Aer Lingus celebrates 60 years of flying to Birmingham
3 September 2009
Aer Lingus is celebrating 60 years of flying between Dublin and Birmingham. On May 2nd 1949, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft with 26 seats and bearing the name "St Declan" left Dublin airport bound for Elmdon Airport, Birmingham.
Fares at the time were £6-0-0 single, £10-16-0 return and £9-0-0 excursion return. In 1949, the Dublin to Birmingham service operated on week-days (in those days defined as daily except Sunday). It carried in excess of 10,000 passengers in its first year of service.
From June to September 1950 the schedule was increased from week-days to twice daily. Today Aer Lingus operates four flights daily between Dublin, Cork and Birmingham.
"This is an important day in the history of Aer Lingus and our evolution from a single week-day flight with a capacity for 26 passengers in 1949, to today where four A320 aircraft with a capacity of 174 seats take to the skies four times daily. We are very proud of our long standing association with our colleagues at Birmingham and we look forward to the next 60 years flying," said Aer Lingus Corporate Affairs Director, Enda Corneille.
Commenting on the occasion Paul Kehoe, Birmingham International Airport's CEO, said, "2009 is a very special year as not only is it 60 years since Aer Lingus started its operations from Birmingham, it's also 70 years since the Airport opened its doors and 25 years of operating from the current site. We are therefore delighted to be sending our congratulations to the airline that has had the longest continuous standing relationship with Birmingham Airport and we look forward to working with the team for many more years."
The specific aircraft used on the inaugural flight to Birmingham was originally built for the US Army Air Force in 1943 and was named Skytrain. These DC - 3 aircrafts were also widely known by its RAF name, the Dakota at the time.
DC-3 aircraft were used on the Dublin-Birmingham route for almost ten years until the winter of 1959, when they were replaced by new Fokker F27 Friendship twin turbo-props. Vickers Viscount 800s replaced these in 1966, and Boeing 737 jets came on stream in 1970.
Aer Lingus has a long history of flying to the UK, Birmingham was the fifth destination in Britain to be served by Aer Lingus, the other cities included London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.