Opening Bell: TTIP threatened by Irish airline dispute, Rockefellers back Dublin firm, Google beats Wall Street

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The failure of US authorities to allow a Dublin-based airline to operate flights to America could threaten the proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The EU Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc, warned her Washington counterpart Anthony Foxx that the delay in issuing Norwegian Air International with a permit could have wider implications for the trade deal, also known as TTIP.

Norwegian Air International set up a base in Ireland in order to benefit from the EU-US Open Skies agreement.

However, there has been strong opposition to NAI from US aviation unions, who believe the airline is trying to circumvent tough labour laws in Norway. They fear it could cost tens of thousands of US aviation jobs.

It now looks likely to be left to the next US administration to deal with, though Bulc has called for the matter to be brought to arbitration.


The Rockefellers are backing an African energy project that's being led by a Dublin-based Mainstream renewables firm.

Last month, Eddie O'Connor's Mainstream sold a $117m stake in Lekela Power to investors including the World Bank.

Lekela Power is a joint venture with British equity firm Actis.

Now it has emerged that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund – the family's philanthropic foundation – also invested in the venture as part of that stake sale.

The funding package will allow the roll-out of 1,300 megawatts of power schemes across the African continent by 2018.

Lekela Power plans to build four more windfarms in South Africa, two windfarms and two solar plants in Egypt and windfarms in Ghana and Senegal.

O'Connor – who sold Airtricity to SSE for over €1bn in 2008 – called the investment a seminal moment in the energy industry.


Ryanair has announced that it will soon be mandatory for adults flying with children under 12 to pay for reserved seats.

The airline will, however, introduce free reserved seating for those children.

Ryanair has argued that, with more passengers availing of the option to pre-book seats and its load factor remaining high at 94%, there have been increasing instances of parents and young children being separated on its flights after being randomly allocated seats.

This has caused boarding issues as crews try to re-seat customers so that families are sitting together.

The airline's current lowest allocated seat fare is €4, with prices ranging up to €15 for front row priority boarding seats.


Shares in Google's parent company, Alphabet, reached an all-time high in after-hours trading as the company announced quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street estimates.

The tech giant reported $21.5 billion in revenue, a gain of 21% over the same period last year.

It enjoyed a net income of $5.97 billion, a 28% increase year-on-year. 

Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said that the results reflected successful investments in the rapidly expanding areas of mobile and video.

The news comes a day after Facebook also beat market expectations for the quarter.

Its attractiveness to advertisers was showcased, as advertising revenue surged 63% to $6.24bn.

Facebook is also proving adaptable as the industry shifts towards mobile and video – mobile ads now account for 74% of the company's advertising revenue.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was particularly pleased with Facebook Live, as the company moved towards a future where video is at the heart of all of its services.