On Wednesday, Aer Lingus announced a new nonstop route between Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Dublin, Ireland (DUB). The route is the first nonstop route between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Ireland, and the first new transatlantic international route since the announcement of Delta's nonstop seasonal service to Rome, Italy back in 2016 which is now defunct.
Dublin will become the 6th European destination you can fly nonstop from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The others are London, Paris & Amsterdam via Delta. Reykjavik, Iceland via Icelandair, and Frankfurt, Germany via Condor Airlines.
In addition to the new Minneapolis/St. Paul service, Aer Lingus also announced a new route from Dublin, Ireland (DUB) to Montreal International Airport (YUL).
About Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus is the national flag carrier and oldest airline of Ireland. Headquartered in Dublin, it is the country's second-largest carrier only behind Ryanair, the European budget carrier. Aer Lingus flies to more than 80 destinations throughout Europe as well as destinations in Turkey, Morocco & the United States. Further, Aer Lingus is not a part of any airline alliance. They have codeshare agreements with seven airlines in the Oneworld, Star and SkyTeam alliances.
Since joining IAG in 2015, Aer Lingus has launched a total of eight new direct transatlantic services, to Los Angeles, Newark, Hartford, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle and now Montreal and Minneapolis-St. Paul, marking the largest ever period of transatlantic expansion in their history.
Details of the New Routes
Daily service on the Minneapolis route will begin on July 1st, 2019. The route will be serviced by a Boeing 757 aircraft. Aer Lingus will take delivery of 12 single-aisle Airbus A321LRs through 2022 which are the new single-aisle Airbus plans with a longer range than the regular A321.
I wouldn't be surprised to see them eventually swap out the 757 for a brand new Airbus A321LRs. The Airbus A321 neo long–range delivers increased range, increased fuel efficiency and reduced noise. Dublin to Minneapolis/St. Paul is well within the range of this new aircraft.
The route will be flown daily in the summer months and four times weekly during the winter months. It is not yet clear if they will operate out of MSP's Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.
Daily service on the Montreal route will begin on August 8th, 2019. The route will be serviced by the new single-aisle Airbus A321LR.
Both new North American destinations will offer many connections for those traveling from Europe and the UK to either Minneapolis-St. Paul or Montreal and equally traveling from Dublin to either point, connecting onwards in North America.
Additionally, Dublin is a US customs pre-clearance facility. This means you will clear US customs before your departure in Ireland and be able to land at a domestic gate upon your return to Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport (MSP).
It is great to see Aer Lingus growing their North American footprint and providing another gateway for connections into Europe. Being based in Minneapolis, we absolutely love the news of Air Lingus adding direct service but it seems like an interesting choice. While Minneapolis is a large Delta hub, the airline doesn't offer direct service into Dublin and isn't a partner of Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus won't have any competition on the direct route, but they will face a lot of competition from other carriers like Icelandair and Condor. We have featured many sub-$400 round trip fares on Icelandair as of late with one quick stop in Iceland through our Thrifty Traveler Premium service. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as ultimately more competition should mean lower prices.
It seems that members of the Minneapolis business community have been asking for this service. “We learned that there is a significant demand among Minnesota's business community for direct air service to Ireland,” Brian Ryks, chief executive of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, said in a statement.
Medtronic, who is headquartered in Minneapolis has a headquarters facility in Dublin where they employee over 4,000 people. According to the Star Tribune, Ryks and his team, along with business-development organizations Greater MSP and the MSP Regional Air Service Partnership, presented that information to Aer Lingus executives and convinced them that nonstop service between the two cities would be profitable for the airline.
This is huge news for Minneapolis based travelers as this will be the first nonstop service to Ireland offered from Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport (MSP). Increased competition will only reduce costs and provide more options for both leisure and business travelers. Well done Aer Lingus and the Metropolitan Airports Commission!
Lead photo credit of Seat Guru