Aer Lingus celebrated 80 years of flying on Friday 27th May, having launched its first ever flight from Baldonnel to Bristol on that day in 1936.
To recognise this milestone, Aer Lingus has flown the Iolar, a replica of the a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon that made that first journey, with only five passengers, to Bristol once again, 80 years later.
While its first aircraft might only have had the capacity to accommodate six passengers, Aer Lingus now has a fleet of 62 aircraft and connects 12 million people from Ireland and across the world to more than 100 destinations throughout Europe and North America.
1958 marked Aer Lingus’s first transatlantic flight from Dublin and Shannon to New York and more than 60 years later the airline operates 12 direct services to North America. 2016 in particular is a standout year for transatlantic growth as Aer Lingus introduces three new direct routes to North America – Los Angeles, California, which began on 4th May; Newark, New Jersey, which will commence on 1st September; and Hartford, Connecticut, on 28th September.
Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to celebrate 80 years of flying at Aer Lingus. 2016 has been a very exciting year for Aer Lingus so far – we recently commenced our new Los Angeles service and in September our Newark, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut services will commence. These new routes open up new tourism and business opportunities with improved connectivity through our Dublin Gateway. We are proud of our 80-year history of connecting Ireland to the world and will continue to fly the shamrock high for the next 80 years.”
In its inaugural year Aer Lingus operated three routes, carrying 892 passengers and employed a total of 12 staff. In 2016, its 80th year of service, the airline carries 12 million passengers, flies 117 routes and provides employment to 4,000 staff.