The latest reports reveal that Aer Lingus has entered into a 10-year franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines to operate its regional flights starting January 2023. The announcement follows the abrupt closure of Stobart Air that had been operating Aer Lingus regional services. Stobart shut down in June.
Aer Lingus explained that although this contract is scheduled to start in 18 months, it is still working closely with Emerald Airlines to evaluate the different options available with regards to an earlier contract start date in the wake of Stobart Air recently ceasing its operations.
This new franchise agreement between Emerald Airlines and Aer Lingus is expected to support Aer Lingus’s Dublin Hub strategy. It will offer connectivity of the United Kingdom provincial airports with North America through Dublin.
Based on the announcement, the agreement will provide some connectivity between the Ireland airports and Regional airports in the Isle of Man and Jersey, the United Kingdom, and with options for network expansions to several other regional airports in the coming years.
Under that agreement, Emerald Airlines is scheduled to operate ATR turboprop aircraft on the regional routes with the linked Aer Lingus branding and livery. More than 400 staff will be needed between today and the start of these services.
The Chief Executive, Aer Lingus, Lynne Embleton, stated:
“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.”
The Founder and Chief Executive of Emerald Airlines, Conor McCarthy, said that the agreement is a massive development for the Irish aviation and the general tourism sector. He added:
“The combined strengths of both airlines will allow us to offer optimized 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.”
Since Stobart Air shut down its operations, Aer Lingus has been seen operating a replacement schedule for the regional clients, operating up to six routes until the end of March 2022. BA CityFlyer is also operating four extra routes for the rest of the Summer 2021 period.
Aer Lingus has been transferring some of the customers onto replacement flights to reduce disruptions. Where no replacement flights have been scheduled, Aer Lingus is currently booking its clients onto alternative flights.