New aircraft, new uniforms, new facilities, new people, big ambitions

This morning, IAG issued the Group results for the first six months of 2018, which saw Aer Lingus deliver a positive result.

Aer Lingus Airbus A330

Aer Lingus has an ambitious flight path – to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. This vision is enabled by a profitable, sustainable short-haul network; and is supported by a guest-focused brand and digitally-enabled value proposition. Todays’ results are the latest manifestation of the airline’s successful business model. A business model that has delivered accelerated growth, boosted traffic, created new Irish job opportunities and driven Irish tourism growth particularly from North America over the past number of years.

We are now re-investing in the business to deliver future growth. This year Aer Lingus is flying 17 times daily to 13 North American gateways, providing a record 2.75 million seats between Ireland and North America: we have almost doubled our North American transatlantic capacity from Dublin over the past five years. This growth has a very positive impact on the wider economy in this country with tourism receipts from North American visitors up 27% since 2015 to over €1.5 billion.

We have invested in our people with hundreds of new Cabin Crew, Pilot and Ground positions created this summer; we had over 8,600 applicants for the Aer Lingus Future Pilot Programme which launched in April; our Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme launched in May is a four-year programme run in conjunction with DIT and SOLAS, Further Education & Training Authority in Ireland. Our commitment to investing in our people is exemplified by the multi-million euro investment in a new joint flight crew and cabin crew training centre which will be open in 2020.

We have been undergoing a programme of positive change in response to our ambitious growth strategy. We have repositioned our brand and enhanced our product and guest experience offering a new Aer Lingus Business Class; WiFi on A330s; new website and mobile app; automated check-in and bag drop experience at Dublin airport, to name just a few. All of these changes are informed by extensive guest engagement, we listen carefully to the over 12 million guests we carry every year and adapt our offer accordingly.

In order to realise our growth ambitions, significant infrastructure development and process improvement is required at Dublin Airport. We expect that the airport’s forthcoming Capital Investment Programme will begin to address the infrastructure deficits at the airport. Prior to the delivery of such infrastructure, we are hopeful that airlines can work with Dublin Airport to make significant process improvement and to optimise existing infrastructure in order to address the existing congestion and to facilitate growth.

Our aim is to compete on the global stage and to realise our ambition to be the leading value carrier on the North Atlantic. Our new aircraft being delivered from 2019 – the Airbus A321 NEO LR, will make new airports in the US more attractive and present a variety of potential destination cities. To realise the new opportunity that these new modern fuel-efficient aircraft will provide, we launched a search for new 2019 North American Airport destinations presenting a unique opportunity for local communities to invest, alongside Aer Lingus, in the introduction or expansion of our service, as has been so successfully realised in Hartford. Our new uniform will project a distinctive, contemporary Irish brand that can compete internationally, as we target travel to Europe from North America as well as those travelling west. We have a clear path for continued growth.

This success is the result of our value model, based on the pillars of cost, product and service which continues to deliver. Our investment in new aircraft, new uniforms, new facilities, and new people is part of our objective to futureproof the business and is demonstrative of our big ambitions.

Stephen Kavanagh is CEO of Aer Lingus