Aer Lingus sets up London Gatwick base

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Irish flag-carrier Aer Lingus is to establish a new short-haul base of operations at London Gatwick, with a network of eight destinations.

It will initially station four Airbus A320 aircraft at the capital airport from April next year.

Aer Lingus is to serve Munich, Vienna and Zurich as well as the Mediterranean resorts of Nice, Malaga and Faro. It will also operate Irish connections to its Dublin base and the town of Knock.

Details of the plan have been unveiled at a briefing in London today. "The Gatwick operation will complement our existing services out of London Heathrow," said Aer Lingus chief Dermot Mannion, speaking during the event.

By summer 2010 the airline will have doubled the Gatwick fleet. Aer Lingus' Gatwick base will be its first outside of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The carrier has a station at Belfast.