Businessman Conor McCarthy's Emerald Airlines will enter exclusive talks in the coming weeks to acquire the contract to operate Aer Lingus Regional services for 10 years from January of 2023.
Emerald Airlines was established earlier this year by McCarthy, who is maintenance group Dublin Aerospace's biggest shareholder and who previously served as the head of Aer Lingus's commuter division. McCarthy also previously worked for Ryanair.
The Irish Times quotes McCarthy as saying, "Emerald Airlines looks forward to these negotiations in the coming weeks with a view to concluding a binding contract and progressing with our ambitious plan to roll out a fleet of 15-plus ATR72 Aer Lingus-branded aircraft from Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Shannon."
It was revealed in September that Aer Lingus was seeking tenders to operate its regional service following the expiration of the current contract, which is held by Stobart Air.
Stobart Air Sale
It was also revealed in September that Stobart Group it is in talks to sell Stobart Air, which has been ruled out as a candidate to operate Aer Lingus Regional services following the expiration of its current contract. However, Stobart Air has pledged to continue to operate the services until the current contract expires in December of 2022.
The Irish Times quotes Stobart Air as saying, "Our immediate aim is to maintain services in the short term, and to work hard to resuming normal operations in 2021 post the impact of COVID-19."
Additionally, The Irish Independent quotes Stobart Group as saying, "The decision to not make Stobart Air its preferred supplier for a new commercial agreement does not alter the group’s intention to exit Stobart Air and [aircraft leasing business] Propius as soon as is practicable."
The Irish Independent also quotes Stobart Group CEO Warwick Brady as saying, "The group remains in positive discussions with a number of interested parties and continues to target an exit from Stobart Air before the end of the current financial year."
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