Irish flag carrier, Aer Lingus has inaugurated 2 new routes, one long haul and short haul, for the summer season.
The routes in question concern Knock, Ireland West to London Heathrow and Dublin to Windsor Locks Bradley in Hartford, Connecticut.
Knock to Heathrow
The first of the two routes, Knock to London Heathrow is a first as far as the route is concerned. Although Ryanair currently flies from London Stansted to Knock, this route shows indirect competition between the two Irish giants.
Because Aer Lingus doesn’t have a base at Knock airport, the aircraft operating the route flies what is known as a “W rotation”.
In a W rotation, the aircraft will fly from its base/hub to a destination, then it will fly from its destination to a secondary destination, before returning to the first destination and then finally returning to its base/hub.
In the case of Knock, Aer Lingus is using Dublin based aircraft to fly the route, operating as follows:
The first flight began on day 1 of the summer 2023 season, with aircraft EI-DEK, an Airbus A320-216 leaving Heathrow for Knock as flight EI915 at 11:38am (BST) and landing in Knock at 12:44pm (BST).
The return flight then left Knock as flight EI916 at 13:45pm (BST) returning to Heathrow at 14:52pm (BST).
Flights will be operated by an Airbus A320 and in the future A320NEOs when all services between Dublin and Heathrow get upgraded to the type.
In addition, flights will run daily thanks to Aer Lingus reporting that the UK is Ireland’s top market and the airline has seen an increase in demand for the Knock region following the recent box office hit “The Banshees of Inisherin”.
Dublin to Windsor Locks
The second route launch from Aer Lingus is in fact a re-launch of Dublin to Windsor Locks Bradley airport in Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
Flights commenced also on day 1 of the summer 2023 season and marks a return to the route following a 2 year pause due to the pandemic.
Flight EI131, operated by one of Aer Lingus’ A321NEO(LR) aircraft left Dublin at 14:28pm (BST) and landed just shy of 7 hours later in Hartford at 16:16pm (EST).
As mentioned the flight was operated by one of the airline’s A321NEO(LR) aircraft which will be the only aircraft used.
As for frequency, flights will also run daily.
What is interesting to note about the route is Aer Lingus used to be and still is the only airline to connect Europe with Hartford.
This can be seen as mostly due to the location of Hartford, which sits halfway between Boston and New York, two major US east coast destinations.
Therefore, this means any airline looking to fly to the region from Europe will likely opt for one of the more primary destinations with a vision of onward connections to get passengers to the region.
However, with long range narrowbody aircraft becoming more prominent, its possible more European airlines could start targeting these under/unserved destinations as they recover to pre pandemic levels.
Aer Lingus CEO and Connecticut praise the launches
Commenting on the recommencement of Dublin to Hartford, Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO said: “after more than two years its great to be flying back to Hartford.”
“Our daily flights, from and through Dublin, will bring travellers from Ireland, the UK and Europe into the centre of Connecticut which is home to global businesses and recognised as the insurance capital of the world.”
She added: “As the only European airline operating out of Hartford, we also offer a unique service to US passengers, flying them directly on our non-stop service to Dublin, and through our Dublin hub, connecting them onwards to the most popular UK and European destinations.”
Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director, Kevin A. Dillon also said on the launch: “We are thrilled to have Aer Lingus back at Bradley International Airport. Their return strengthens our pandemic recovery and is key to our continued growth.”
“Leading up to the return, we have already seen a lot of excitement from travellers, and we are extremely proud to once again offer easy and quick transatlantic access to Ireland and beyond.”