Last year saw Aer Lingus celebrate 85 years since commencing services in May 1936. The airline is known for its shamrock logo, which can presently be found on a total of 53 aircraft. But which exact models comprise Aer Lingus’s fleet? Let’s take a closer look at the make-up of the Irish flag carrier’s all-Airbus operations.
Many European carriers’ short-haul fleets consist entirely of either Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 family aircraft. This uniformity offers airlines greater operational efficiency and flexibility when it comes to aspects like aircraft swaps. In the case of Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier favors the A320 family. Specifically, according to data from ch-aviation.com, it flies 39 A320 ceo/neo family aircraft.
These planes account for just under 75% of Aer Lingus’s current fleet, and the standard A320-200 is by far the most numerous model. There are 31 examples of this twinjet from the Airbus A320ceo (‘Current Engine Option) range in the Irish flag carrier’s fleet, with an average age of 15.9 years old. It also has one example of the larger A321-200 left in its fleet, with this example being 23.6 years old.
Narrowbodies are playing an increasingly important role in Aer Lingus’s transatlantic operations. Photo: Airbus
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The A320neo family
At the more modern end of the spectrum, Aer Lingus flies eight aircraft from the next-generation A320neo (‘New Engine Option) family. Most are all examples of the stretched-fuselage, long-range A321LR, with these seven narrowbodies clocking in at just 2.1 years old on average. Owing to their usage on lower-demand transatlantic routes, these aircraft feature flatbeds in business class.
The final narrowbody aircraft in Aer Lingus’s current fleet is a single example of the standard Airbus A320neo. Registered as EI-NSB, this brand-new aircraft joined the Irish flag carrier in May, having been deferred by Russian airline SmartAvia due to sanctions. It is presently undergoing maintenance in Ostrava, Czech Republic. According to ch-aviation, Aer Lingus has four more A320neos on order.
An all-A330 widebody fleet
In terms of widebody aircraft, just under 25% of Aer Lingus’s current fleet, or 13 aircraft, falls under this category. The all-Airbus theme continues in this domain, with the A330 family being the sole representative of the twin-aisle cause at the Irish flag carrier. The oldest A330s in Aer Lingus’s fleet are its three A330-200s.
Aer Lingus favors the A330 when it comes to widebody operations. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
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Clocking in at 19 years old on average, these aircraft, like the Irish flag carrier’s aging A321-200, are also all in storage at present. Historically speaking, Aer Lingus has flown another two examples of the short-fuselage A330-200.
Aer Lingus’s remaining 10 A330s are examples of the -300 variant. Their average age is a comparatively youthful 8.6 years old, and they have 317 seats in a two-class setup according to SeatGuru (30 business, 287 economy).
It is also worth looking at what the future holds for Aer Lingus. For example, it has six Airbus A321XLRs on order, which will unlock long-haul markets where demand doesn’t warrant an A330. This represents an increasing trend in long-haul travel. Aer Lingus is already a big fan of the A321LR’s long-haul capabilities, and states that:
“The A321neo LR facilitates long-range routes of up to 7400 km or 4000 NM. This aircraft is ideally positioned in the Aer Lingus fleet to serve both transatlantic and European routes.”
Aer Lingus will put the A321XLR to use on its longer routes. Photo: Airbus
Until recently, Aer Lingus also had five Airbus A350-900s on order. These would have helped modernize its small but effective widebody fleet. However, as reported by Simple Flying last year, it is no longer set to receive these planes. The order, which dates back to 2008, has now been transferred to an undisclosed customer.
Aer Lingus UK
It is also worth briefly touching upon the small fleet operated by Aer Lingus’s UK-based subsidiary. Flying out of Manchester, this carrier flies to New York JFK, Orlando, and Barbados using one A330-300 and two A321LRs.
Have you ever flown with Aer Lingus? What’s your favorite aircraft type in the Irish flag carrier’s current fleet? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!