The carrier last week filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate nonstop round-trip service to both Shannon and Dublin from Philadelphia beginning in early May.
Both Irish destinations would be served separately, U.S. Airways spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said this week.
“Subject to U.S. and foreign government approvals, U.S. Airways will offer daily nonstop round-trip flights between Philadelphia and both Dublin and Shannon for the summer travel season, through the end of October,” a separate statement from the airline said.
Kudwa confirmed that the airline is looking at the possibility of operating to Ireland year-round should market conditions and aircraft availability favor such a move.
The airline plans to use Boeing 767 aircraft on both the Dublin and Shannon routes. Each aircraft has seating for 199 passengers. The U.S. Airways configuration will provide for 23 seats in “Envoy Class” and 176 seats in “Coach Class.”
“Dublin and Shannon will mark our ninth and 10th European destinations, further strengthening our trans-Atlantic gateway in Philadelphia,” said Andrew P. Nocella, U.S. Airways vice president of planning and scheduling.
“The addition of seasonal service to Ireland is an exciting step for U.S. Airways. We see a great deal of potential in the routes.”
Kudwa said that approval from the Department of Transportation is expected, though it was not possible to say when exactly it would be forthcoming.
“We will put the word out once we have heard from the department,” she said.
The addition of a service from Philadelphia to both Dublin and Shannon should prove a timely and significant boost to the Irish tourist industry as well as a boon for business travelers.
U.S. Airways will join two other U.S. airlines, Continental and Delta, that are presently operating flights into Ireland.
Continental flies from Newark and Delta operates from Atlanta.
The largest carrier servicing Ireland from the U.S. is Aer Lingus, with routes out of New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Irish carrier recently announced a resumption of its service out of Baltimore/Washington, D.C., which had been suspended in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
U.S. Airways, meanwhile, operates 282 jet aircraft, has 1,245 daily departures serving 89 airports, and last year carried more than 62 million passengers. It operates 384 flights a day out of its Philadelphia hub.
The airline was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in August but has continued to operate and expand its services in the intervening months.
Kudwa said that the airline’s current finances had no direct bearing on the decision to start up a service to Ireland.
“We simply see a lot of potential in these routes,” she said.