Michelle Harbi looks back at the launch of the Irish flag carrier.

Aer Lingus is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. On May 27, 1936, the fledging carrier made its maiden flight from Dublin’s Baldonnel Aerodrome to Bristol using a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon named Iolar (Irish for “eagle”).

The same year, it acquired a 14-seat DH86 to serve Croydon, then London’s main facility, and in 1940 the airline moved into the newly completed Dublin airport.

In 1958, the first US flight was launched, from Dublin and Shannon to New York Idlewild (now JFK), using a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation.

Transatlantic expansion remains a key focus for the airline, which is now part of the IAG group. This month, it will boost the total number of direct North American routes it operates to 12, with the launch of two new services – New York Newark on September 1 and Hartford, Connecticut on September 28. It introduced Los Angeles flights in May.