The first commercial flight to be operated by Ireland's newest airline has taken place today, with Emerald Airlines flying the Donegal-Dublin public service obligation (PSO) route for the first time.

The company won the contract from the Government last month and will operate it under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

The airline will also be the new provider of all Aer Lingus Regional services, after it recently scooped a ten year contract.

However, those other services consisting of 360 a week across 12 routes in total, won’t commence until next month.

"Today marks a huge milestone in our journey to become Ireland’s largest regional airline," said Conor McCarthy, CEO and Founder of Emerald Airlines.

"There has been a considerable amount of hard work behind the scenes in order to make this day a reality."

The Donegal-Dublin route has been operated on a temporary seven-month basis by Swedish airline, Amapola Flyg AB, since the collapse of the previous contract holder Stobart Air in June.

Amapola's interim contract expired yesterday and Emerald has now taken over and will run the PSO service for three years with an option to extend for one more.

Stobart Air also previously held the Aer Lingus Regional franchise.

The airline will use a 72-seat ATR72-600 and will fly under Aer Lingus flight numbers.

"I would like to wish Emerald Airline's every success in operating and growing this route and providing the people and businesses in the North-West with daily air services to Dublin to attend medical and other important appointments as well as supporting the economy and tourism in the region," said Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton.