Aer Lingus this weekend began a brand-new service connecting the West coast of Ireland to London Heathrow and recommenced direct flights to Hartford, Connecticut from Dublin.
The inaugural Aer Lingus flight EI916, operated by an Airbus A320, departed from Ireland West Airport at Knock for Heathrow at 1.05pm yesterday afternoon.
Given the close proximity of Knock to the Wild Atlantic Way and the huge spotlight on the West of Ireland following the box-office hit ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, the new route will connect UK visitors, and those travelling via Heathrow, to one of Ireland’s most popular destinations.
Tourism Ireland figures indicate that the majority of visitors to Ireland are from Great Britain (42%), followed by the US (15%) which validates the new Aer Lingus route and highlights the importance of connectivity between Ireland and Great Britain.
In addition, according to Tourism Ireland, 4.78 million people from Great Britain visited the Island of Ireland in 2019, generating €1.4 billion in revenue and 28% of British holidaymakers were between the ages of 25 and 34.
For residents of the West of Ireland, who can use Aer Lingus’ 16 direct Aer Lingus North American routes from Dublin and Shannon airports this summer, the London Heathrow service will also enable them to connect to destinations right across the globe via the UK’s largest and busiest airport.
Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, said: “The west of Ireland has much to offer as a tourist destination with the world renowned Wild Atlantic Way on its doorstep.
“Our new Knock-Heathrow service is an exciting new route for Aer Lingus and the region, bringing travellers from Great Britain right to the heart of the action.
“Equally, customers from the west of Ireland will now fly into London Heathrow, the UK’s largest airport, and have the opportunity to travel onwards to cities all over the world.”
Arthur French, Ireland West Airport Chairman, said: “This is another proud day for the airport and the entire Western region.
“The hub status of Heathrow for business and leisure passengers to connect with the global marketplace is a major boost for this region with this new daily service opening up key onward connectivity, through one of Europe’s biggest hubs, to over 80 destinations worldwide.
“I have no doubt this new service will attract strong support from the region and overseas and we thank Aer Lingus for their continued commitment to the airport and West of Ireland region.”
Judith Cassidy, Tourism Ireland Deputy Head of Great Britain, said: “This new route from Heathrow to Knock means that GB visitors can travel directly from London to Ireland’s dramatic Wild Atlantic Way coastline in less than two hours.
“Here they can experience and enjoy the rugged beauty of the west coast of Ireland as seen in the Oscar-nominated ‘Banshees of Inisherin’.
“In addition to dramatic land and seascapes, the region is renowned for its warm welcome, amazing food and traditional music all year round. And of course, as our nearest neighbour, and no travel restrictions in place for British visitors thanks to the Common Travel Area, it’s so easy to visit.”
Return to Hartford – driving connectivity to North America
The weekend also marked the recommencement of Aer Lingus’ Dublin-Hartford service for the first time in over two years.
Aer Lingus flight EI131, which departed from Dublin for Hartford yesterday afternoon, is operated by an Airbus A321neoLR.
This is the airline’s most sustainable long-haul aircraft delivering a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions and close to 50% reduction in noise footprint when compared to previous generation aircraft.
Aer Lingus operating the only service from Bradley to Europe
The return of daily service between Dublin and Hartford is a critical milestone for Bradley International Airport as Aer Lingus operates the only direct service from there to Europe.
Travelling with Aer Lingus, customers departing from Hartford will not only benefit from a direct flight to Dublin, they can also enjoy seamless onward connections via Dublin to 28 UK and European airports including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome and Prague, plus many more.
Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, added: “After more than two years it’s great to be back flying back to Hartford.
“Our daily flights, from and through Dublin, will bring travellers from Ireland, the UK and Europe into the centre of Connecticut which is home to global businesses and recognised as the insurance capital of the world.
As the only European airline operating out of Hartford, we also offer a unique service to US customers, flying them directly on our non-stop service to Dublin, and through our Dublin hub, connecting them onwards to the most popular UK and European destinations.”
Kevin A. Dillon, Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director, said: “We are thrilled to have Aer Lingus back at Bradley International Airport.
“Their return strengthens our pandemic recovery and is key to our continued growth.
“Leading up to the return, we have already seen a lot of excitement from travellers, and we are extremely proud to once again offer easy and quick transatlantic access to Ireland and beyond.”
Hartford is one of 16 North American destinations which Aer Lingus will operate to this summer.