Aer Lingus re-positions
Aer Lingus took further steps this week towards re-positioning itself in the European and transatlantic aviation market.
It announced it was dropping flights to and from Washington/Baltimore from December and replacing them with three times a week flights from Dublin to Orlando, a Florida resort. The Washington flights will resume next May.
The Irish carrier also announced it was removing “all restrictions” on its airfares. Under its new rules, the airline will: sell fares on a one-way basis, remove minimum stay rules, allow changes on flights for a 25 surcharge per sector and allow name changes of passengers for a 50 surcharge per booking.
There will also be what the airline called “huge reductions” of up to 60% on transatlantic Premier Class fares.
The airline which said in July that it was on course for 95m operating profit this year, has already cut fares on short haul routes in Europe, withdrawn its inventory from GDSs and announced that it will scrap business class on short haul by next April.
Seamus Kearney, Aer Lingus's chief operating officer, said the latest changes were part of its policy to “offer lower fares and greater choice” in what was a “brutally competitive environment.”
Aer Lingus's greatest competitor in Ireland is Ryanair, the low cost carrier which is now one of the biggest airlines in Europe.
Aer Lingus's changes are causing concern among Ireland's business travel management companies and the topic is expected to figure high on the agenda at the annual general meeting of the Irish Guild of Business Travel Agents in Dublin next month.