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Aer Lingus plans Hartford A321LR launch

Aer Lingus plans to introduce the Airbus A321LR on flights to Hartford in July, marking the debut of the long-range narrowbody to the North Atlantic market.

The carrier will begin flying the A321LR between Dublin and Hartford from 1 July, and then between Dublin and Montreal from 8 August, FlightGlobal schedules updated over the weekend show. The aircraft is shown with 184 seats.

Aer Lingus serves Hartford with a Boeing 757-200, while Montreal is a new destination.

The A321LR is Airbus' offering to replace 757s on longer missions, including across the Atlantic. It has three additional centre fuel tanks that allow it to fly up to 4,000nm (7,400km).

Aer Lingus' introduction of the type on flights to Hartford will be the first transatlantic A321LR service by any carrier, current schedules show.

Airbus delivered the first A321LR to Arkia Israeli Airlines in November.

Aer Lingus has firm orders for eight A321LRs with four due in 2019, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. Executives have outlined plans for a fleet of 12 aircraft in the future.

The A321LR is also expected to operate Aer Lingus' new service to Minneapolis/St Paul that begins on 8 July, the airline's director of global sales and vice-president of North America Bill Byrne said in December.

The airline expects its first aircraft "well ahead of July" and plans to operate familiarisation flights in Europe before introducing it on the transatlantic, Byrne added.

Aer Lingus, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), is focused on joining the transatlantic joint venture with fellow IAG-owned carrier's British Airways and Iberia, executives said in January. No timeline was provided.

The Irish carrier benefits from US preclearance facilities at its Dublin hub, which allow its flights to arrive as domestic flights at US airports.

Aer Lingus was not immediately available for comment.

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