Bernie Baldwin

New agreement supports strategy for enhanced local connections and a reduced carbon footprint.

Emerald Airlines, which is scheduled to take over the operation of Aer Lingus Regional on 1 January 2023, has agreed to lease six ATR 72600 from Chorus Aviation Capital (CAC). The first aircraft was scheduled for August 2021; the rest will join the airline over the next 12 months.

Because the previous franchise operator, Stobart Air, has ceased operations, Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines are in discussions over starting work together earlier than planned.

The agreement between the carriers supports Aer Lingus’s Dublin hub strategy by providing connections from UK provincial airports to North America via Dublin. Flights will operate between Ireland and regional airports in the UK, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

The choice of the ATR 72600 for Emerald’s fleet was driven by “a significant environmental advantage over regional jets emitting 40% less CO2 on regional flights”.

Commenting on the aircraft and the CAC deal, Conor McCarthy, founder and chief executive of Emerald Airlines said, “We couldn’t be happier with our partnership with Chorus Aviation Capital and look forward to taking delivery of our first six ATR 72600s. The [type] is an essential part of our strategy to offer high frequency, convenient, and affordable air travel across Ireland and the UK.

“ATRs have proven themselves in tough environments featuring unrivalled performances, leading-edge comfort and an unmatched reliability,” McCarthy added. “These are the right aircraft for our passengers and airline and will be a great asset to our company. Having reached agreement with Aer Lingus, we are ready to hit the ground running and look forward to what the future has in store.”

After Stobart Air went under in June, Aer Lingus worked on a replacement schedule for Aer Lingus Regional customers, operating six routes until March 2022. BA CityFlyer is operating four extra routes for the summer 2021 season. Aer Lingus transferred customers on to replacement flights to minimise disruption. Where no replacement flight is scheduled, Aer Lingus is booking customers onto alternative flights.

Late News: As CONNECT Unplugged went to press, it was announced that Emerald Airlines had been granted its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The carrier was subsequently given the callsign GEMSTONE and EAI as its three-letter designator by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).