Aer Lingus Dispute Disrupts Tourism

Peak season tourism into Ireland has been disrupted by the Aer Lingus pilots dispute. Holiday plans of thousands of people who have booked an Irish visit have been thrown into disarray following the cancellation of hundreds of incoming flights.

One hotelier has reported more than €10,000 worth of cancellations in a single day, while others are uncertain about how many booked guests will actually arrive on their appointed day. Some international visitors are already changing their travel plans to other European destinations.

Aer Lingus has confirmed that at least 244 flights have been cancelled for this week from Wednesday to Sunday due to industrial action being taken by the Irish Airline Pilots' Association.

Tom Randles of Randles Hotel in Killarney told RTE how the dispute has already affected his business. He said they have already received over €10,000 worth of cancellations from overseas bookings at the hotel, and he is worried that this will rise in the coming days. He said he is hearing similar stories from colleagues across the hotel sector.

It is also feared that many visitors who have tickets for the Taylor Swift concerts in Dublin this weekend may not arrive in time.

Michael Magner, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, called on both parties in the dispute to meet as a matter of urgency and come to an early resolution that avoids any further disruption to passengers.  

"There is enormous concern throughout our industry given how important Aer Lingus is for inbound visitors, particularly for transatlantic and long-haul flights," he said. "We are already seeing hotel cancellations as guests change their holiday plans, and there is a risk that this pattern of cancellations could escalate over the coming days."