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Aer Lingus Faces Delays with Airbus A321neo LR Orders
Expansion plans for Irish carrier Aer Lingus have been slowed down due to delivery delays of the carrier’s new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft.
“I was counting on having four Airbus A321neo LR aircraft last summer,” said Sean Doyle, chief executive of Aer Lingus at the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers conference in Dublin.
The carrier originally placed orders for seven of the type, with four to be delivered before the end of the year.
“Instead, we had one. I still only have three – the fourth comes in February.”
Aer Lingus received its first A321neo in July of last year, after a four-week delay.
In addition, one of the newly delivered A321s was recently forced to return back to Dublin while on its way to Philadelphia after the crew reported erroneous fuel indications in the cockpit.
In order to expand to more North American destinations, the carrier plans on using the new A321s to serve trans-Atlantic destinations. The carrier currently relies on Boeing 757-200s that it has leased to serve some of its North American destinations, including Minneapolis and Hartford, Connecticut.
The A321neo LRs will also take over existing routes servicing cities such as Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston.
“We would have loved to have grown our capacity a bit more than we did, and unfortunately that delay in production has continued into 2020. We feel held back, we see opportunities being very credible [that we were not able to take advantage of],” added Doyle.
The delays in production most likely stem from the Airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany as the manufacturer attempts to ramp up production of its A321neo and LR aircraft.
“We’ve now replanned our network, particularly in regard to the Aer Lingus transatlantic to reflect planned 321LR delays, which we see continuing through  and 2021 and maybe into the early part of 2022,” said Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of Aer Lingus.
The carrier has delayed service to Montreal to early 2022, when the service was actually supposed to commence in August 2019.
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