Emerald Airlines to open a new base at George Best Belfast City Airport

Emerald Airlines is planning to open a new operating base at George Best Belfast City Airport.

The flights will operate under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

The carrier will operate from Belfast City to:

Birmingham

Edinburgh

Exeter

Glasgow

Leeds/Bradford

Manchester

The airport issued this statement:

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 from Belfast City to;

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 ATR 72-600, 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.