In January I wrote a piece entitled IAG Group Moves Closer to Aer Lingus Acquisition and speculated that Aer Lingus would rejoin the oneword alliance if the acquisition by British Airways’ parent company IAG was successful. Today, the Irish government announced plans to sell its 25% stake in the Irish flag carrier to IAG.
Here’s what you need to know from today’s news–
- Aer Lingus will be run separately and remain headquartered in Ireland
- Aer Lingus will join oneworld and also the “North Atlantic Joint Business” with American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia and British Airways
- Coveted Heathrow slots will be held by Aer Lingus for 5-7 years
- Aer Lingus must continue to operate its flights between London Heathrow and Dublin, Cork and Shannon for 7-years at current schedule levels
- Ryanair still owns 29.8% of the company and it is not clear if IAG will buy them out yet
- The Irish Parliament must approve this deal
Here is the official press release.
All good news, right? Perhaps not…
Aer Lingus Will Impose Fuel Surcharges When It Joins oneworld Transatlantic Joint Venture
While 50K round-trip business class tickets between Dublin and Boston are a thing of the past, fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus are incredibly cheap right now (less than $25 r/t) and that presented an attractive redemption option to Europe using British Airways Avios.
$900 r/t for Boston – London – Dublin – London – Boston or $84 r/t for Boston – Dublin – Boston? That’s an easy choice. But look for those low fuel surcharges to be dramatically raised as Aer Lingus joins the transatlantic joint venture with American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. Aer Lingus certainly has a nice new business class product, but you will soon pay a lot more for it than you do now.
Will AA add fuel surcharges onto Aer Lingus flights? Probably not — there are no fuel surcharges added to Finnair flights and only modest fuel surcharges added to Iberia flights, but I would equally not be surprised if fuel surcharges do show up.
United Airlines Will Likely Soon Lose Partnership With Aer Lingus
United Airlines currently partners with Aer Lingus — not only can you earn UA miles by flying on Aer Lingus, you can also redeem miles for Aer Lingus flights, which gives United flyers more options for getting to and around Europe and made combining Aer Lingus flights with Star Alliance flights easy.
This partnership will certainly end if Aer Lingus joins oneworld and probably well before. If you have United miles that you were planning on redeeming for Aer Lingus, now is the time to do so.
While good news that Aer Lingus will rejoin oneworld, there will be downsides, likely in the form of higher fuel surcharges and the dissolvement of the United partnership. Still, a good day for the Irish carrier, which will maintain its branding and identity.
photo courtesy of Aer Lingus