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Sunday 28th March: The first Aer Lingus Regional flights took to the air today as the franchise agreement between Ireland’s regional airline, Aer Arann, and the national carrier, Aer Lingus, began on 12 routes from Dublin and Cork.
Pictured at the inaugural Aer Lingus Regional flight, operated by Aer Arann, is Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Kavanagh, and Aer Arann Chief Executive Paul Schütz. Also pictured is Aer Arann Captain Catriona Murphy.
Of the 12 routes, 6 will operate from Dublin to the UK, with the remaining 6 serving the UK and France from Cork. The new route network increases frequency on busy business and leisure services between Dublin and both Glasgow and Edinburgh, while also offering direct connectivity from a number of UK regions to Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic services.
Three of Aer Arann's ATR 72-500 Aircraft, branded in new Aer Lingus livery, line up at Dublin Airport in advance of the first departure of the Aer Lingus Regional service today.
There are also 3 new routes among the 12; Dublin to Doncaster-Sheffield; Dublin to Durham Tees Valley, and Cork to Glasgow International Airport. The remaining 9 routes are services that were previously operated by either Aer Arann or Aer Lingus.
Speaking at Dublin Airport today as the first Aer Lingus Regional flight departed Stephen Kavanagh, Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer said;
“The expanded route network will enable us to serve key UK regional destinations with improved frequency and schedule options, while providing connectivity with our transatlantic network.”
Also at Dublin Airport today for the first departures was Aer Arann Chief Executive Paul Schütz who welcomed the franchise agreement saying;
“With our franchise partner we have created a product that offers a customer-focussed schedule with increased frequency and both regional and trans-Atlantic connectivity. The additional flights on existing routes combined with new direct services linking regional centres in the UK with Ireland offers a significant boost to both business and the tourism industry at a time when it is badly needed.
Our combined brand power and quality products make it an excellent service for passengers and we look forward to welcoming both new and existing Aer Arann and Aer Lingus customers on board our flights from today”, he continued.
The Aer Lingus Regional service is operated by Aer Arann ATR 72-500 aircraft and crew. All franchise flights are sold and distributed through www.aerlingus.com.
The new agreement significantly increases Aer Lingus presence in the Ireland-UK market including services to Ireland from Bristol, Blackpool, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield, Durham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In addition to the UK routes, new seasonal services from Cork to Jersey in the Channel Islands and La Rochelle in France will begin operating in May.