Aer Lingus looking across the Atlantic for business

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Aer Lingus is expanding its services to the US, carrying high value pharmaceuticals and other medical products from Europe to the Americas.

The Irish carrier’s director of cargo, Michael Sanfey tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) that the carrier increased services to San Francisco (US) to daily and it has further plans for the US.

Sanfey tells ACW: “2015 is shaping to be a good year for Aer Lingus Cargo, all our key markets are performing well.”

“This year our San Francisco service has ramped up to 7 days a week from the start of summer and filling that has been a key challenge for us. Sales both ways have been positive and contributed to 2015 being a strong year.”

In 2016, Aer Lingus will be increasing US services with five times a week flights from Dublin to Los Angeles International Airport (pictured) from 4 May, daily flights to New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport from 1 September and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut. Sanfey comments: “Next year will be a very exciting one for us.”

These services are in addition to Dublin flights to Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington and Toronto as well as Shannon to New York and Boston.

Ireland is geographically well positioned for trans-Atlantic flights and carries large quantities of pharmaceuticals to the Americas.

Sanfey says: “Ireland is well positioned economically and physically to support a high quality air cargo industry. Ireland is home to nine of the top 10 world’s pharmaceutical companies.”

“It is the eight largest producer of pharmaceuticals in the world hosting 55 billion euros [$59.7 billion] in annual exports pharma, bio and chemistry produce.

“120 pharmaceutical companies operate in Ireland and there are 33 FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approved pharma & biopharma plants.”

He says because of this, pharmaceuticals and medical products make up a large quantity of Aer Lingus’ cargo. Sanfey says: “These have been resilient markets and the customers demand for high quality service has driven the development of Aer Lingus Cargo to meet those needs.”

In September, IAG Group, the owner of British Airways and Iberia took over Aer Lingus. Sanfey says it presents great opportunities for Aer Lingus.

He tells ACW: “The acquisition by IAG offers a secure and exciting future for Aer Lingus Cargo. We look forward to sharing the best of both sides in the future and the expansion in 2016 is the first positive proof of the benefits of being part of the larger group.”