Aer Lingus plans six daily Heathrow-Edinburgh flights

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Aer Lingus has revealed further details of its plan to launch domestic UK services from London Heathrow airport to Edinburgh in order to break British Airways' monopoly on the route.

Some 14 Heathrow slots are being relinquished by International Airlines Group, BA's parent company, as a pre-condition for its takeover of BMI. Seven of the slots have been ringfenced for Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

So far, Virgin is the only other bidder for the Edinburgh slots, though Aer Lingus remains confident that it can secure the rights to the route.

The Irish flag carrier says if it is successful then the route - its first on the UK mainland - will launch for the summer 2013 season. It plans to deploy a 174-seat Airbus A320 to link the two capital cities, operating the service six times daily.

Outlining its motivation for the move, the airline explains: "It will give us the ability to grow at Heathrow but also gives us a very strong presence in the Scottish market."

Aer Lingus controls the third largest pool of slots at the London airport. It believes that its position as an unaligned carrier - providing "neutral" feed to the three global alliances - stands it in good stead to expand at the gateway.

It expects a decision from the European Commission on the slot allocation around 15 November.