Aer Lingus Regional operation to relaunch at Belfast City Airport in three weeks
EMERALD Airlines has confirmed it will relaunch the Aer Lingus Regional service at Belfast City Airport later this month, with the first of six planned routes starting from March 24.
An Aer Lingus Regional hub was originally set up at the airport in August 2020, but lasted just ten months when former operator Stobart Air collapsed in June 2021.
Emerald Airlines had already been identified as the next operator at that point, eventually signing a ten-year contract with Aer Lingus.
But Conor McCarthy's start-up carrier was not expected to take over until 2023.
Stobart's collapse has accelerated its plans, with Emerald launching its first service under the Aer Lingus colours between Donegal and Dublin last month.
Aer Lingus and sister IAG carrier British Airways had stepped in to cover most of the former Stobart routes at Belfast City Airport while Emerald went through the UK air operator certification process.
But Emerald Airlines has confirmed it will be ready to launch at Belfast City Airport in three weeks, with its 72-seater turboprop plane taking off for Birmingham on March 24.
Tickets are also now on sale for the other five routes. The Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford and Manchester routes will take off from March 27, while flights to Glasgow and Exeter start on May 8.
Conor McCarthy said the carrier hopes to announce additional routes in the future.
“We want to be the airline of choice for customers travelling to and from Belfast City Airport, and with today's announcement we are well positioned to deliver on that objective,” he said.
“We're keen to build upon our announcement today, with more flights, destinations, and great fares to follow in the very near future.”
New city airport boss, Matthew Hall said: “This is excellent news for Northern Ireland and comes at a time when we are seeing an increasing demand for travel as we return to life without Covid restrictions.
“We are grateful to our airline partners for maintaining connectivity throughout the pandemic and now look forward to commencing our long-term partnership with Emerald Airlines which presents significant opportunities for additional routes and frequencies.”