Aer Lingus’ inaugural service direct to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota State, took flight today at 2.10pm from Dublin Airport. Flight EI089 was operated by a Boeing 757 aircraft carrying the registration EI-LBR and named Saint Odhrán.
The new Dublin-Minneapolis-St. Paul service will initially operate six times weekly, increasing to a daily, year-round service from August this year with up to 2,478 roundtrip seats available each week.
Minneapolis-St. Paul is Aer Lingus’ 16th transatlantic route. Last year Ireland’s only 4 Star airline began flying to Philadelphia and Seattle and continues to serve popular North American destinations including New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, to name but a few.
Dublin as a gateway
The new route will not only serve Irish travellers. Leveraging Dublin’s position as a hub airport has enabled Aer Lingus to connect travellers from 23 UK and European airports to Minneapolis-St. Paul, which include Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Frankfurt, London Manchester and Edinburgh, among others. Equally North American guests can travel from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Dublin and onwards to popular UK and European destinations. The US Immigration preclearance facility at Dublin enables seamless connections via Ireland’s capital.
On today’s inaugural flight out of Dublin 45% of travellers will have commenced their journey in UK and Europe with London airports as the most popular starting point followed by Manchester, Edinburgh and Berlin. Equally on the inaugural eastbound flight out of Minneapolis-St. Paul 39% of travelling guests will connect onwards at Dublin Airport with the highest number travelling to London.
Continued transatlantic growth
Since joining IAG in 2015, Aer Lingus has launched seven new direct transatlantic services to Los Angeles, Newark, Hartford, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle and now Minneapolis-St. Paul, marking the largest ever transatlantic expansion in the airline’s history.
With the arrival of the first Airbus A321neo LR aircraft planned for later this summer, Aer Lingus’ transatlantic growth is set to continue as this revolutionary new aircraft, boasting strong environmental credentials, will open up new market opportunities due to its long-range flying capability. By 2020 Aer Lingus plans to operate eight aircraft of this type to multiple destinations, including Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Marking Aer Lingus’ inaugural service to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Sean Doyle CEO said:
“We are delighted to commence Ireland’s first and only direct service to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota State. The Minneapolis-St. Paul region holds great promise for Aer Lingus particularly in terms of the connections we can offer to UK and European guests as well as those travelling from North America and onwards to Europe.
“As a destination there is both business and leisure appeal and we’re delighted to report that we are geared up for a busy summer.”
Best of the Midwest
North America’s twin cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are bisected by the Mississippi river and each have a lot to offer international visitors. Most famously, Minneapolis is home to Mall of America®, located in Bloomington, it is the largest shopping and entertainment centre in the United States and the number 1 tourist destination in the entire Midwest, attracting over 40 million visitors each year. The mall spans 4.2 million sq. ft. and houses more than 520 stores, 50 restaurants, multiple nightclubs, an aquarium and even its own theme park.
Those who have a love for the outdoors will be spoilt for choice by both cities. Outdoor activities and water sports are plentiful with 13 lakes across the region and over 500 golf courses in the state. The cities also feature within the top three most cycling-friendly destinations in the US. For those more indoor-inclined, the impressive Minneapolis Skyway is the largest continuous pedestrian walkway system in the world, linking 69 blocks over seven miles.
While the Irish are world-renowned for their friendly welcome, Midwest locals are often named ‘Minnesota Nice’ due to their warmth and mild-mannered nature. Some claim it is due to starting their day with a bowl of sweetness – breakfast-favourite Lucky Charms were first made in Minneapolis!
Film fans will be familiar with Minneapolis-St. Paul as it was the backdrop for the Coen brothers’ Fargo as well as comedy sports-drama The Mighty Ducks. Musicians Bob Dylan and Prince also hail from the area, as well as world-famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Business travel will be a strong focus for the new route as the Minneapolis-St. Paul region is also the seat of 17 Fortune 500 company headquarters, including popular chain stores Target and Best Buy. The cities have been noted as one of North America’s fasted growing tech hubs.
Equally there are significant business parallels between the Minnesota region and Ireland, with particular reference to the healthcare and food/food processing sectors. Companies including 3M, Smiths Medical, and Medtronic are headquartered in Minnesota but have sites in Ireland.
Brian Ryks, Executive Director and CEO of the MAC, which owns and operates Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), marked the new service adding:
“The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is very pleased to welcome Aer Lingus to MSP Airport. This is our first ever direct, non-stop service to Dublin from MSP, so it is a historic day for us. We anticipate it will be a popular route with both business and leisure travellers.”