Aer Lingus has unveiled a new aircraft retro-painted in the carrier’s former 1960s ‘Irish International’ livery to mark its 75th anniversary.
The newest addition to the fleet, an Airbus A320 registered EI-DVM, bearing the manufacturer’s serial number 4634 and named ‘St Coleman’, was painted especially for the anniversary celebrations. The retro-painted A320 was unveiled at a ceremony at the Old Central Terminal Building at Dublin Airport, designed by the late Desmond FitzGerald.
At the airline’s 75th-anniversary ceremony, Aer Lingus flight attendants modeled vintage uniforms from each decade from 1945 through to the current Aer Lingus uniform, which was designed by Louise Kennedy.
Speaking at the event, Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said, “2011 is a very special year for Aer Lingus as it marks the airline’s 75th anniversary. Since the early days of 1936, Aer Lingus has grown to become a flag carrier with a worldwide reputation for our friendly staff, our high quality of service, value for money and innovation. Throughout the 75 years we have carried out our mission of connecting Ireland with the world, transporting millions of customers annually. We look forward to continuing to fly the shamrock for the next 75 years.”
On May 27, 1936 Aer Lingus operated its first-ever flight, which routed from Baldonnel to Bristol. The flight, which carried five passengers, was operated by a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon named ‘Iolar’, which means ‘eagle’ in Irish. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the sister aircraft of ‘Iolar’ has undergone a restoration project, returning it to airworthiness and allowing the aircraft to take part in celebratory events throughout the year.
In its inaugural year Aer Lingus operated three routes, carried 892 passengers and employed a total of 12 staff. In 2010, its 75th year of service, the airline carried 9.4 million passengers and operated on more than 100 routes to 75 destinations in 22 countries. In 2010 Aer Lingus employed almost 4,000 staff.
Aer Lingus was founded by the Irish Government in April 1936 to provide air services to and from Ireland. On October 2, 2006, Aer Lingus was floated on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges, becoming a publicly quoted company and raising €400 million in equity for the airline’s future growth.
Aer Lingus’ low-cost, low fares model is centred on maintaining low unit cost, offering one-way fares, maintaining effective fleet utilization and developing the Aer Lingus brand. Its primary sales-distribution channel is its website www.aerlingus.com. In 2007, approximately 75 per cent of the carrier’s total passenger revenue came through aerlingus.com.