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Milestone events at Aer Lingus 1936 - 2012


  • Aer Lingus took delivery of its first aircraft, registered EI-ABI, on 26 May 1936 and named it "Iolar" (Eagle). This was Aer Lingus' first and only aircraft and it was based at Baldonnel Aerodrome, the Irish Army Air Corps base outside Dublin. At 0900 hours on 27 May 1936, the aircraft took off from on Aer Lingus' first flight from Baldonnel to Bristol.


  • Aer Lingus acquired a de Havilland D.H.89A Dragon Rapide in February 1938 to replace EI-ABI.


  • Aer Lingus acquired a de Havilland D.H.89A Dragon Rapide in February 1938 to replace EI-ABI.


  • Paris added to the network, becoming the first Continental European city to be served by Aer Lingus.


  • First Viscount 700s delivered in March. Aer Lingus was the third airline to introduce the Viscount, the world's first turboprop airliner.


  • Major expansion of Continental European network, mostly using new rights via Manchester.


  • The DC-3 (was also widely known by its RAF name, the Dakota) were replaced by new Fokker F27 Friendship twin turboprops.
  • Aerlinte Eireann, originally formed in the 1940s, re-establishes and on 28 April the first transatlantic service leaves Dublin and Shannon for New York.
  • The shamrock replaces the Irish flag on the tail of Aerlinte Eireann aircraft and a year later is extended to the European fleet.


  • Aer Lingus enters the jet age, with Boeing 720s covering the routes from Dublin and Shannon to New York and Boston.


  • BAC One-Eleven jets introduced on Continental European network.


  • Montreal and Chicago added to the transatlantic network in April.
  • Aer Lingus replaces Fokker F27 for Vickers Viscount 800s.


  • Boeing 737-200 introduced into service. The aircraft became the mainstay of our short-haul fleet for many years.


  • First Aer Lingus Boeing 747 is delivered.


  • Aer Lingus unveils its revamped livery featuring two new green colours and a blue. A new white shamrock appears on the fin, provoking outrage among purists!


  • Aer Lingus celebrates its 50th anniversary.


  • The first of a fleet of five Boeing 737-400s, the largest 737 to date with capacity for 156 passengers, enters service.


  • The Cahill plan was introduced. This restructuring programme was launched to address the commercial challenges of the airline, at that time.


  • Airbus A330 introduced into service on transatlantic routes.


  • On 2 October the Aer Lingus Boeing 747 takes flight for the last time after 25 years of service. By that time, over eight million people had travelled across the Atlantic in Aer Lingus 'Jumbo Jets'.
  • Introduction of BAe146 into fleet in April to replace turboprops on UK routes.


  • New corporate identity introduced in February.
  • Chicago service reintroduced after being suspended previously.


    • Newark service inaugurated in May.
    • 1998
      • Daily Cork-Amsterdam and Cork-Paris services started in June using BAe146s.
      • Introduction of Airbus A321 into service in May, used initially on busy Dublin-Heathrow route.
      • TEAM Aer Lingus sold in December.


      • Launch of Los Angeles service in May using newly-delivered long-range Airbus A330-200.


      • Introduction of first Airbus A320 into service in June on busier Continental routes.


      • Implementation of survival plan following 9/11. Introduction of low fares model to compete with low cost carriers.


      • Last Boeing 737-500s withdrawn from service in October, making Aer Lingus an all-Airbus airline.


      • Aer Lingus celebrates its 70th Anniversary.
      • Aer Lingus is floated on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges.
      • Aer Lingus launches Dubai, its first long haul destination outside of North America.


      • Aer Lingus carries in excess of 1 million transatlantic passengers.
      • Open skies agreement provides Aer Lingus with new opportunities to grow its long haul network. Within an hour of the announcement, three new routes to the US are introduced including Washington DC, San Francisco and Orlando.
      • Aer Lingus takes delivery of two new A330 aircraft.


      • Aer Lingus announces an industry first, a partnership with U.S airline, JetBlue Airways connecting Aer Lingus passengers with over 40 domestic destinations. Aer Lingus signs a codeshare agreement with United Airlines providing Aer Lingus passengers with access to over 200 U.S destinations on the UA network.
      • Aer Lingus celebration 50 years of Transatlantic flying on 28 April 2008. Aer Lingus embarks on a long haul aircraft product upgrade of its current fleet, which is rolled out from the end of 2008.


      • Aer Lingus celebrates 70 years of flights at Dublin airport. On 19 January 1940, Dublin Airport was officially opened when an Aer Lingus Lockheed 14 aircraft departed Dublin for Liverpool at 0900.


    • The Iolar aircraft undergoes a restoration project and is once again airworthy.
    • On 24 March, Aer Lingus takes delivery of a specially commissioned A320 aircraft 'St Coleman', painted in retro 1960s 'Irish International' livery.
    • 27th May marks the airline’s 75th anniversary – the same date in 1936 on which Aer Lingus launched its first ever flight between Baldonnel and Bristol, with five passengers, on a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon named Iolar, - meaning 'eagle' in Irish.
    • Aer Lingus celebrates its 200 millionth passenger.

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