The Nebraska Cornhuskers leave for Dublin, Ireland tonight out of Omaha’s Eppley Airfield on a special ferry flight provided by game sponsor Aer Lingus. The Irish airline flew it’s Airbus A330-330 widebody aircraft over to Omaha from Chicago earlier this evening after flying a commercial flight across the Atlantic with it from Dublin to Chicago earlier today.
BIG shamrock coming in HOT! ☘️ pic.twitter.com/OLkp6xxkX3— Eppley Airfield (@OMAairport) August 23, 2022
The scheduled flight time is 8 hours and 16 minutes, with a departure set from Omaha of 8:00 p.m. local time and an arrival to Dublin at 10:16 a.m. local. As of time of publishing, the plane was hitting 20 minutes late leaving the gate and counting, however. That’s fairly typical on the departure side of the trip to leave late and easily make up the time in the air.
Update: In the end, the jet took off almost one hour and 45 minutes late, with the new arrival time estimated at 11:05 am local time.
The aircraft the team is traveling on was originally delivered to the airline in February 2009 from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, making the aircraft 13.7 years old. It is powered by two GE CF6-80E1 engines that produce up to 72,000 pounds of thrust per engine, powerful enough to drive the A330 at a cruising speed of mach 0.83 (almost 637 mph).
The A330-300 fleet for Aer Lingus has a capacity of 317 passengers split into a two-cabin configuration. Up front are 30 business class seats that convert to lie flat seats and in back are 287 economy seats. Traveling with the football team will also be 50 members of the band, two directors, and the cheerleading team, among others with the program.
It would be interesting to know who in the Husker traveling party is given seats 3K and 5K as these are what are called “throne” seats in that the cabin configuration gives them the footprint of two seats for just the one in order to most efficiently stagger the seat layouts in rows 2, 4, and 6 that are in a 1-2-2 configuration.
This particular Aer Lingus A330 holds the name St. Ronan (Aer Lingus names its aircraft after Irish saints). Saint Ronan of Locronan, the namesake of the aircraft the Huskers are flying east on tonight, is an Irish saint who founded the village of Locronan in northwestern France.
The Airbus A330-300 was developed following the success of the A300 and entered service back in 1992 as a competitor to the Boeing 767. The A330-200 was spurred by a decline in sales for the -300 variant and to compete with the range offered by Boeing’s 767-300ER, ending up averaging a nine percent lower operating cost.
Those older variants in the paragraph above are also now the A330-300ceo and A330-200ceo as the A330neo was developed and entered service in November 2018, launching with TAP Air Portugal. The “new engine option” promised airlines a 14 percent fuel savings over the original engine options. The older aircraft design offered a promising upgrade for airlines looking to pick up a cheaper widebody long-haul aircraft than the modern Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 without the long delivery wait period (the 787 has almost 475 aircraft on backorder and the A350 has almost 450 planes on backorder).
Aer Lingus operates a fleet of 13 A330s, making almost 25 percent of its fleet widebody aircraft. It has three A330-200s, all of which are currently in storage for now and used to have two older A330-200 aircraft it has since divested itself of. The remaining widebodies are 10 A330-300s.
For those who like to follow along, the flight number (EI 4058) and route are below. You can type that into google search or your flight tracker app and follow the Huskers on their hop across the pond!
The airplane that the Huskers are flying around has gotten around in the past four days. Back on August 18 it fly from Dublin to Malaga in Southern Spain. Since then, it has flown to New York (JFK), Chicago, Orlando, Boston, and then today via Chicago again before making the hop over to Omaha to get the Huskers.
This article has been updated since its original publishing time to reflect the updated arrival time following a delayed departure by the flight.