Aer Lingus may start non-stop flights from Manchester to the US next summer after applying for slots at the north-west airport.
The airline has applied for daily slots to Orlando, JFK, Chicago and Boston. It is understood to want to shift capacity to the UK because of Ireland’s insistence on tougher quarantine and Covid testing.
Aer Lingus is considering basing four long-haul aircraft at Manchester, three of them new narrow-body Airbus A321s.
The airline believes it can use the A321s to gain a competitive advantage over other transatlantic carriers using bigger aircraft as travel emerges from the pandemic.
Plans for Manchester have the added incentive that Aer Lingus was earlier this month given tentative approval by US authorities to join the oneworld alliance.
This includes the transatlantic joint venture with American Airlines and British Airways. American Airlines has hubs at Chicago and JFK that would provide easy connections for Aer Lingus passengers.
Earlier this year, the airline sought tenders from UK airports to place two A321s normally based at Shannon.
However, the Irish Times said the airline was considering Manchester “as a contingency” and may not take up the slots if granted them.
TTG asked Aer Lingus for a response. It said it was unable to comment “right now”.