Aer Lingus, Delta to start service between Dublin, MSP in 2024
Minnesotans will have more opportunities to fly to Europe starting next spring.
For Aer Lingus, it’ll be returning services to MSP for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The Irish airline started offering service during the summer of 2019 and within a year the company paused the flights as COVID-19 was detected worldwide.
Metro Airports Commission (MAC) CEO Brian Ryks issued this statement in response to the airline’s announcement:
“We’re thrilled to welcome Aer Lingus back to MSP and to see the return of non-stop service to one of Europe’s most in-demand destinations for both business and leisure travel. Travelers throughout our region have been eagerly awaiting the return of this popular route, which also expands connectivity for passengers on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Lynn Embleton, the CEO of Aer Lingus, said the following in a written statement:
“In its first year of operations, Aer Lingus experienced strong demand and established quite a following in Minnesota and the greater Midwest. We’re pleased we can share the news of Aer Lingus’ return with our loyal travelers who will have more options to visit Europe next summer.”
Their new flights will begin on April 29, 2024, and will happen on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Starting in October, those flights will become daily, according to an Aer Lingus news release.
For Delta, its seasonal service will operate five times per week starting on May 9, 2024.
“MSP travelers are eager for increased air service to European destinations, and we’re pleased to see Delta add nonstop service to Dublin next year,” said Rick King, chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates MSP. “This route is important to leisure and business travelers as we anticipate continued international demand into 2024 and beyond.”
Delta also highlighted its recent investments at MSP, including the unveiling of its third and largest Delta Sky Club earlier this year. The company says it’s also partnering with the Metropolitan Airports Commission and contributing $47 million to modernize the G concourse with new flooring, refreshed ceilings and lighting fixtures, upgraded signage and more. Those updates are expected to be finished by the end of 2025.
“We get numbers of the total number of people that are flying to Dublin through connecting flights and that’s reached about 12,000 in the past year so that’s about 2019 levels,” said Jeff Lea, an MAC spokesperson. “Airlines seem to be responding to that demand whether for Dublin or just connecting to Europe.”
The Aer Lingus flight marks a milestone for the airport. It’s the last international flight path paused during the pandemic to resume service at MSP.
“It just means more possibilities, more opportunities for travelers,” Lea said. “It’s a gateway to Europe.”
The airport will connect with 31 destinations globally once flights to Dublin resume, which is one more than in 2019. According to Lea, the addition of a seasonal direct flight to St. Maarten this winter pushed the airline above the pre-pandemic level.
“I think this is kind of the final leap for international travel as far as MSP’s recovery,” said Lea. “It’s that international component that has really lagged behind to really push our numbers back to where we were pre-pandemic. Obviously, with the return of those [Dublin] flights, we’re going to get much closer to pre-pandemic levels.”
Heidi and Pete Sturmfels of Chaska are on board with the additions. They have a trip to Europe planned within the year.
“It would be nice to have Aer Lingus,” Pete Sturmfels said. “It’s nice to have movement again.”
Heidi Sturmfels, meanwhile, has another trip planned to the British Isles in 2025.
“Ireland is one place I’d really like to go,” she said. “I’m excited.”