Emerald Airlines to replace Stobart Air as Aer Lingus Regional franchise
Irish carrier Aer Lingus has confirmed that Emerald Airlines will become its new regional subsidiary, taking over from the late Stobart Air.
On August 4, 2021, Aer Lingus announced it struck a deal with Emerald to commence operations from January 1, 2023.
"Although the contract is not due to commence for 18 months, Aer Lingus continues to work closely with Emerald Airlines to evaluate options with respect to an earlier contract start date in light of Stobart Air recently ceasing operations," said Aer Lingus in a statement.
The set of airlines had been in talks since 2020 when Aer Lingus considered Emerald, founded by its chief executive, Conor McCarthy, as the preferred bidder for the tender.
The new carrier intends to operate routes connecting Ireland, Britain, the Isle of Man, and Jersey, with opportunities to explore other regions.
Emerald is set to hire more than 400 employees and staff to sustain operations between present and commencement of operations.
Lynne Embleton, chief executive of Aer Lingus, said the deal with Emerald would catalyze the airline's plans to develop Dublin Airport as a Europe-US hub.
"This franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines marks a new chapter in Aer Lingus Regional services and brings choice and certainty to our customers flying between Ireland, the UK, and beyond," said Embleton in a statement.
McCarthy also regarded this collaboration and agreement as a significant deal for Irish aviation and tourism.
"As we add additional aircraft to our fleet, we will be recruiting 400-plus new staff members, which is a great boost for the industry which has been so badly impacted by the pandemic," added McCarthy.
Stobart Air operated the regional service until it liquidated on June 11, 2021, cutting 480 jobs after its English parent company, Esken, ended financial support.
Aer Lingus sought bids late last year from potential carriers interested in taking on the regional tender agreement, which had been due to expire in December 2022. Stobart participated, but Emerald emerged as the preferred bidder.
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