The UK's leading no-frills airlines went head-to-head last week when Easyjet launched flights to Ireland.
The orange-branded carrier operated its first flights from Gatwick to Cork, Shannon and Knock on January 28 ? its first venture into the Irish no-frills market, dominated by Ryanair.
The two airlines will compete directly on services from Gatwick to Knock and Shannon, as well as Ryanair flights from Stansted to Cork, Shannon and Knock and Luton to Shannon.
Despite the competition, Easyjet says it has had strong advance sales and expects to carry half a million passengers on the routes in the first twelve months. It is offering fares from £18 return including taxes compared to fares from around £20 return on Ryanair's website.
Ryanair has included Cork, Shannon and Knock in its 99 pence seat sale, but Easyjet is sceptical. "They add all sorts of taxes and charges so they can advertise a fare of 99 pence, which is nothing like what you actually pay," Easyjet spokesman Toby Nicol told businesstraveller.com.
Easyjet is offering flights to Cork twice a day, to Knock daily, and to Shannon daily, increasing to twice-daily on April 21. Go to www.easyjet.com.