Eoghan Corry Talks Travel – June 2023

Dublin airport demand increases as Easyjet applies for slots. New Cork – Lyon route, new museum openings, Turkish airlines record order and lots more – Eoghan Corry talks travel this month.

The headline for July is that business is good, both outbound and inbound, with the trade happy as well as passengers and less squeeze on availability than everyone anticipated, says Eoghan Corry. 

Flight prices are up, but by how much? The worldwide figure is 40% according to the IATA conference in Istanbul. The European figure is 32% according to the ACI conference in Barcelona. Closer to home, the rise is only about 15% for Ryanair customers in Ireland, with Aer Lingus fares rising a percentage point or so above that.



Europe’s airports

Eoghan Corry discusses Europe's airports

Amsterdam is still the problem child among Europe’s airports, with ongoing announcements to please allow an extra hour to get through security.


While France’s air traffic controllers have been on strike on 60 days so far this year, each strike is causing fewer cancellations. The last caused just two of Dublin’s 26 daily flights to France to be cancelled. Germany’s airport security staff got the deal they wanted, so the cycle of strikes there has been ended.



China in our hands

flights to China direct from Ireland

Long haul services to Cancun from Dublin airport resumed last month, courtesy of TUI. On June 27 the Hainan service resumed from Dublin to Beijing, a well kept secret outside the Dublin Chinese community. It departs Tuesdays and Saturdays at 12.20pm, arriving in Beijing at 5.30am the following day.



The lucky number


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Have you noticed the pressure on home holidays is not as great as anyone expected? Fáilte Ireland says the modelling gave incorrect data became they assumed that all accommodation stock was registered to Fáilte Ireland.

In April they estimated 28% of all beds registered with the tourism body were contracted to the state, now they estimate 13% which is similar to 2022. The original figure included any beds “that were remotely related to the tourism sector and former B&Bs, hotels and converted lodges or even convents that had been converted to hosting refugees.”



Taxi no show

Eoghan Corry talks travel

The latest air rage spat at Dublin airport concerns taxis, with massive queues on some evenings and the airport unable to mobilise its taxi pick-up services quickly enough to meet demand. Unravelling a problem beset by regulation and the restrictions of terminal roadfront is a bit more complicated than it should be.

First step in is a pre-booking service for taxis and for families who require minibus, which DAA say will be up and running this summer.


Points of progress:

Installation has been completed of the new €200m integrated baggage handling system at Dublin Airport, meaning an average wait time for a bag is down to 18 minutes, compared to the EU average of 40 minutes.

One third of the scanning machines now allow passengers keep laptops and liquids in their bags.

Three mobile food units, new franchises and a new team to look after the 500 toilets, especially the pressure points at the arrivals hall and the 100 gates used by Ryanair.

Point of NO progress:

The car parks which are jammed and will remain so unless the 6,122 spaces in the closed Quickpark in Santry is put back into action.



Behind those figures


Ryanair recorded a record 17.4 million passengers in June. They are now comfortably Europe’s largest airline and 65 million per year ahead of the Lufthansa group. While most airlines have still not reached pre-pandemic traffic, Ryanair are 23% ahead.



Easy does it

Easyjet applies for slots at Dublin airport

Easyjet’s application for slots at Dublin airport created more media contrails than might be expected: 88 slots equates to a single twice weekly winter service, possibly a ski service to Austria. Ryanair, meanwhile, have filed slots at Geneva. The great game continues.


While airlines, especially Ryanair, have a record of applying for slots that they do not use, they are an indication of what negotiations are under way. The scramble for next year’s European slots is interesting, as indicated by the IATA slots conference in Dublin last month.



Winter woollies


Dublin airport slot demand for winter is up 4% and operations up 18%. American Airlines is considering a second daily to Dallas and Delta a third daily to Atlanta, with SAS, Swiss and TAP Portugal also asking for more slots. Blue Air, Eastern Airways and LOT Polish Airlines exit the market.


If the full allocation was used, the balance of traffic between Ryanair and Aer Lingus would increase to 43-33 from 41-33, counting Aer Lingus Regional with Aer Lingus.

An interesting application comes from Dublin to Sabiha Gokcen, Istanbul’s second airport, from Pegasus Airlines. At the IATA conference in Istanbul, the IATA director general Willie Walsh, reminisced on how Pegasus was founded by Aer Lingus. As a young pilot, Willie Walsh flew their very first passenger jet.



Lyon’s share


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Cork to Lyon is a welcome addition to the real capital’s winter schedule, commencing December 23 and opening up the Alpine resorts. Aer Lingus is increasing winter services from Cork, with the return of Cork-Tenerife and Cork-Malaga over Christmas and the February mid-term break, and the doubling of Cork-Lanzarote from twice weekly  to four times weekly.


Aer Lingus press release stressed their increased presence at Lyon, as well as Cork. Aer Lingus used to own the French market but Ryanair are making inroads and have nearly half of the lucrative Dublin to Nice market, seven times weekly in comparison to Aer Lingus’s eight times weekly. It used to be Aer Lingus 11 Ryanair 7 pre pandemic.



Museum musings

Irish Wake Museum

Waterford’s museum quarter has an ambitious new opening, the Irish Wake Museum, which plays on the city’s history of piety in the face of devastating plagues. It is a small space to tell a big and surprising story, and is labour intensive as it needs to be guided by a costumed actor, but the opening was granted immense publicity.


Waterford’s museum quarter and museum policy is an inspiration. They have a track record of eclectic and occasionally eccentric openings, thankfully avoiding the tendency for local tourist offices to run to tourism consultants, usually London based, who offer hand me down versions of the same thing and, often, colonial English-eyed versions of Irish history.

Waterford’s last museum in 2021 was a collection of watches and clocks, the Museum of Time, opened to raised eyebrows. It has chimed its way to become the city’s second most visited attraction, attracting positive reviews from such as the New York Times (figures when you think of it).



The reign in Spain


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Lanzarote tourism director Héctor Fernández was in Dublin recently to express his continued astonishment at how Ireland dominates the Lanzarote inbound market. The figures are set to each 300k this year (more than Ireland’s numbers to Greece and Turkey combined) and Ireland fills 10pc of the island’s entire market, just behind Germany and ahead of mainland Spain.


Lanzarote is one of the few destinations where access had exceeded pre pandemic level. We now have 26 flights a week from Dublin, more than the other three Canary Islands together.

Ireland’s top-singing Canary has always been Lanzarote, while most European markets prefer Gran Canaria. Elsewhere in Spain, Luis Gancedo of IAG said he is open to selling some Madrid slots to Ryanair as part of potential remedies to its acquisition of Air Europa.



Paris Air Show

Turkish Airlines

The big news at Paris Air Show was no news. The show which flies by every two years helps put a shape on what is about to happen over the coming years in that space six miles above us.

The two big aircraft manufacturers announced and re-announced orders (Airbus 821, Boeing 316) headlined by India and IndiGo’s order for 500 Airbus 320s, the biggest commercial aircraft order in history, and brings the Indigo airbus order book to 1,330.


Bigger news is the announcement that was NOT made, Turkey’s record order for 600 aircraft. The CEO of Turkish Airlines Ahmet Bolat told your correspondent at IATA in Istanbul that the order would not be ready for Paris as, having decided on which airline manufacturer, they needed to give the rival supplier time to make a better offer.

Under plans announced in April, Turkey plans to have a fleet of 813 aircraft in 2033 In the short term Turkish Arlines hope to be connecting to Australia in 2024 and increase their Dublin service to four daily.


The two giant orders mean that, for the first time, India and Turkey will overtake Ireland as the biggest customers for new aircraft. Ireland’s presence at the show is growing. Not that Ireland was shy about its role in world aviation. Enterprise Ireland had a stand and one of the prize invites of the week was the reception hosted by Ambassador of Ireland to France, Niall Burgess.


Missed last months travel news from Ireland?

Read: Eoghan Corry talks travel May 2023

Eoghan Corry


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