Monday, February 11 12:06:50
Irish regional airline, Aer Arann, today unveiled an ambitious plan to double its passenger numbers within five years and join Europe's top tier of regional airlines by 2015.
It added that it is extending its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus until 2022.
The airline also confirmed a 32pc rise in Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers in 2012, with total passenger growth of 16pc in the past two years.
Announcing a 'new beginning' at the airline, Sean Brogan, Interim Chief Executive, Aer Arann outlined a package of measures to grow its customer base and route network.
He said that a successful restructuring of the company has been completed, putting the airline on a strong financial footing with the airline taking delivery of eight new aircraft. The new aircraft, ATR 72-600s, will replace the older existing fleet of ATR72-200s and ATR42s. The first new plane will commence service this May, with the remaining aircraft expected for delivery over the next 11 months. The new fleet will be fully operational in time for the Summer 2014 programme, he said.
Aer Arann has extended its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus, which will see it operate under the Aer Lingus Regional brand until the end of 2022.
Starting this Summer, Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann will add two new routes to its network, Dublin Birmingham and Dublin Manchester. The addition of these routes, two of the busiest on the Ireland to UK network, will increase passenger numbers by 300,000 and bring the airline's route network to 24.
Combined with existing Aer Lingus mainline services to Manchester and Birmingham, these new services will result in a significant ramping up of frequencies to two of the busiest routes on the Ireland to UK network, it said.
Specifically, services on the Dublin Birmingham route will go from three to six services per day while services on the Dublin Manchester routes will go from three to five per day. It also means that the airline will be operating routes to the main UK cities. The Stobart Group is also advancing plans to add routes at London Southend airport.
The airline is to increase frequencies on its Dublin Edinburgh and Dublin Glasgow routes. Specifically, services on the Dublin Edinburgh route will go from four up to six services per day while services on the Dublin Glasgow route will go from four up to six per day.
"Just over two years ago, we stared closure in the face. Now, we have the fundamentals in place to join Europe's top tier of regional airlines. The completion of our restructuring programme represents a new beginning for the airline. Our extended franchise agreement with Aer Lingus to 2022 gives us a firm foundation for growth, and the fleet renewal programme allows us to enhance the passenger offering further," said Mr Brogan.
"These new routes connect us with two of the UK's largest cities and means that for the first time, the airline is servicing all of the main UK destinations from Ireland. These new routes will add over 120,000 passengers to our network this year, and it is our aim to increase this to 300,000 passengers by the end of next year. Taken with Aer Lingus' existing services, it offers significant additional choice to all customers, especially business customers seeking same day returns."