The deal comes following the collapse of the airline’s original partner, Stobart Air
Aer Lingus has announced a ten-year franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines to operate its regional network, beginning on January 1, 2023.
Under the deal, the start-up carrier will operate ATR turboprop aircraft with Aer Lingus branding and livery applied between the island of Ireland and regional airports in the UK, Isle of Man and Jersey, with options for expansion in the future.
According to the Irish flag carrier, although the contract is not due to start for another 18 months, “we are working closely with Emerald Airlines to evaluate options with respect to an earlier start date in light of Stobart air recently ceasing operations.”
Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, said “We are delighted to sign the franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines and excited about the opportunities this new chapter in Aer Lingus Regional services brings to our overall offering for our customers. This agreement will give 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.”
Conor McCarthy, founder and CEO of Emerald Airlines, added: “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 staff members which is a great boost for the industry which has been so badly impacted by the pandemic.”
Emerald Airlines is Ireland’s newest regional airline with services including private charter, ACMI leasing and franchise flying such as for Aer Lingus.