Emerald Airlines, Ireland’s newest airline, and exclusive operator of the Aer Lingus Regional network began its scheduled services from Donegal to Dublin this week.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton T.D., departed Donegal Airport this morning on a flight operated by Emerald Airlines. This is the Government-funded Public Service Obligation (PSO) air service between Donegal and Dublin airports.
Fares start at €29.99, with Emerald Airlines offering up to four flights daily linking with convenient flight timings and seat numbers to enable same-day return trips to Dublin, and connections on the Aer Lingus network from Dublin.
Further route announcements are to be made in the coming weeks, and the airline plans to operate 360 flights per week across 12 routes.
A temporary contract, providing these Exchequer funded PSO services, operated by Amapola Flyg AB following the collapse of Stobart Air last June, expired on 25 February. A new contract with Emerald Airlines will operate from today until 25 February 2025 and may be extended for a further one-year period.
On this special occasion, Minister Naughton said, “This morning’s flight, which marks Government’s commitment to ensuring continued connectivity to this region for the next 3 years, is also the inaugural flight of Emerald Airlines, Ireland’s newest Airline. Emerald Airlines will operate the public service obligation air service, under the Aer Lingus Regional brand, facilitating return trips from Donegal within the day, and further international connectivity from Dublin airport through Emerald Airline’s partners. I would like to wish Emerald Airline’s every success in operating and growing this route and providing the people and businesses in the North-West with daily air services to Dublin to attend medical and other important appointments as well as supporting the economy and tourism in the region.”
The award of the new contract to Emerald Airlines follows an EU public tendering process conducted by the Department of Transport in accordance with the requirements of EU Regulation 1008/2008, which allows PSOs to airports that serve peripheral or less developed regions.
Speaking on the occasion, Conor McCarthy, CEO, and Founder of Emerald Airlines said: “Today marks a huge milestone in our journey to become Ireland’s largest regional airline. There has been a considerable amount of hard work behind the scenes in order to make this day a reality. I would like to thank all those involved; especially our amazing team at Emerald Airlines, our partners in Aer Lingus, Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton, and their team at the Department of Transport, and our friends at Donegal Airport.”