Aer Lingus considering approaches to replace Little Red service

Airline’s move to London Heathrow’s terminal two boosted traffic, says chief

Aer Lingus is considering approaches from a number of airlines seeking contracts with the Irish carrier similar to the one it operates with Virgin Atlantic's Little Red offshoot, according to its chief executive, Christoph Mueller.

Virgin plans to axe Little Red in September 2015, 30 months after its launch, as the subsidiary, a British domestic service intended to feed into its international flights, struggled to fill seats.

Aer Lingus provides the aircraft and crew for Little Red. Mr Mueller confirmed yesterday that the deal would be terminated next September, but said it would not result in the Irish airline cutting jobs.

“Other carriers are approaching us to see whether we can do the same for them,” he told the Future of Air Transport conference in London. “It all depends on whether we have the aircraft available.”


Virgin sells the seats and pays Aer Lingus a flat rate for operating Little Red, which means the Irish company does not depend on the revenue generated by the service. Mr Mueller, due to leave the airline early next year, said the deal proved the company could provide such services.

He also noted that its move to London Heathrow’s terminal two boosted traffic as it made it easier for passengers to transfer to onward flights.

“Our international volumes are growing very very strongly as a result,” he said.

Aer Lingus moved 23 flights a day from Heathrow’s terminal one in May. Mr Mueller pledged that Aer Lingus would continue growing its transatlantic capacity and would sell the seats.

“We are 30 per cent to 40 per cent cheaper than the competition on both economy and business class,” he said.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas