When it comes to Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus, its present fleet is dominated by Airbus planes. Its long-haul services are generally operated by the Airbus A330, although the A321LR is also playing an increasing transatlantic role at the carrier. However, in years gone by, it also operated long-haul services with the Boeing 747. Let’s take a look at the story of the airline’s jumbo jets.

The first delivery: EI-ASI

Pan Am introduced the original Boeing 747-100 commercially on January 22nd, 1970. It quickly revolutionized long-haul flying, and Aer Lingus had obtained its first example of the type by the end of the year. According to data from ATDB.aero, it took delivery of EI-ASI, which it named St. Patrick, on December 15th, 1970.

The airline largely deployed this aircraft on its transatlantic routes, although it sometimes found itself undertaking other special duties. For example, as seen below, it made history by flying Pope John Paul II into its hub at Dublin Airport (DUB) in September 1979. All in all, EI-ASI served the airline for more than 26 years.

Aer Lingus Boeing 747 Getty

Photo: Getty Images

This extensive period of service was punctuated by a three-year lease to Air Siam, where it bore the registration HS-VGB, from 1973 to 1976. After leaving the Aer Lingus fleet in February 1997, it spent its final years flying for Nigerian charter airline Kabo Air. The aircraft was eventually broken up after more than 32 years of service. This took place in the desert of Roswell, New Mexico, in April 2003.

EI-ASJ follows shortly after

Just over three months after the first 747 arrived, it was followed by a second example, registered as EI-ASJ. This aircraft arrived unnamed at Aer Lingus on March 18th, 1971. Much like its previous counterpart, it eventually left Aer Lingus for Kabo Air in February 1997. However, where it differed was the number of its leases.

EI-ASJ had more spells away from home, and, in addition to a one-month period at Air Siam in 1975, Aer Lingus also leased it twice to British Airways (1976-1978 and 1979-1981). Both EI-ASI and EI-ASJ (as well as EI-BED) were also leased to Caribbean carrier Air Jamaica for short spells during the middle of the 1980s.

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Aer Lingus Boeing 747

Another lease period involving the quadjet was a four-month spell at British Caledonian Airways between October 1978 and February 1979. After exiting the Kabo Air fleet in 2000, the aircraft, like its counterpart, was also placed into storage in Roswell, New Mexico. However, it was there for more than a decade before it was broken up. This procedure finally took place in 2013.

EI-BED joins the fleet by the end of the decade

Aer Lingus’ practice of leasing its Boeing 747-100s out so extensively arose from a lack of initial profitability. Its final example also spent a lot of time away from home. Unlike its predecessors, EI-BED (named St. Kieran) was not brand-new when it arrived. Instead, when the carrier took delivery of it in January 1979, it had already flown for German flag carrier and established 747 operator Lufthansa for nine years.

Within a year of EI-BED’s arrival, Aer Lingus had leased it to Air Algérie (October 1979-April 1980). It also spent a winter with Air Jamaica between November 1986 and April 1987. The aircraft’s final two leases from Aer Lingus took it to LAN Chile.

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Aer Lingus Boeing 747

After spending two consecutive winters with LAN (December 1988 – March 1989 and December 1989 – March 1990), EI-BED returned to Aer Lingus. However, at 20 years old, its days were numbered. The airline withdrew it from use in October 1994, and stored it in Dublin until February 1995. After this, it flew to Marana, Arizona for storage, where it was broken up two years later, in October 1997.

Aer Lingus also leased a 747 in

While we have established that leasing Boeing 747s out was a common practice for Aer Lingus, it is worth noting that the Irish flag carrier did also briefly operate one 747-100 on such a basis. Registered as I-DEME, this aircraft briefly joined Aer Lingus from Alitalia, although its spell only lasted from September to October in 1976. This quadjet was scrapped 20 years later after a diverse career.

Did you ever fly on an Aer Lingus Boeing 747? If so, when did you do so, and where did the flight take you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Source: ATDB.aero

  • Aer Lingus A321LR

    Aer Lingus

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    EI/EIN

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Dublin Airport

    Year Founded:
    1938

    Airline Group:
    IAG

    CEO:
    Lynne Embleton

    Country:
    Ireland

  • 787-8 Dreamliner

    Boeing

    Stock Code:
    BA

    Date Founded:
    1916-07-15

    CEO:
    Dave Calhoun

    Headquarters Location:
    Chicago, USA

    Key Product Lines:
    Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787

    Business Type:
    Planemaker

Source: simpleflying.com

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