Aer Lingus Regional Operator Emerald Details Belfast City Routes

Credit: Nigel Howarth/Aviation Week Network

Emerald Airlines, the startup that will operate Aer Lingus Regional flights in Ireland and the UK, has provided more details on the six routes it will launch from Belfast City (BHD) this spring.

The carrier, which will commence operations this month, announced in January that it would open a base at BHD, one of the two airports serving Northern Ireland’s capital. Emerald will operate to six UK cities from BHD using ATR 72-600 turboprop under the Aer Lingus Regional brand and livery.

From March 24, Emerald will operate up to 3X-daily flights between BHD and Birmingham (BHX).

From March 27, it will launch flights from BHD to Edinburgh (EDI), Leeds (LBA) and Manchester (MAN). The routes to EDI and LBA will be operated up to 2X-daily while the BHD-MAN route will be flown up to 3X-daily.

From May 8, Emerald will begin flights from BHD to Exeter (EXT) and Glasgow (GLA). The BHD-EXT route will be operated up to 5X-weekly while the BHD-GLA route will be flown daily.

Aer Lingus entered into a 10-year franchise agreement with Emerald in August 2021 to operate its regional network. Aer Lingus Regional flights were previously operated by Stobart Air until its failure in June 2021.

Aer Lingus, a subsidiary of International Airlines Group (IAG), said the agreement with Emerald would support its Dublin (DUB) hub strategy by feeding passengers to transatlantic flights from DUB. Emerald will also codeshare with IAG carrier British Airways, giving passengers access to BA’s extensive global network.

“We want to be the airline of choice for customers traveling to and from Belfast City Airport,” Emerald CEO Conor McCarthy said, adding that “in the very near future” the carrier will add more flights and destinations to be served from BHD.

“Today marks another important day for Aer Lingus Regional services,” Aer Lingus chief strategy and planning officer Reid Moody said. “It is good news for customers and good news for connectivity to/from Northern Ireland.”

BHD CEO Matthew Hall added: "This is excellent news for Northern Ireland and comes at a time when we are seeing an increasing demand for travel as we return to life without COVID restrictions.”

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.