Aer Lingus is set to connect the Emerald Isle with the Emerald City. The Dublin-based carrier will launch flights to Seattle on 18 May 2018. The service will operate 4x weekly (M/W/F/Su) on an A330-200.
The new route is the 15th transatlantic service for the company and the sixth new TATL destination since the IAG buyout in 2015. International growth at Sea-Tac sees challenges due to limited peak capacity at the immigration and customs facilities. This flight avoids that challenge thanks to pre-clearance facilities in the Dublin Airport.
— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) November 17, 2017
The new service comes on the heels of Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh telling the European Aviation Conference that the carrier has “no plans” to join the oneworld alliance; common expectations suggested that such a move was likely as early as 2018. Those expectations were colored in large part by IAG CEO Willie Walsh stating that he expected the oneworld move to come soon.
— starflyergold (@starflyergold) November 15, 2017
“We believe… that we can bring more choice to the market place and grow in connected businesses without compromising any of our existing businesses or the consumer,” he said. “We’re about building cost efficiency and capacity.”
That news reignites some of the questions about the value of global alliances versus antitrust immunized joint ventures. Although not mentioned in the story it seems likely that Aer Lingus is still going to apply to join the transatlantic ATI/JV with American Airlines and its IAG brethren British Airways and Iberia. That partnership has demonstrable economic value in terms of feeding passenger flow and improving yields for flights.
Joining the larger alliance has less clear returns. Qatar Airways recently launched service to Dublin so that feed could help but it is also a part owner in IAG so a side deal could be made there for certain frequent flyer reciprocity.
Also interesting is that the airline currently sells the Seattle-Dublin route using partners such as JetBlue and United Airlines for a connection to a US gateway. Once the new service launches those partner flights are no longer listed on the AerLingus.com site.
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