Tour groups preparing for growth in trip bookings next summer
Irish tour operators are expecting growth in bookings next year despite the economic crisis engulfing the country, with France-based aviation firm Europe Airpost laying on flights from Cork next summer to complement services from Dublin.
Europe Airpost, which is part of the Irish-headquartered and Belgian-owned airline group ASL Aviation, will have an aircraft in place at weekends next summer to serve tour operators offering packages from Cork.
In Dublin yesterday, Europe Airpost chief executive Jean-Francois Dominiak said that the additional services would boost the number of passengers the carrier flies from Ireland next year to about 85,000 passengers.
In the current year it will carry about 50,000 out of Dublin. The company provides air services for clients such as Top Flight, Sunway, JWT and Thomas Cook out of Ireland to destinations that include Turkey, Greece, France and Portugal.
Mr Dominiak said the destinations were a response to demand from tour operators.
He indicated that authorities in Dublin Airport had expressed a view they believed passenger traffic at the airport would grow modestly next year after recording steep declines since 2008.
He also said that a previously announced deal by Europe Airpost to acquire South Africa-based aviation group Safair will be closed on Monday. Businessman Denis O'Brien's Aergo aircraft leasing firm owns Safair, having acquired it in 2008 for $80m (€59m).