Aer Lingus Group Plc (AERL) said it will deploy three Boeing Co. (BA) 757s on transatlantic services starting early next year after long-haul operations helped boost first- quarter sales at Ireland’s national carrier.
A deal to lease the 757s, plus pilots, was concluded this month, Dublin-based Aer Lingus said in a statement. The single- aisle jets will be used where Airbus SAS wide-bodies are too big, and could be utilized to add new services, it said.
Long-haul sales rose 14 percent in the first three months, accounting for one-quarter of the company’s 246.3 million-euros ($321 million) in total passenger revenue. The 757s would most likely serve bases used by U.S. discount carrier JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU), with which Aer Lingus has a code-share deal.
“The use of Dublin as a hub for connecting traffic flows and the partnerships in North America are giving us a lot of comfort that there is more growth in the market,” Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Kavanagh said on a conference call. “The 757 is a smaller-gauge aircraft and it is more flexible.”
A lease deal with Ireland’s Air Contractors should be completed soon, he said. Flights are likely to commence next January, with all three aircraft in service by the summer.
Aer Lingus’s first-quarter operating loss widened to 45.5 million euros from 36.1 million euros, swollen by start-up costs from routes being flown for Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. The stock traded 1.8 percent lower at 1.39 euros as of 8:04 a.m.
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