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.