Appropriately, it was in his ancestral homeland that Manuel Butler Halter, CEO of Turespaña the Spanish Tourist board became newly elected president of the European Travel Commission at its meeting in Dublin on Thursday. He succeeds Petra Hedorfer of the German Tourist Board. A descendant of the Butlers of Ormond, he hosted breakfast for travel writers at the new Marker Hotel the following morning, not far from the site of the battle of Rathmines where his illustrious ancestor James Butler fought.
Picture shows guests at a lunch hosted by the Spanish Embassy the previous day, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel, Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board, Clare Dunne President of the ITAA, Spanish Ambassador Javier Garrigues Flórez, Con Horgan of Abbey Travel, Pat Dawson of the ITAA and Ray Scully of Crystal. Picture below shows
Richard Quest instroduces Willie Walsh CEO of IAG, Christophe Mueller CEO of Aer LIngus, James Davison CEO of Farelogix, David Barger CEO of jetblue and Montie Brewer former CEO of Air Canada at the Centre for Aviation Policy conference in Powerscourt
“Travel agents will die because they don’t have good information anymore,” Jeremy Wertheimer Vice President of Travel at Google told the aviation conference organized by CAPA, the Centre for Aviation Conference in the Ritz Carlton in Powerscourt on Friday.
This was among dozens of soundbytes and insights that emerged from eight separate, equally rich, panel discussions. The issues discussed included ongoing tensions between airports, who want longer dwell time by users, and airlines, who want to expedite boarding and turnaround. Most entertaining was a top table discussion at the Gala dinner on Thursday evening which went on for three hours of almost continuous banter, alongside an Airline CEO panel session which involved many of the same participants on Friday. Richard Quest of CNN gave one of his better performances as facilitator of both discussions. The conference attracted 15 major CEOs, including David Barger of Jetblue, Tewolde GebreMariam of Ethiopian, Willie Walsh, Christoph Mueller, a former CEO of Air Canada Montie Brewer and CIO of Lufthansa Christoph Klingenberg. Of the CEO’s, Willie Walsh was easily the most relaxed and at ease with the audience and the environment, facilitating wide-ranging and often humourous discussion. Interestingly Christoph Mueller enthusiastically entered the discussion about the incomplete privatisation of Aer Lingus despite Walsh’s insistence that he should not answer a question from Richard Quest when the response to a question from the floor from Gerry Benson of Travelbiz generated some of the best local news coverage from the event. Walsh lined up other broadsides, criticising ownership restrictions on European airlines. CAPA resuscitated its own research suggested Aer Lingus labour costs were the fifth highest for a European airline. JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger generated a lot of coverage for a comment that he would love to see a non-stop service from JFK to Cork. European Commission Director of Air Aviation and International Transport Matthew Baldwin said the EC wants to keep strong airlines “based in Europe, flying out of European hubs”.
Despite the banter, there were no major insights behind the scenes of world aviation, unlike the ERAA regional conference in Edinburgh last week where one Mediterranean airline executive described the airline’s biggest difficulty as “mediocre management.” How refreshing to hear someone at a conference being THAT honest.
Travelport chose the occasion to launch their much-anticipated Travelport Merchandising Platform. According to Fergal Kelly, Travelport’s Cork-based Vice President of content, the product has been four years in the planning and will change the booking process for travel agents, who can now access all their information, including fares and ancillaries, without opening a separate screen or launching a separate transaction, and for airlines, who can differentiate and collate their distribution between GDS and other channels more easily. The product was endorsed by launch customer Easyjet. Picture below shows:
Picture shows Willie Walsh CEO of IAG, Christophe Mueller CEO of Aer LIngus, James Davison CEO of Farelogix, David Barger CEO of Jetblue and Montie Brewer former CEO of Air Canada. See more photos.
Mary Lyne from Blackpool Travel won the prize for most glamorous lady at the Sunway Oscars at Vanilla night club in Donnybrook. Other costume winners included John McGuill of McGuill Travel for the best lookalike, Juan Cullen of Supersun Travel the sexiest male, Ciara Masterson of Cassidy Travel the best hairstyle and Mike Shinners of Ace Travel the most unique outfit.
On the business side O’Callaghan Travel of Dundalk won the €1,000 prize for Top USA/Worldwide Agency, McGuill Travel and Ace Travel won €250 One4All vouchers. Sarah Williamson of Budget Travel won seven nights in California with flights from British Airways and a $500 voucher for premium outlets, Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel won seven nights in an all-inclusive in Barbados; Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel won seven nights in a 5-star hotel in Dominican Republic; Shauna McGuill of McGuill Travel won a seven-night Sunway holiday while Margaret Traynor of Independent Travel won a Mini iPad. Picture shows Karen Keogh of British Airways, TV personality Kathryn Thomas, Philip Airey and Tanya Airey of Sunway. See more pictures.
Fionnuala Carter of the ITAA launched the Association’s Skillsnet programme at a function in the ITAA offices in Westmoreland Street. See more pics here.
The programme dates are:
- Wed 24th April Manual Handling Dublin Members: €50 Subsidised: €70,
- Wed 1st May First Aid Refresher Dublin Members: €50 Subsidised: €70,
- Commencing Tue 23rd April 9:30am Facebook Marketing Webinars for Irish Travel Professionals Distance No Charge,
- Tue 30th April To Tue 18th June 6pm-9pm Digital Marketing Diploma FETAC Level 5 Accredited Every Tuesday and Thursday Dublin Members Fee: €715 Subsidised Fee: €880 (Standard Fee: €1,500),
- Tue 7th May To Tue 25th June 6pm-9pm Digital Marketing Diploma FETAC Level 5 Accredited Every Tuesday and Thursday Cork Members Fee: €715 subsidised Fee: €880 (Standard Fee: €1,500),
Fionnuala says there are more courses on the way, including Train the Trainer, Micro Soft Office, HR Management, Presentation Skills, Sales and Marketing, Customer Services and Social Media.
Tourism Ireland announced that their new Head of North America would be Alison Metcalfe, formerly based in London. Tourism Ireland’s new Marketing chief for North America will be Billy Condon, formerly based in Paris.
In its first week of trading, the Marker hotel in Grand Canal Harbour also hosted the AGM of the Irish Travel Industry Confederation where Paul Carty of the Guinness Storehouse was elected new chairman. In his speech to the conference Minister Leo Varadkar promised a major review of tourism policy, as requested by ITIC in January, but said the process would start with a draft statement “later this year” followed by a consultation process, and then a policy at an unspecified date. Paul Carty said he is confident that of further growth in Irish tourism.
- Paddy Lydon, subject of a famous John Hinde postcard of 1962, has died.
- Royal Caribbean are gearing up for a big announcement on its two 4,100-passenger next generation Quantum cruise ships in New York on Tuesday. The ships similar to Freedom Class in size, will “incorporate new and exciting features that take advantage of the best of Royal Caribbean’s experience and imagination.” So far we know that Kristin Chenoweth will be godmother and that St Maarten port will be visited from December 2014.
- Dramatic footage emerged of the rescue of 100 people from a Lionair aircraft that landed in the sea in Bali.
- Clickandgo.com said that sun holidays can be up to €140 cheaper per person if you fly from Belfast instead of Dublin
- The story of the Tighe/Tye family’s emigration experience has been commemorated by Strokestown Gathering who are bringing home two members of the family for July 19th. The event was launched at the Canadian embassy this week. See pics here.
- Hurtigruten hosted the trade at a major exhibition on the life of Tom Crean in Dun Laoghaire. See pics here.
- The Gresham Hotel opened Ireland’s largest hotel suite, the Eisenhower Suite which sleeps 10 guests in five bedrooms, with chandeliers by Waterford Crystal, rainfall showers and Jacuzzis spread across the six bathrooms, two separate living rooms, a cloakroom, a dining room, kitchenette and fully stocked bar, and a private landscaped terrace that can accommodate up to 60 people. A full butler service is also available.
- Italian prosecutors accepted a plea bargain from Costa Crociere and have imposed a €1m fine to settle potential criminal charges in relation to the capsize of Costa Concordia in January 2012
- The Capella Washington DC was one of several new hotels to open its doors worldwide. Others included the Intercontinental Hotel Dieu in Marseille, the Bagan Lodge, Calatrava in Majorca and the W Guangzhou, the first W hotel in mainland China and the brand’s 44th worldwide.
- A runaway deer sparked a major security alert at Cork Airport on Wednesday.
- Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin have lost control of the Muckross Park hotel.
- Richard Collins of Druids Glen reported his most profitable year ever.
- Dublin city council plan a 60m cultural hub around Parnell Square.
- Miriam Donohue recalled a trip to North Korea in 2001 for the Irish Independent.
- Airlines for America wants the Department of Homeland Security to scrap plans to establish preclearance at Abu Dhabi.
- The world’s largest super yacht, a 180-metre vessel named Azzam, was launched in Bremen
- Aer Lingus codeshare with Jetblue was given US regulatory approval.
- Boeing released stunning footage of the Dreamliner testing take off and tailwind landing.
- SITA said the aviation industry is losing fewer bags.
- Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum reopened its doors on Saturday following a 10-year refurbishment
- The Louvre closed its doors for a day in Wednesday after staff went on strike in protest at pickpockets claiming that thieves, some of them children, were targeting both tourists and employees in an increasingly aggressive manner.
- Italy is to form a hotel group modeled on Spain’s Paradores to turn disused castles, fortresses, prisons and islands into luxury hotels.
- British Airways revealed the most popular seats on a standard Boeing 747 aircraft, four pairs of seats: 51B/51C, 52B/52C, 51H/51J and 52 H/52J,
- The vault of Siena Cathedral was opened to the public for the first time allowing visitors to climb up a walkway to get a glimpse of the magnificent building from a new angle.
- Aer Arann is expecting delivery of the first of eight new ATR 72-600s in two weeks and after that, at a rate of one a month.
- Jet2’s has resumed normal service from Belfast International Airport after two days of disruption when Jet2 operated services temporarily from Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport.
- CityJet CEO Christine Ourmières said she is impressed with the calibre of bidders for Air France-KLM subsidiary.
- Oliver Smith published an eight-point guide on how to get upgraded on a flight.
- Ryanair will operate Dublin-Bremen 3w from September 18. Ryanair launched 45 new routes across Europe last week, the second week of the summer schedules, well ahead of Norweigan’s 19 new routes.
- Aer Lingus commenced operations on the 1,800-kilometre route from Belfast City to Palma de Mallorca in addition to the Málaga and Faro flights launched over the previous fortnight.
- Michael O’Leary claimed EU rules governing the air travel market are “communist” during a press conference to mark the opening of two new destinations in Strasbourg.
- Joaquin Almunia, speaking in Washington, rejected Ryanair’s view that the blocking of its takeover of Aer Lingus was a political decision,
- The shenanigans at Aer Arann parent Stobart continued, with Andrew Trinkler facing contempt proceedings.
- Saturday was the 75th anniversary of James FitzMaurice and Hermann Kohl’s first successful East to West trans-Atlantic crossing from Baldonnel to Quebec aboard the Bremen.