The Irish airline has seen a 32% rise in Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers in 2012. Speaking today, Aer Arann's Interim Chief Executive Sean Brogan outlined a plan for the company which includes new aircraft and routes.

Aer Arann will be taking delivery of eight new aircraft. The new aircraft, ATR 72-600s, will replace the older existing fleet of ATR72-200s and ATR42s.

The first new plane will commence service this May, with the remaining aircraft expected for delivery over the next 11 months. The new fleet will be fully operational in time for the Summer 2014 programme.

The company have expanded their Aer Lingus agreement, meaning Aer Arann will operate under the Aer Lingus Regional brand for at least ten more years.

Two new routes will commence flight this summer, Dublin-Birmingham and Dublin-Manchester. The addition of these routes will increase passenger numbers by an expected 300,000 and bring the route network up to 24.

Services on the Dublin Birmingham route will go from three to six services per day while services on the Dublin Manchester routes will go from three to five per day.

Aer Arann will also expand exisiting services to the Scotland bases of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Services on the Dublin-Edinburgh route will go from four up to six services per day while services on the Dublin-Glasgow route will go from four up to six per day.

Mr Brogan announced the changes calling them "a new beginning" for Aer Arann. "Just over two years ago, we stared closure in the face. Now, we have the fundamentals in place to join Europe’s top tier of regional airlines," he added.

Speaking about the new Birmingham and Manchester routes, Brogan said: "These new routes connect us with two of the UK’s largest cities and means that for the first time, the airline is servicing all of the main UK destinations from Ireland".