New Aer Lingus service tries hard to compete with Ryanair

Aer Lingus began direct services this week between Dublin and London Gatwick, providing consumers with an eighth different airline/airport combination for getting to London. So this week’s exclusive farewatch compares day return fares for Dublin-based passengers over a two-week period. With many different flight times, an 07:30 departure time from Dublin was aimed for, with a return from Heathrow departing as close as possible to 17:30.Assuming that business passenger behaviour is being modelled, day returns on weekend days were ignored.

Chart: Dublin to London: Day Return Fares
Source: Airline websites on Wednesday 31st October.
All fares include taxes and fees but not baggage charges or check-in fees.
Green shaded period is Saturday/Sunday.

Ryanair remains hard to beat on price, though Aer Lingus’ new Gatwick service is currently comparable in price on most days. If bookings are made at least two weeks in advance Ryanair’s fares drop to just €12 ($16) for a return fare, including all standard taxes and charges.

Bmi and Aer Lingus flights to Heathrow seem to match each other quite closely, while the most expensive option is a toss-up between British Airways (to Gatwick) and Air France franchise partner CityJet, which serves the most convenient downtown London City. Between them the airlines operate a total of 354 weekly departures.

Airline (Airport) Weekly Departures
Aer Lingus (LHR) 88
Ryanair (STN) 62
bmi (LHR) 53
Ryanair (LGW) 42
Ryanair (LTN) 29
CityJet/Air France (LCY) 28
British Airways (LGW) 27
Aer Lingus (LGW) 25
Total 354

Traffic on the London to Dublin route has remained fairly flat since 1999, though between 1996 and 1999 passenger numbers had jumped by 30%. With over four million annual passengers, the city-pair is one of the busiest in Europe.

Chart: London Dublin Traffic
Source: UK CAA data


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