Aer Lingus expands European routes
AER Lingus is to launch its first ever scheduled flights to Turkey from Dublin next year, as well as taking on Ryanair by flying to the southern French town of Perpignan.
Aer Lingus has also announced that it is beginning a new service between Dublin and the German city of Stuttgart.
An Aer Lingus spokesman claimed that the provisional cut in travel tax from next March, which was announced by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in last week's Budget, had helped to prompt the additional services from the capital.
Mr Lenihan said he would cut the tax from €10 to €3 per passenger as a temporary measure from March 2011 until the end of the year, but said he required an "appropriate response" from airlines in their efforts to boost tourism numbers to the country if he was to be persuaded to keep the tax at the reduced level.
The argument is moot, however, as Fianna Fail is almost certain not to be in power come March. And while the new Aer Lingus services may deliver some tourist traffic to Ireland from France and even Germany, the traffic between Dublin and Turkey is certain to comprise, almost entirely, Irish holidaymakers.
The flights will operate between Dublin and the popular resort of Izmir, which is located on Turkey's west coast.
A spokesman said the new routes reflected an Aer Lingus strategy of providing greater access to new destinations and of supporting the growth of "inbound business and tourism links".
Flights to Perpignan and Stuttgart begin on March 27 and operate to October 29, while services to Izmir operate from May 4 to September 17.