Aer Lingus is launching services between Dublin and London Gatwick from this October in a move that will pitch it directly against arch-rival Ryanair, in a low-fares battle at the Sussex airport.
The news marks a good period for the Irish flag carrier ” successfully fighting off a takeover bid from Ryanair thanks to a European Commission ruling deeming it to have monopoly potential ” and with a headline single fare of just ”1 ” Aer Lingus is taking aim squarely at its compatriot.
Delivery of new aircraft will see Aer Lingus use an A320 four-times daily on the route that the carrier left after 9/11, bringing the short-haul fleet to 32 aircraft, while the airline also recently announced ambitious plans to double its long-haul machines in a drive to increase US services.
An Aer Lingus spokeswoman told ABTN from Dublin: ”This will complement our existing services and will take away reliance on Heathrow. We will be the first flight into Gatwick from Dublin.”
UK-Ireland routes now have a plethora of carriers serving a wide variety of destinations, but Ryanair”s contention that a merger with Aer Lingus would still only account for a small proportion of European traffic, cut no ice with the Commission.
”The introduction of a new London gateway strengthens our existing network and reflects the growing demand form customers for low fares and good service,” said Aer Lingus planning director, Stephen Kavanagh.
Aer Lingus has announced 14 new routes so far this year. British Airways also serves the Irish capital from Gatwick.