Aer Lingus to cut Gatwick routes

8 Jan 2010 by Mark Caswell

Irish carrier Aer Lingus is to cut a number of its Gatwick routes, less than a year after it commenced flights from the London airport.

From March 31 the airline will reduce the number of aircraft based at the airport from five to three, and reduce services to just four routes – existing destinations to Malaga, Dublin and Knock, and a new route to Cork.

Aer Lingus launched services from Gatwick in April last year, with seven routes including Zurich, Vienna, Munich, Knock, Faro, Nice and Malaga. In June it announced it would expand services to include Bucharest, Eindhoven, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Warsaw and Vilnius, but the carrier now says it has decided to implement changes due to “weak consumer demand and continuing challenges in the UK operating environment”.

The move comes as Aer Lingus announced its trading update for the six-month period from July 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009. The carrier says that it expects to report a “small operating profit” for the period.

“As a result of cost and capacity management actions implemented during 2009, the Group expects to report a small operating profit (before exceptional items) for the second half of 2009.

“This performance primarily reflects better than expected yields in the second half of 2009, which have been driven by removal of a long haul aircraft in September and tactical route cancellations in November.

“Aer Lingus anticipates that demand will remain soft for the first six months of 2010 and the Group will therefore maintain its focus on tight capacity management to improve yields.”

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Report by Mark Caswell

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