering connections to 20 European cities via Dublin from Minneapolis and Denver.
Aer Lingus now has the fifth-highest number of seats between the U.S. and Europe. This summer, the airline will operate its largest-ever transatlantic schedule with 2.25 million seats available in the U.S. and Canada, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) has been added to its network.
Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus Chief Executive, heralded the growth strategy of the airline at the launch of the new transatlantic routes. “With Dublin’s geographic position as the gateway to Europe, pre-clearance facilities at the airport, and the strong, long-established Irish American ties, Aer Lingus is ideally placed to connect people and places across the Atlantic,” she said,
“Denver and Minneapolis-St Paul are significant business destinations within the U.S., and the new Aer Lingus routes facilitate corporate links and connectivity between Europe and North America through our Dublin Hub. Denver’s position as the ‘Gateway to the Rockies’ and its outdoor appeal, from world-class skiing to hiking, opens up a whole new U.S. experience to leisure travelers from Ireland and Europe.”
Aer Lingus will initially deploy the Airbus A330-200 for both routes. It has a 266-seating capacity, 23 of which are Business Class, with the remaining 243 in Economy Class.
From Winter 2024, the airline intends to use its newest aircraft—the A321XLR—on the Dublin-Minneapolis route.
The new routes have positive implications for business and leisure in Ireland, with expected surges in tourism from the deep-pocketed American market. “As an island destination, we know there’s a proven direct correlation between access and growth in visitor numbers,” said Siobhan McManamy, Interim Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, celebrating the news.
The direct route from Dublin (DUB) to Denver International Airport (DEN) bodes well for existing business collaborations between Ireland and some of Colorado’s commercial giants. Companies such as Otter Products, Webroots, Level 3 Communications, Graebel, Emergentics, and Paragon 28 have European headquarters in the Irish capital.
Moreover, Denver has one of the highest concentrations of Irish people in the U.S., making it a solid foundation for strengthening business relationships between the two nations.
Minneapolis-St Paul has long been fertile ground for big business, with 15 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Twin Cities. Companies such as Smiths Medical, Medtronic, and 3M are all based in Minnesota and have a strong presence in Ireland.
As expected, Delta Air Lines, which runs one of its strongest hubs at Minneapolis-St. Paul retaliated by announcing new flights to Dublin seven hours after the Irish carrier released its news. The Atlanta-based carrier upped the ante by loading five weekly flights to the schedules—one more than what Aer Lingus intends to offer. Delta will be operating its Boeing 767-300ER on the route, providing passengers with numerous connections at its Northern hub.