Emerald Airlines, Ireland’s newest regional airline, and operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, today announces further expansion with a second base at George Best Belfast City Airport.

  • First step in ensuring customers in the region continue to be served- new flights and routes to follow
  • Long-Term deal reached with Belfast City Airport to establish a new home-based carrier at the city-centre airport.

In a bid to increase choice for customers travelling from Belfast and the wider region, Emerald Airlines, exclusive operator of Aer Lingus Regional route network will expand out of Belfast City Airport, with a new base offering more choice and convenience to customers.

Emerald Airlines intends to operate high-frequency routes to Belfast City from:

  • Birmingham
  • Edinburgh
  • Exeter
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds Bradford
  • Manchester

These new routes form part of a long-term deal reached between Emerald Airlines and Belfast City Airport to establish a new home-based carrier at the city-centre airport with ambitious growth plans and further new routes to be announced throughout 2022.

Commenting on the announcement, Conor McCarthy, CEO of Emerald Airlines said:

“There is a huge opportunity for Emerald Airlines here; we want to be the airline of choice for customers travelling from Belfast City Airport and we’re eager to build upon our announcement today, with new flights and destinations to follow in the near future.

 We are in advanced talks with British Airways and Aer Lingus regarding code sharing and other cooperation so that we can maintain the continuity and benefits of the current services offered by both airlines at Belfast City Airport. Operational set-up continues at pace, with the Belfast City Base, our UK AOC and employee recruitment progressing extremely well.

 We’re confident this news will be welcomed by the business community across the region which depend on connectivity more than ever as the recovery continues, and also to all those looking to get away for a much-needed break or to visit friends and family this year.

 Meanwhile we have received almost 1,000 applications for our Belfast-based roles and are now in the final stages of our recruiting process with the first round of training commencing in February.”

All routes will be operated under an exclusive franchise agreement as Aer Lingus Regional with customers also having the added benefit of a codeshare with British Airways and the ability to earn Avios rewards on all flights.

Matthew Hall, Chief Executive at Belfast City Airport, said: “We are very pleased to secure a long-term partnership with Emerald Airlines that will see the return of the Aer Lingus Regional product to Belfast later this year.

“Emerald’s commitment to Northern Ireland will ensure not only the continuity of these regional routes that have been operated by mainline Aer Lingus and British Airways since last summer 2021, but also presents a significant opportunity for new routes and additional frequency.

“As the pandemic subsides we do expect to see an increased demand for travel – both to and from Belfast – and this ensures we are in a strong position to meet this demand.

“We look forward to working with the team at Emerald Airlines as we continue to connect Belfast with key destinations across the UK and beyond.”

Mainline Aer Lingus and British Airways services to London Heathrow and London City from Belfast City Airport remain unchanged.

All flights will be operated by the ATR72-600, the latest generation of turboprop aircraft combining environmental and economic performance, has a significant environmental advantage over regional jets and other turboprop aircraft, emitting up to 40% less CO₂ on short, regional flights.

Recruitment is ongoing at Emerald Airlines with more information on positions available on the Emerald Airlines’ careers page.


Notes to the editor:

Based out of Dublin, Emerald Airlines is Ireland’s newest regional airline and exclusive operator of the Aer Lingus Regional route network. Offering a range of solutions including Franchise, wet lease, and Private Charter flying, Emerald Airlines’ dedicated team of aviation specialists will provide customers with the fleet solutions to meet specific needs.

The airline recently announced details of the commencement of Aer Lingus Regional flights. The flights operated under a franchise agreement by Emerald Airlines will commence on 26th February as Aer Lingus Regional. Emerald Airlines will be flying over 360 flights per week across 12 routes from Dublin Airport.

Emerald has also established an airline company in Northern Ireland (Emerald Airlines UK Ltd) and has applied to the UK CAA for a UK AOC and Operating Licence.

The Emerald management team is made up of highly experienced aviation professionals with extensive worldwide aviation experience. Emerald Airlines will provide a high-quality and customer-focused service for their airline client’s route networks. Guided by a set of core values, Emerald Airlines’ mission is to safely grow the business sustainability through innovation, expertise, and a commitment to exceeding the expectations of our customers and airline partners.

Emerald Airlines Health & Safety:

Emerald Airlines has implemented enhanced health and safety measures to protect staff, crew, and passengers, including enhanced aircraft cleaning, mandatory face coverings (with the exception of small children and those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons), and boarding, disembarkation, and in-flight procedures to reduce crew and passenger interaction.