Back on April 14, 2014, Aer Lingus officially launched its comeback to Canada. That Monday was dark and wet, with pouring rain, when flight ‘Shamrock 1 Mike 9’ (129 in the reservation system) landed for the first time in Toronto (YYZ). The company has returned to the Canadian market after 30 years of absence, last flying to Canada in the 70s and 80s with scheduled flights to Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and rare charter flights to YYZ.
The Dublin – Toronto route is part of the company’s recent transatlantic expansion plans. This is the 4th new launch by the airline.
Being served by their recently-acquired Boeing 757s, the route will be daily during the summer and 4x weekly during the winter. Toronto, for Aer Lingus, is an important business and tourism market, and also home to a growing Irish community.
Other expansions plans for the airline include the launch of their SFO route, also in April.
All three Boeing 757s that Aer Lingus acquired are “damp” leased from Air Contractors, a freight and passenger airline that operates on behalf of a great number of airlines. During the inaugural event, I noticed the pilots had Finnair lanyards and IDs on them, suggesting Air Contractors gave Aer Lingus the aircraft with pilots, however not the cabin crew.
Finnair last operated these aircraft for roughly 15 years, also used heavily flying on their Helsinki-Toronto route. The aircraft are as follows:
– OH-LBT of Finnair became EI-LBT, based currently in Dublin flying exclusively on the Toronto route.
– OH-LBS of Finnair became EI-LBS, based in Shannon flying to Boston and New York.
– OH-LBR of Finnair became EI-LBR, also based in Shannon and flying to Boston and New York.
– All 3 aircraft aircraft are configured with 12 J and 165 Y seats.
As for the inaugural event itself, it was quite different than events I’ve been to in the past. By that, I mean, barely any photo opportunities, and the hideous weather even made it worse.
Other than that, the event had quite a few guests, including top officials from Transport Canada, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), and executives such as vice president of Aer Lingus in North America, Jack Foley.
During the event, there was Irish stew for everyone to enjoy and Irish dancers showcasing their skills while dancing to Irish Folk music. Aer Lingus is really excited and hopeful about this route and it really showed during their event.
BONUS AER LINGUS VIDEO:
- The Aer Lingus Boeing 757 arriving into Toronto (the weather was not cooperating)
- Departure from Dublin by Aer Lingus
This article was written by Philip Debski for AirlineReporter.