Aer Lingus, which means Air Fleet in Irish, started in April, 1936, as Aer Lingus Teoranta, with a De Havilland 84 Dragon biplane on a flight from Baldonnel Airfield in Dublin to Bristol. Aer Lingus' first plane had a capacity of 6 passengers. Later on that year, the airline acquired a 84B Dragon, with a capacity of 14 passengers.
Aer Lingus spent the next 5 years adding larger airplanes to their fleet, from manufacturers such as De Havilland, Lockheed and Douglas, from whom they bought DC-3ss. The Douglas aircraft came to replace the Lockheed equipment. In 1940 a new airport was finished in the Dublin suburb of Collingstown and Aer Lingus moved their operations to the new aviation centre.
From 1941 to 1945, World War II was at what could be considered its most violent, and it was hard for Aer Lingus, and for airlines in general, to keep their wings in the air, but nevertheless, it managed to, establishing an important air link between Dublin and Liverpool.
However, in 1945, right after the war was over, Aer Lingus saw a lot of change: 2 new DC3s (the ones that saw military service were nicknamed C-47s by the military), were added, and 2 of them were transferred from the military. Those planes were immediately painted in a silver and green livery, and Aer Lingus' first stewardesses went on board.
The cities of Shannon and Paris joined Aer Lingus' map in 1946, but because of its rate of growth, Aer Lingus was forced to buy seven Vickers Viking planes. With the Aerlinte Eireann company, Aer Lingus began to plan a flight service to New York too. Aerlinte Eireann ordered 5 Lockheed Constellations for this.
1948 saw Aerlinte Eireann go broke and the five Constellations were sold. Also this year, the New York operation proved too costly and was cancelled.
Aer Lingus began the 1950s with their first ever night flights. These flights were nicknamed Starflights by the company.
1954 saw the arrival of 4 Vickers Viscount 707s (not to be confused with the Boeing 707s) and Aer Lingus began offering services for disabled passengers. Also that year, Lourdes, in France, became an Aer Lingus city.
1956 saw a governmental agreement that allowed independent Irish airlines to fly freely between Ireland and the United Kingdom, Aer Lingus benefiting much from the agreement. It was in this year that the airline introduced a new, green top livery with a white lighting flash down the windows and the Irish flag displayed on each plane's fin.
1958 saw the resurrection of Aerlinte Eireann and services to New York, with the help of American airline Seaboard And Western, which provided Aer Lingus with Constellation planes to cover the New York route. The DC-3s were replaced by Fokker F-27 equipment, and services started to Copenhagen.
In 1963, Aer Lingus's management thought it would be a good idea to bring some Carvairs to the fleet. In that type of plane, passengers could bring their cars into the plane and fly with their cars in tow. However, this plane proved to be an economical disaster for the airline.
The Boeing 707 entered the picture in 1964, to be used on transoceanic routes, and in 1965, the BAC 1-11 came to form part of the fleet. A new livery was once again adopted, with a large white shamrock on the fin and titles of Aer Lingus-International just above the plane's windows.
By 1966, Montreal, in Canada, and Chicago started receiving Aer Lingus' planes on their international airports. Aer Lingus purchased KLM's whole fleet of Vickers Viscounts, and the F-27 was retired from service by the Irish airline.
1969 saw Aer Lingus order two Boeing 737s to replace the 1-11s on their fleet, because of the growing demand for flights between the cities of Dublin and London, and the fact the 1-11 was too small to cope with the new high demand route. Aer Lingus later decided to extend the 737 flights to all of their European network.
In 1974 a new livery was unveiled and the word International disappeared from the fuselage titles on Aer Lingus' planes. The livery that was at that time revealed to the world of transportation included two different colors of blue and one green, plus the white shamrock on the tail/fin.
Also about that time, Aerlinte Eireann was merged with Aer Lingus, with the Aer Lingus name being the one that the two companies decided to keep.
Pope John Paul II made Aer Lingus the first airline outside Alitalia that he used for his trips, when in 1979 he flew from Rome to Dublin and later from Shannon to Boston on an Aer Lingus plane chartered for him.
In 1983, Aer Lingus Commuter was formed, so that Aer Lingus could fly to larger cities in Ireland whose flying time from Dublin didn't necessarily require jet planes to cover them, and it also purchased a majority sharehold in the cargo airline Aer Turas, owner of some DC-8 freighter jets.
1984 saw the expansion of the commuter division to many Irish cities, and the arrival of Shorts 360 planes also for the commuter division. Irish Helicopters joined forces with the airline that year.
1986 arrived and Aer Lingus turned 50. A of a Dragon plane was brought over and taken on tour all over Ireland to celebrate the occasion.
During 1990, after the passage of the deregulation act for the airline industry in Ireland, Aer Lingus had to reconsider several aspects of operation and operational policies. The BAC 1-11s were retired and 5 new 737s arrived.
In 1991, three SAAB 340Bs arrived at the commuter division, to substitute the Shorts 360 planes.
By 1992 Aer Lingus' whole original 737 fleet had been replaced by new 737s.
When 1996 came around, it was time to restart the service from Belfast to New York, with the somewhat diminished threat of violent acts around Belfast.
In 2001 Aer Lingus received 2 A320s and one more A330 for their fleet.