Aer Lingus has announced that Emerald Airlines will operate its Aer Lingus Regional flights.
In a statement published on its website, Aer Lingus said, "Aer Lingus has today [Wednesday August 4] announced that it has entered into a franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines which will commence on 1 January, 2023, for a period of ten years for the operation of Aer Lingus Regional flights. Although the contract is not due to commence for 18 months, Aer Lingus continues to work closely with Emerald Airlines to evaluate options with respect to an earlier contract start date in light of Stobart Air recently ceasing operations.
"The new franchise agreement between Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines will support Aer Lingus's Dublin Hub strategy by providing connectivity of UK provincial airports to North America via Dublin. The agreement will offer connectivity between the island of Ireland and Regional Airports in UK, the Isle of Man and Jersey, with options for network expansion to more regional airports in the future.
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"Under the agreement, Emerald Airlines will operate ATR turboprop aircraft on the regional routes with associated Aer Lingus branding and livery. Over 400 staff will be required between now and commencement of services."
In a statement also published on Aer Lingus’s website, the airline's CEO, Lynne Embleton, said, "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. We very much look forward to partnering with Emerald Airlines, and to growing and developing Aer Lingus Regional over the coming years."
In another statement published on Aer Lingus's website, Emerald Airlines founder and CEO Conor McCarthy said, "This is a major development for Irish Aviation and the wider tourism industry. 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 400+ new staffmembers which is a great boost for the industry which has been so badly impacted by the pandemic."
Aer Lingus added, "Following the unexpected closure of Stobart Air in June, Aer Lingus worked quickly to plan a replacement schedule for Aer Lingus Regional customers, operating six routes until at least the end of March 2022. BA CityFlyer is also operating four additional routes for the rest of the summer 2021 period. Aer Lingus has been transferring customers on to replacement flights in order to minimise disruption. Where no replacement flight has been scheduled, Aer Lingus is booking customers onto alternative flights."
New Airline Services For Knock And Belfast
The announcement of Emerald Airlines operating Aer Lingus Regional flights coincides with the announcement of new airline services for Ireland West Airport Knock and Belfast City Airport.
In a statement published on its website, "Ireland West Airport Knock said, Ireland West Airport today welcomes the announcement by Ryanair of a new weekly service this winter to Malaga in sunny Costa Del Sol.
"The Malaga service, which currently operates during the summer season, will now continue throughout the year with flights operating every Saturday throughout the winter for the first time, providing easy access to one of Europe’s most popular tourist and sun holiday destinations.
"Malaga is the gateway to the popular Costa Del Sol region which stretches for just over 150 kilometres, stretching from Almeria to Tarifa, this hugely popular holiday spot caters for all tastes and ages, has a huge range of facilities and attractions with miles of golden sandy beaches and a year round warm climate which sees holidaymakers returning year after year. The Costa Del Sol is within easy reach of a host of resorts such as Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Marbella, Nerja and Torremolinos.
"Today's announcement is the fourth positive route announcement by Ryanair in recent months, following the airline's announcement of brand new services to Edinburgh and Manchester, which start in September, and the announcement of a new twice weekly winter service to Milan in Italy, meaning Ryanair will now offer passengers a choice of 12 destinations across the UK and Europe to and from the airport in 2021."
In a statement also published on Ireland West Airport Knock's website, the website’s managing director, Joe Gilmore, said, "We welcome yet another very positive announcement by Ryanair of a new winter service to Malaga, which will provide the people of the west and north-west of Ireland with year round access to one of Europe's most popular sun destinations. The addition of a new winter service to Malaga and the recent announcement of a new winter service to Milan, will provide increased access to European sun and city break destinations this winter. It means new Ryanair services will see the addition of an extra 35,000 seats at the airport this autumn and winter as we continue to rebuild our route network and passenger numbers. We thank Ryanair for their continued support for the airport in expanding their route network during what continues to be a most challenging period for the airport."
Meanwhile, in a statement published on Belfast City Airport's website, the airport said, "A direct service to Glasgow has taken off from Belfast City Airport with British Airways.
"Passengers on the inaugural flight were greeted by a bagpiper playing traditional Scottish music."
In a statement also published on Belfast City Airport's website, the airport's commercial director, Katy Best, said, "The launch of a Glasgow services further enhances domestic connectivity from Belfast City Airport and presents a convenient travel option to and from the west coast of Scotland.
"Northern Ireland has strong links with Scotland and Glasgow has always been a popular route so we’re very happy it has resumed with British Airways today.
"British Airways has a strong commitment to Northern Ireland and it is excellent passengers can now avail of the fantastic British Airways product on a greater number of routes from Belfast City Airport whilst collecting Avios and Executive Club tier points."
Belfast City Airport added, "British Airways currently operates a network of six destinations from Belfast City Airport - Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London City, London Heathrow and a summer service to Newquay.
"The British Airways flexible booking policy allows customers to book with absolute confidence and the option to exchange their booking for a voucher or to move their dates without incurring a fee if their plans change."
New Belfast International Airport Services
The above news of new airline services for Ireland West Airport Knock and Belfast City Airports follows the recent announcement of new easyJet services from Belfast International Airport to East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Inverness, as well as the recent announcement of new Jet2 services from Belfast International Airport to Ibiza, Menorca and Majorca.
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