Ryanair and Aer Lingus to enter price war
Rival airlines Ryanair and Aer Lingus are to go head-to-head this holiday season with both firms unveiling directly competing summer schedules.
Aer Lingus announced plans for its largest ever programme from Cork Airport over the summer, with 140 weekly flights to the UK and continental Europe.
But its budget opponent quickly hit back and claimed it could fly families from across Munster to some of the same hotspots for more than a third less.
Ryanair, a major shareholder in its rival operator, said its seven new routes would also make up for many of the flights lost as a result of Budget Travel's recent closure.
Stephen Kavanagh, of Aer Lingus, said it was offering low and competitive fares and a quality service to more popular destinations such as Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Tenerife and Nice.
The former state carrier will also build on its long-term commitment to the region with new services to Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, La Rochelle and London Gatwick.
"The support of the travelling public has helped us become Cork's largest airline and we look forward to welcoming more customers onboard in the coming months," said Mr Kavanagh.
However, Ryanair maintained it will take 40,000 additional passengers seeking the sun to Alicante, Barcelona (Reus), Bordeaux, Faro, La Rochelle, Lanzarote and Malaga over summer.
It also claimed a fare comparison between the two airlines showed the cheapest one-way flights in June, including taxes, had a price difference of between 34pc to 48pc.
Airline boss Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair's seven summer peak routes will mean that for the first time the people of Cork can escape to the sun by availing of Ryanair's guaranteed lowest fares, avoiding Aer Lingus's high fares."