AIR FRANCE HAS announced that it will roll out a direct service to Paris from Cork Airport at the start of the summer.
The airline will launch the new daily route to Paris-Charles de Gaulle in May. The service will run until the end of October.
The flights will be operated by Air France Hop!, the main carrier’s domestic offshoot, using an Embraer 170 aircraft that can carry up to 76 passengers. Fares start from €129 return.
The service will depart from Cork every afternoon at 4.30pm, arriving in Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 7.20pm. The return leg leaves Paris at 2.55pm and arrives in the rebel county at 3.50pm.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said the new service will open up a large number of onward connections to short- and long-haul destinations, such as Nice, Brussels, Brazil and Mexico.
McCarthy also expects to see a bump in inbound tourism from the French market to Ireland’s southern counties.
This view was echoed by Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, the agency responsible for promoting Ireland as a holiday destination overseas,
“As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism,” Gibbons said.
In light of the drop-off in British tourists coming here following the Brexit vote, tourism officials have been looking to shift some of the focus away from Ireland’s main travel market and win more business from mainland European markets.
According to figures produced by Tourism Ireland, some 544,000 French tourists visited Ireland in 2017, an increase of 6% on 2016′s tally.