Upcoming Dallas route opens up west and south for firms

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Upcoming Dallas route opens up west and south for firms


The business cabin, with direct-aisle access from each seat, on the new 787-9 Dreamliner at Dublin
The business cabin, with direct-aisle access from each seat, on the new 787-9 Dreamliner at Dublin

Some of the top brass from American Airlines were in town as the US carrier counted down to the launch of its new daily Dublin-Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) service running from June 6 till the end of September.

The route – operated by a new Boeing 787-9 “straight out of the hangar”, according to Tom Lattig, MD of EMEA sales – will make the airline the third-biggest operating out of Dublin this summer.

So what’s the deal for the corporate traveller? The big advantage is that its main DFW hub offers 900 flights a day, many to Central and South America – regions under-served out of Ireland.

Flights arrive into Texas in the evening, with minimum connection times of 60-90 minutes in its single-terminal airport offering good connections.

The most tempting ones for Irish business are Brazil’s commercial capital of Sao Paulo, as well as airports in Mexico. There’s also a good link to the convention capital of Las Vegas, the airline said.

If Texas was a standalone country, it would boast the world’s 10th biggest economy by GDP, ahead of Canada and South Korea, and its exports value is larger than New York and California combined.

Not surprisingly, it’s home to roughly one in 10 of America’s Fortune 500 corporations, the third-highest in the nation.

DFW also offers same-day connections to Austin, Texas, where Enterprise Ireland has had a base exploring opportunities in the state since 2013.

Sensing opportunities in America’s fourth-largest metropolitan area, the DAA’s Paul O’Kane said that “Dallas has long been on our hit list as one of the markets underserved”.

The route will feature 30 seats in business class, each offering direct-aisle access; something that rival United Airlines has been rolling out with its Polaris business class on Irish and other international routes.

With the new aircraft, headphones have been switched from Bose to Bang and Olufsen full noise-cancelling models, while high-end Casper bedding is standard, and DFW features a new Flagship Lounge, with shower rooms and waiter service dining.

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Lattig told this column that one advantage is the airline’s membership of the One World alliance, which has been going on for 20 years now. Passengers can fly out on American, and return via London with its British Airways partner. “Hopefully in the future Aer Lingus too,” he added, saying that an alliance with the Irish carrier would make joint route openings more feasible rather than going it alone.

For business travellers on a tighter budget, the new Dreamliner service will also feature 21 seats in premium economy, an area where the airline is particularly strong.

On an even tighter budget, the main cabin features 198 seats with wifi and power ports, but there will be extra legroom in 36 of these, dubbed ‘extra seats’.

n PA jumped the gun recently announcing Hainan Airlines’ latest route from Dublin. The airline told this column that “we still have some issues on this route”, and the report of its first direct Irish service, to Shenzen in southern China, hadn’t been officially confirmed.

The route has now been greenlighted, with Hainan in competition with Cathay Pacific which flies from Dublin to Hong Kong. The two airports are just 28km apart, so it’ll be interesting to see the pricing given that Shenzen Airport has good local transport links to downtown Hong Kong. The new Shenzen service, running on Mondays and Friday, will be operated by Dreamliner, and portable electronic devices can be used throughout the flight, with business class offering 180-degree lieflat beds.

n Etihad Airways will be flying a number of groups of athletes and their families and supporters to the upcoming Special Olympics being held in its Abu Dhabi home from March 14-21.

In all, a 91-strong Team Ireland squad will compete in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, the world’s largest sporting event this year.

Special Olympics Ireland is appealing to the business community as it needs to fundraise €5,000 per athlete. Special Olympics Ireland chief executive Matt English said that “companies large and small can show their support for Team Ireland by visiting specialolympics.ie and getting involved in our support an athlete campaign.”

Sunday Indo Business

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