Aer Lingus To Outsource UK Regional Routes

04 Aug 2021 | 11.25 am

Aer Lingus To Outsource UK Regional Routes

Ten year franchise deal with Emerald Airlines

04 Aug 2021 | 11.25 am

Aer Lingus has signed a franchise deal with Conor McCarthy’s Emerald Airlines to operate its regional flights between the UK and Ireland for a period of ten years.

The deal is scheduled to commence from January  2023, but the two will work together to implement an earlier start date in the light of Stobart Air’s recent cessation of operations.

Under the agreement, Emerald Airlines will operate ATR turboprop aircraft on the regional routes with associated Aer Lingus branding and livery. This will provide connectivity to North America via Dublin, from regional airports in Britain, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

Over 400 staff will be required between now and commencement of services, according to Emerald.

Emerald chief executive Conor McCarthy said: “The combined strengths of both airlines will allow us to offer optimised connectivity from popular cities and routes across Ireland, the UK and beyond.

“Emerald Airlines have ambitious plans to grow and develop this partnership over the next few years, with the first ATR aircraft joining shortly. As we add additional aircraft to our fleet we will be recruiting more than 400 new staff members, which is a great boost for the industry which has been so badly affected by the pandemic.”

Aer Lingus chief executive Lynne Embleton added: “Aer Lingus’s strategic intent to develop Dublin Airport as a hub between Europe and the US, to deliver greater connectivity and aviation jobs, is significantly boosted by today’s announcement. This franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines marks a new chapter in Aer Lingus regional services and brings choice and certainty to our customers flying between Ireland, the UK and beyond.”

Aer Lingus has had to implement a rapid replacement schedule for its regional customers following the unexpected closure of Stobart Air in June, taking on six routes itself and transferring transferring customers onto replacement flights in order to minimise disruption, while BA CityFlyer is operating four additional routes for the rest of summer 2021.

Emerald Air has been speeding up its startup plans since the June demise of Stobart. McCarthy founded local maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider Dublin Aerospace in 2009 and was non-executive chairman of Stobart Air between 2018 and late 2019.

He also leads aviation consultancy PlaneConsult and is a co-founder of AirAsia — established in 2001 with two old 737s and now Asia’s largest low-fares airline, with 170 aircraft and carrying 50 million passengers a year.

Emerald plans to eventually operate a fleet of 15 ATR72 Avions de Transport Régional turboprops. The fledgling airline has already hired its first dozen pilots and cabin crew, who are undergoing operational conversion courses in Toulouse.

Photo (l-r): Conor McCarthy and Reid Mooney, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Aer Lingus. (Pic: Eoin McGirl)

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