Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton with Emerald Airlines CEO Conor McCarthy, Photo: Fran Veale/Julien Behal Photography

Aer Lingus

has confirmed that its new regional subsidiary, Aer Lingus Regional, will begin operations from March 17. The airline will specialise in the niche market of routes between Ireland and Britain. The launch is in fact more than 10 months ahead of the original planned date. The aircraft, ATR72-600s, are franchised to Irish carrier Emerald Airlines.

Aer Lingus Regional will offer up to 340 weekly flights across 11 routes from Dublin. It will fly up to 4 times a day to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Up to 3 times a day to Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester and up to 2 times a day to Leeds/Bradford. It will also operate several weekly flights from the Irish capital to Cornwall Newquay, Exeter, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newcastle.

Another subsidiary has been formed in Northern Ireland. Called Emerald Airlines UK, it is awaiting an Air Operator’s Certificate from the UK CAA to operate flights from Belfast City-George Best Airport. The company hopes to take off in 2022. The UK flights will connect with Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights in Dublin. But also with the Irish carrier’s flights to the rest of Europe including France.

Emerald took delivery of its first aircraft in September as part of an agreement for six ATR 72-600s from Chorus Aviation. The airline also has an agreement in place to lease four more ATR 72-600s from Nordic Aviation Capital.

For its part, Aer Lingus has relaunched some of its European routes this winter. This includes flights from Dublin to Frankfurt, Geneva, Prague and Zurich. The Geneva route has been served by 9 weekly flights since December 18.

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Luc Citrinot