Emerald Airlines leases four aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital

Aer Lingus franchise operator continues to build fleet

Conor McCarthy, chief executive of Emerald Airlines, and Diarmuid Ó Conghaile of the IAA. Photograph: Emerald Airlines

Conor McCarthy, chief executive of Emerald Airlines, and Diarmuid Ó Conghaile of the IAA. Photograph: Emerald Airlines

 

Emerald Airlines is leasing four ATR aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital that are destined for its Aer Lingus Regional services.

Founded by its chief executive – aviation entrepreneur Conor McCarthy – Emerald recently secured a deal to operate the Aer Lingus Regional franchise, formerly held by Stobart Air.

The Dublin-based carrier confirmed on Monday that it had agreed to lease four ATR72-600 aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of planes to regional airlines.

Mr McCarthy said Emerald would acquire more aircraft in coming months, adding that the Nordic deal brought it a step closer to that.

The airline is due to begin flying the Aer Lingus Regional routes in January 2023, as Stobart, which folded in June, would have ended its contract in December 2022. Aer Lingus began talks with Emerald on taking on the new franchise contract in December last year, following a tender process.

Emerald said it was continuing to work closely with Aer Lingus to establish if some services could start earlier.

Safety and air navigation regulator, the Irish Aviation Authority, granted Emerald its Air Operator Certificate last month, proving the carrier’s fitness to fly.

Jim Murphy, Nordic’s chief commercial officer, said the company looked forward to building a strong partnership with Emerald.

Nordic serves almost 70 airlines in 45 countries. Its 500-strong fleet includes various ATR aircraft, De-Havillands, Mitsubishis, Airbus 220s and Embraers, all mainly used to fly shorter distances.

Passengers

Emerald began taking delivery of aircraft in August, shortly after agreeing terms with Aer Lingus to take over the bigger carrier’s regional franchise. Mr McCarthy predicted Emerald would reach two million passengers by the end of 2023.

At full strength, the Aer Lingus regional network has more than 30 routes connecting Ireland, Britain, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

The service feeds passengers to Aer Lingus North American flights at Dublin, to and from British regional airports, as well as connecting destinations in the two areas.

Aer Lingus grew its transatlantic business from early in the last decade by increasingly using the Republic’s biggest airport as a hub for passengers transferring between North American and European flights.

The Irish airline and its sister carrier, BA, stepped into some regional routes temporarily to ensure services continued when Stobart ceased trading in June.