Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Coffee Heater brings Heathrow to a halt.

Amid the heat-wave, is that the smell of something familiar burning? Boeing shares fell 6.1pc on the New York Stock Exchange after news broke of another Boeing 787 fire. It was discovered by staff who were preparing to tow an Ethiopian Airlines craft that had been out of service for eight hours from a remote parking stand. Both Heathrow runways were closed for a two hour period while firefighters covered the craft in flame-retardant foam. With gloriously bad timing, Thomson Airways says one of its Dreamliner planes travelling from Manchester to Orlando had to turn back on the same afternoon after experiencing a technical issue,

Boeing’s famously succinct press office did not issue any statement but this fire is not believed to be lithium-ion related. The main batteries are nowhere near the apparent location of the fire. It has been speculated that the fire was caused by galley overheat when a coffee heater trip switch was left on, or by a faulty air conditioner that sparked. The New York Times reported that the aircraft was connected to an external ground power source at the time.FLORIDA 001 copy

The folk from Florida’s Space Coast were coping well with Dublin’s hottest day in years when they hosted a dinner for some sweltering Irish journalists in the Clarence Hotel to extol the attractions of this 75-mile stretch of beaches that lie only a short shuttle-ride away from the Kennedy Space Centre – and whose sales slogan is “Orlando’s Closest Beaches”.

Executive Director Rob Varley said this side of Florida, rich in wildlife and offering a wide array of water-borne adventure sports together with typical beach holidays, had tended to be overlooked by those who came to Disneyland and then perhaps ventured west to the Gulf Coast – and so the Space Coast concept (www.VisitSpaceCoast.com)  was born. It will feature in Virgin Holidays 2014 brochure for the first time. A key attraction on the coast is Port Canaveral, the departure hub for hundreds of Caribbean cruises annually.

Exciting developments at the Kennedy Space Centre were outlined by David McKee: not only has it got the last ever space shuttle – Atlantis  – but the Angry Birds have also landed. He explained that visitors can now enter the three-dimensional world of these feathered fiends and play on seven interactive exhibits. But pride of place must surely go to the new $100 million Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit: this, he told us, brings visitors nose-to-nose with the priceless spacecraft as only astronauts have seen it before – with its payload bay doors open as if it were floating in space. More than 60 interactive, touch-screen experiences and high-tech simulators invite guests to “be the astronaut,” bringing to life the saga of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Programme. Guests can conduct a virtual EVA (extravehicular activity), practise docking to the ISS, and even experience the sensation of floating in space. A must for small boys of all ages. Pictured: David McKee of Kennedy Space Centre, Treva J Marshall, President, Space Coast Office of Tourism, and Rob Varley, Executive Director, Space Coast Office of Tourism.Hilton Dublin BBQ copy

Hilton Dublin Hotel on Charlemont Place has had a make-over with a new, heated courtyard and new event facilities have given the new general manager cause to celebrate at a barbecue this week.Delta 25th Anniversary copyDAA T2 Manager Gary McLean with Joan Carrick, Delta Dublin Station Manager, and her team celebrating 25 years of Delta operations in Dublin. Delta’s maiden flight to Dublin in June 1988 was via Shannon from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and was operated by a Lockheed L-1011-500 wide body aircraft. The service initially started as five times weekly with a 12.05pm departure from Dublin, and a journey time of 10 hours. Today, Delta’s daily Dublin-Atlanta route is nonstop and serviced by an Airbus A330-200with a journey time of 8h 29mins.photo copy

International travel writers from the Daily Record and Express in the UK; German daily newspapers and radio; Accent magazine in France; Italian women’s magazine; Nordics Travelshow and a Belgian Sunday newspaper visited islands on Ireland’s South West Atlantic Coast: Hare Island and Cape Clear with photographer Valerie O’Sullivan, Killarney on a Wild Atlantic Islands fam trip.Executive Management Programme Graduates copy

Mary Hall and Kevin Moriarty, Fáilte Ireland are pictured with Tom Kline, Cornell University is pictured with the group of graduates at Trinity College. A group of 26 hotel and restaurant owners and senior managers from across the country, including Kerry, Galway, Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Kilkenny, Limerick, Mayo and Westmeath, graduated from the Fáilte Ireland Executive Management Programme, designed in conjunction with Cornell University, USA.fortress belgrade 0283 copyThe Tourism Organisation of Serbia hosted international journalists at Belgrade and Novi Sad this week for the EXIT music festival. Pictured at Kalemegdan fortress is Russell Stenhouse of Serbia Tourism, Andrew Morris, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Ruth Scally of Scotland on Sunday and David Coverdale of The Sun. tripadviser certs

Trip Adviser‘s anonymous reviews are back in the news. Chef Oliver Dunne of Bon Appétit restaurant in Malahide has launched a #BinTheTripCerts hashtag on Twitter. Dunne told his Twitter followers that he believed TripAdvisor is “an absolute joke of a website” and claimed that it “blanket” sends certificates to restaurants around the country. Derry Clarke, chef-patron of L’Ecrivain, also binned his cert.

  • It was warmer in Ireland than in Tenerife on Friday as temperatures hit 29.5c and the Met Office talked up a “double-dip” (double-peak?) heatwave, a second sunny spell expected to hit the country next weekend. It was our hottest day since July 2006 when 31 degrees was recorded at Baldonnel, four degrees off the national record high of 33.3C recorded at Kilkenny Castle on June 28, 1887. 
  • Skytours Travel have opened a third branch at Private Villas, Marketing Network House, Argyle Square, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, and registered an additional trading names of Villa and Golf Holidays, Private Villas.ie and Golf.ie with the Commission of Aviation Regulation.
  • The shortlist was released for the 2013 Authors’ Club Dolman Travel Book of the Year award: The Golden Door: Letters to America by AA Gill f (Weidenfeld & Nicholson), The Robber of Memories: A River Journey Through Colombia by Michael Jacobs (Granta Books), Sightlines by Kathleen James (Sort of Books), Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa (Granta Books), The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert MacFarlane (Hamish Hamilton), Meander: East to West Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal (Chatto & Windus, Random House),
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation has announced that the autumn licensing round for tour operators and travel agents will open on Tuesday next July 16th.
  • The European Union have updated their 1990 rules in what they say is an effort to bring the Package Travel Directive into the digital age. The proposals mean stricter controls on price surcharges (with a 10pc cap on price increases), a requirement to pass on price reductions in equivalent circumstances, improved cancellation rights including the right to cancel the contract, free of charge, before departure in the event of natural disasters, civil unrest, or similar serious situations, better information on liability, better redress for any ‘immaterial damage’ suffered, in particular in case of a spoilt holiday, a single contact point if something goes wrong, a right to get their money back and be repatriated, if needed, in case the seller, the carrier or any other relevant service provider goes bankrupt while they are on holiday, and better information about who is liable for the performance of each service. The EU says that the new directive will give businesses a level playing field between different operators, abolish outdated requirements to reprint brochures, thereby saving tour operators and travel agents an estimated €390m, excluding managed business travel from the Directive, which is expected to lead to savings of up to €76m per year, and provide EU-wide rules on information, liability and mutual recognition of national insolvency protection schemes, thus facilitating cross-border trade.
  • Phone bill of the week was the €4,400 run up by a 14 year old English schoolgirl, Casey Snook, accessing Facebook on her iPhone while on a five-day family holiday to New York. A new cap on roaming charges within the EU came into force on July 1st. Roaming in Croatia, which joined the EU that week, is seven times cheaper than it was a month ago.
  • As the investigation continued into the Asiana 214 crash in San Francisco it was reported that pilots told passengers to stay on the craft. Rear facing seats long reported to be safer were back in the news this week but aviation expert David Learmount reported that the costs would be prohibitive to airlines.
  • The new “Essential New Zealand” app was launched highlighting 1,000 travel experiences across North and South Island, with photos, prices, maps and free advice.
  • Harvey’s Point Head Chef Gavin O’Rourke has added specialities to the seafood bar and grill such as Mountcharles Oysters, Inver Bay Lobster, Burtonport Crab, Donegal Blond Mussels, O’Rourke’s Seafood Chowder and Assiette of Organic Salmon. The menu also offers a Sharing Platter for Two and a ‘Fish Box Special’ comprising fish from that morning’s auction.
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  • The K Club in Straffan are offering a four for 3 family offer  priced at €345 per person sharing and includes four night’s bed and breakfast and a table d’hote dinner on one evening in the River Room Restaurant.  Children under 6 sharing with their parents also stay and eat for free!  Under 12’s can enjoy complementary golf.
  • Rocky Mountain International’s Roundup will be held in Missoula, Montana April 29 through May 3,
  • Giles Hawke is the new MSC Cruises director for Ireland & UK. Giulio Libutti has left the company by “mutual agreement” after five years
  • The Emirates Aviation Experience in London was officially opened by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Tim Clark, president of the Dubai-based airline.
  • Easyjet was reported to be cutting its cabin-baggage limit (one headline: “Hand luggage reduced by more than a third for passengers on easyJet flights”) when in fact the cabin baggage allowance on easyJet is staying exactly the same”, all the airline has done is to offer passengers a guarantee that their bag will not be taken off at the gate and placed in the hold; if you are prepared to carry a bag of only 40 litres capacity rather than 63 litres, you will be certain to bring it on board.
  • US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today her departure from the Department to become president of the University of California system.
  • Conor Horgan has decided to step down from his role as Company Director and General Manager at Cullen Communications after 17 years at the firm. He handled the Thomas Cook travel account.
  • The dancing taxi driver called by Tour America for a video appearance
  • Regent Seven Seas announced a new 738-passenger $450m vessel, which they say will be ‘the most luxurious cruise ship ever built.’
  • Six new free Dublin iWalk guides have been added by Fáilte Ireland to their Visit Dublin series of themed audio guides available for visitors to download from VisitDublin.com.
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  • Graham Bell of American Airlines and Simon Daly pictured in a New York taxi where they hosted members of the trade to promote the new American Airlines 9am daily departure from Dublin to JFK.
  • It was reported that 15pc of Aer Lingus passengers are business travellers.
  • The Irish Independent reported that funding for €300m parallel runway at Dublin will only be provided if the airport hits 23.5m passengers. The parallel runway at Dublin is unlikely to be built until after 2019.
  • Social media users are being warned not to post holiday plans on Facebook.
  • SMBC released their results and said they are now managing a fleet of 330 aircraft from Dublin.
  • The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in County Clare recorded a 10.5pc increase in visitor numbers between January and June compared to the same 6-month period in 2012.
  • The Into The Deep festival at Titanic Belfast from July 27 to August 11 will feature talks by marine experts, on various topics such as local marine life, Remote Operated Vehicles and a live link from the exploration vessel Nautilus.
  • Dublin airport processed 2m passengers in June up 6pc year on year. The year to date is up 5pc to 9.3m, Transatlantic up 18pc to 212,000, Domestic up 14pc to 6,000, Europe up 8pc to 1.1m, Middle East/Africa up 6pc to 45,000, Britain up 2pc to 612,000.
  • ‘The World’ cruise ship made its’ first-ever call to Galway on its circumnavigation of the globe. Supported by Fáilte Ireland, guests were offered evening entertainment at Cnoc Suain.
  • The newly refurbished 750 year-old Lady Chapel has opened at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Constructed in the 1270’s, the Lady Chapel is one of the oldest sections of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which up until now was closed to the public. The conservation project cost in the region of €700k and took six months to complete.
  • Dublin-Bremen and Cork-East Midlands are among 80 new Ryanair routes for winter 2013-4.
  • Dublin Zoo celebrated the birth of a Brazilian tapir male calf.
  • International culinary star Jean Christophe Novelli will lead a brigade of Irish and international chefs who will participate in the inaugural Wicklow Food and Garden Festival in Bray on July 27th and 28th.
  • Anton Mosimann launched Good Food Ireland’s website in the UK in his exclusive Mayfair dining club, Mosimann’s, with smoked meats and fish from smokehouses BurrenUmmera and ConnemaraIrish Piemontese Beef, award winning farmhouse cheeses such as Milleens and Cooleeney and Kilbeggan Whiskey ice cream from Glastry Farm. The launch is to publcise www.goodfoodireland.ie as a site to plan trips, shop on-line or make a direct booking.
  • The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation claimed in a submission to the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan that the lower VAT rate of 9% introduced in 2011 has delivered 9,000 new jobs to the sector
  • Emirates is to bring the A380 to Mauritius, on flight EK701 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from December and EK3701 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • David Rios from Bilbao, inventor of the Jigger Cocktail, beat 50 candidates to win the title bartender of the year in Barcelona.
  • The government of Malawi and Ethiopian Airlines finalized the creation of a new national airline in the Southern African country, called Malawian Airlines.
  • Taxi drivers from across Waterford gathered in the Woodlands Hotel for a customer service excellence workshop delivered by the National Transport Authority and Fáilte Ireland.
  • Holiday Autos is to close its trade arm after parent company Travelocity Global sold the brand to Dublin-based car rental solutions provider CarTrawler
  • Iberia has become the world’s first airline to allow passengers to download and print their own luggage tags from its website
  • The ancient fortress Grianan of Aileach was damaged by two Derrymen, while it was reported ‘someone defecated in a holy well’
  • With the debate over the closure of Dublin airport’s Terminal 1 car park section B during the peak holiday season Paul O’Kane of DAA commented that just 400 of the 2,000 spaces in T1 car park will be out of service.
  • Death Valley park staff asked tourists to please stop frying eggs on the ground.
  • An air hostess is taking American Airlines to court after being accused of smuggling a rat in her underwear onto a plane.
  • IALPA-Aer Lingus talks reached a crucial stage, with some speculation of strike action over the August bank holiday weekend should talks fail. The 400 Aer Lingus pilots are seeking an 11pc pay rise.
  • A Club Med survey indicated that the average child today has travelled 13,582 miles by its 16th birthday
  • Police were called to Manchester Airport after passengers grew angry at being forced to wait more than two hours for their luggage in the early hours of Monday morning
  • San Francisco fire chief said that one of the  plane crash victims may have been run over by airport fire engine rushing to the scene.
  • There was a surprise holiday makers sit in at the ClubHotel Riu Merengue in Dominican Republic to protest against rude locals.
  • America’s Transportation Security Administration is planning to use electronic “Randomisers” to help route travellers into different queues. The TSA has asked interested vendors “to share ideas and suggestions for procuring Randomizer systems.
  • A Tripadviser survey claimed that 17pc of us tell lies to get a better hotel room or airline upgrade.
  • Gentle and understated as always, Michael O’Leary in his latest comment on regulators, said:” we really tore a strip off the Noddys.”
  • Aer Lingus
  • Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller, pictured above with Stephen Kavanagh of Aer Lingus and Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry, says a special dividend is likely to be paid within months.
  • Irish Ferries say one way sailings to France are available for 85 per person for four people and a car on select sailings this summer.
  • Irish Ferries are offering an Alton Towers excursion with a three-night stay with breakfast in the nearby Holiday Inn Express Hotel is EUR554 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 11 years, inclusive of return car ferry crossing and one full day at Alton Towers, valid for travel between August 1st and 18th.
  • Tempting UK Visitors to Cork
  • Josephine O’Driscoll (above), Fáilte Ireland’s Client Services Manager for Cork travelled to London on an overseas sales mission to target key overseas buyers and showcase Cork’s unique tourism offering.  The City Fair offers European tourist boards, convention bureaux and destination suppliers a chance to meet selected travel buyers personally in pre-arranged meetings..
  • Sarah Wilson of shareholder representation body Manifest claimed ‘a lot of people on Ryanair board who are not independent’
  • Willie Slattery has been appointed a non-executive director of Aer Lingus.
  • Joe Kennedy is back as chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock.
  • Alan Whicker who brought a generation of TV viewers round the world on his travels, died at the age of 87.
  • Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, the Four Seasons Boston and Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in Denver are offering gourmet meals for guests to take with them on their airplane rides home. The meals are packaged to fit in a carry-on and abide by the Transportation Security Administration’s 50 mil maximum for liquids. Hotels says the meals are popular with guests who don’t want to rely on airport concessions that often serve fatty fare or airlines that serve hardly anything at all unless passengers pay.
  • Why is airline food so bad? Jay Wacker, a professor of physics at Stanford University has given a detailed explanation on the website Quora which was reprinted in an Engiish national.
  • Swimmers off the coast of Galway were warned to look out for an angry eel. A scuba diver has told The Sun about a vicious attack on him by a conger eel which latched onto his face and tore off a huge chunk of skin.
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