Big news of the week for transfer passengers through Dublin is that Aer Lingus Regional finally moved all of its services at Dublin Airport to Terminal 2 from Terminal 1 on Wednesday, thus ending forever the length-of-airport transfer between the 400 and 100 gates for passengers transferring to Trans-Atlantic flights from English regional flights.
Aer Arann took delivery on Friday of the first of eight new ATR72-600’s. This photograph of the new craft in Aer Lingus Regional livery, was taken by Mike Kelly as it touched down after its delivery flight from Toulouse to Dublin. The aircraft is the first of eight ATR 72-600s ordered by Aer Arann in a €144m contract to replace the older existing fleet of ATR72-200s and ATR42s. The official handover of the craft was already widely reported (see Youtube video). The other seven are scheduled to be delivered over the next 11 months, part of the airline’s ‘new beginning’ strategy, which aims to double passenger numbers to 2m and position Aer Arann among Europe’s top tier of regional airlines. The airline plans new routes and increased frequencies from Dublin to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, increasing passenger numbers by 300,000 by the end of 2014 and bringing the airline’s route network to 24.
There was no mistaking the highlight from Dublin Airport Authority’s annual results on Tuesday. New transatlantic capacity secured for Dublin Airport from six separate airlines means that 224 flights per week will operate to Americas and Canada during the peak summer season this year. There was already good news to report: Dublin Airport long-haul passengers grew by 16pc last year. Group operating costs were 8pc below 2008 levels, when Dublin Airport was operating with only one terminal. Net debt was reduced by €60m. Passenger numbers at Dublin and Cork airport were up by 1.6pc – 340,000 extra passengers. The announcement stressed that Shannon had been separated from DAA with no debt, on time and in accordance with Government decision.
CSO figures showed in tourism to Ireland has grown from all the main market areas, led by North America and continental Europe. Ireland enjoyed the strongest first quarter from North America since 2004 and the strongest ever first quarter from Australia and developing markets. Comparing the first quarter of 2013 with the same three months in 2012, there were 1.25m trips to Ireland, up 7.4pc. Visits from North America were up 16.7pc at 168,800. Visits from Mainland Europe were up by 13pc (444,000 visits), with very strong performances from Nordic countries (up 31pc), France (up 27pc), Benelux (up 10pc), Germany (up 10pc). , Great Britain registered an increase of 1.4pc, with 570,200 visits – the highest since 2009; Visits from the rest of the world increased by 5.4pc to 68,700 visits, with Australia and New Zealand growing by 21pc.
Australian Tourism Exchange wound down in Sydney with a spectacular closing party and fireworks display (see pics), after which many of the guests dispersed on fam tours. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry went to visit the plush Lord Howe island. Three Irish are among the 150 finalists in Tourism Australia’s Best Job inn the World competition, click to view the video entries from Richard Cullen, Allan Dixon and Heber Hanly. Six jobs are on offer: Wildlife Caretaker in South Australia, Chief Funster in New South Wales, Park Ranger in Queensland, Taste Master in Western Australia, Outback Adventurer in Northern Territory and Lifestyle Photographer in Melbourne.
Graham Hennessy and Maurice Shiels from Topflight hosted Irish travel agents on the Amalfi Coast, bringing them to the towns of Amalfi, Ravella, Maiori, and Sorrento.
They stayed at the Hotel Bristol in Sorrento with its famous view over the Bay of Naples towards Vesuvius. The visit included a trip by hydrofoil to Capri.
Picture shows: Jacqui Topflight Rep Amalfi Coast, George Barter of Barter Travel, Stephanie Nagle of Limerick Travel, Clodagh Kelleher of Fahy Travel, Graham Hennessy of Topflight, Maurice Shiels of Topflight, Sinead McGrane of Supersun, Claire Farmer of Carefree Travel and Karen Anderson of Cassidy Travel outside the Versace homestead. Topflight charters to Naples continue to the end of the summer season. Topflight also organise tailor-made holidays to Sorrento and Amalfi using scheduled Aer Lingus flights.
Bookabed, in conjunction with Virgin Atlantic and the Miami CVB, hosted an agents trip to Miami. The trip was in itself an indication of the changing landscape of the travel trade in Ireland, the first (or perhaps more accurately, the second) by an accommodation only supplier. The group of 12 travelled over on the Virgin Atlantic A330 from LHR, stayed two nights in Grand Beach Hotel in the North Beach area and the three nights in the downtown area at the b2 Miami Downtown, the Courtyard by Marriott Miami Downtown and the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. Activities included a city tour, cruise, visits to Miami Zoo and seaquarium with dolphin swim, Miccosukee Indian Village alligator wrestling and airboat rides, a VIP Interactive Tour at the Children’s Museum, shopping at The Falls, a concert from the Chirino Sisters and Kevin Ceballo, meals in some of Miami’s top hotels and restaurants and the inevitable nights out on Ocean Drive and downtown Miami.
Disney hosted 26 Irish Travel Agents among 600 travel agents from 15 different countries at Disneyland Paris to experience the 20th anniversary celebrations. Celebrations have been extended until September 30th. The group was made up of invitees from Abbey Travel and Breakaway. They visited both Disney Parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios. Some of the attractions in the Walt Disney Studio’s Park, the normally queue-prone Crushes Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, were reserved for agents during the event. Alan Neenan Managing Director Breakaway.ie said “we all know in the travel trade that seeing products in person is by far the best way to attain product knowledge.” Irish agents extended their stay to become Disney “Magic Makers,” participating in a day and a half sales philosophy training programme.
United’s new nonstop flight from Shannon to Chicago O’Hare commences on June 7th. Agents can win a place on the inaugural flight by making bookings on the new service before May 28. There are eight places to be won on the Fam Trip. Agents can e-mail the ticket numbers to: email@example.com putting “SNN-ORD Fam Trip” into the subject line. If ticketing is done by a consolidator, include the United Airlines booking reference number and the consolidator name in your e-mail and your bookings will qualify for entry. All qualifying bookings will be entered into a prize draw with eight winners chosen at random. Pictures shows the United Airlines Team at the launch of the service in Limerick: Ciara Devaney, Pat Reede, Aoife Gregg, Yvonne Muldoon and Brian Hughes. More pics here or connect with the photo album on Facebook.
Shannon airport conducted a full grass cut, not due until 2015, but brought forward by tow years after a request from the IFA to help the fodder crisis caused by an abnormally cold spring and a delay in growth of between three and five weeks in different parts of the country. Bales from the 300 acre site were made available to local farmers immediately. Mike Kelly’s photograph captures the event.
Worldchoice have completed a round of agreements with new business partners, including Travel Focus, Wings Abroad, Mercury Direct, Riviera Travel and Low Cost Beds. Garry Zancarano is pictured with Grainne Caffrey of Low Cost after the accommodation supplier’s historic agreement with the consortium with has 57 members, including 12 in Northern Ireland. Irish MD of lowcostbeds, Clem Walshe said “any agreement we enter into is designed to deliver on increasing sales and profitability for both lowcost and the agency member”
- British Airways are offering a complimentary upgrade to first one way every time agents book a business class return in C-class or D-class. They are also offering a free upgrade to first from J class fares booked between 16th April 2013 and 4th July and outbound travel must take place between 16th April and 31st August 2013. The offer is subject to availability and the upgrade must be booked at the time of reservation.
- 1STS is offering weekend passes to Electric Picnic for agents who book any Insight Vacations, Uniworld, Contiki or Boutique Journeys holiday and send their reference number .1STS will also be holding random draws and giving away festival gifts. The winner will receive 2 passes for the weekend in camping accommodation. The draw will take place on June15th. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Japex took place in Montego Bay in Jamaica. Read the report by Travel Extra’s Cleo Murphy in the next print edition of the magazine.
- Aer Lingus’ inaugural flight from Shannon to Faro took to the skies on Wednesday. The three times weekly service will operate until the end of October,
- Flybe started operating from Shannon to Glasgow Airport on Wednesday, it will operating 3w on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- About 100 people turned out for the launch of Luxury Ireland, a member based network, which boasts Ireland’s leading retailers such as Arnotts,
- Brown Thomas and Dundrum Town Centre. A new online portal, luxuryireland.ie is available to tour operators and individuals to book the complimentary bespoke service in advance. Luxury Ireland network of stores offer international payment systems and assistants who speak Chinese, Portuguese and Russian
- Brenda McDermott launched Relax Ireland, http://www.relaxireland.com offering a brokerage service for self-catering accommodations all over Ireland.
- Taoiseach Enda Kenny was guest of honour at the annual high-octane party hosted by John Fitzpatrick at the Residence in St Stephen’s Green to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fitzpatrick hotels group in business in America.
- Irish Citylink launched their new Airport Direct coach service between Galway and Dublin Airport on Wednesday. It runs eight times daily and will shorten journeys to the airport from Galway by up to 30 minutes.
- Old Jameson Distillery restarted their Shindig Nights tourist entertainment event on Friday with an unprecedented sell-out first weekend. The experience begins with a guided tour, recreated distillery scenes taking visitors through the seven stages of whiskey making followed by a signature Jameson live entertainment and a four course meal cooked with Irish ingredients, The experience will run until October.
- Royal Caribbean International is offering customers up to USD$100 credit to spend onboard and agents can win some summer spending money of their own with two lots €100 Love2shop vouchers up for grabs every day in May.
- Amadeus customer wins and renewals announced this week include RCSI Travel, Roscrea Travel, and Navan Travel. Amadeus has appointed Fionn Wilson O’Keeffe to its Dublin-based team. Amadeus has been granted a second loan from the European Investment Bank, worth €150m. This is to help finance R and D activities in its distribution business line between 2013 and 2015.
- Emirates is to operate a second daily, non-stop Airbus A380 service from Dubai to Bangkok from October 27. Emirates will also be strengthening is commitment to Hong Kong with the launch of a fourth daily service from Dubai.
- BookaBed signed ‘Preferred’ supplier deals in England with Advantage Travel Centres and The Travel Network Group and in addition have signed up to their respective electronic payment systems (CAPS and TAPS/ACAS), with all payments being made on a ‘post departure’ basis.
- Brand USA, the tourism marketing body for the United States of America, launched the third phase of the global campaign ‘Land of Dreams’ in conjunction with Expedia.
- Insight Vacations has launched its 2013/14 Winter Europe brochure, including the Eastern Mediterranean and Christmas Markets . The brochure features 35 premium autumn, winter and spring escorted journeys. New to the collection is the 9-day Alpine Christmas Market itinerary which travels through the winter landscapes of Germany, Austria, France & Switzerland.
- Dublin based mobile travel technology provider Mobile Travel Technologies has launched a same-day mobile booking app, Eleventh Hour Hotels, which it says offers hotel chains the first white-label alternative to the last-minute booking apps which force hotels to comply with OTA terms and conditions and other specialist same-day booking apps.
- Dublin’s Disney Offices have moved to Pavilion House, 31/32 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2, Phone +353 (0)1 6191128, Fax +353 (0)1 6618 900
- Hastings Hotels has appointed Northern Ireland’s first ever female head concierge, Colleen Grant, at its four-star Slieve Donard resort in Newcastle.
- May Bank Holiday weekend will see 220,000 passengers through Dublin Airport, slightly up over the same bank holiday weekend last year. 10,000 passengers are expected to pass through Ireland West Airport Knock this May bank holiday, including the restarted Duesseldorf service.
- Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington said he does not believe the Government will seek to sell its 25.1pc stake in Aer Lingus until Ryanair sells theirs, John Mulligan reported.
- MSC cruises said bookings were up 90pc in April compared to the same period, last year.
- Aer Lingus are to operate 11 weekly services from Dublin to Boston during winter 2013-14, an increase of four weekly services. CAPA published a recent interview with Christoph Mueller in which he reiterated Aer Lingus plans to use new smaller aircraft to increase frequency and capacity across the Atlantic.
- Stena Line has frozen its motorist fares on bookings made by Wednesday May 8 for travel until the end of June which means customers can book the lowest fare from €89 for car and driver right up to 7 days before departure from Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard. Stena Line’s new look ships, the Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, are back in service on the Belfast–Liverpool route having been refurbished by £2.3m each to offer improved facilities and additional services for customers.
- The Commission for Aviation Regulation has approved 104 renewals from 105 license applicants in the spring 2013 licensing round for travel trade renewals. There is one expired license, (Joseph O’Brien, Ardcavan, Co Wexford) and one non-renewal (Accommodation Finders) while aothe licensee French Freedom Holidays, trading from Scunthopre in England, ceased trading last month.
- Travel Counsellors will have three new recruits bringing TC numbers to 52 in Ireland by mid-summer and a further 35 in Northern Ireland.
- The Irish Water Safety organisation reminded us there are 140 drownings in Ireland every year, more than five per fortnight.
- The Restaurants Association of Ireland launched its campaign to keep VAT at 9pc by stating members had created 10,000 jobs in the last 18 months and there were 5,000 more on the way. The RAI represents 800 members throughout Ireland.
- Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has reopened with an exhibition, Van Gogh at work, that runs until January 12 2014 and presents the discoveries of an eight-year research programme. Through paint samples, microscopes and X-ray photographs, the exhibition delivers new insights on how Van Gogh learned his craft, from his first experimental drawings to his famous later paintings,
- The Irish Times long-listed 25 of the best holiday spots in Ireland.
- Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson has said over-zealous government warnings could be doing exactly what militants want by devastating the tourism industries and economies of the countries affected.
- Virgin Atlantic’s flight attendants will get a new look. The latest version of airline’s signature red outfits, which have been around for over 10 years, will be unveiled in July, before an official launch next year.
- Fountainstown in Cork, Rush in north Dublin, Ballyheigue in Kerry and Clifden in Galway failed water quality tests, just 91 Irish bathing spots were given top status this summer compared with 112 of 136 in 2011. The EPA blamed weather for last summer’s problems: out of 107 days in the May to September bathing season it rained for 80.
- Turkish Airlines is considering banning alcohol on its flights to and from Russia in an effort to curb unruly fliers on those routes, according Russian newspaper Izvestia.
- Exhibit areas in three Smithsonian museums in Washington DC temporarily closed this week because of budget cuts.
- According to Air India’s Rohit Nandan, the airline is to commence flying to Birmingham, Melbourne and Milan, ending speculation for now of a Dublin service.
- Fewer travellers bring laptops to hotels, and more are bringing iPads according to new data from iBahn.
- NCL launched its newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway in New York where it will be based. The vessel features a water park with five slides, a three-storey sports complex, and a rock climbing wall. See http://www.breakaway.ncl.co.uk
- Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which is designed to take tourists to the edge of space, flew its first rocket-powered test flight, bringing Richard Branson’s plans to send paying passengers into space moved a small step closer.
- To celebrate the upcoming release of The Great Gatsby film, New York’s Plaza hotel unveiled its new Fitzgerald Suite.
- Air Transport World said Aer Lingus has sought clearance from its shareholders to sell a pair of London Heathrow slots to British Airways.
- At the Pic du Midi observatory in the Pyrenees, the off-piste run down is still open to experienced skiers in May, the first time the season has ever extended so late.
In the Kruger National Park in South Africa, this lion found itself outnumbered by its buffalo prey and was pictured sprinting away by Dave Woollacott of Caters News Agency. The image prompted a revival of interest in the classic safari eight-minute Youtube clip, Battle at Kruger, which has 71m views and counting.
This giant inflatable duck has arrived in Hong Kong where it remains until June. Created by Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist, it was built of PVC in New Zealand. The duck has been transported around the world since 2007, bringing a message of peace and harmony.