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Aer Lingus returns to SFO

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Aer Lingus resumed its Dublin to San Francisco service Wednesday after a five-year absence.

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The non-stop flight from Ireland's capital arrived three minutes early and was greeted with an honor salute from the San Francisco Fire Department. A reception was held afterwards to mark the event.

“Today is a very special day for Aer Lingus,” said Aer Lingus Chairman Christoph Mueller. “Our direct flight from San Francisco to Dublin forms a major part of our 2014 transatlantic growth plan and is a very positive development for our airline and for the relationship between Ireland and California in terms of business, tourism and employment.”

“I am proud to welcome Aer Lingus to SFO,” said SFO Airport Director John L. Martin. “This new service gives customers more choices, seamless connection opportunities to more than 100 cities in the United States and access to more than 70 Aer Lingus departures from Dublin.”

Aer Lingus, the flag carrier of Ireland, will operate the route five days a week and utilize its 267-seat Airbus A330-200. The airline suspended the route in 2009 due to the financial crisis, but strong demand has brought the route back.

According to IDA Ireland, the country’s investment promotion agency, more than 179 companies from the U.S. West Coast have made Ireland their European headquarters. West Coast companies, including PayPal, Twitter, Apple, Intel, eBay, Qualcomm, Oracle, McAfee and Yahoo!, employ more than 36,000 people in Ireland. California companies also accounted for more than 55 percent of all U.S venture capital investment into Ireland.

“San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies, many of which have their European headquarters in Ireland,” said Mueller. “Our operation of this new route will further strengthen Ireland’s bonds with the U.S. West Coast. We look forward to welcoming our new Californian customers on board.”

“San Francisco maintains strong cultural and economic ties with Ireland and I am thrilled that Aer Lingus has established a nonstop flight from Dublin to SFO that will bring us even closer together,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who went on to proclaim Wednesday as Aer Lingus Day. “This new route will help support our tourism economy and provide additional economic development opportunities between Ireland and San Francisco.”

The inbound flight is scheduled to depart Dublin at 12:20 p.m. and arrives in San Francisco at 3:20 p.m. The return flight is scheduled to depart SFO at 5:20 p.m. and arrives in DUB the next day at 11:35 a.m. The aircraft will have 24 business class seats and 243 economy class seats. The flight will not operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays.