Aer Lingus Regional has made its first flight on its brand new service to Donegal.
The airline will operate twice daily return flights, seven days a week.
Stobart Air successfully tendered for the Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract last November.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe was aboard the airline’s inaugural flight.
Minister Donohoe said the new route is will provide “an essential link between Donegal and the capital”.
He revealed how there were 199,000 foreign visitors to Donegal in 2013 and they spent €128 million.
Passengers can now book flights from Donegal to the US and avail of the US immigration pre-clearance facilities at Dublin. It’s also hoped the route will increase tourism numbers in the northwest and along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Anne Bonner, Managing Director of Donegal Airport, said the new route will provide an “essential air service for the people of Donegal and enable the region to access business and tourism markets that were otherwise difficult to access”.
Aer Lingus Regional will also operate a new Donegal to Glasgow service, with up to four flights per week.
Dinny McGinley TD says the daily flights between Dublin and Donegal are a tremendous boost to the people of Donegal, to businesses in the area and to tourism prospects.
“Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, have won the PSO (Public Service Obligation) route from Donegal and they will fly twice daily return flights seven days a week year round.
“Stobart Air know the route, they were there before and I wish them every success.
“Donegal, along with Kerry are the only two airports who have retained the valuable PSO link. This is extremely important in maintaining connectivity between Dublin and Donegal, and in allowing people from Donegal to travel further afield with ease.
“The awarding of the PSO to Stobart Air for the Donegal route is concrete recognition of the Government’s commitment to regional and peripheral areas.”