Aer Lingus is asking the U.S. Department of Transportation for permission to offer flights from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Dublin.

The service would be a boost for fast-growing BWI, which now has transatlantic service to London and Reykjavik, Iceland. Dulles International Airport offers one service per week to Dublin on Russia's Aeroflot.

"We're delighted that Aer Lingus sees the viability of using BWI as a gateway," said Will Castleberry, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The Irish-based airlines is also seeking a partnership with American Airlines. In that agreement American would sell seats on Aer Lingus flights between Ireland and Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Airline industry experts and officials said the U.S. Department of Transportation is likely to approve the deal, but some competing carriers may object and want the administration to seek more access to Ireland for U.S. carriers.

"Generally, U.S. air carriers are supportive of expanded service, but they have to be cognizant of their [own] needs," said Anita Mosner, a vice president of GKMG Consulting Services, an aviation consulting firm.

Jeffrey N. Shane, a former U.S. assistant secretary for transportation, said DOT is likely to approve the service.

"It means that BWI will enjoy the benefits of new nonstop international service from Aer Lingus that will bring enhanced economic activity."