Breaking: Aer Lingus Announces Manchester Transatlantic Flights

Aer Lingus has today confirmed its plans to fly transatlantic routes from Manchester in the northwest of England. Its first routes will be to New York and Orlando, with Barbados and Boston added later. Both the A321LR and the A330 will be used for the services.

Aer Lingus A321LR
Aer Lingus was keen to point out it will be the first airline to fly the A321LR between the UK and the US. Photo: Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus transatlantic routes revealed

Aer Lingus has finally broken the news we’ve all been waiting for. Its long-haul ambitions from Manchester in the UK have been detailed today in an announcement by the airline, firming up all the suspicions regarding the routes, frequencies and aircraft involved in its new venture.

The Irish airline will launch services from Manchester Airport first to New York’s JFK Airport and to Orlando beginning on July 29th. These routes will be complemented by the addition of Barbados in October, and Boston in the summer of 2022.

Speaking about the announcement, David Shepherd, Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer, commented,

“We are delighted to offer high-quality, direct, non-stop, business and leisure travel options, at very reasonable prices for travellers and holidaymakers across the North of England. Aer Lingus has been flying to North America for more than 60 years and we also have a proud history with Manchester Airport.

“With so many people missing out on travel due to Covid-19 over the past year, Aer Lingus is delighted to be sharing this positive news today, announcing a great choice for customers and creating up to 120 jobs in the North of England. 

“We believe our transatlantic offering is one of the best in the marketplace comprising both business and economy cabins.

“Equally our operation of the new and innovative Airbus A321LR aircraft marks a further milestone as Aer Lingus will be one of the first carriers to fly the aircraft between the UK and the US. We look forward to commencing our transatlantic services this summer.”

Aer Lingus Manchester routes
The new routes are geared to both business and leisure markets. Photo: Aer Lingus

Although the transatlantic operations from Manchester are new for Aer Lingus, it has been a regular sight at the Northern English airport for many years. Flights to Dublin and Belfast have been a fixture for many decades, and it says it is preparing to restart services to Cork this summer.

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First to fly the A321LR transatlantic from the UK to the US

In something of a snub to future transatlantic airline JetBlue, Aer Lingus is keen to note that it will be the first airline to launch services with the long-range narrowbody from Airbus between the UK and the US. The A321LR will be used on the routes to New York from July and to Boston next year.

Aer Lingus A321LR
New York and Boston will see the A321LR deployed. Photo: Aer Lingus

The A321LR will have 16 seats in business class and 168 seats in the economy cabin. The business class seats are the Thompson Aero, and recline fully flat for comfort on the long trip.

EI A321LR business
Aer Lingus has gone fully flat at the pointy end of the A321LR. Photo: Aer Lingus

The holiday hotspot services to Orlando and Barbados, however, will utilize the larger A330-300 aircraft. Aer Lingus is clearly expecting strong demand for these routes and will see it competing fiercely with Virgin Atlantic for its share of the trade. Holiday destinations out of Manchester have lacked capacity since the demise of Thomas Cook, but with the landscape changed immeasurably since then, it will be interesting to see the load factors achieved on these new services.

Aer Lingus has been rumored to be launching transatlantic services from MAN since back in November last year. UK slot reports showed that the airline had applied for a four aircraft base in Manchester, but the jury was out on what routes it would launch. Now, with the routes and start dates firmed up, UK travelers have a new option on the table.

A330 Aer Lingus
The leisure destinations of Orlando and Barbados will feature the larger A330. Photo: Aer Lingus

For Manchester, the addition of new services from Aer Lingus is a welcome arrival. Karen Smart, Managing Director at MAN, commented,

“Pre-pandemic there were more than 5.5 million passengers who crossed the Atlantic each year via Manchester and so to be able to offer these services with a new carrier is great news. In addition, Aer Lingus’s commitment to the U.K’s northern gateway results in the creation of  120 much-needed jobs.

“Aer Lingus’ commitment to these new services will be a real boost for those passengers we know are keen to start travelling as soon as the current restrictions can be lifted. This demonstration of pent-up demand is another reason why it is more important than ever that the Government develops proposals to restart travel that are clear, uncomplicated and affordable. We eagerly await the findings of the Global Taskforce in April.”

Currently, British travelers are banned from going abroad for leisure purposes. The latest update from the government showed that the ban would not be lifted before May 17th, but that is subject to further review.