Paris Air Show was its exuberant best. Rumours of an appearance by the Airbus A350 proved unfounded but something equally ostentatious touched down instead. Michael O’Leary stopped by to help announce (for the fourth time) his BBO (Big Boeing Order), and entertained the gathered media. In fairness, Boeing and Airbus both use Paris air show to show off their order books, and a significant number of the orders are reheated. What we did not expect was for Ryanair to move their own goalposts so significantly as a result of the order– growth rate moved from 5pc to 7pc and the target of passengers to move from 100m to 110m by March 2019. O’Leary said he was still looking at the 737 MAX against the rival A320neo and hoped to seal an order of at least 200 airplanes by year-end.
When Ray Conner, head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, interjected to assert Boeing’s message in Paris that the MAX will have 13pc better fuel burn than the neo, O’Leary contradicted him: “I don’t necessarily agree with that. It’s inevitable each manufacturer says they’ll do slightly better. I think where they’ll finish up is that on fuel burn the MAX and the neo will be pretty similar.”
“What is compelling for an operator is that the MAX has more seats. It will still come down to the fact that the MAX will have nine more seats than the neo. To me that’s worth a million bucks a year. Pricing will determine how many I will order. It depends what Ray tries to stiff me for.”
“Europe, which tends to be a sea of Airbus aircraft will continue to be led by, and dominated by, a Boeing operator.”
He charmed the attendance at the briefing and had only a single passing use of the F word:
- On Norwegian’s chief executive, Bjorn Kjos: “Like a lot of pilots, he gets sexually aroused about aircraft.”
- On Norwegian: “Only in Norway would Norwegian be considered a low-cost airline. Which is why every time they come to compete with us, be it in Dublin or anywhere else, they’ve usually struggled.”
- On Air Berlin: “Air Berlin continues to stride forward by getting smaller.”
- On expanding operations into Russia: “No, because of the regulatory crap that exists in Russia. There are considerable regulatory hurdles over there, which frankly are a pain in the arse, and life is too short when we have so many more growth opportunities.”
- On Chinese airplane maker COMAC, “By the early to mid-2020s, they’ll be selling what are effectively glorified, re-assembled A320s.”
- On the three-month grounding of the 787: “I’m mystified by the amount of crap Boeing has had to put up with for some relatively minor service problems with 787s, which are pretty standard on the introduction of any newly-designed aircraft.”
- Is he considering other airline acquisitions other than Aer Lingus”: “We have considered a takeover of Lufthansa, but frankly its market cap is a little small compared to us and the strategy is a bit confused, so we ruled it out. We’ve never considered taking over Air France, though we could probably buy it out of the loose change we have.”
- On the EU carbon emissions tax: “Global warming is an invention by a bunch of environmental loonies and a bunch of incompetent European politicians taxing Europe’s consumers so that they can do something about climate change. It would be better to address real issues such as European unemployment by promoting tourism, instead of trying to solve non-existent issues like climate change.”
- On the reason for Ryanair’s success: “We have supremely talented but very humble senior management.”
Also at the air show Boeing announced that it has launched the 787-10 Dreamliner, the third member of the super-efficient 787 family. The two biggest planemakers ran away with the show, with US$68.7bn worth of business for a total of 466 aircraft for Airbus and $55.8bn of commitments for Boeing to Airbus’s $55.6 billion. Bombardier’s CSeries, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China and Russia’s Irkut are effectively being shut out of the single-aisle market. Embraer garnered 365 orders and options. And the A380 and B787 both turned out to show a trick or two.
A surprise, too, from Falcon Holidays. For the first time in many years they have added TWO new destinations to their holiday programme, two of them for summer 2014, Ibiza and Rhodes. Both will have weekly flights from Dublin Airport. Accommodation options including Holiday Villages, SplashWorld Resort, kids’ club property, the family friendly resorts on Ibiza of Port des Torrent and Santa Eulalia, and a selection of self-catering and all inclusive properties and hotels. They will launch a Find the Falcon Family competition. Holidays go on sale from June 27th 2013. Picture shows the Falcon Holidays team, Niamh Kenny, Charlotte Brenner, Carol Ann O’Neill, Helen Caron and Leila McCabe.
A departure: Jose Ramos, pictured here with Monica McGill of Casa Brancas walking trail, has been a great friend of the Irish travel business since he came to Dublin. He is leaving this month and will be sorely missed. Travel Extra wishes him al the best.
Allan Dixon from Arklow defeated thousands of entrants worldwide to secure one of six ‘Best Jobs in the World’ as an Outback Adventure in the Northern Territory. “Words can’t describe how amazing this whole experience has been,” he said. The prize includes a six month contract and A$100,000 package (approx €72,000), Allan’s duties will involve getting up close and personal with Australia’s wildlife, journeying through the outback, meeting the locals and discovering exciting new adventures for young travellers. See the video here.
The Spanish Tourist Board press trip to Tenerife and Lanzarote started with a massive tail splash with one of the most successful whale watching expeditions in the history of Irish press trips. Picture shows the sun-soaked participants, Sarah Waldron of the Cork Independent, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, Sara Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board, Nicola Brady of the Irish independent, Pól Ó Conghaile representing Cara magazine, Ann Whelton of Business and Finance and Orla Timmins of the Evening Herald.
Ireland won the Best Emerging Destination (International)’ award conferred by Lonely Planet Magazine India at its awards ceremony in Mumbai, India. Picture Huzan Fraser and Beena Menon of Tourism Ireland India accepting the award from TV personality John Abraham. Thailand won the Best Value destination award.
Tim Clarke, President of Emirates accepted the award for best airline at the Skytrax awards ahead of Qatar and Singapore. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad finished No. 7, meaning all three of the big three Gulf carriers finished in the global top 10. Turkish Airlines was named the Best Airline in Europe for the third year.
Ireland was showcased on front of the world media this week. Michelle Obama and the family visited Glendalough during the G8. Alan Clarke CEO of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board said that the G8 summit has provided another major step forward for tourism. Picture shows Irish media at an Northern Ireland Tourist Board G8 media reception at Castle Coole in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh: NITB board member Duncan McCausland, NITB CEO Alan Clarke, Mary Fanning, First Minister Peter Robinson, Joan Scales, NITB Market Manager in Dublin Fiona Cunningham, Philip Nolan and Tom Sweeney.
Yvonne Muldoon, Sales Manager Ireland for United Airlines, Kevin Tolan, CEO Dublin Airport Authority and Bob Schumacher, of United celebrated United’s 15ht year of operations in Dublin.Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry, having visited six continents in six weeks, continued his American Odyssey in Utah. He visited the Magnificent Five, the state’s five National Parks in five days, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, 4 Capitol Reef and Bryce River Canyon. Only Alaska (7) and California (6) have more national parks than Utah. Picture shows Canyonlands and the view from Angel’s Landing, a steep hike 1,400 feet above the canyon floor in Zion National Park.
The seven IPW (Pow Wow) post-fam trips concluded and the state of Nevada was freed of wandering tour operators and media. Picture shows a groups at Bonneville salt flats: Sangu Jung from South Korea, Zelie Breval from Aviareps Paris, Reno Mauricio from Visit USA Portugal, Karen Chen from NCOT China, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra, Jong UK (Jon) Kim from Apple Tours and Travel in Korea, Hongyu (Gusper) Ji from China Environment International Travel Service, Susan Cohn from San Matheo daily Journal USA, Carla Marie Rupp from New York and Miguel Baradas from Across Luxury Travel in Portugal.
- Aer Lingus has said that the airline has not received any notice of industrial action from IALPA although industrial action has been sanctioned.
- Thomson Cruises has announced the launch of its latest winter 2013 and summer 2014 line up with Four new ports of call including Zadar, Croatia – one of the oldest cities in Europe, more flexible cruise and stay options and early booking offers.
- CSO figures for January-March 2013 showed overall growth of 19pc in holidaymakers and 12pc in overseas revenue for the Irish economy, with 2013 on course to be the strongest year ever from North America; and long-haul markets also looking set for a record year.
- The Department of Tourism has approved €50,000 in seed-funding for the advance planning stage of a Greenway along the route of the old West Clare Railway between Ennis and Ennistymon.
- Strokestown famine museum will be officially opened this week by President Michael D Higgins.
- VisitBritain and VisitEngland are to suffer a 12pc cut in funding.
- The European Union said it has launched an in-depth probe into state aid that struggling Scandinavian carrier SAS AB has received.
- Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou has resigned because Adel el-Khayat, a member of Gamaa Islamiya appointed governor of Luxor.
- The Welsh Government has this week announced a new tourism strategy for Wales, which aims to grow the sector by 10pc over the next seven years.
- The Emigrant Flame was handed over to the care of the Irish Naval Service and taken on the Irish Sea to sail up the River Barrow into New Ross port for the JFK 50 celebrations.
- The world’s “least safe” aircraft, based on an analysis of crash statistics from the past decade, have been revealed. The website AirlineRatings.com urged travellers to steer clear of four models in particular: the LET 410, the Antonov AN-12, the Ilyushin Il-76 and the CASA C-212.
- A survey by Harris Interactive says 63pc of GPS-using drivers say the navigating device has given them bum directions.
- The luxury Amarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua opened its doors in Bali.
- CarTrawler, the online global car rental platform acquired the online assets of Holiday Autos from Travelocity Global for an undisclosed sum.
- Stena says families and couples booking summer travel with Stena Line from Dublin Port /Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard before 28 June will receive a complimentary night at a three or four star hotel in a choice of locations across Ireland and Britain.