Emerald flies first Aer Lingus Regional route

Inaugural flight for new airline is on Dublin-Donegal route

Aer Lingus Regional franchise operator Emerald Airlines' first scheduled flight took off on Saturday.

Emerald flew from Donegal to Dublin, relaunching a State-funded public service route whose future was in doubt at one point last year.

The Government awarded the recently-launched Emerald the contract to provide the Donegal-Dublin service last month. The airline, founded by aviation entrepreneur Conor McCarthy, will fly the route as part of the Aer Lingus Regional network, and will begin Ireland-Britain flights next month.

Mr McCarthy dubbed Saturday’s launch a “huge milestone” on Emerald’s route to becoming Ireland’s biggest regional airline.

“There has been a considerable amount of hard work behind the scenes in order to make this day a reality,” he said.

The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, launched the service and flew from Donegal aboard its first flight. She said the flight marked Government's commitment to maintaining the route for the next three years.

Emerald will offer up to two flights daily between both airports. Aer Lingus confirmed the airline as its regional network operator last year.