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Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland.
Aer Lingus operates over 30 aircraft serving Europe and the United States.
The airline is owned by the Irish government, however plans are being made for the privatisation of the company.
Aer Lingus is a member of the Oneworld Alliance.
- IATA Code: EI
- ICAO Code: EIN
- Callsign: Shamrock
The Aer Lingus fleet consists of the following aircraft (at 20 April 2005):
- 16 Airbus A320-200
- 6 Airbus A321-200
- 3 Airbus A330-200
- 4 Airbus A330-300
- 1 Boeing 737-400
- 4 Boeing 737-500
See article: Aer Lingus destinations
Aer Lingus Teoranta was registered as an airline on May 22, 1936. The name, Aer Lingus is an anglicisation of the Irish form Aer Loingeas which means Air Fleet. Five days after being founded the airline opened its first service between Baldonnel Airfield in Dublin and Bristol, England, using a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon biplane. Later on that year, the airline acquired its second aircraft, a De Havilland 84B Dragon with a capacity of 14 passengers. Aer Lingus, as a European carrier, switched to purchasing aircraft, such as the above.
In 1937 the Irish government created Aer Rianta (now called Dublin Airport Authority), a company to assume financial responsibility for the new airline and the entire country's civil aviation infrastructure. In January 1940 a new airport was completed in the Dublin suburb of Collinstown and Aer Lingus moved their operations to the new aviation centre. Apart from a new DC-3 service to Liverpool and an internal service to Shannon the airline's services were curtailed during World War II. On November 9, 1945 regular services were resumed with an inaugural post-war flight to London. From this point on Aer Lingus planes were painted in a silver and green livery, and the airline's first flight attendants were introduced.
In 1946 a new Anglo-Irish agreement gave Aer Lingus exclusive UK traffic rights in exchange for a 40% holding by British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways (BEA). Because of Aer Lingus' rate of growth the airline bought seven new Vickers Viking planes in 1947, however, these proved to be uneconomical and were soon sold.
In 1947 Aerlínte Éireann came into existence with the purpose of operating transatlantic flights to New York from Ireland. Three new Lockheed Constellations were ordered, however, a financial crisis prevented the service from starting. The Constellations were then sold to BOAC and the transatlantic service was put on hold. During the late 1940s and early 1950s Aer Lingus introduced new routes to Brussels, Amsterdam and Rome. Because of the expanding route structure the airline became one of the first to order Vickers Viscount 707s in 1951. In 1956 Aer Lingus introduced a new, green top livery with a white lighting flash down the windows and the Irish flag displayed on each plane's fin.
First transatlantic service
Aer Lingus used the Carvair automobile freighter with little economic success.
On April 28, 1958 Aerlínte Éireann operated the first transatlantic service from Shannon to New York. Three Lockheed Constellations were used for the thrice-weekly service. The aircraft were wet-leased from the American airline Seaboard And Western while Irish cabin crews were used. This arrangement continued until January 1, 1960 when Aerlínte Éireann was renamed Aer Lingus - Irish International Airlines. Aer Lingus entered the jet-age on December 14, 1960 when three Boeing 720s were delivered for use on the New York route, as well as for the newest Aer Lingus destination, Boston.
In 1963, Aer Lingus brought some Carvairs to the fleet. With this aircraft, five cars could be transported by loading them into the fuselage through the nose of the plane. However, the Carvair proved to be an economic disaster for the airline, partly due to the rise of car ferry services. The Boeing 720s proved to be a success for the airline on the transatlantic routes, however, in 1964 Aer Lingus took delivery of the larger Boeing 707.
Conversion of the European fleet to jet equipment began in 1965 when the BAC 1-11 began services from Dublin and Cork to Paris. A new livery was adopted in the same year, with a large white shamrock on the fin and titles of Aer Lingus-International just above the plane's windows. In 1966 the remainder of the companies shares held by Aer Rianta were tranferred to the Minister for Finance.
Aer Lingus suffered its only air crash in 1968 when a Vickers Viscount aircraft en route from Cork to London crashed near Tuskar Rock in the waters off the south east coast of Ireland. All 57 passengers and four crew perished. The crash is generally known as the Tuskar Rock Air Disaster in Ireland. The cause of the crash is still unknown, with some suggesting that British missile tests were to blame.
In 1968, flights from Belfast in Northern Ireland to New York were started. The service proved successful in the beginning but it was soon suspended due to the beginning of the troubles in the area. 1969 saw the introduction of Boeing 737s to the Aer Lingus fleet to cope with the high demand for flights between the cities of Dublin and London. Aer Lingus later decided to extend the 737 flights to all of their European network.
1970s to 1990s
Aer Lingus continue to operate aircraft, such as , for some short flights. Since starting online ordering over the , some short-haul aeroplanes sport an "aerlingus.com" livery. Enlarge Aer Lingus continue to operate Boeing aircraft, such as Boeing 737s, for some short flights. Since starting online ordering over the Internet, some short-haul aeroplanes sport an "aerlingus.com" livery.
In 1970 Aer Lingus took delivery of two Boeing 747s for use on the transatlantic routes. A third was later added to the fleet, however, one was leased out because it wasn't profitable at first for the company to fly 747s across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1974 a new livery was unveiled and the word International disappeared from the fuselage titles on Aer Lingus planes. The livery included two different colors of blue and one green, plus the white shamrock on the tail/fin.
In September 1979 Aer Lingus became the first airline other than Alitalia to be used by Pope John Paul II. The pontiff flew aboard a specially modified Boeing 747 (EI-ASI or St. Patrick) from Rome to Dublin and later from Shannon to Boston. In the early 1980s the 707s were phased out.
In 1984 a fully-owned subsidiary, Aer Lingus Commuter, was formed so that Aer Lingus could fly to larger cities in Ireland and Britain whose flying time from Dublin did not require jet planes. These services were operated primarily by 5 of the Belfast-built Shorts 360. Around this time Aer Lingus purchased a majority sharehold in the cargo airline Aer Turas, owner of some DC-8 freighter jets.
Between 1987 and 1989, new Boeing 737s arrived to replace the older ones, and 6 Fokker F-50s were added to the Commuter fleet. During 1990, after the passage of the deregulation act for the airline industry in Ireland, Aer Lingus had to reconsider its operational policies. The BAC 1-11s were retired and 5 new 737s arrived. In 1991, 4 SAAB 340Bs arrived at the commuter division, to substitute the Shorts 360 planes. By 1992 Aer Lingus's whole original 737 fleet had been replaced by new 737s. The airline was also the first operator in the world of all 3 then versions of the 737 (the 300/400/500 series). 
Airbus and the New Millennium
In 1994 Aer Lingus started direct services between Dublin and the United States using the new Airbus A330 and in May of that year Aer Lingus operated the first A330 ETOPS service on the North Atlantic route. This led to the phasing out of the Boeing 747 and the briefly operated Boeing 767-300ER. On October 2, 1995 the last jumbo-jet service was operated after twenty-five years of service. By that time, over 8 million people had travelled across the Atlantic in Aer Lingus Boeing 747s. The late 1990s saw Aer Lingus return to Belfast with a service to New York via Shannon. Newark International Airport in New Jersey was also added as a destination. However, since then these flights have been suspended.
From 1965 to 1997 Aer Lingus sponsored the Aer Lingus Young Scientist Exhibition. The event was taken over by Esat BT amid claims that it was part of a cost cutting plan by Aer Lingus, though the airline claimed that the exhibition no longer represented the airline's aims or goals.
Following the attacks on September 11, 2001 Aer Lingus' business was severely reduced. Staff numbers were cut, destinations were dropped and the fleet was reduced. The airline has since weathered the storm and is back in profit. This has largely been achieved through a new strategy involving (1) lowering the airline's cost base, (2) updating the fleet with modern Airbus equipment, and (3) developing new routes to mainland European destinations (Aer Lingus had previously largely neglected mainland Europe in favour of US and UK destinations). They are currently positioning themselves as competition to the European no-frills airlines, such as Ryanair, easyJet, Volare and Germanwings, but plan no-frills intercontinental flights as well. Business class travel and cargo provisions for short haul flights have both been phased out (which will require the airline to drop out of the oneworld airline alliance), and the trademark aquamarine uniforms are to be dropped in favour of casual poloneck shirts.
Other plans include the procurement of new long-haul aircraft for expansion of its intercontental services. It is believed that the state airline will soon be privatised.
- Aer Lingus Fleet Detail
- Aer Lingus Fleet and Orders
- Aer Lingus Passenger Opinions
- Share, Bernard. The Flight Of The Iolar : The Aer Lingus Experience 1936-1986 (Gill And Macmillan, 1986) ISBN 0-71711-457-0
- Niall G. Weldon. Pioneers in Flight: Aer Lingus and the Story of Aviation in Ireland (The Liffey Press, 2002) ISBN 1-904148-21-2
- Aer Lingus staff agree to vote on strike action - Reuters.uk
- Cullen acts on Aer Lingus concerns - Irish Times
- Cullen vows cabinet will discuss Aer Lingus concerns - Ireland Online
- The privatisation of Aer Lingus: The story so far - Sunday Business Post
- Aer Lingus privatisation - Turbulence ahead over airline sale - Irish Examiner
- Aer Lingus set for low-key flotation - Irish Examiner
- Aer Lingus terms 2005 as successful year - Eye For Travel
- Irish government acts on union fears over Aer Lingus - AirFive
- Cabinet to hear Aer Lingus concerns - U.TV
- Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International ... - FinFacts Ireland
- ... more news