Newsreel: Aer Lingus Bets on Las Vegas, Turkish Airlines Returns to Afghanistan

Harrahs, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Irish carrier Aer Lingus and Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines both announced new destinations at the beginning of the week. One of them is a godforsaken hellhole in the middle of nowhere, while Turkish Airlines resumed its service to Kabul after a three-year hiatus.

Aer Lingus Announces Thrice Weekly Flights to Las Vegas

Alongside Oneworld stalwarts British Airways and Iberia, Aer Lingus is the third member of the International Airlines Group (IAG) that operates transatlantic flights between Europe and North America. The Irish carrier offers the majority of their long-haul services from Dublin International airport. Since yesterday, tickets are on sale for a new connection to America, as the airline will start a nonstop service from the Irish capital to Las Vegas in late October 2024.

This is great news for several reasons. The first is that passengers can now benefit from US Border Preclearence at Dublin airport when going to Nevada, speeding up the arrival process significantly. Previously, a more bothersome layover in Canada was necessary to enjoy that benefit. Secondly, the airline quite regularly offers discounts in both economy und business class to American destinations. Because Aer Lingus flights earn tier points in British Airways Executive Club since April of this year, a new door opens to get your hands on 300 comparatively cheap status points. That’s half the way to Oneworld Sapphire.

The airline plans on using their Airbus A330-300 fleet on these flights, which have the highest seating capacity of their entire fleet. These birds offer space for up to 30 business and 287 economy class passengers. Here is the bare-bones data of this flight, the only nonstop link between Ireland and Nevada:

  • EI 50: DublinDUB 15.20 – Las VegasLAS 17.50
  • EI 51: Las VegasLAS 19.35 – Dublin DUB 13.10 +1

317 are a lot of seats to fill for a nonstop route that has proven rather difficult for European leisure carriers in the past. However, flight times are very convenient as Aer Lingus can take in lots of passengers from all over the continent, arriving with the morning bank in Dublin. Even better, the inbound arrives early enough to allow for smooth transitions in the opposite direction, as well. It will be interesting to see what happens when the luck of the Irish meets the gambling capital of the world.

Las Vegas Sonnenuntergang
Aer Lingus goes all-in on their new destination.

Turkish Airlines Resumes Service to Kabul, Afghanistan

Turkish Airlines prides itself being the airline with the biggest number of different destinations on the planet. Naturally, that means serving countries that other carriers avoid for economical or safety reasons. Afghanistan is certainly among these countries, suffering from an almost perpetual state of war over the past 50 years. In August 2021, the country has been reformed as an Islamic Emirate under the leadership of the Taliban. A development that resulted in many governments cutting diplomatic relations to Afghanistan. Turkish Airlines has not served Kabul nor any other airport in the country for the last three years.

On May 21, 2024, a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-200 from Istanbul touched down on Kabul’s International airport. It made the Star Alliance member the second foreign carrier to offer regular service to the city. The other being low-cost carrier FlyDubai. Turkish Airlines plans to serve the airport four times a week, using widebody planes for the overnight rotations:

  • TK 706: IstanbulIST 0.40 – KabulKBL 06.45
  • TK 707: KabulKBL 08.45 – IstanbulIST 12.45 +1

As of now, fights are only planned during the summer schedule. Until August 16, 2021, Turkish Airlines served this route daily with their largest plane, a Boeing 777-300ER. They will with Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air. The former offers twice-weekly Airbus A310 flights, the latter sends an Airbus A340 on the same days that Turkish Airlines operates. While these planes seem unusually large for a minimum-demand destination, wide-bodies also offer a lot of cargo capacity.

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