Aer Lingus Could Launch Transatlantic Flights From Cork In 2022

Aer Lingus may consider launching transatlantic flights from Cork to the US in 2022. With long-range narrowbody aircraft, like the Airbus A321LR and A321XLR, the airline believes its position at the western edge of Europe could make it a viable competitor in the transatlantic market.

Aer Lingus Airbus A320
Aer Lingus is considering its options for transatlantic flights out of Cork. Photo: Getty Images

Aer Lingus could launch new transatlantic flights out of Cork within the next few years. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Sean Doyle, revealed potential plans to launch transatlantic flights using long-range narrowbody aircraft, such as the Airbus A321LR or the Airbus A321XLR.

“The fact you can get into the North Atlantic with a smaller aircraft means that routes which were too thin for a widebody aircraft may become viable in future and we’ll evaluate whether Cork is in that mix,” he told the Irish Examiner.

Previously, the airline has been put off launching certain transatlantic routes using its Airbus A330s because demand would not be enough to fill these larger aircraft.

The issue with Cork

Cork is Ireland’s second-largest city, and it’s conveniently placed in the southwest of the country which should, in theory, make it a good airport for transatlantic flights. Its geographic location makes it a popular airport for point-to-point routes in Europe. However, it’s not really set up for connecting flights.

Aer Lingus Airbus A330
Transatlantic flights out of Cork are currently not viable for Aer Lingus. Photo: Anthony92931 via Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, Norwegian launched the first-ever transatlantic flight out of Cork using its Boeing 737 MAX. The Cork to Providence, Rhode Island route was offered as a summer-only service, but it performed well enough that the airline was prepared to restart the route during the summer of 2019.

However, Norwegian was forced to cancel the Cork to Providence route last year, alongside many others, due to the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

Where could Aer Lingus capitalize?

Luckily for Aer Lingus, the Boeing 737 MAX is not part of its fleet. This means it hasn’t been hampered by the worldwide grounding like many of its competitors have. Instead, Aer Lingus currently has three Airbus A321LRs in its fleet, and the delivery of these aircraft was considerably delayed.

While these Airbus A321LRs are being used elsewhere on Aer Lingus’ network, three is not enough to commit to transatlantic flights yet. However, as Sean Doyle’s recent comments suggest, another order for Airbus A321LRs or Airbus A321XLRs may facilitate a change in the airline’s stance towards transatlantic flights out of Cork.

Aer Lingus Airbus A321LR
Aer Lingus currently has three Airbus A321LRs in its fleet. Photo: Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons

Simple Flying has reached out to Aer Lingus for comment on a potential order for more of these long-range Airbus narrowbody jets. Unfortunately, the airline has not yet been able to respond, but we’ll update this article once we receive more information.

One thing which would make Cork a more attractive prospect for transatlantic flights would be a better connection to Dublin. Currently, the transport links between the two cities are not fast or convenient enough to make a journey between the two convenient for travelers arriving on transatlantic flights.

However, an improved connection between the two cities is something Sean Doyle has considered. “…we are going to evaluate whether we could reinstate a smaller version of a Cork-Dublin network,” he told the Irish Examiner.