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Aer Lingus Celebrates Its 85th Birthday – Simple Flying

On Thursday, Irish national flag carrier Aer Lingus took to Twitter to announce that it was celebrating its 85th birthday. First called “Irish Sea Airways,” Aer Lingus was founded on 15 April 1936 with a bankroll of £100,000.

Aer Lingus has 15 Airbus A330 aircraft. Photo: Aer Lingus

Five days after being registered as an airline, it flew its first flight between Baldonnel Airfield southwest of Dublin and Bristol (Whitchurch) Airport, located three miles from the city center. For the historic first flight, Irish Sea Airways used a six-seater de Havilland DH.84 Dragon biplane (registration EI-ABI), named Iolar witch when translated from Galic, means Eagle.

Aer Lingus expanded after the war

Later the same year, the airline acquired a second aircraft, a four-engine 14 passenger DH.86 Express named Éire. With this aircraft, Irish Sea Airways operated the first air link between Ireland and London. The DH.84 Dragon was also used to inaugurate flights between Dublin and Liverpool, a route the airline continued flying during World War II.

In 1937 Aer Lingus, as it was now known, became wholly owned by the Irish government and operated flights between Ireland and the United Kingdom. While continuing to operate sporadic flights during the war between Dublin, Liverpool, and Manchester, it was the end of hostilities that saw Aer Lingus expand.

Aer Lingus Iolar
Aer Lingus first flew a six-seater de Havilland DH.84 Dragon biplane. Photo: Aer Lingus

In 1946 an Anglo-Irish agreement gave the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways (BEA) a 40% stake in the carrier for exclusive UK travel rights. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Aer Lingus expanded its flights by introducing new…

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