LONDON Feb 24 British Airways owner IAG
looks set to order Airbus's new long-range A321LR
aircraft for its Irish carrier Aer Lingus, as transatlatic
competition hots up with the deployment by low-cost newcomers of
similar single-aisle aircraft.
"We think that's going to be a great aircraft, and we're
looking at it. We have options on the aircraft," IAG CEO Willie
Walsh said on Friday.
Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle on Thursday
announced new routes between Ireland and the UK to the east
coast of the United States using Boeing's 737-MAX
aircraft, taking advantage of the lower costs of operating
smaller than normal aircraft on medium-haul routes to offer
Last year Norwegian also ordered 30 of the 206-seater Airbus
A321LRs, which are due to enter service from 2019.
Icelandic low-cost carrier Wow Air also flies between Europe
and the United States using A320 family single-aisle planes,
although a stop for refuelling is required in Iceland.
Walsh said the Airbus 321LR aircraft could easily serve
routes to the east coast of the United States from Ireland,
Britain and Spain, or even fly south into Africa.
"We think there's an opportunity to consider quite a number
of destinations that we wouldn't consider possible with ...
larger aircraft," he said, speaking after the group reported
Walsh said the jet could be used for other airlines in the
group, which also comprises Iberia and Vueling.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Greg Mahlich)