Emerald becomes Ireland’s newest airline

Company has been granted its air operator certificate by the Irish Aviation Authority

Emerald Airlines has been granted its air operator certificate (AOC), making it Ireland's newest airline. Based out of Dublin, it secured the AOC following the successful completion of inspections by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

Emerald recently secured a deal to operate the Aer Lingus regional franchise, formerly held by Stobart Air, for a period of 10 years.

Although the contract is not due to commence until January 1st, 2023, Emerald says it is continuing to work closely with Aer Lingus to evaluate options with respect to an earlier contract start date.

Speaking on Monday, Emerald founder and chief executive Conor McCarthy said: “Being granted the first AOC in Ireland since the pandemic is not only a major milestone in our journey as an airline but a significant one for the Irish aviation industry as it begins its recovery following the worst crisis in its history.


“We are now able to progress towards the launch of scheduled services, which will be rolled out progressively as our aircraft are delivered and market conditions allow.

“We will be working very closely with Aer Lingus on this now that we have our AOC in place.”

Speaking at the handing over of the certificate, the aviation regulator of the IAA, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, commented on the significance of a new Irish airline following an exceptionally difficult period for the aviation sector over the past 18 months.

“Establishing a new airline and achieving all the necessary safety and licensing approvals is a huge achievement at any time,” he said. “It is particularly challenging in the current pandemic circumstances, and we congratulate all of the team at Emerald on passing this milestone.

“The emergence of Emerald as a new Irish airline is a big lift for Irish aviation and the Irish travel industry as we push to rebound from the catastrophic sectoral impact of the pandemic.”

Emerald Airlines has been assigned the call sign Gemstone and EAI as its three-letter designator by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter