Aer Lingus Regional operator Stobart Air has confirmed that it intends to resume two routes between Ireland and the UK from July 14, with services from Dublin to Edinburgh and Glasgow for "essential travel".
It intends to relaunch almost all its other services from August 1 and August 2. They include routes from Dublin and Cork to destinations across the UK. A service from Shannon to Birmingham is scheduled to restart on September 3.
The carrier will impose strict safety measures, with facemasks mandatory for passengers, except small children and those with medical conditions that prevent their use.
Stobart Air managing director Andy Jolly said the company, owned by the UK’s Stobart Group, is looking forward to welcoming passengers and crew back to its services.
“Covid-19 has instilled widespread uncertainty globally,” he said. “Passengers can be assured that enhanced health and safety measures in line with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidance are now in place to protect them, our staff, and our airline partners.”
Stobart Air, with 570 staff, said that in-flight services will be suspended to reduce the interaction between cabin crew and passengers, and that the requirement for in-flight services will be reviewed in line with passenger demand. Passengers will also be encouraged to remain seated while on board.
It added that “significantly enhanced” cleaning and disinfection procedures are being introduced for all aircraft after every flight, with a deep clean overnight.
Passengers will board and disembark the aircraft in small groups and according to row numbers. Customers will also scan their own boarding cards at boarding gates.
Stobart Air has continued operating two public service obligation routes, from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal, during the lockdown. The routes are subsidised by the European Union at considerable cost, and money is paid to the operator even when no passengers are being carried.
Last week, Stobart Group said it was raising £100m (€112m) in equity at a 42pc discount to its share price to shore up its balance sheet. Some of the proceeds will be used to bankroll Stobart Air.
Stobart Group has about $100m in liabilities attached to Stobart Air, including aircraft maintenance costs. The €25m it already pledged to the carrier will help cover those and other costs.