13 Aug 2022

Ireland's newest airline announced as operator for Donegal Airport's Donegal to Dublin route

The operator will service the government public service obligation route

More great news for Donegal Airport

Donegal Airport

There has been a broad welcome for the news that a new operator has been announced for Donegal Airport / Aerfort Dhún na nGall.

Minister Eamon Ryan TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD announced that Ireland’s newest airline, Emerald Airlines, will operate the Government funded Public Service Obligation (PSO) air service between Donegal and Dublin airports, under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

The new operator is due to begin a three year contract to service the route from February 26.

Airport management Steve Ó Cúláin, Cathaoirleach, and Eilís Ní Dhochartaigh, Príomhfheidhmeannach, said in a joint statement: "This PSO contract provides an essential airlink between the north west and Dublin in the absence of a motorway or rail network in the region.

"The award of the contract to Emerald Airlines will see a continuation of the twice daily flights currently being operated by Amapola Flyg AB, who have provided a very reliable service under an imterim contract since July 2021.

"The ATR72-600 series aircraft operated by Emerald Airlines will also provide additional seat capacity on the route, which will help the airport regain passenger numbers post Covid-19, and contribute to our working closely with business and tourism development agencies to further promote the region as an attractive destination. 

"We sincerely thank Amapola Flyg AB for their service under the interim contract and look forward to working with Ireland's newest airline over the coming weeks to prepare for the start of operations on February 26."

TD Pearse Doherty (SF) welcomed the news, saying: "The appointment of the new carrier on a long-term basis is welcome news for all passengers who rely on this service.

"Given the uncertainty which ensued in the summer of last year following the collapse of the previous airline, I know that many business passengers, students and those who use the flight for medical appointments and treatment in Dublin will breathe a sigh of relief today knowing that this contract has been awarded on a three-year basis.

"As I have said previously, this route is vital for the north west. The 40-minute flight makes that journey much easier than the four or five hours it takes to travel by road, each way.

“The North West is not connected to Dublin or the rest of Ireland by motorway, dual carriageway or rail. For those who live in Donegal and travel to work or study in Dublin, the regional airport makes this possible.

"I reiterate that it is important that the new airline offers the lowest possible airfares for passengers to ensure that people can afford to use the service. 

"I also commend the team at Donegal Airport for their continued work and I wish Emerald Airlines the very best of luck in the new venture when they take over the service on February 26."

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