Irish airline Aer Lingus will establish a $150 million base at London's Gatwick Airport and launch routes to Munich, Zurich, Nice and Vienna as well as a handful of more leisure-focused routes. It will be only the second base for the airline outside the Republic of Ireland; its first opened in Belfast in 2007.
The new routes will be operated daily using Airbus A320s and start from 20 April (except for Zurich which started on 26 April).
The move will create 120 jobs and is a boost for Gatwick owner BAA, which has seen two major customers disappear following the collapse of XL Airways and Zoom this year. It also positions Aer Lingus to compete more directly with discount airline Ryanair with a Gatwick-to-Dublin route.
"The Gatwick operation will complement our existing services out of London Heathrow and position Aer Lingus for growth as we roll out new routes and bases in future years," said Dermot Mannion, Aer Lingus chief executive.