Aer Lingus Regional is back, with flights to Dublin resuming in March 2022 from 11 destinations in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
This should, hopefully, be the end of a tumultuous couple of years for the airline, and help the main Aer Lingus operation grow stronger by delivering transfer traffic from the UK.
Like many of the big US airlines, Aer Lingus contracted out its regional flights to a franchise partner. They were not operated by the airline itself.
Older readers may remember Aer Arann, a niche Irish carrier. In 2010 Aer Arann came to an arrangement with Aer Lingus to use its branding, and in 2012 the Aer Arann name disappeared entirely. In 2013 Aer Arann was bought by Stobart Group, renamed Stobart Air, and expanded by also operating as a Flybe franchise.
In 2020, Aer Lingus decided to invite bids for the rights to fly under the Aer Lingus Regional brand. Bizarrely, Stobart Air lost the tender. The winner was Emerald Airlines, an airline with virtually no aircraft.
Whilst the existing Aer Lingus Regional deal ran to 2023, covid and the collapse of Flybe pushed Stobart Air into receivership a few months ago. This freed up its fleet which has allowed Emerald Airlines to launch earlier than planned.
Which routes will Aer Lingus Regional fly?
The first batch of routes have now been announced. Aer Lingus Regional will fly to Dublin from:
- Glasgow (17th March)
- Isle of Man (17th March)
- Birmingham (27th March)
- Bristol (27th March)
- Edinburgh (27th March)
- Manchester (27th March)
- Leeds Bradford (15th April)
- Newcastle (15th April)
- Exeter (29th April)
- Newquay (29th April)
- Jersey (28th May)
Once all routes are operational, Emerald Airlines will be undertaking 340 flights per week on behalf of Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus Regional will also be starting routes from Belfast City, but cannot do so at the moment because it does not have a UK operating licence. Until this comes through, BA CityFlyer will continue to cover selected routes between Belfast and Great Britain.
You will be able to earn and redeen Avios on Aer Lingus Regional flights. Redemptions for the routes above are bookable on avios.com, albeit still shown as operated by Stobart Air.
Redeeming will require opening an Aer Lingus AerClub account and using ‘Combine My Avios’ to move your points across from BA. This has reportedly been very buggy since the Avios IT upgrade, unfortunately. You can also book Aer Lingus on Avios by calling British Airways, although that is not advisable given the current pressure on the call centre.
You can explore times and pricing on the Aer Lingus website here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses.
There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 Avios.
30,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 4th February 2022.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 45,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
45,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 28th February 2022.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)