Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, today starts flying from Cork to Newcastle as the airline completes the latest part of its "new beginning" strategy.

From today Aer Lingus Regional will operate four return flights, four days a week to Newcastle Airport.

This is the airline's eight regional route from the airport and follows the success of the airline's Dublin-Newcastle route which went into operation last October.  

The airline said it expects to fly over 300,000 passengers from Cork, up 20% from last year as the airline aims to double passenger numbers to 2 million by 2016.

Stobart Air's chief commercial officer, Simon Fagan. said that the addition of this Cork-Newcastle route is a vital step in the growth plan of the airline:

"The route has enormous potential in terms of boosting tourist numbers and enhancing business connections between the two cities. This route will exploit the potential connections between the two regionals, particularly in the area of wind and tidal energy projects in the North East of England," he added.

Stobart Air, formerly Aer Arann, now operates over 550 flights per week across 27 routes in Ireland, the UK and France.