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Low-cost airline easyJet has obtained 88 flight slots at Dublin Airport for the upcoming winter season, without any guarantee that it will make its return to Ireland for the first time since 2004.

EasyJet’s Prospective Return to Ireland: A Challenge to Ryanair’s Dominance

Preliminarily allocated to the British specialist in cheap flights by the local equivalent of the COHOR (Committee for Airport Coordination), Airport Coordination Limited (ACL), these slots could see easyJet return to the stronghold of its rival Ryanair, which faces almost no low-cost competition there (only two routes operated by Norwegian and Vueling, and one each by Eurowings, Iberia Express, or Play). However, these slots, equivalent to four weekly rotations, are not tied to any specific routes, and easyJet has made no announcement regarding its potential return to Ireland.

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“Like all airlines, we continuously review our network for new opportunities,” simply stated an easyJet spokesperson. In 2004, easyJet launched routes to Shannon, Cork, and Knock but discontinued them after less than two years of operation. Since then, the airline has focused on serving Belfast in Northern Ireland, where it has based eight Airbus aircraft and celebrated its 50 millionth passenger in February last year.

EasyJet Europe Secures Slots for Dublin: Challenging Ryanair’s Dominance in the Winter Season

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The slots, valid from late October 2023 to the end of March 2024, were obtained by the subsidiary easyJet Europe, launched in Vienna in 2017 to circumvent the constraints of Brexit.

According to ACL, Ryanair remains the most well-served airline in Dublin during the upcoming winter season. Out of a total of 18.4 million seats, Ryanair will offer 8.7 million, far ahead of Aer Lingus (approximately 5 million) and Emerald Airlines, which operates regional routes on behalf of the national carrier. Dublin aims to reach 31 million passengers this year.

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