Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int'l) will shortly finalize a Request For Proposals (RFP) for lease of A321neo (Long Range) twinjets, issued late last year, airline chief executive Stephen Kavanagh has announced.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the tender was for the lease of seven of the type.

The IAG International Airlines Group unit has alluded to using the A321neo(LR) to develop thinner transatlantic routes where the A330 - the mainstay of its longhaul fleet - would otherwise prove excessive.

"We think the (A321 LR) is particularly interesting for Aer Lingus on the transatlantic," IAG boss Willie Walsh was quoted by the Irish Independent in June last year. "It will allow Aer Lingus to operate double frequencies on flights. So instead of having one A330, you could have two A321s. The advantage of that is that it makes the (Dublin Int'l) hub much stronger. It gives additional flexibility for people to connect from Dublin. That's particularly attractive."

The A321neo(LR) will also be used to replace a quartet of B757-200s, leased from ASL Airlines Ireland (ABR, Dublin Int'l), to operate existing services to Hartford Bradley, New York Newark, Toronto Pearson, and Washington Dulles.