Aer Lingus to drop BAe 146s in fleet simplification move

Aer Lingus BAe 146 EI-CLJ

Aer Lingus has returned BAe 146 EI-CLJ to BAE Systems (Michael Kelly)

In a move to cut costs, loss-making Irish national airline Aer Lingus is planning to standardize its narrowbody fleet on either the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320 family. The airline currently operates examples from both families. The airline plans to select one or the other as its sole narrowbody in the next few months. As part of the move, the airline will also dispose of of its eight BAe 146s. Aer Lingus has long mulled the possibility of withdrawing the 146s so as to reduce the number of models in the fleet, but has held back as it would mean giving up the profitable route from Dublin to London City. As passenger numbers have declined due to the economic slowdown, reducing the route’s profitability, this has become less of a factor. Two 146s were withdrawn from use for several months as a result of the airline’s route cutbacks, and have recently been returned off-lease to BAE Systems. The remaining six examples are expected to be withdrawn by the time the winter schedule begins in October.

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