Aer Lingus has ruled out the introduction of transatlantic flights from Cork despite suggestions from the airline’s CEO that they were on the horizon, writes Kevin O’Neill.
Earlier this week, Aer Lingus chief operating officer Mike Rutter confirmed that Aer Lingus is set to buy eight Airbus A321 long-range craft to aid future expansion.
It came as part of the announcement of the airline’s 2018 schedule, which will include increased frequency from Cork to Alicante, Barcelona and Malaga.
Mr Rutter added that the addition of the new aircraft could ultimately lead to the creation of a transatlantic service from Cork, with the aircraft reported to be as much as 30% more fuel efficient than some other long-range aircraft.
Speaking this week, Mr Rutter described Cork as ‘a natural next fit’ for Aer Lingus’ ever-expanding transatlantic service, though it seems as though the flights may be a number of years away.
A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said that there are currently no plans to develop a transatlantic service from Cork.
The airline is, instead, focused on strengthening its current offering from Irish airports.
“Aer Lingus operates a very extensive network from Cork Airport with 22 routes to destinations in Europe and the UK, making us the largest airline operating from the airport.
“While we constantly review our network seeking new route opportunities and consider all options as part of that process, we have no current plans to operate transatlantic flights from Cork.”
Aer Lingus is set to strengthen its transatlantic offering from Dublin in 2018, the spokesperson added, following several years of growth.
Hopes had grown that Cork would see the addition of more transatlantic flights after the success enjoyed by Norwegian since the launch of their low-cost offering this year.
The first flight from Cork to Providence, Rhode Island took off on July 1, with airline officials reporting that flights were over 90% full for the most part this summer.
A spokesperson confirmed that demand remains high on the winter routes, too.
This article first appeared in the Evening Echo