Green Spirit went into service yesterday (11 May 2015) operating across the airline's short haul network to the UK and continental Europe.

"The livery in IRFU and player branding is a first for Aer Lingus and recognises the contribution sport makes to all our lives," said Stephen Kavanagh, chief executive at Aer Lingus.

"Green Spirit will join the Aer Lingus operation and will fly across Europe to some of the sixty destinations we serve. It will be seen by many and not only promotes Aer Lingus but will spread awareness of Irish rugby throughout the continent," he added.

The aircraft unveiling comes after Aer Lingus experienced a 5.2 per cent drop in passenger numbers for April but reported that its load factor was up for the month.