Aer Lingus Regional Accelerates Launch Plans

Credit: Aer Lingus/Emerald Airlines

Emerald Airlines will commence regional flights between the UK and Ireland in March 2022 under a franchise agreement with Aer Lingus—about 10 months ahead of schedule.

The Irish airline will operate services as Aer Lingus Regional from March 17 using leased ATR 72-600 aircraft, taking over many of the routes previously served by Stobart Air before its demise.

About 340 flights per week will be on offer across 11 routes, including providing up to four daily connections from Dublin (DUB) to both Glasgow (GLA) and Edinburgh (EDI). Emerald said further route announcements to be made in the coming weeks.

The startup has already established a company in Northern Ireland, known as Emerald Airlines UK, and applied to the UK CAA to obtain its air operator’s certificate. Once this is in place, the carrier expects to begin routes from George Best Belfast City (BHD) “as soon as possible in 2022.”

Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton (pictured alongside Emerald CEO Conor McCarthy) said the resumption of Aer Lingus Regional flights would provide feed for its transatlantic services from Dublin.

“Today is about opportunities,” she said. “Opportunities for our UK customers to connect with ease to Aer Lingus flights to North America and to take advantage of the US preclearance facility.

“Opportunities for customers across UK and Ireland as we develop the Aer Lingus regional network. And opportunities for the Irish economy and Irish aviation as we expand our hub at Dublin.”

Conor McCarthy, Emerald Airlines CEO, added: “We are very confident that this will result in long-term connectivity being maintained across the Irish Sea and will boost business and leisure travel between Northern Ireland and Britain.”

Emerald took delivery of its first aircraft in September as part of a deal for six ATR 72-600s from Chorus Aviation. The airline also has an agreement in place to lease four more ATR 72-600s from Nordic Aviation Capital.

Aer Lingus Regional flights were previously operated by Stobart Air until last June when the carrier ceased operations.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.