Aer Lingus has 'no plans' to rejoin airline alliance

Aer Lingus has "no plans" to rejoin the Oneworld global airline alliance, CEO Stephen Kavanagh has said.

That's despite expectations that the now IAG-owned carrier would do so by 2018.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh has previously said that next year would see the likely return of Aer Lingus to the alliance - writes independent.ie.

IAG acquired Aer Lingus, which had previously been a Oneworld member, in 2015.

"We have no plans to join Oneworld. We still have to do the business case for joining Oneworld," Mr Kavanagh told the European Aviation Conference at Dublin City University yesterday.

IAG airlines British Airways and Iberia are already Oneworld members.

However, Mr Kavanagh said that Aer Lingus continues to work towards joining the existing alliance between British Airways and American Airlines.

"We believe… that we can bring more choice to the market place and grow in connected businesses without compromising any of our existing businesses or the consumer," he said. "We're about building cost efficiency and capacity."

Mr Kavanagh's session at the conference was hosted by Sean Barrett. Mr Barrett was deeply opposed to the acquisition of Aer Lingus by IAG when he was a Senator. He claimed in 2015 that it would jeopardise Ireland's connectivity to North America.

"The economics of air travel mean the fairytale of a painless IAG takeover could turn into a dark story for Ireland," he said in 2015 before the takeover was approved by the Government.

He made no reference yesterday to his opposition to the Aer Lingus sale.

Since its acquisition, Aer Lingus has significantly expanded its transatlantic network, added new aircraft and hundreds of jobs.

The airline will unveil its latest transatlantic route on Friday.

Aer Lingus will start taking delivery in 2019 of new single-aisle A321LR jets that will give it a broad range of options to serve secondary cities in the US, and other cities in Canada.

Mr Kavanagh said that airport authorities in cities such as Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis and Montreal "should be competing for our business".


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