Aer Lingus has been operating a handful of direct, though not non-stop, flights from Germany to the United States. The flights are being conducted for IAG Cargo and are reportedly assisting a German car manufacturer with cargo relocation.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a bunch of exciting flights, from Qantas’ Germany repatriation flights to a nonstop German Airbus A350 flight from Cologne to Canberra. However, a fair few exciting flights have also popped up here and there from freight movements. Before we saw British Airways flying a vast number of masks to Germany via London. Now, its partner is getting involved.
Flying freight to the US
While the Aer Lingus Airbus A330 isn’t necessarily rare on the short-haul route to London, it would typically be a rare sight on other short-haul routes to the continent. However, as spotted by Flying In Ireland, the type has recently caused a stir in Germany.
Over recent days, three Airbus A330 flights have been operated to Germany by the Irish airline. The first flight saw EI-GAJ, a three-year-old A330 flying to Munich on Saturday as EI9350. The three-year-old aircraft then flew back to Dublin before continuing to Atlanta just hours later with the cargo still onboard.
Flying In Ireland reports that these flights were operated on behalf of a German car manufacturer. It isn’t mentioned who the customer is, but both BMW and Volkswagen have a presence in both cities. Two flights were operated from Germany to Atlanta on Sunday, with two more scheduled to take place tomorrow.
Rather than flying non-stop, the aircraft have been stopping off at Dublin en-route. The purpose of the stopover is to change the crew between the two rotations. This was previously seen with British Airways when they operated flights from China to Germany via London.
Non-stop vs. direct
The flights in question are clearly not non-stop, as they have been stopping off in Dublin to exchange their crews. However, could they be considered direct? Depending on your definition of the term, it could be. Some sources suggest that a direct flight could have one or more intermediate stops. This definition would fit the cargo traveling to the US, as it has an intermediate stop in Dublin while the same aircraft is used for both flights.
However, some other definitions suggest that the two legs of the flight must have the same flight number. This was not the case for the Aer Lingus flight as, in Dublin, EI9351 became EI9079 for the onward journey to Atlanta.
Was this a direct flight or not? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!