Yesterday’s news from Aer Lingus ought not to come as a surprise.
In a brief statement the airline said, “Due to international borders opening later than expected, Aer Lingus is postponing the start of new transatlantic services between Manchester, New York JFK and Orlando.”
Its Manchester-Barbados service will proceed as planned on October 20, 2021.
Both the New York JFK and Orlando routes, which had been planned to start on July 29, are now scheduled to launch on September 30.
Aer Lingus had been set to become the first scheduled carrier to operate the A321LR between the US and the UK, with flights to New York JFK and Boston operated by the single-aisle aircraft.
This honour may now fall to Jetblue, assuming the carrier goes ahead with its own planned launch of transatlantic flights from New York JFK to Heathrow on August 12 (followed by Gatwick on September 30).
Aer Lingus’ fifth-freedom transatlantic routes from Manchester had been warmly welcomed by Mancunians whose local airport does its utmost to win new long-haul services.
However whether or not the US routes do launch on the revised date of October 20 is a moot point.
Much will depend on the situation both here and in the US over the coming weeks. This is something which nobody can predict.
Aer Lingus says its teams will be contacting customers booked on the affected flights and will offer a full refund, re-accommodation on an alternative service or the option of a travel voucher (with a 10 per cent bonus to be used on the Aer Lingus network over the next five years).