September 13, 2018

Aer Lingus extends commitment to Bradley Airport; CT reduces revenue guarantee

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
An Aer Lingus jet taxiing at Bradley Airport in late Sept. 2016.

Aer Lingus has committed to an additional four years bringing travelers between Bradley International Airport and Dublin, Ireland, despite missing its first-year revenue target.

Aer Lingus in Sept. 2016 began providing the direct route from Bradley, and has increased its ridership each year since, officials said. But the Irish air carrier missed its revenue goal after year one, forcing the state to make good on a promised $4.5 million subsidy.

The payment from the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) was part of a two-year, $13 million incentive deal between state officials and Aer Lingus to lure it to Bradley.

Under a new agreement unveiled Thursday, DECD reduced its revenue guarantee from $4.5 million down to no more than $3.8 million in year two (which concludes at the end of this month); not more than $3 million in year three; and not more than $2 million in year four. In total, the maximum four-year potential subsidy is worth $13.3 million. Aer Lingus also agreed to operate the service in the fifth and sixth years with no subsidy from the state.

It's not clear whether Aer Lingus will draw upon the newly lowered $3.8 million subsidy for its second year of operation. The subsidy is tied to revenue targets, which DECD would review if and when the airline makes the request after the end of this month.

Aer Lingus said it will devote one of its four A321neoLR aircrafts to the Bradley-to-Dublin route.

"Ensuring the continuation of Aer Lingus' service is a major boost for Connecticut's businesses and tourism industry," Connecticut Airport Authority Board Chair Tony Sheridan said. "The Dublin service provides an opportunity to tap into a wide array of inbound European markets…"

Editor's note: This story has been modified to clarify changes related to Aer Lingus' year-two subsidy

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