Eoghan Corry has this months travel talking points

Eoghan Corry Talks Travel – March 2024

Dublin airport’s passenger cap, a bumper year for ferry travel, new hotel openings and lots more as Eoghan Corry talks travel.

Will aircraft shortages affect prices this summer? Is Dublin airport’s passenger cap here to stay, and is Toronto the place to grab a bargain? Leading travel commentator and aviation specialist, Eoghan Corry, has this months travel talking points.

Will airfares rise or will they fall?

Eoghan Corry asks whether airfares will rise due to aircraft shortages

Airlines have a looming availability crunch this summer. Boeing’s well publicised problems have slowed down the delivery of new aircraft off the assembly line, down to a paltry 28 last month form pre-pandemic norms of 45.

That means Michael O’Leary has had to take the razor to the summer schedule, peeling off 25,000 seats a day off the multi-frequency routes (like Dublin to Stansted and provincial airports), because he will only have 40 of his ordered 57 aircraft by the start of the summer.

Ryanair is unusual in that it is a Boeing airline in a sea of airbuses in Europe, and with airlines having to ground A320s for eight months at a time, Airbus airlines would have even bigger problems than Boeing ones. That could see prices rise by even more than the 20% predicted by Mr O’Leary.

Fuel prices could fall, cancelling out the price rises. But looking at the prices already online for summer 2024 we should not be putting away the airline sick bag yet.

Is the Dublin Airport passenger cap here for the long haul?

Eoghan Corry talks about the passenger cap at Dublin airport

The end of March usually sees a dozen or more new services commence from Dublin airport. Not this year. Ireland’s politicians appear gleeful to have parked the issue of growth at Dublin airport in a planning process that will take three or four years.

So far in 2024 four airlines who have been talking to Dublin airport about opening routes have brought their business to Manchester instead (and Edinburgh). Belfast has a new Malta flight with Jet2 (March 28) and Cork a new Charleroi ( Belgium) with Ryanair (March 31).

April will bring a new Aer Lingus Dublin to Dalaman (Turkey) April 6) and a resumed Minneapolis-St Paul (April 29), Belfast a new Malta with Ryanair (April 2), Antalya (Turkey) with Southwind (April 2) and Enfidha (Tunisia) with Easyjet (April 20) and Derry a new Birmingham with Ryanair (April 3).

Of course, Dublin had two marquee launches in March, Toronto Pearson with WestJet (March 1) and Jetblue’s New York and Boston services on March 14, which exploded onto social media with lots of Irish dancers. Irish dancers on departure. Irish dancers on arrival. Irish dancers at the big trade event in Epic. And Irish dancers in the post-event winddown event for Jetblue staff at the Arlington.

Expect CEO Joanna Geraghty (who was at JFK but had to cancel Dublin) and customer services manager Jayne O’Brien to have picked up a few slip jigs from the whole experience. It could be helpful in determining whether the schedule, due to end September 30, 2024, can be extended year round. According to Jayne O’Brien the demand is there. Dublin airport’s passenger cap could be the determining factor.

New hotels in Dublin & Cork

Dean Hotel Cork
Dean Hotel, Cork

As we face another summer of accommodation crisis, or more likely “€600 for a mattress” headlines, the good news is that the hotel scene in Dublin and Cork has been boosted substantially new openings, the latest being The Leinster, a high end 55-bed boutique hotel located in Dublin’s Merrion Square with a rooftop restaurant by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Collins Club cocktail bar, a gym and thermal suite and O’Dwyer Suite event space.

The 128 room Hoxton hotel is opening on the site of the Exchequer Hotel. The 175-room Nyx opened at Portobello harbour just before Christmas. Other central hotel openings tend to be smaller, such as the 27-room Ruby Molly Hotel and the 16 room O’Regan’s.

At the hostel end, Clink i Lár has boosted low-cost accommodation in Dublin by a massive 630 beds (“cosy four-bed setups or 18-bed adventures”).

Cork has done even better with budget hotel openings, the 200-bedroom Moxy Hotel, the 113-room Dean, and the 187–room Premier Inn, which opened on the site of the ‘old’ Moore’s hotel. The spread (bed spread?) is getting larger, more than compensating for beds out on government contract, but in rural areas the plans are less promising.

The rise of ferry travel

ferry travel from Ireland with Brittany Ferries

Away from the airports, direct ferry services to France and Spain continue to make a bigger splash post-Brexit. We now have 20 sailings a week form three ferry companies direct to the mainland (ye, continental Europe is the mainland):

  • Cork to Roscoff (16 hours) with Brittany Ferries’ Armorigue twice weekly (previously a weekly service)
  • Dublin to Cherbourg (18 hours 30 minutes) with Irish Ferries 5 times weekly
  • Rosslare to Cherbourg (17 hours) with Stenaline 6 times weekly
  • Rosslare to Cherbourg (17 hours) with Brittany Ferries twice weekly
  • Rosslare to Le Havre (20 hours 14 minutes) Brittany Ferries weekly
  • Rosslare to Bilbao (26 hours 30 minutes) twice weekly with Brittany Ferries
  • Rosslare to Santander (27 hours 45 minutes) twice weekly with Brittany Ferries

Unusual destinations for 2024?

four flights to Toronto from Dublin airport in 2024

The connections offered by Turkish Airlines, the Middle Eastern airlines and the westbound carriers are expanding. Costa Rica was a surprise favourite because of Toronto connections last year through Air Canada. Toronto is the only destination out of Dublin with four competing carriers, which should do prices no harm at all.

In the history of aviation, no Irish airline (that means Aer Lingus) has been the launch customer for a new aircraft type. The first event Airbus A321XLR has already been painted in the slanty shamrock. Excited? So are we.

Eoghan Corry is Ireland’s leading travel commentator and aviation specialist in Ireland, as well as being a historian, author and broadcaster. He has extensively travelled as a travel journalist and has been a speaker and moderator at tourism and aviation conferences including the World Tourism Forum, Tourism Ireland and Thailand Tourism.

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    1. Hi Marian

      Many thanks for getting in touch. I am unable to check availability or book holidays so I think its best to check with a cruise specialist agency. Best of luck, Sarah

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