Another entrant has decided to take the plunge in the open skies market between the USA and Europe, but this one is rather strange. United Airlines is teaming up with Aer Lingus to provide service from Washington Dulles to Madrid, Spain.
The flights will operate under both United and Aer Lingus codes, but will be operated fully by Aer Lingus. Basically United is using Aer Lingus to operate the flights as a means to get a toehold in the market without investing in an aircraft or crews to operate the flights. There is little doubt that the Aer Lingus costs to operate the flight are going to be significantly lower than United’s costs would be if they were operating the flights directly.
So, on the plus side, some competition to the 5x weekly service that Iberia offers. On the down side, some potentially troublesome labor relations issues for United. Considering the quality of their labor relations already I don’t know how much worse things can get, but outsourcing their operations seems like a good way to find out.
Ooohh….I just saw that Cranky Flier has a great post on this one.
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