Aer Lingus will begin selling seats on its services from Manchester to the United States as early as this week after its lawyers urged US licensing authorities to approve its application to launch the routes as quickly as possible.
AG-owned Aer Lingus applied last month to US authorities for permission to operate services from Manchester to destinations including Orlando, New York and Boston later this year.
It will use two A330s and two A321s from Manchester.
Just before Christmas, the chief executive of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Phillip Brown, voiced his support for the planned Aer Lingus service from the UK to Florida.
He said that Orlando’s airport lost 30pc, or more than 83,000 seats a year, from Manchester when Thomas Cook collapsed in 2019. He added that the Thomas Cook route was worth $141m (€115m) a year to Central Florida.
Aer Lingus’ US-based lawyers have confirmed that the airline intends to inaugurate its service from Manchester for the upcoming summer season. The lawyers noted in a letter to the US Department of Transportation that the airline’s application requested authorisation to “promote, advertise and sell those services to United Kingdom passengers as quickly as possible”.
“Given the absence of any objections, the joint applicants respectfully request Department approval of the application as expeditiously as possible, and further request that any authorisation required to promote, advertise, and sell those services to United Kingdom passengers be granted by close of business, Thursday, January 7, 2021, to enable those activities to begin on Friday, January 8,” the lawyers added in the letter.
The Airline Pilots’ Association (ALPA) in the US told the Department of Transportation that it has no objection to the Aer Lingus application.
“ALPA understands that the pilots for the proposed UK operation will be represented by the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association [part of the Forsa trade union], that the terms and conditions of their employment will be governed by a collectively bargained labour agreement which is being negotiated, and that the labour agreement will be governed by UK law,” the association noted.
It insisted that the application by Aer Lingus is significantly different to the application approved by the US in 2016 for Ireland-based Norwegian Air International (NAI) to operate from Ireland to America.
ALPA objected to NAI’s application to operate the services, claiming it would result in the loss of tens of thousands of American jobs.
“Given the historically close ties between Ireland and the UK and the applicants’ commitment to recognising the collective bargaining rights of the Aer Lingus (UK) pilots, approval of the proposed arrangement does not appear to be inconsistent with the Department’s statutory obligation in approving applications by foreign air carriers to weigh the public interest factors of upholding ‘fair wages and working conditions’ and ensuring that US carriers maintain at least an equal ‘competitive position’ vis-à-vis foreign flag carriers,” said ALPA.