Higher summer air fares, hotelier gloom and ‘rooftop revolution’

The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Air fares will be higher this summer because of problems at both the main aircraft suppliers, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said. Boeing’s ongoing issues with its 737 Max range means Ryanair will get fewer of the planes than expected in advance of the summer season while Mr O’Leary says an engine recall could ground up to 20 per cent of rival’s fleets.

That won’t cheer Irish hoteliers, already fretting about advance bookings lagging last year’s numbers and rising costs clouding their outlook. The Irish Hotels Federation holds its two-day annual meeting today and tomorrow at Cavan’s Slieve Russell Hotel. Laura Slattery reports.

They’re not the only ones with concerns about outlook as figures published today show consumer sentiment weakening on last month. However, writes Colin Gleeson, it remains close to a two-year high.

Environment and climate minister Eamon Ryan has hailed a “rooftop revolution” as solar power delivers 1GW to the Irish grid just two years after the first solar farm was open here. Households installing solar panels on their rooves have been a big contributor to the figures. Tim O’Brien has the figures.


A Galway company that has secured regulatory licensing as Ireland’s first contract manufacturer of cell and gene therapies says there is massive potential in the sector, all while saving on wider healthcare costs. Joe Brennan spoke to HiTech Health’s Brian Harrison.

Central Bank boss Gabriel Makhlouf made clear over the weekend that he was in no rush to cut interest rates and noted that the European Central Bank was still nervous about a surge in wage rises. Makhlouf also sits on the ECB’s rate-setting governing council.

Pilita Clark is more concerned about inflation in job title, and provides some classic examples of executive ranks that are not only meaningless but quite likely to irritate colleagues who feel they are being outflanked.

But Makhlouf’s caution will do little to improve the mood of Ireland’s small and medium business sector, even as Bibby Financial managing director Mark O’Rourke tells them they need to be getting on top of their bills, not simply warehousing them in a Revenue warehousing scheme.

It also does not make the Government’s decision on when to call the next General Election any easier. Eoin Burke-Kennedy outlines the economic factors likely to come into play on each of the three dates considered most likely.

In Personal Finance, we look at what a reader can do after failing to find the share certificates proving her late father’s ownership of shares in Bank of Ireland.

And Stockton’s Wing frontman Mike Hanrahan admits he would be a chief financial officer’s nightmare, if he had one, as he has never made money from any of his albums.

Finally, Warren Buffett published his annual shareholder letter over the weekend. Aside from eulogising his former business partner, Charlie Munger, he warned Berkshire Hathaway shareholders they can no longer expect the “eye popping” gains of yesteryear as the group is now simply too big for any acquisition to lead to a value reset.

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