Aer Lingus green-lighted for Atlantic aspirations

Just as Ireland’s own Aer Lingusmed_Tail.jpg is bracing for a pilots’ strike, or what they call industrial action, it also gets some good news: Aer Lingus just became the first European carrier to win blanket approval for EC/US flights next March under a US Transportation Department action. The Irish carrier can basically do what it wants and start advertising and taking reservations. After the open skies pact between the United States and the European Community was inked for a March 2008 opening, the US authorities invited such applications, and they have poured in from giants such as British Airways, Lufthansa and others. Aer Lingus, which broke away from the oneworld alliance and will be on its own, already plans to increase service to the Washington area via Dulles and also plans to add San Francisco International and Orlando with its new Airbus A330s as they come into the fleet. Aer Lingus is the first European carrier to get the blanket okay, and Delta was the first US-flag flyer to win the broad authority.

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