• Aer Lingus returns as Delta expands in retaliation
  • In all, a record 72 weekly Europe flights are planned for next summer
  • There will be six carriers to Europe for only the second summer to date

Minneapolis will welcome back Aer Lingus next May. In a competitive – and potentially predatory – move, Delta announced Dublin-Minneapolis on precisely the same day Aer Lingus officially unveiled its return. As Minneapolis is a massive Delta hub, the move is designed to protect its fortress hub and turf, even though it would not have launched Dublin but for Aer Lingus.

Europe flights: a record summer?

When writing on August 18th and subject to change, the SkyTeam hub of Minneapolis expects 72 weekly Europe flights in July 2024 (double for both ways), based on OAG data.

This is 16% more than in the current July and 4% higher than in 2019. As things stand, it means it leapfrogs Orlando to become the USA's 15th busiest airport with non-stop Europe flights that peak summer month.

Condor A330neo
Photo: Peter Bueno I Shutterstock.

Six airlines are due to operate, as summarized below. It will be only the second summer – after 2019 – that Minneapolis has had so many carriers to Europe. In summer 2023, as things continue to recover, they are four, while only two operated as recently as 2012 (excluding the pandemic-hit years).


Flights: July 2024*



47 weekly

Amsterdam (triple daily; A330-200, A330-300), Keflavik (daily; 757-200), London Heathrow (daily; A330-200), Paris CDG (daily; A330neo), Dublin (five weekly; 767-300ER)

Air France

Daily (returns April 29th)

Paris CDG (A350-900)



Keflavik (757-200, 757-300)


Four weekly

Amsterdam (787-9)

Aer Lingus

Four weekly (returns May 1st)

Dublin (A330-200)


Three weekly

Frankfurt (A330neo)

* As of August 18th and subject to change

** Aircraft scheduled for next July and subject to change

Icelandair 757 take off
Photo: StudioPortoSabbia I Shutterstock.

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Remember Rome?

The following figure charts Minneapolis' stable European development over the past two decades. Aside from the head-to-head competition between Delta and Icelandair to Keflavik and now also Delta and Aer Lingus to Dublin, the only real standout is Rome.

Minneapolis to Europe destinations and flights
Source of data: Cirium. Figure: James Pearson.

Delta launched the summer route to the Italian capital – connecting two SkyTeam hubs – in June 2016 using the 767-400ER. It ended for the season in September and did not return, suggesting performance, relative to what else could be done with the equipment, did not meet expectations. The US DOT T-100 database shows it carried 39,997 roundtrip passengers with an average seat load factor of just 75.3%.

Minneapolis to Europe: passengers

According to booking data, approximately 331,000 passengers flew between Minneapolis and Europe in the first six months of 2023. While that encompassed winter months, with less demand, around 914 people traveled daily each way.

KLM Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner PH-BHG
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

About 70% of passengers connected at a hub en route, obviously mainly in Amsterdam, Paris, and Chicago. Traffic was down by about 4% versus the first half of 2019.

Sources of information: Cirium, airline websites, Google Flights, booking data, US DOT T-100.