Philadelphia is getting a little bit closer to Ireland.
Aer Lingus, Ireland’s flag-carrying airline, is now Philadelphia Airport’s newest nonstop carrier.
The first Aer Lingus flight arrived from Dublin at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on Sunday.
The aircraft passed under a traditional water cannon salute as it taxied to its gate after the inaugural flight.
City and airport officials including Mayor Jim Kenney, airport CEO Chellie Cameron and local elected officials greeted the first flight while passengers awaiting to board the flight back to Ireland enjoyed music, shepherd’s pie, Philly cheesesteaks and cake to celebrate the event.
Aer Lingus is the second foreign flag carrier to introduce service at PHL within the past year and sixth foreign airline overall.
“Aer Lingus is going to bring some much needed competition to this heavily traveled route,” Cameron said. “Irish born folks want to fly on the carrier from their homeland and when they see Aer Lingus they will be more inspired to visit Philadelphia than they were before.”
One passenger on the flight said she is glad there are now more options for people to travel to Philadelphia from Ireland and vice versa.
Besides offering a direct route to Ireland, passengers can fly from Philly to 21 destinations in Europe and Abu Dhabi through Dublin.
“It’s nice knowing that they fly from here to Dublin because once you’re in Dublin you can go literally across the entire world,” Jenna McKinney said after taking Aer Lingus’ first flight to Philadelphia. “Just knowing that you can go to an English speaking country, then bounce out and go back to an English speaking country makes a difference.”
To start, the flight, which arrives in the afternoon in Philly and takes off for Dublin at 5:30 p.m. (arriving at 5:10 a.m. the next morning), is set for four days a week. The route will go daily beginning May 18.