Delta Air Lines is reportedly mulling a nonstop link between Minneapolis (MSP) and Dublin (DUB), taking over a route Aer Lingus pioneered in 2019 and quickly axed during the pandemic.
According to a scoop from Ishrion Aviation, citing airport slot filings, Delta is angling to start a service between its Twin Cities hub and the Irish capital next summer. Fares aren’t yet on sale, so it’s unknown when the flights might begin or how frequently they will run. A Minneapolis airport’s governing body spokesperson directed questions to Delta, who declined to comment.
Delta Air Lines plans to launch a new route between Minneapolis (MSP) and Dublin (DUB) next summer based on the ACL Initial Coordination Report.
Flights are planned to operate daily with the 211-seat Boeing 767-300ER. pic.twitter.com/3okEIV2ZCN
— Ishrion Aviation (@IshrionA) November 11, 2022
If Delta does launch the route, it will be good news for Midwestern travelers looking toward the Emerald Isle and for flyers with SkyMiles, who currently need to connect through New York City (JFK) or Boston (BOS) to make it to Ireland. But it might be bad news for the Irish flag carrier.
Aer Lingus inaugurated the route between Minneapolis and Dublin in the summer of 2019, one of a quartet of new international flights the Minnesota business community rallied to help MSP win.
Airport officials canvassed the region’s businesses—including Fortune 500 companies 3M, Target, Best Buy, and U.S. Bank—and found where they planned to send employees in the next few years, often on lucrative business class or last-minute tickets.
Swayed by the data, Aer Lingus launched a nonstop flight from Minneapolis to Dublin (DUB) on Aer Lingus, and Delta added direct flights to Mexico City (MEX) and Seoul-Incheon (ICN). However, the routes were quickly paused when the pandemic grounded flights in 2020.
The fourth flight to Shanghai (PVG) with Delta was inauspiciously scheduled to begin in 2020 and has never materialized.
Since then, Delta has resumed the Mexico City and Seoul services. But Aer Lingus has yet to return to Minneapolis, although it has resumed most of its U.S. routes and announced new ones, like a nonstop flight to Cleveland to begin next summer.
Now Delta has swooped into the gap. Reports suggest it will fly a 216-seat Boeing 767-300ER between Minneapolis and Dublin. However, seasoned Delta business travelers might be disappointed as these planes aren’t outfitted with the Delta One Suites in business class. However, the aircraft has been refurbished with Delta Premium Select seats for travelers in premium economy.
A Delta service from Minneapolis to Dublin does make sense. The carrier is the leading operator at the Minneapolis airport and has a near monopoly on transatlantic travel with its partners Air France and KLM.
However, some travelers will lose out on the switch. Aer Lingus has distinguished itself for its affordable flights between the U.S. and Europe, often prices as low as $400. Delta won’t have the same incentive to slash prices.
Aer Lingus travelers can also extend their European trips with free stopovers in Dublin.
The Irish carrier hasn’t commented on any plans to return to Minneapolis, but it’s unlikely to compete with Delta on the route directly.