Aer Lingus has announced that aircraft delivery delays will mean its Dublin to Montreal service, due to start on August 8, will not launch until summer 2020.
Meanwhile four transatlantic routes will see reduced frequency during July – Dublin to Philadelphia, Dublin to Minneapolis-St Paul, Dublin to Connecticut and Shannon to JFK.
The Irish flag carrier has 14 of Airbus’s new A321LR aircraft on order, four of which are expected to come this year. The single-aisle planes will feature 16 fully-flat business seats and fly on select short-haul European routes as well as transatlantic ones.
Dublin-Hartford was expected to be the first transatlantic route served by the aircraft, with the Aer Lingus website displaying it from July 1. According to Airline Route, the service is now scheduled to start August 2.
Minneapolis-St Paul launches this year, and along with Montreal will bring the carrier’s number of North American destinations to 15.
Details about the cause of the delay and discussions with Airbus have not been disclosed. Further route and service changes are possible depending on the delivery schedule.
The airline told Business Traveller: “We’re expecting all four deliveries of the A321LR to take place in 2019. We’re expecting the first two aircraft to be ready for commercial operation in late summer, with the other two aircraft scheduled to arrive later in 2019.”
It said anyone booked to fly on affected flights would be accommodated on alternative flights, and apologised for the disruption.
A spokesperson told the Irish Independent that leasing aircraft on a short-term basis was not deemed possible.
Since 2015 the IAG member carrier has been seeking to grow its offering on North Atlantic routes. At an event to launch a new logo and livery in January, COO Mike Rutter said the airline’s new business model would see 50 per cent of its passengers using Dublin as a connecting gateway to North American from Europe.
It plans to increase its North Atlantic fleet from 17 to 30 aircraft by 2023.