Emerald Airlines, Ireland’s newest regional carrier, launched on Saturday, almost a year ahead of schedule. The inaugural flight, covering the Public Service Obligation (PSO) route from Dublin to Donegal, took off on Saturday and will see two daily flights between the airports.
The airline will take over from Aer Lingus’ former regional operator Stobart Air, which ceased operations on June 12, 2021. Emerald Airlines has further flights from the coming weeks, with 11 routes across the British Isles currently announced.
Vital connectivity across Ireland
The launch of Emerald Airlines has been accelerated to reinstate the PSO route, recently operated by Swedish airline Amapola Flyg AB, whose contract expired on February 25.
The inaugural flight between Dublin and Donegal has been celebrated by Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton for providing vital connectivity in Ireland. Photo: Emerald Airlines
The occasion was marked by an inauguration ceremony, in the presence of the founder and CEO, Conor McCarthy; President, Steve Ó Cúláin; Managing Director of Donegal Airport, Eilís Docherty; and Minister of State for the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton.
Speaking about the launch, Naughton said:
“I wish Emerald Airline every success in operating and growing this route and in providing people and businesses in the North West with daily air services to Dublin to attend medical and other appointments. important to you, as well as to support the economy and tourism in the Region.”
Who are Emerald Airlines?
The airline is an unsurprising new venture for McCarthy, who has an experienced aviation portfolio including CEO of Aer Lingus Commuter, executive chairman of Dublin Aerospace and non-executive chairman of Stobart Air.
Emerald Airlines has been bidding for the Aer Lingus regional franchise operating contract since November 2020. Following the liquidation of Stobart Air in June, the airline was awarded the 10-year franchise contract. After obtaining its air operator certificate in September, the airline was able to launch nearly a year earlier than planned.
Emerald Airlines has taken over regional routes from Aer Lingus previously operated by Stobart Air. Photo: Jake Hardiman | single flight
Using a fleet of efficient ATR-72-600s, Emerald Airlines is launching a range of flights across the British Isles from its hub at Dublin Airport, due to start next month. The itineraries, listed below, are currently available for booking:
- Isle of Man: March 16, every six weeks
- Glasgow: March 17, 28 weeklies
- Birmingham: from March 26, 15 times a week
- Bristol: March 27, 18 weeklies
- Edinburgh: March 27, 28 weeklies
- Manchester: March 27, 20 weeklies
- Leeds Bradford: April 15, 13 weeks
- Newquay: 29 April, every four weeks
- Jersey: May 28, once a week
The airline will have no direct competition on its routes to Exeter, the Isle of Man or Newquay. It will compete with Blue Islands to Jersey and Ryanair on seven other routes.
Emerald Airlines has already announced a second hub at Belfast Airport, planning to operate high frequency links to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Further details will be released throughout 2022.
The collaboration between Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines is part of the former’s aim to restore pre-pandemic flight levels. The regional routes will feed into Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights, increasing connectivity between the British Isles and North America.
What routes would you like to see added to Emerald Airlines schedules? Let us know by leaving a comment.
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