Aer Lingus Regional will run services on the Kerry-Dublin and Donegal-Dublin routes from early next year after its operator won a tender process.

The airline – operated by Stobart Air – will provide the services under the Government’s Public Service Obligation scheme, which subsidises select carriers on a number of designated routes serving regional airports.

Aer Lingus Regional already holds the PSO contract for Kerry-Dublin, while Loganair holds the Donegal-Dublin agreement, flying the route under the Flybe brand.

Both of those contracts are due to expire on 31 January 2015, however, and there had been fears that they would not be retained due to Government cost-cutting.

Following a European tender process Stobart Air was selected to operate the services until January 2017, with the new arrangement to begin in February, subject to a contract being agreed.

Seán Brogan said the airline had put connectivity with the United States at the heart of its proposal, as its links with Aer Lingus would allow passengers easier access to transatlantic services.

He also cited their success on the existing Kerry-Dublin contract, which carried 22% more passengers in October than in the same month of last year.