Aer Lingus plans to deploy its new Airbus A321LR aircraft across the North Atlantic by next summer, as it takes delivery of its first four aircraft in 2019.
The Dublin-based carrier will fly the A321LR to Minneapolis/St Paul from July and Montreal from August, said Bill Byrne, director of global sales and vice-president of North America for Aer Lingus, at an ACI North America seminar in Washington DC on 6 December. Both are new destinations for the airline.
The aircraft will also take over its service to Hartford from Dublin from the Boeing 757 in July, he adds.
Aer Lingus has orders for eight A321LRs, a longer-range version of the A321neo, with four due in 2019, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.
The first aircraft will arrive "well ahead of July", says Byrne. It will initially operate on European flights before shifting to transatlantic services.
Airbus delivered the first A321LR to Arkia Israeli Airlines in November.
The A321neo can fly up to 4,000nm, making it possible for Aer Lingus to fly it to destinations in the Northeast and Upper Midwest regions of the USA from Dublin. A map in Byrne's presentation shows an arc from roughly Raleigh/Durham to Minneapolis/St Paul, including major cities like Boston, Chicago and Washington DC, within the range of the aircraft.
Aer Lingus plans to eventually replace its fleet of four 757s with A321LRs, using the balance to grow its long-haul network.
The airline's long-term plan is to operate 12 A321LRs, chief executive Stephen Kavanagh said in March.
Aer Lingus is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), which also owns British Airways and Iberia.