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Aer Lingus Launches Largest-Ever North American Flight Schedule

Cleveland celebrates the launch of nonstop flights to Dublin with Aer Lingus as part of the airline's route expansion to 19 routes in the U.S.

by Matteo Legnani

May 23, 2023

Photo: Cleveland inaugural flight. First Officer Ava Cregan and Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton with Ground Staff Dejan Cvisic and Danielle Itodo. Courtesy of Marc O'Sullivan / Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is set to embark on its largest-ever North American program this summer, featuring a staggering 2.25 million available seats.

With bookings already surging by 20% compared to the pre-Covid holiday season of 2019, the Dublin-based airline has unveiled its ambitious plans on the day of its inaugural service to Cleveland, marking the first new transatlantic destination since 2019.

Photo: Courtesy Aer Lingus.

The carrier’s expansion brings the total number of transatlantic routes to an impressive 19, connecting passengers across the Atlantic to its oneworld partners, which include American Airlines.

This momentous occasion signifies Aer Lingus’ commitment to enhancing passenger travel options and capitalizing on the resurgent demand for international travel.

The newly added route to Ohio’s second-largest city, Cleveland, will be serviced four times weekly by one of the airline’s eight Airbus A321LR aircraft.

Photo: Aer Lingus, Airbus A321neo. Courtesy of Adam Khan / Unsplash

These narrowbody planes boast a 2-2 cross-section layout featuring 16 lie-flat seats in Business Class, ensuring optimal comfort for discerning travelers. Early reports indicate a solid start for the new service, with load factors surpassing 90% for the peak summer season.

Among the standout North American routes, Washington, DC has experienced a remarkable 40% surge in bookings compared to 2019. Responding to this heightened demand, Aer Lingus has increased the frequency of flights to the U.S. capital, now serving it twice daily from Dublin.

Another significant contributor to the bookings surge is the increased demand from U.K. travelers connecting through the Irish hub, particularly for the popular Orlando route, which has witnessed a 35% increase in bookings.

Photo: Courtesy Aer Lingus.

The surge in bookings can be attributed to various factors, including the strong U.S. dollar and the lifting of travel restrictions, which have invigorated the desire among American consumers to venture abroad. A recent survey conducted by the European Travel Commission revealed that nearly 40% of U.S. travelers are eager to explore destinations beyond North America this summer, with Ireland featuring prominently in their top 10 choices.

Over the past decade, Aer Lingus has demonstrated an impressive growth trajectory in its transatlantic operations, expanding from six routes to an extensive network of 19. This summer, the carrier will connect major European cities, such as Dublin, Shannon, and Manchester (U.K.), to a range of North American destinations, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Orlando, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Passenger traffic across the Atlantic has nearly tripled in the last ten years, surging from 1.1 million in 2013 to an estimated 3 million in 2023.

Furthermore, the number of passengers connecting Europe and North America via Dublin—now the fifth largest hub airport in the Europe-North America market—has almost tripled since 2013. The figure has risen from 300,000 to an impressive 800,000, with a significant proportion of these travelers originating from North America.

Photo: Courtesy of Arthur Ellis / Aer Lingus

One of the key factors driving this consistent growth is the deployment of the long-range version of the Airbus A321neo, known as the A321LR.

While the larger A330-200 and -300 aircraft are utilized for larger routes connecting Dublin to prominent North American cities, the A321LR has unlocked new destinations and increased frequencies on existing routes.

This summer, Hartford, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Washington will join the list of destinations served by the new long-range Airbus A321, enhancing connectivity for passengers traveling to and from Dublin and Shannon.