Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton have announced that Emerald Airlines will operate air services between Donegal and Dublin.
As noted by a statement announcing the news published on gov.ie, the current temporary contract for the route, which is a government-funded public service obligation (PSO) route, is operated by Amapola Flyg AB and expires on February 25 of this year.
Services on the route were previously operated by Stobart Air, which ceased operations in June of 2021.
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Emerald Airlines will operate services on the route under the Aer Lingus Regional brand from February 26 of this year until February 25 of 2025, according to the statement.
Emerald Airlines' contract may be extended for an additional year following February 25, 2025.
Emerald Airlines will offer up to two flights per day each way between Donegal Airport and Dublin Airport.
Minister Ryan Statement
Minister Ryan stated, "Government funded air services on the Donegal to Dublin route provide vital connectivity for Donegal and the North-West region to Dublin. I am delighted to announce that Emerald Airlines will operate services on this route commencing on 26 February 2022. I know that this route provides important reassurance for those who need to attend medical or other important appointments as well as supporting business and tourism in the region."
Minister Naughton Statement
Minister Naughton stated, "This will provide the people and businesses in the north-west with daily air services to Dublin, facilitating return trips within the day, and further international connectivity from Dublin airport through Emerald Airline's partners."
Emerald Airlines CEO Statement
Emerald Airlines CEO Conor McCarthy stated, "We are delighted to have been chosen as the new operator of the vital air route between Donegal and Dublin for the next three years. This announcement is a great boost for ensuring continued connectivity from Donegal to Dublin, and beyond, and we are really looking forward to welcoming passengers onboard from 26 February next."
Donegal Airport Chairman And Managing Director Joint Statement
Meanwhile, Donegal Airport chairman Steve Ó Cúláin and Donegal Airport managing director Eilís Ní Dhochartaigh said in a joint statement, "The board of directors and management of Donegal Airport welcome the announcement by Minister Ryan T.D. and Minister of State Naughton T.D. that Emerald Airlines is to be awarded the contract to operate the PSO route which provides an essential air link between the North West and Dublin in the absence of a motorway or rail network in the region.
"The award of the contract provides for a continuation of the twice daily flights currently being operated by Amapola Flyg AB, who have provided a very reliable service under an interim contract since July 2021. The ATR72-600 series aircraft, operated by Emerald Airlines, will also provide additional seat capacity on the route which will help the Airport regain passenger numbers post COVID-19 and contribute to our working closely with business and tourism development agencies to further promote the region as an attractive destination.
"Finally, we sincerely thank Amapola Flyg AB for their service under the interim contract and look forward to working with Ireland's newest regional airline over the coming weeks to prepare for the start of operations on 26 February 2022."
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