Dublin Airport readies for busy St Patricks week

Dublin Airport says that it is ready for a whirlwind of activity this week as it rolls out the green carpet to Oscar winners, Cheltenham race-goers, rugby fans and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of St Patrick’s Day revellers from all over the world.

Over the eight days, between Tuesday March 12 and Monday March 18, more than 650,000 arriving and departing passengers will travel through Dublin Airport. The busiest day will be Friday, when around 105,000 passengers are expected, 51,000 arriving and 54,000 departing.

Passengers departing from Dublin Airport over the coming days are reminded to arrive at their terminal two hours before a short-haul flight and three hours prior to a long-haul flight.

A busy week at Dublin Airport kick-started on Tuesday, with thousands of horse racing fans heading over to England for the Cheltenham Racing Festival.

According to Graeme McQueen, media relations manager at daa, Dublin Airport’s operator: ‘The team at Dublin Airport is ready to facilitate it all over the coming days, from the arrival home of Oscar winner Cillian Murphy, to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of tourists for St Patrick’s Day. Cheltenham is always a popular destination for Irish racing fans at this time of year and this year is no different, with flights to airports in southern England set to be very busy over the coming days.

‘The influx of tourists ahead of St Patrick’s Day will pick up pace from Thursday onwards, with around 183,000 people set to fly into Dublin Airport between Thursday and Sunday ahead of St’ Patrick’s Day itself. Joining them will be around 5,000 Scottish rugby fans coming to Dublin for the final Six Nations rugby match at the Aviva, as well as the many thousands who will avail of the long bank holiday weekend to go on a city break or spring holiday.’

With large numbers travelling through Dublin Airport this weekend, passengers are advised to consider in advance how they will get to and from Dublin Airport. Passengers are encouraged to consider travelling to the airport by bus where they can.

Demand for car parking is high, particularly for short-term car parks, so passengers driving to the airport should book their car parking as far in advance of travel as possible to ensure best rates and availability for their preferred dates.

Premier Inn opens second location in Cork

Whitbread PLC, the owner of Premier Inn, has secured a second site for Premier Inn in Cork City, a popular tourist destination located in the west of Ireland.

The company has acquired the site of the Leisureplex entertainment complex in the Victorian Quarter of Cork City, with plans to transform it into a 168-bedroom Premier Inn hotel, pending planning permission. During the planning and development phase, Whitbread has assured that the Leisureplex entertainment complex will remain operational and continue its activities.

Matt Gent, Development Manager for Whitbread in Ireland, said: ‘Cork is a hugely successful city with thriving business, education, research, and visitor economies. Paradoxically It is also under-served by the type of affordable, flexible, and family-friendly hotel accommodation that Premier Inn provides so well.

‘We recently opened a new Premier Inn at Morrisons Quay to the south of Cork City and investing in a second location to the east of the city centre underlines our confidence in Cork as a visitor destination and secures another well-positioned hotel for our guests to enjoy in Ireland.’

Whitbread recently inaugurated the first Premier Inn in Cork on January 29, 2024. The riverfront hotel, boasting 187 bedrooms and developed alongside three office buildings, generated 40 new employment opportunities focused on Cork City.

Currently, Whitbread offers over 1,000 Premier Inn bedrooms across six operational locations in Dublin and Cork. The company envisions the potential for approximately 3,500 Premier Inn bedrooms throughout Ireland over time.

Premier Inn expands presence with grand opening in Cork City Centre

Whitbread PLC, one of the UK’s prominent hotel business and owner of Premier Inn, has announced the inauguration of its first Premier Inn outside of Dublin in Cork City, Ireland.

This 187-bedroom hotel signifies Whitbread’s dedication to broadening its network of Premier Inn establishments across Ireland. With the Cork addition, Premier Inn now boasts six hotels and over 1,000 bedrooms in Ireland, responding to rising demand for budget-friendly accommodation in the country.

Matt Gent, Development Manager for Whitbread in Ireland, said: ‘Premier Inn Cork is an important milestone for Whitbread in Ireland. The hotel gives us a presence outside of Dublin for the first time and sets us up for further growth in towns and cities across Ireland as we work to deliver a network of Premier Inns across the country.

‘Looking at the new Cork City Centre Premier Inn and it’s hard not to be impressed by the quality of the development we have created with our partners Greenleaf, Warren Private and Elliott Group, and I have absolutely no doubt that the hotel will be a huge hit with our customers given the strength of Cork’s business economy and the amazing offer for leisure travellers in the city.

Premier Inn Cork City Centre is located at Morrison’s Quay, overlooking the River Lee, on a site with historical significance as the former location of Moore’s Hotel. The redevelopment has taken account sensitivity to the heritage location.

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment at the Irish Government, said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome the Premier Inn to Cork with this multi-million euro investment and initial 40-strong workforce. Cork is the fastest growing city in Ireland and people from home and abroad are eager to visit so with that in mind, I wish the Premier Inn team every success with the opening.’

Responding to the undersupply of budget hotel rooms in Ireland, Whitbread aims to further expand its presence in towns and cities across the country. Rooms at the Cork City Centre Premier Inn can be booked from €53 on a Standard Rate and €66 for a Flex Rate, with the best rates available on www.premierinn.com.

easyJet launches new flights from Southampton to Belfast and Glasgow

easyJet, the UK-based European regional airline, has launched two new year-round flight routes departing from Southampton Airport.

These routes, connecting Southampton with Belfast International and Glasgow, have commenced operations, enhancing connectivity for travellers in the South of England to vital hubs in Northern Ireland and Scotland, catering to both leisure and business travellers.

The first flight from Southampton to Belfast International took off on Sunday, October 29, marking the start of a service that now runs up to three times a week on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays. The new route to Glasgow, which departed from Southampton on Thursday, November 2, will be operational twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays.

These new routes are designed to offer year-round service, reinforcing domestic connections from the South West to these significant cities across the UK. Whether passengers are seeking a city break, a convenient business connection, or the chance to explore Northern Ireland and Scotland, these flights are set to provide convenient options.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager, said: ‘We are delighted to have launched our new services from Southampton to Belfast International and Glasgow, which will provide our customers in the South of England with direct and convenient departures to Northern Ireland and Scotland, making it easier for people to visit more of the fantastic destinations the UK has to offer for leisure or business.

Mark Beveridge, Operations Director at Southampton Airport, said: ‘We are really pleased to welcome easyJet’s first services to Glasgow and Belfast International.

‘Following the recent completion of the runway extension, we are working hard and speaking regularly with our airline partners to deliver the routes and services the people of Southampton and the wider region deserve.’

Travelers can secure seats on these routes, with prices starting at £22.50 one way per person including taxes, and bookings available through easyJet.com.

Aer Lingus Regional expands services between Birmingham And Belfast

Emerald Airlines, the exclusive operator of Aer Lingus Regional Services, has announced that the airline will increase its frequency of flights between Birmingham Airport and Belfast City Airport.

The airline will now operate up to five daily flights on weekdays, being particularly convenient for those travelling for business purposes.

Since services on the route commenced in March 2022, the airline has increased seats to meet rising demand, particularly from business customers looking for choice and flexibility of flight timings. Tickets are on sale now via www.aerlingus.com with fares starting at £34.99 one-way as part of a return trip.

Ciaran Smith, Head of Commercial at Emerald Airlines said: ‘Having received positive feedback since starting our Birmingham-Belfast City operations, we are pleased to be providing customers with even more options when travelling between the two cities. We foresee these additional flight times to be particularly popular amongst those travelling for business purposes, and we look forward to offering that increased customer convenience.

The investment of additional capacity on the route further confirms the economic significance of the Birmingham region, and in particular their links to Northern Ireland.’

Tom Screen, aviation director for Birmingham Airport, said: ‘We are thrilled the BHX-Belfast City route is providing so popular. Aer Lingus Regional services deliver exactly what their customers want – a formula which has served them well to date and will continue to long into the future.’

Emerald Airlines will operate the ATR72-600 aircraft to service the flights between Birmingham and both Belfast City and Dublin. The ATR72-600 series is the latest generation of turboprop aircraft, boasting low fuel burn that emits up to 40 percent less CO2 (carbon dioxide) on these regional flights.

Ryanair expands services to Ireland and Spain from Cardiff Airport for summer 2023

Ryanair has announced that it will be offering more flights to Ireland and Spain from Cardiff Airport next summer.

The Irish low-fares airline will offer daily flights to Dublin, as well as extend the service between Cardiff and Malaga to operate all summer from April until October. This expansion is in addition to Ryanair’s year-round flights to Faro from Cardiff.

While Dublin offers various popular tourist attractions like the Guinness Storehouse, Temple Bar, Malahide Castle and Gardens or the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Alternative Dublin City team take travellers on events, walking tours, art classes, photo walks and local parties. Further attractions include Ticknock Fairy Castle Loop, the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History or the National Botanical Gardens.

Malaga has a rich cultural heritage for tourists with around 30 museums, besides beautiful beaches, trendy hotels and restaurants. Meanwhile, Faro is popular with travellers seeking sun, sea and surf, as well as those looking for activities, with championship golf courses, coastal walks, diving opportunities and nightlife.

‘Ryanair offered extra Dublin frequencies over this last summer which sold well, giving the airline the confidence to commit to a daily flight for next summer,’ said Marc Watkins, Aviation Development Manager, Cardiff Airport. ‘Responding to strong passenger demand from Cardiff with the extra Malaga flights being added during September and October next year, thousands more travellers will be able to fly to Spain’s Costa del Sol in 2023. After launching winter flights to Faro last month, we are really happy that Ryanair is continuing its commitment to this Portuguese hot-spot again next summer.’

Under the Summer 23 schedule, Ryanair will operate daily services to Dublin, on Tuesday and Saturday to Malaga, and on Friday and Sunday to Faro.

Bristol Airport to commence Aer Lingus Regional flights in March

Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines have recently announced the launch of Aer Lingus Regional flights, increasing connectivity between the UK, Ireland and the US.

The flights operated under a franchise agreement by Emerald Airlines will commence on March 17, 2022 as Aer Lingus Regional. The move will result in Emerald Airlines flying over 340 flights per week across 11 routes with fares starting at £25.99, with further route announcements to be made in the coming weeks. High-frequency routes, including Dublin-Edinburgh and Dublin-Glasgow, will be served up to four times daily.

The announcement will see the re-establishment of services to regional points across the UK, including Newquay Cornwall, Exeter, and Isle of Man. Emerald Airlines will be the only airline offering these services from Ireland. The announcement adds over 60 UK – US routes on the Aer Lingus network connecting via Dublin including connections from UK regional airports to New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle.

Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, said: ‘Today is about opportunities. Opportunities for our UK customers to connect with ease to Aer Lingus flights to North America and to take advantage of the US preclearance facility. Opportunities for customers across UK and Ireland as we develop the Aer Lingus regional network. And opportunities for the Irish economy and Irish aviation as we expand our hub at Dublin.

‘It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Emerald Airlines to accelerate this partnership and start operations 10 months ahead of the original schedule. ‘We are all looking forward to welcoming our customers on-board Aer Lingus Regional services, operated by Emerald Airlines.’

Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted with the announcement and look forward to welcoming Emerald Airlines to Bristol Airport from Spring next year. This partnership further strengthens the air links between the South West of England and Ireland and in addition extends the opportunity of offering US transatlantic routes via Dublin Airport for customers in the region.

‘We look forward to working with Emerald Airlines in the future and continuing the joint partnership.’

British Airways to resume operations from Birmingham Airport

British Airways has said that it will resume operations form Birmingham Airport with a flight service to be introduced between Belfast and Birmingham.

The flights will operate twice daily, increasing to three times a day on a Thursday and Friday.

The flights will be operated using an Embraer 190 with capacity of 98 seats. Customers can book on BA.com from today with travel between October 31, 2021 and March 26, 2022.

Tom Stoddart, Managing Director of BA CityFlyer which operates the routes, said: ‘This year has shown how much customers want to stay connected with the rest of the UK. We’re sure this route will be popular with customers getting away for a UK holiday, as well as those visiting friends and relatives.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport commenting on the new flights, said: ‘It is great to welcome back British Airways to Birmingham after three years absence. We know that the tail fin will be a welcome sight to many of Birmingham’s customers. This route ensures even more choice for travel to Belfast from Birmingham and with plans to grow the schedule adds to the flexibility of travel. Customers can also be reassured that flights are covered by the airlines flexible booking policy.’

Customers booking with British Airways can benefit from the airline’s flexible booking policy. Customers will be able to exchange their booking for a voucher or move their dates without incurring a change fee if their plans change.

Stobart Air announces two new routes from Cardiff to Dublin and Belfast

Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, has said that it has added two new routes to its network, connecting Wales with Ireland.

The new Cardiff (CWL) to Dublin Airport (DUB) route will initially operate three times weekly, on Monday, Friday, and Sunday, commencing on August 30. The new route from Cardiff to Belfast City Airport (BHD) will initially operate four times weekly on Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday commencing on June 28.

As air travel resumes within the Common Travel Area following the successful rollout of vaccination programmes across the UK and Ireland, Stobart Air has added these new routes to its Aer Lingus Regional network to provide additional choices for customers looking to travel for business and leisure.

Andy Jolly, Managing Director at Stobart Air, said: ‘Stobart Air calls on the Governments in the UK and Ireland to work with all industry stakeholders to restore confidence in aviation and facilitate the resumption of safe air travel in line with the vaccination rollout programmes. In the immediate term this includes developing a vaccine pass procedure to allow people who have received their complete vaccine course to unrestricted travel within the Common Travel Area.

‘Anticipating a successful Covid-19 vaccination rollout which will allow air travel to resume safely later this year, we are pleased to add these routes from Cardiff to Dublin and Belfast to our network. We believe these new connections will cater to both business and leisure travellers with direct, convenient and cost-effective flights between Cardiff and the two largest cities on the island of Ireland, Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

‘We are committed to providing our passengers with frequent, convenient and affordable services through our regional connections. We look forward to welcoming our staff and customers onboard these new routes.’

Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport said: ‘It’s fantastic news that Stobart Air will be operating scheduled services from Cardiff to Dublin and Belfast with their Aer Lingus franchise. As restrictions are eased, these flights will once again link Wales to two key destinations, allowing our customers to travel for business, leisure or to visit friends and family, as well as enabling easy connections to North America via Dublin.

‘Both routes have proved highly popular with our customers, and it is a top priority for us to focus on re-instating routes lost as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. We are pleased that once again our passengers will be able to easily fly to both Belfast and Dublin, and we look forward to working closely with the team at Stobart Air going forward.’

All Stobart Air flights will operate in accordance with Covid protocols implemented by the UK and Irish governments and health authorities.

Ireland announces new rules for passengers arriving from Britain

The Government of Ireland has announced new rules that passengers originating from Britain or South Africa will be required to have evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ result of a COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 72 hours of arrival into the state.

As per the new rule, which started Saturday, January 9, passengers travelling from Britain or South Africa will be required to present evidence of their negative or ‘not detected’ result before boarding their aircraft prior to departure, and will be required to produce this evidence to Immigration Officers on arrival at Dublin Airport. It will be deemed an offence if passengers arrive in an Irish airport without evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ test result and may be subject to prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding EUR2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

The rule is applicable to passengers whose journey originates in either Britain or South Africa. Those who only transit through an airport in Britain as part of their journey to Ireland will not be required to provide evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ COVID-19 PCR test. Passengers who arrive in Ireland mainly for the purpose of travelling onwards to another state and do not leave the airport are also not required to provide the evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ test.

For any urgent travel requirement, passengers can consult the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate for advice and receive consular assistance before commencing their journey, Dublin Airport said.

Ireland is currently implementing the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA). Passengers entering the State from red, orange and grey regions are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days, though this may be waived in certain cases. This applies to all people entering the State, even if they have no symptoms. The details are available on European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) website.

The request to restrict movements for 14 days can be waived for passengers arriving from an orange region, if they have received a negative/not detected PCR test result during the three days before arriving in Ireland. In this case, passengers are requested to have supporting evidence of the negative test in their possession, according to Irish Government guidelines.

Passengers arriving from red regions do not have to continue to restrict their movements for the full 14 days, if they have a negative/not-detected result from a PCR test taken at least five days – a minimum of five days – after arrival in the State, the airport said.