Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus will introduce a new short-haul premium product on a select number of its European city routes later this year.

Commercial chief Mike Rutter says the airline will seek to meet the demands of "time-sensitive passengers" by offering a free middle seat, lounge access, priority boarding, complimentary food, priority baggage and "luggage space above them".

The new product will be called Air Space and is being developed for introduction on "our Euro[pean] city routes which are main trunk routes into London, UK provincials, Amsterdam and Paris", where Aer Lingus has a strong market share, says Rutter.

Short-haul capacity is to be increased more than 3% in the third quarter and by over 5% in the fourth quarter, he adds.

"The drivers of that capacity growth are obviously the recovery in economics in both the UK and Ireland; secondly, as we grow our transatlantic we have increasing levels of feed both from the UK and out of Europe," says Rutter. "As we announced in our last update [we are] working hard to reduce the cost of our short-haul business to allow us to grow our competitiveness within that overall field."

Aer Lingus is targeting a 10% increase in load factors on its short-haul network this year as it seeks to avail of connecting and codeshare opportunities.

Source: Cirium Dashboard