Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus has announced plans to start services from Dublin to San Francisco, Orlando and Washington Dulles by the year end following today’s agreement by European Union transport ministers backing an open skies agreement between Europe and the USA.

Aer Lingus currently operates to four destinations in the US and has long sought the lifting of restrictions to expand its presence in the US market. The Irish carrier secured access to an additional three US gateways cities as part of a 2005 deal with the US related to wider open skies.

Aer Lingus CEO Dermot Mannion says: “Aer Lingus has waited a long time for this momentous day and to be able to fully exploit the potential to significantly grow long haul traffic between Ireland and the US.  We are taking delivery of two new A330 long haul aircraft this summer and, with the proceeds of the IPO, are financially resourced and strongly positioned to start three new long haul routes to the US before the end of the year.

“Finally, Aer Lingus can offer the increased choice of US destinations that our customers want and that will contribute to the continued growth of Aer Lingus as a profitable and independent company.”

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