Stobart Air has announced a €13.8 million investment in its aircraft fleet after its contract to operate public service obligation (PSO) routes between Dublin and Donegal and Kerry was renewed.

The franchise airline has been operating as Aer Lingus Regional on the routes since 2015 on behalf of the Irish government. The renewed contract will run until 31 January 2022.

Stobart Air says it has invested in a new aircraft with Nordic Aviation Capital, which will operate the Donegal services, while it has extended an existing lease with GE Capital Aviation Services. The larger aircraft will operate the Kerry route, increasing capacity by up to 50 per cent this year.

The group says more than 33,000 passengers used the service to Donegal in 2017, while 51,000 flew on the Kerry service. It expects the numbers to grow ‘significantly’ over the duration of the new contract.

Graeme Buchanan, MD of Stobart Air, said regional connectivity in Ireland is key to improving opportunities for both business and tourism in the area. “These are popular routes for tourism and for linking rural areas in Ireland with the capital, facilitating opportunities for work and business. We’re confident these routes will grow and develop further this year as we’ve invested in the service with new planes, meaning added comfort and service for passengers.”;

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