Aer Lingus Regional has started services to Birmingham with the launch of its first flight from Dublin to Birmingham.
The airline will now operate three daily return flights to Birmingham from Dublin Airport and aims to fly up to 65,000 extra passengers on the route this year.
Birmingham is a key destination on the Aer Lingus Regional network with a 30% increase in passenger numbers to Birmingham last year – over 100,000 passengers flew to Birmingham on Aer Lingus Regional routes from Cork, Shannon and Ireland West Airport Knock in 2012.
Aer Arann, operator of Aer Lingus Regional, recently announced a package of measures to grow the airline as part of its ‘new beginning’ strategy. These measures included the expansion of services to Birmingham through a new route from Dublin Airport.
Combined with existing Aer Lingus mainline services to Birmingham, these new services will double the number of flights to Birmingham per day – one of the busiest routes on the Ireland, UK network. The airlines now have the most frequencies between Ireland and the UK’s second city.
Aer Arann’s Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Fagan said that the addition of this route means that there is now a ‘shuttle service’ for business passenger flying between Ireland and Birmingham.
‘We noticed that a large part of the 30% increase in passenger numbers last year were passengers flying for business between these two cities. With the launch of Dublin Birmingham today we are now essentially providing a shuttle service with a flight going every two hours, both morning and evening – 20 flights a day between Birmingham and Ireland.
The additional flights will further facilitate connectivity to Aer Lingus services to the US, through Dublin. Birmingham-based passengers can connect to the US via Dublin and avail of security and customs preclearance in Dublin airport – Ireland is the only country in Europe to offer passport and customs pre-clearance to US destinations.
As is part of the airline’s ‘new beginning’ strategy, which aims to position Aer Arann among Europe’s top tier of regional airlines, he airline recently collected the first of eight new planes in a contract valued at almost €144 million. The first of the new aircraft will operate the Birmingham route.
The airline, which aims to double passenger numbers to over two million over the next five years, has overseen a 32% rise in Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers in the past 12 months.
Commenting on the first flight, Birmingham Airport’s CEO, Paul Kehoe said: ‘This expansion to Dublin from Birmingham will give passengers far greater flexibility and choice with this established airline brand.
Irish routes are extremely popular for both business and leisure travel from Birmingham and we’re delighted that Aer Lingus Regional has added a further three daily flights to provide this shuttle service between the two cities.’
Aer Lingus Regional aims to fly up to 65,000 extra passengers between Dublin and Birmingham this year
Airline aims to grow passenger numbers to 150,000 per year by the end of 2014
Aer Lingus Regional operates business shuttle service between Dublin and Birmingham with three additional daily return flights
New ATR 72-600s plane will be dedicated to Dublin Birmingham route