Bristol Airport celebrated the 80th anniversary of Aer Lingus today (27 May) with a visit from the Irish Ambassador to Great Britain and series of very special flights. The Irish airline, which operated its very first route from Baldonnel (Dublin) to Bristol back in 1936, also marked the occasion by announcing the introduction of additional daily flights linking the two cities and consolidating operations in the South West of the UK to Bristol.
Along with a daily flight to Cork, the current Bristol-Dublin service (operated by Stobart Air on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional) provides an important link between Ireland and the South West of England, as well as opening up onward connections to North America. Its popularity with business and leisure passengers has resulted in demand for additional frequency on the route. The airline will now operate four daily flights every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, alongside the existing three daily flights each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In total, Aer Lingus Regional will now fly 25 flights per week between the two cities, taking weekly capacity to 4,500 seats – a contrast to the first ever flight 80 years ago which carried just five passengers on a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon.
A sister aircraft and exact replica of the original Dragon, named Iolar (meaning eagle), took to the skies over Bristol, taking in the original site of the city’s Airport in Whitchurch, with passengers including the Irish Ambassador, Daniel Mulhall and other VIP guests. The occasion was also marked with a presentation of specially commissioned Bristol Blue glass shamrocks to the Ambassador and senior airline representatives.