Aer Lingus to bolster long-haul fleet with returning A330

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Aer Lingus will bolster its long-haul capacity in the summer 2013 season with an additional Airbus A330 which has been freed up after the end of its "enhanced codeshare" on 27 October with United Airlines on the Washington-Madrid route.

Long-haul operations were a star performer for the Irish flag carrier over the last quarter and it is keen to further increase capacity next year, particularly on transatlantic routes "driven by positive market dynamics on the North Atlantic".

It also hopes the move will allow it to increase turnover from higher-yielding business-class traffic, which represented 18% of long-haul revenue during the third quarter.

The replacement of two A320s with a pair of A319s to operate from Belfast has also allowed the airline to better manage capacity, it says. The higher-capacity narrowbodies have now left the fleet, says Aer Lingus.

Meanwhile, it will continue with its "Greenfield" programme of cost-cutting despite having achieved total savings to-date of over €100 million ($127.3 million).

Ongoing projects include the transfer of its A330 base maintenance operation from Shannon airport to Dublin and the potential upgrade of its booking software. There are around 100 Greenfield projects "in stream" says the carrier.