Aer Lingus: United and Aer Arann tie-ups profitable

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Aer Lingus' new transatlantic partnership with United Airlines has proven profitable over its first three months of operation, while the Irish carrier is citing a broader improvement in its long-haul performance.

The United tie-up started operating on the Washington Dulles-Madrid route on 28 March.

Aer Lingus, which released its half-year financial results today, says the service "traded positively at operating level".

The carrier states that, over the first half of the year, its overall long-haul performance has demonstrated "significant improvement".

Total long-haul passenger traffic was down by 26.5% and the airline's withdrawal of its San Francisco and Washington services contributed to a 31.6% cut in capacity.

But the airline says its average long-haul yield rose by 17.5% as business-class occupancy increased. The network changes also meant long-haul load factor was up by 5.2 points to 75.4% over the half-year, and by 6.4 points in the second quarter.

Aer Lingus' new short-haul franchise operation with Aer Arann generated revenues "in line with expectation", says the carrier. This partnership also started at the end of March and was profitable over the first three months, it adds.