United Airlines on Thursday, January 22, announced that it has entered into “an innovative extension of their relationship on select long haul services between Europe and North America” with Dublin-based airline Aer Lingus.
According to the airlines, the partnership will capitalize on the growth opportunities presented by the Open Skies agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) by opening new transatlantic non-stop services.
Aer Lingus and United are to launch service between Washington Dulles and Madrid, which will be available for sale from April 2009, and will commence daily operations from March 2010. It is anticipated that additional routes may be made available for sale during 2010 to commence operation in Summer 2011.
Aer Lingus’ chief executive Dermot Mannion said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of extensive discussions between the Partners since 2007. Aer Lingus has been providing long haul services for over 50 years and was the first airline to commence new transatlantic services under Open Skies. This Partnership builds on this proud history and will enable Aer Lingus to maximize the opportunities provided by Open Skies. We are very excited by the potential of the Partnership and believe that the unique combination of two leading transatlantic airlines can drive significant value for the shareholders of both companies.”
The partnership aims for both carriers to equally share the commercial and operating benefits and risk, with Aer Lingus managing the operational aspects of the new partnership services and United Airlines taking responsibility for managing revenue generation. “The partnership route structure will be operated and sold under both Aer Lingus and United Airlines codes and will leverage both parties’ network capabilities,” the airlines said in a statement released to the media on Thursday.
For his part, Glenn Tilton, United Airlines’ chairman, president and CEO said: “Our expanded agreement takes advantage of new opportunities under the US-EU Open Skies Agreement, benefiting our customers with additional competition and capacity in these markets. This partnership provides for a deeper commercial relationship with Aer Lingus, and capitalizes on the unique strengths of both our companies.”
In October 2008, Aer Lingus and United Airlines launched code share services between Ireland and the US. That agreement proved to be successful based on initial traffic performance, the airlines said. “The new partnership will build upon this relationship enabling the parties to take advantage of the new commercial opportunities made possible by the Open Skies Air Services Agreement between the European Union and the United States,” the airlines said.