Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int'l) will consider launching transatlantic services from Cork from 2022 using new-generation narrowbody aircraft, Chief Executive Sean Doyle told the Irish Examiner.

"If you asked me six years ago would it work, I would say no, but looking at the technology there today, we will evaluate it. Narrowbody technology makes the economics a lot better," he said.

The Irish flag carrier could use either A321-200neo(LR)s or (XLR)s on these routes. Aer Lingus already operates three LRs and plans to take another five. It also has eight XLRs on order through parent IAG International Airlines Group with deliveries set to start in 2023.

Doyle said despite the availability of these aircraft, no decision has yet been made about transatlantic flights from Cork. He underlined that the city would see point-to-point traffic with no feed on either the Irish or the American side, and as such, it had "a high hurdle to overcome".

Cork lost its only transatlantic service, to Providence, when Norwegian Air International (D8, Dublin Int'l) suspended the route for the Winter 2018/19 season and subsequently scrapped it altogether, blaming the grounding of the B737 MAX.

Doyle reaffirmed Aer Lingus' commitment to the southern Irish airport despite its recent cuts of flights to Geneva, Düsseldorf Int'l, and Brussels National. The airline continues to serve 14 European destinations out of its Cork base using A320-200s and ATR72-600s operated by Stobart Air (RE, Dublin Int'l).

Doyle said that flights to Brussels are among the routes which Aer Lingus could resume soon. The airline was also contemplating launching domestic flights to Dublin Int'l.

"Since the road infrastructure improved, we don't have the same level of demand to justify a Cork-Dublin air link. But what I'm conscious of is a lot of people here want to travel transatlantic with Aer Lingus and driving to Dublin the night before is an inconvenience. I reckon we're bleeding traffic to Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow so we are going to evaluate whether we could reinstate a smaller version of a Cork-Dublin network," Doyle said.