Irish airline Aer Lingus has just announced plans to open its first base on the UK mainland at Gatwick Airport later this year. Aer Lingus will offer new flights to popular summer holiday destinations from Gatwick, such as Malaga, Nice and Faro, as well as the popular city break destinations of Munich, Vienna, Zurich and Knock. These new routes will join Aer Lingus' current flights between Gatwick Airport and Dublin. The airline currently plans to commence its Gatwick operations with a fleet of four aircraft, with later plans to expand to a fleet of eight planes . This would give the airline the capacity to serve 2. 5 million passengers within a 12 month period. Aer Lingus' chief executive Dermot Mannion said: 'The Gatwick operation will complement our existing services out of London Heathrow, and position Aer Lingus for growth as we roll out new routes and bases in future years. ' Mike Luddy, commercial director at Gatwick Airport added: 'We know Aer Lingus evaluated a range of airports across Europe for their first base outside Ireland and we are delighted that they chose Gatwick as their London base. '