Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, today (1 July) expanded services to Manchester with the launch of its first flight from Dublin to Manchester. The airline will now operate two daily return flights to Manchester from Dublin Airport and aims to fly up to 40,000 extra passengers on the route this year.
Manchester is a key destination on the Aer Lingus Regional network with a 10% increase in passenger numbers to Manchester last year - over 130,000 passengers flew to Manchester on Aer Lingus Regional routes from Cork and Shannon in 2012.
Aer Arann, operator of Aer Lingus Regional, recently announced a package of measures to grow the airline as part of its ‘new beginning’ strategy. These measures included the expansion of services to Manchester through a new route from Dublin Airport.
The airline aims to grow passenger numbers to 240,000 between Ireland and Manchester by the end of 2014.
Combined with existing Aer Lingus mainline services to Manchester, these new services will bring the number of flights to five times a day - one of the busiest routes on the Ireland, UK network.
Aer Arann’s Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Fagan said that the addition of this route means that there is now a ‘shuttle service’ for business passenger flying between Ireland and Manchester.
‘We noticed that a large part of the 10% increase in passenger numbers last year were passengers flying for business between these two cities. With the launch of Dublin Manchester today we are now essentially providing a shuttle service with a flight going almost every two hours, both morning and evening - 18 flights a day between Manchester and Ireland.
The additional flights will further facilitate connectivity to Aer Lingus services to the US, through Dublin. Manchester-based passengers can connect to the US via Dublin and avail of security and customs preclearance in Dublin airport - Ireland is the only country in Europe to offer passport and customs pre-clearance to US destinations.
As is part of the airline’s ‘new beginning’ strategy, which aims to position Aer Arann among Europe’s top tier of regional airlines, he airline recently collected the first of eight new planes in a contract valued at almost €144 million. The first of the new aircraft will operate the Manchester route.
The airline, which aims to double passenger numbers to over two million over the next five years, has overseen a 32% rise in Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers in the past 12 months.
Aer Arann operates 550 flights per week across 27 routes in Ireland, the UK and France.
Commenting on the launch of the first flight on this new route today, Simon Fagan said:
‘This new route connects us with one of the UK’s largest cities and means that for the first time, the airline is servicing almost all of the main UK destinations from Ireland.
‘These new routes will add up to 40,000 passengers to our network this year, and it is our aim to increase this to 80,000 passengers by the end of next year. Taken with Aer Lingus’ existing services, it offers significant additional choice to all customers, especially business customers seeking same day returns.
‘Aer Lingus Regional is committed to providing its customers with easy, convenient regional connectivity and great value for money.
‘We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board this new connection.”
Commenting on the first flight, Manchester Airport’s Aviation Commercial Director, Stephen Turner said:
“Aer Lingus Regional’s selection of Manchester Airport to increase flights to and from Dublin is a testament to the class-leading facilities available here and confirms our position as the leading regional airport in the UK.
We look forward to the increased connectivity and passenger volumes this announcement will bring.”