kaitak
Posts: 8942
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:49 am

Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:39 am

I was reading an article in Irish Air Letter, an authoritative and long running monthly magazine on, well, Irish aviation. It said that if the current bilateral restrictions were scrapped, EI would add THREE (not two, as previously thought) new US routes within three months. As you know, EI has been growing very fast - and successfully - in Europe, so it's not surprising that the Irish government took this very seriously and it has already begun negotiations with the US authorities. Basically, what is expected to happen is an easing in the ratio of flights which have to stop at SNN, or operate to SNN as a supplement to DUB flights. Thus, if it went from 1:1 to 2:1, airlines would still operate the number of flights they currently fly to SNN, but have a "free" extra flight to/from DUB.

It does sound crazy, but the Shannon lobby has to be pacified, for Irish political reasons. What the US authorities will make of this is anyone's guess, but it's certainly better than a poke in the eye with a stick. EI will be the biggest beneficiary of a change, so maybe the three US carriers will ask for more and there may well be a time limit on this, so that the link will be phased out eventually. The EU will also want to take an interest in it.

The fly in the ointment is getting new aircraft. EI is currently reviewing its long haul fleet needs, with leases on the current 333s running out soon. A fine aircraft, but I think that with new technology available and the need for longer flights, better aircraft could be found. Also, if EI wants to launch services as fast as it says it does, whichever manufacturer can deliver this is obviously going to be in a good position when the time comes to replace the fleet. With EI having already ordered A320s, Airbus must be seen to be in pole position. BUT . . . EI wants to operate these routes quickly and it's in the gift of the US authorities. Now, guys, if you were to take Boeings, ooh, I think we could make things happen quite quickly . . .

Of course, it depends on 777s being readily available. Don't forget, Boeing would have an incentive to do business, as EI would be an ideal 7E7 customer.
Fanciful, perhaps? Why? If Boeing has any hope at all of getting its foot in the EI door again, this could be it. They might as well give it all they've got.
 
MAH4546
Posts: 24557
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 1:44 pm

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:43 am

Miami would undoubtley be one of the three routes. San Francisco would highly likely be the second. Dallas probably the third.

However, I wouldn't hold my breath on changes happening soon. As you mentioned, until Ireland does something about to the 50/50 rule, they are going to have a hard time getting new route authorities.
a.
 
trident2e
Posts: 1286
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RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:49 am

Kaitak - that's a very interesting post. Looks like you're an Irish citizen, so can you briefly explain why there is such political pressure to operate transatlantic flights through SNN.

Thanks.
 
Sam the Lab
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2001 12:33 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:17 am

Political pressure to keep up the business at Shannon ensuring that goms are kept in their soft jobs.
 
haveric
Posts: 1219
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 9:31 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:23 am

If US were to go under, I definitely see them coming to PHL.
 
trident2e
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:38 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:24 am

What's a gom then? Sounds interesting.
 
dstc47
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 3:53 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:25 am

Why should the US agree to any retention of the Shannon stopover in any future bilateral?

What does Ireland have as a bargaining counter - nothing.

It imposes costs and obligations on all carriers, but particularly on any US carriers who chose to serve Ireland. It is alien to any open skies agreements such as those made with others.

So what the Irish will look for and what the US will agree to could be very different,
 
mlsrar
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RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:28 am

If US were to go under, I definitely see them coming to PHL.

I would have serious doubts about that, given the ability to feed and codeshare with AA. I could see DFW and MIA as logical expansion options, giving preferable South-American connections, but its just my .02.

I am also in agreement that there should be no retension of the SNN stops.
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
 
ARN
Posts: 255
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 12:34 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:36 am

If they would extend runway 10/28 in Dublin beyond current 2637 meters to normal standards, it would almost reach into the Limerick area, given the smallness of this country.

If the same conditions would have been implemented in other countries, half of the US-bound SK-flights would have to land in Billund on route from CPH, flights from MXP had to land in Turin and flights from MAD had to descend into Santiago de Compostela etc.

 
styles
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 4:04 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:38 am

Interesting news. For some reason EI seems to be set on US expansion at the expense of any new non US long haul routes, such as the much rumoured CPT service as well as possibly KUL and/or SIN. I suppose EI would prefer to go with Airbus for long haul a/c but the point about needing metal soon if they were to go ahead may also open the door for Boeing to make a pitch. It is not too far off the mark to consider the political implications of a Boeing purchase. Will EI be returning the leased a/c at the lease end? If so, is anyone aware of the time line?

As for possible new US gateways I agree that MIA and SFO are good bets, but you may also see MCO as one.
 
747firstclass
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 2:45 pm

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:27 am

The US might agree to a 2:1 ratio only on a specified, cast in stone, very, very short term transition period to the Shannnon requirement being permanently lifted.
 
kaitak
Posts: 8942
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:49 am

RE: Three New US Routes For Aer Lingus?

Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:45 am

Okay, a few point:

A "gom" is a "gombeen man"; it's difficult to describe this to a non-Irish person. I believe the phrase has its origins in literature. Basically, it means a kind of croney - that might be the nearest description, but not a terribly bright one.

The SNN stopover dates back to about 1958, when the first EI t/a flights were operated, although SNN had already been designated the main transatlantic terminus for Ireland, back in 1945, when Ireland and the US signed their first bilateral. Up until the mid 1960s, many airlines - TWA, TCA (later Air Canada), Sabena, Swissair (ah, those names!) operated through Shannon, but as time went on and jets had longer range, they didn't need to, but Shannon had to be kept going, to Aer Lingus was lumbered with the obligation of flying through SNN. Remember that the Shannon region - including Limerick, Tipperary (not a long way from Shannon!) and Galway elects a significant number of TDs (Irish MPs) to the Dail, or parliament, so the government doesn't want to upset them.

Thankfully, things are getting better now and nonstop flights have been allowed since 1994, subject to the 50/50 provision. I think 747FirstClass is correct in saying that the US may agree to a deal which would allow a phased abolition of the stopover.

ARN; what do you mean by this? There are 120 miles between DUB and SNN; the current runway length is a little short, but A330-200s have been known to fly n/s to the US from the shorter runway, 16/34, which is only 6,800'. Modern twin jet airliners are very powerful on departure and the 330s are no exception. There is actually enough room WITHIN THE AIRPORT BOUNDARY to add another 1500' or so to the runway.

As for what routes might be added, MIA and SFO would seem to be the first two. PHL is a possibility if US Airways goes pop, but I'd imagine DFW would be left to American, as a codeshare with EI. Seattle, Denver and Phoenix have also been mentioned, but it will be interesting to see which one is picked (after the first two, which most people seem to agree on). However, MCO could also be chosen as an alternative to MIA.