Photo and video of the week shows unruly and duty-free fuelled Icelandair passenger Gudmundur Karl Arthorsson strapped to his seat with duct tape. The interesting sequel is that US transportation officials wanted to charge him but Gudmundur’s fellow passengers did not lodge any complaints against him, reckoning he had suffered humiliation enough.
Another contender for video of the week showed a Chinese student pilot performing a textbook landing in Mangalore, 80 miles north of Melbourne, after his Piper Warrior had lost a wheel.
And a contender for photograph of the week is the picture of New York in 360 degrees which won the Pano Photographic Award for Sergey Semenov.
It was a week for chewing on aviation stats. Ryanair reported 79.6m passengers in 2012, the highest figure for a single airline in Europe and second only to the Lufthansa group (103m, Lufthansa itself carried 74.7m), Aer Lingus carried 9.7m passengers in 2012 up 1.5pc from 9.51m. Dublin airport numbers were up 2pc to 19.2m, 10.3m used Terminal 1 and 8.8m used Terminal 2. Continental Europe accounted for 11 of the airport’s 15 new services last year, but there is no doubting the star of the show, over 200,000 seats each for Emirates and Etihad. European routes delivered 10m passengers (+2pc) Britain 6.9m (-1pc), 1.6m Tran-Atlantic (+5pc), Middle East and North Africa 480,000 and domestic routes just 63,000 (-49pc).
Aviation analyst Ralph Anker calculated that 900 new routes have been announced for 2013; Ryanair were the top route-announcing airline with 77, Barcelona the top airport with 37. And, ahem, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner topped the snag-list charts, of which the most worrying incident was a lithium battery fire. Knock airport passenger numbers were up 5pc to 685,000 in 2012. Cork Airport’s passenger traffic for 2012 was 2.34m, down less than 1pc from 2011. Total traffic at DAA’s three airports, Dublin, Cork and Shannon, increased by 1pc to 22.8m. Shannon did not publicise their numbers, with good reason: at 1.45m they are back to 1988-89 levels (between 1988’s 1.394m and 1989’s 1.469m) . The newly independent airport has a target fog 1.7m this year, but it is still a far cry off the 3.2m in 2008.
Ryanair finished 32nd in the list of world’s safest airlines compiled by Jan-Arwed Richter and Christian Wolf’s JACDE Centre, Finnair were top and Air New Zealand second. Aer Lingus did not get a ranking because they are not big enough in RPKs, although they do get a ranking of 0.059 (one hull loss in 1986 and one serious incident in 2006).
It was a big sales week for the industry with various companies reporting enough business to keep them busy. Sunway had to bring extra staff in last Saturday. John Spollen of Cassidy Travel went on a tour of his company’s shops on Saturday and ended up taking bookings himself. Trailfinders had a queue outside the door on Tuesday. Lowcostbeds set a new record on Monday and promptly broke it on Tuesday. Travel Counsellors Ireland had their best sales day on record on Friday. That other time-honoured tradition, the systems crash, was also evident this year. Kuoni’s went down on Tuesday, although none of the Irish firms reported anything like the great Budget crash of 1995 which still gives anyone associated with it goose pimples. The punters were learning that not all aviation sales are the same as some airlines had restrictions on the available dates. For the record the sales airlines are Aer Lingus (book by Jan 14, travel by Apr), Air France/Delta/KLM (book by Jan 22, travel by June), BA (book by Jan 22, travel by Sept), Qantas (book by Jan 24, travel by June), SAS (book by Jan 15, travel by Sept) and United (book by Jan 22, travel by June).
While airlines still dominate the sales news, cruise lines are doing their bit. Royal Caribbean are offering up to USD$1,000 free onboard credit on selected Southampton & Harwich cruises booked before Feb 28 and sister line Celebrity cruises are offering complimentary drinks package on all 2013 cruises booked before Feb 28, includes domestic beers, spirits, house wines, specialty coffees and soft drinks (worth $50 per person, per day). Hertz car-hire launched a sale with up to 33pc off rates globally, book by Jan 31 and travel from Jan 2-June 30.
Sharon Jordan’s One Stop Touring Shop is adding a fourth product to their portfolio this month, Boutique Journeys by Brendan Vacations, an all new collection of premium itineraries open to a maximum of 24 guests (typical guided tours book up to 50 guests) with more than 35 itineraries to 30 emerging destinations such as South Africa, China, Thailand, Vietnam and South America.
Falcon Holidays briefed the media on their 25th anniversary plans and busy week after their TV advertising blitz. Eagle eyed viewers will identify the Sensatori Sharm el Sheikh features on their TV ad. Online check in will be among their innovations for 2013. Pictures shows the Falcon Holidays team at Chapter One restaurant, January 10 2012, Niamh Kenny, Charlotte Brenner, Carol Ann O’Neill, Helen Caron and Leila McCabe nee Giglione.
British Airways Simon Daly held a thank you dinner for the trade at which he announced that 2012 was record year for the IAG group for revenue in Ireland. Earlier on Thursday British Airways confirmed 8 flights daily in their summer 2013 schedule, with 9 flights on some days.
Travel Centres conference will be held at the Killashee House hotel in Naas, on November 8-9, the weekend immediately after WTM (Nov 4-5). Entertainment will be by the RPJ band, fronted by Rick Parfitt Jr (son of Rick Parfitt of Status Quo).
Worldchoice 2013 conference will be held on November 30th at a venue to be announced in the near future. Worldchoice has recruited two new members, O’Driscoll Travel in Macroom and Phoenix Travel in Greystones. bringing membership to 57 (12 in the six counties).
Travel Department dropped the The from their name and relaunched their website, with a new logo, e-ticketing, eCRM (online customer relations management) and updated social media channels, supported by an on and off-line media campaign.
Delta confirmed their long speculated increase in capacity between Dublin and JFK, with three extra flights and a slightly larger craft on the morning run. Ryanair indicated a Dublin-Jerez route announcement was imminent. Minoan dithered over Dublin-Oxford. They have delayed the launch until March and will make an announcement (tomorrow Monday).
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said he was in preliminary talks with Boeing for 200 new aircraft deliveries in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Galway city and county councils each pledged 50,000 euro in an attempt to save Galway airport.The passengers waiting for a flight. any flight, to Berlin Brendenburg heard an announcement that the airport was delayed, (again), until 2014 or even later. It all proved too embarrassing for Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit who stepped down.
Irish Ferries announced they were supporting ‘The Gathering’ with 100 free return coach spaces on its cruise ferry services from Holyhead to Dublin
Strangest court case of the week was in Gort where English company director Rohit Sharma was fined €1,000 for taking a lifejacket from Aer Lingus London-Shannon flight
Fáilte Ireland’s annual end of year briefing reported the first increase in tourism revenue since recession began. There are 12,000 more employed in the tourism industry, up to 185,000 from 173,000 under Fáilte Ireland’s figures, which have a less rigorous definition than the CSO which confines its definition to the hotel and restaurant industry.
Americans are travelling in greater numbers, in Britain the “path for growth campaign” is targeting the staycations market, competing with areas like Scotland and the Lake district not outward bound. Shaun Quinn said occupancy rates are improving but “we still see lots of 50s, that is not good for anyone.” Occupancy rates are lowest in the midlands, where some of the trophy properties there are finding the going tough. “The challenge for hotels is generating the margin to reinvest in the property,” Quinn said. Up to Thursday morning 2,562 events had been planned for The Gathering.
The CSO reported Irish outbound travel was up 4pc for Sept-Nov 2012, Irish residents made 5.9m trips abroad in the period Jan-Nov, no change from 2011.
Irish Business Against Litter reported that Kilkenny, Cavan and Killarney were the cleanest towns of 2012.
Ireland was included in USA TODAY top destinations for 2013. Check out the picture of the gate on the Beara peninsula.
Remember the car park is free for trade delegates on Trade Morning of the Holiday World show, Friday January 25, preregister at www.registrationdesk.ie/holidayworldtrade (trade & media)
- January 2013 Weddings & Honeymoons issue
- November 2012 Wintercruise issue
- October 2012 Ski issue
- September 2012 Accommodation Issue
- July 2102 Canaries issue
- June 2012 USA issue
- May 2012 Australia issue
- April 2012 Mediterranean cruise issue
- March 2012 Awards issue