The Aer Arann Story
Aer Arann was established in 1970 by James Coen and Ralph Langan to provide a friendly, reliable, value for money air service to 1,000 islanders, located in Inis Mór off the west coast of Ireland with a fleet of BN-2 Islanders.
In the 1980's Aer Arann's unyielding spirit of independence saw the airline expand its services which began with the introduction of the Dublin - Galway route.
In 1994, Pádraig Ó Céidigh purchased the airline. In that year, passenger traffic doubled, but just as importantly, the airline won its first award for service. In obtaining the ISO 9000 Quality Award, Aer Arann became the first European airline to achieve this accolade.
In 2001, Aer Arann branched out from its sister company Aer Arann Islands to become an entirely separate company, operating under an independent Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). This move signified the growth of the company as it became widely recognised as Ireland's Regional Airline, offering a complete air-link from regional airports to major Irish hubs.
2002 marked further growth for Aer Arann as it launched its inaugural flight to the UK with the establishment of its Cork - Birmingham service. This hugely significant milestone was a major launch pad for the airline moving from a small domestic carrier to a premier regional airline that offered customers in the regions throughout Ireland greater connectivity to major international hubs.
In 2004, following the phenomenal success of the UK routes, the airline introduced its Lorient routes from Galway, Waterford and Cork, marking the airline's first step into continental Europe. The routes proved extremely popular with holiday makers from the regions who were keen to experience a relaxing sun-filled holiday without having to travel long distances to get there.
Aer Arann's excellence in customer service was formally recognised in 2006 when it received the Palme D'Or European regional airline award for sustained excellence, reinforcing the airline's belief that providing a progressive airline service doesn't have to mean compromising the human touch.
In 2007 Aer Arann signed an agreement valued at €180m for the delivery of 10 new ATR 72-500s, the next generation in turboprop technology. Aer Arann's decision to purchase turboprop aircraft, as opposed to jet aircraft, was carefully calculated. The procurement rationale was chiefly based on the fact that turboprops are the most economic way to transport passengers on short-haul sectors.
In January 2010, Aer Arann and Aer Lingus announced the establishment of a franchise arrangement between the two airlines which saw Aer Arann operate a number of routes from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to the UK under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.
As a result of the challenging economic environment and the direct impact of volcanic ash disruptions, Aer Arann officially entered Examinership in August 2010. Examinership is a provision in Irish company law that is designed to help companies that have financial difficulties but that also have a reasonable prospect of survival.
Aer Arann emerged from Examinership in October 2010 following a business re-structure and new investment. During the period of Examinership, the airline continued to operate all of its services as normal.
Demonstrating the success of the strategic partnership, in March 2012, Aer Arann and Aer Lingus announced the further expansion of the Aer Lingus Regional franchise agreement, which saw Aer Arann operate all of its routes under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.
All Aer Lingus Regional flights are sold and distributed through www.aerlingus.com. Aer Arann assumes full operational and commercial responsibility for the services covered by the franchise agreement with Aer Lingus receiving a franchise fee in recognition for providing its brand and product suite to Aer Arann.
Under the leadership of Sean Brogan, Interim CEO, Aer Lingus Regional continues to expand and has grown its network to 25 routes, with the addition of Newcastle in October 2013. The Aer Lingus Regional franchise has flown over 2 million passengers since it started and continues to grow steadily.