Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Stampede no more, Ryanair to allocate seats

Layout 1Marriage is a big commitment, and that’s just the travel agent. The December/January issue of Travel Extra gives a comprehensive guide to the various wedding destinations, advantages and disadvantages and a step by step guide to selling a wedding for agents. There is a guide to the burgeoning escorted tour business, destination reviews of Canary islands Tenerife and Gran Canaria and 14 destination to watch for 2014, as well as extensive news on travel, aviation, cruise and industry. See here for the latest issue.

Amidst the swathe of service announcements by Ryanair: a surprise. Stampede boarding is to go, passengers are to be allowed to choose seats and those who do not will be allocated one 24 hours before departure. For the first time something that will interfere with a pillar of the Ryanair success, the 25 minute turnaround. Ryanair’s engagement with the travel agent community has begun, although court actions against screenscrapers are continuing. Michael Cawley’s comments at the IATA conference about dealing with the trade (listen here) have generated some more interest in the week since he said them. Ryanair is very unlikely to have third party distribution. We have a fabulous distribution system. We have the busiest distribution website in Europe if not in the world certainly in terms of transactions and unique visitors and why we would need the help of a third party to distribute even though we know an unhealthily high single digit proportion of our business is distributed illegally through online travel agents whom we are fighting in every legal jurisdiction in Europe because they are unlawfully screenscraping our website and charging passengers handling fees on top of our fares. If passengers would pay handling fees on top of our fares we would rather have that revenue rather than give it to a third party who is unlawful and not subject to any of the rigours of advertising standard authorities or any of the other consumer quangos that are around Europe that give airlines such a hard time over whether they dot this I or cross this t in their advertising. These guys are going around misrepresenting air fares as being lower than our air fares and adding on a 25 handling fee at the end and they are getting away scot free. The biggest advertisements nowadays in Madrid and Barcelona airports are not for airlines but for these guys. But they will get their comeuppance eventually.”Irish Ferries - Epsilon - Dublin to Holyhead

Irish Ferries announced a new ship would operate on the Holyhead to Dublin route from next month. The Epsilon is a 2011 build and arrives from Italy. She will bring the number of daily sailings from 8 to 12 on the Dublin-Holyhead route, leaving the group less susceptible to weather cancellations of Swift during the Christmas period and fill in for vessels due to go in to dry dock in January. The extra cover means Irish ferries will continue the Rosslare-Cherbourg and Roscoff service throughout January.1 dominic burke speaking_7409 copy

The biggest ever Travel Centres conference in Naas was understandably tech-focussed. Suppliers came from Kochin, Quito, Cracow and other distant places, and 110 were seated for Friday’s night dinner and 212 for the gala dinner on Saturday. “We also wanted to focus on the work life balance,” Dominic Burke said. “We wanted to stress the empowering ability of technology. Especially since the recession it is about managing resources and margins, especially with margins being so tight anything that maximises efficiency is to our benefit. I am coming from that side Galbraith and those guys.” Catherine Grennell Whyte was there to promote saying that interrail passes are much more complicated than agents realise. Railshop offer IT net rates to agents but need proof of hotels.IMG_7742 copy

Speaking in one of those calm voices worthy of a hypnotist speaker Niall Strickland interviewed Ciara Mooney on her ambitions for her business. The latest Equalman productions video update on social media was among those shown at the conference  (“each day 20pc of Google searches have never been searched before). The video is based on Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.

Travel Centres have 74 members compared with 58 for Worldchoice  (including 12 in the six counties, which has a separate bonding regime) and 45 in Travelsavers .See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.AOIFE Conf copy

There were 200 attendees at the annual conference in Ballinasloe of Ireland’s festival organisers, AOIFE, 20 years old this year. A sign of the times, two of the sessions were Responsible Drinking At Our Festivals and LEADER Funding: a Ghost of Christmas Past or a Bright New Future? The conference covered tax and legal issues, Sponsorship & commercial revenue, Facebook/ Twitter clinic for beginners, Marketing & PR, Street performance programming, Health & safety and Volunteering. Speakers included Maria Moynihan, Tadhg Moriarty, Kathryn Deventer, Geoffrey Kane, Jack Murray, Mark Graham, Elaine O’ Connor, Niall O’ Driscoll, Finial Sheahan, Jim Miley (of the Gathering), Seamus Boland and Senator Mark Daly (of the Oireachtas decade of commemorations committee).2angels of mercy copy

Typical, you wait 100 years for an angel of mercy and three of them come together, the Flanders angels were there to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war in 2014. World Travel Market brought together much of the English-speaking sector of the industry to work and dine together over four days. Initiatives included:

  • The London launch of Wild Atlantic Way on the Irish Stand
  • The launch of by Bob Haugh (founder to Travel Department and Clickango) and Fergal O’Brien. The product will put group buyers in touch directly with hotels and open access to transfer and tour guide deals.
  • A new brand campaign for the Jamaican Tourist Board, launched by minister Wykeham McNeill, Get All Right, replaces the previous brand campaign, Once you go you know, ’
  • Hotelbeds announced 20pc global sales growth for 2013
  • The launch of Thailand’s new weddings and honeymoons promotion, with Princess Ubolratana Mahidol a visitor to the stand.

See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.IMG_6959

It was a good World Travel market for Irish Travel writers with Pól Ó Conghaile winning a Caribbean Tourism Awards for Best piece of photojournalism: “Rum & Coconuts,” (National Geographic Traveller) and Ed Finn of Sunshine radio winning an award from the Czech tourism authority. PIcture shows Teresa Porbna, Ed Finn and Vendula Fojtova on the Czech tourism stand. At home Kitty Holland won the journalist of the year award and Paul Williams the scoop of the year.

An important holiday destination falls off the board this afternoon when SATA airlines inbound leg comes from Funchal. The Madeira weekly service will not resume next summer meaning that Dublin will have no direct services for the first time since the famous Sunday charter started operating in 1998. The decision by SATA is for fleet rather than commercial requirements, using the craft to bolster the Azores route run by the airline. spanish tb avila nov 6 2013 copy

Pictured in Alcalá de Henares. on the Spanish Tourist Board trip to Alcalá de Henares, Salamanca and Ávila: Juno McEnroe of the Irish Examiner, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, Sara Rivero Lopez  of the Spanish Tourist Board, tour guide Javier Martínez, Rosita Boland of the Irish Times, Hiromi Mooney of the Gazette group and Louise Kelly of the Irish Independent. The group staying at Avila’s Parador de Turismo , Ávila’s Palacio de los Verdugos, and Salmanca´s Parador, and were hosted by Asador Don Mauro, restaurant Puerta del Alcázar, 

Aer Lingus is to move to Heathrow Terminal 2 from Terminal 1 on July 9 next year, bringing to an end forever the traumatic 800m hike to gates 80-90. As well as Are Lingus, the new Terminal 2 will be home to all 23 Star Alliance airlines, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and German Wings, serving 20m passengers a year. United Airlines will be the first airline to operate into Terminal 2 at London Heathrow on June 2 followed by Air Canada on June 18. The moving dates for all airlines are: Aegean July 23; Aer Lingus July 9; Air Canada June 18; Air China June 18; ANA June 18; Air New Zealand Oct 22; Asiana Airlines Oct 22; Austrian Oct 1-8; Brussels Airlines Oct 1-8; Croatia Airlines Oct 22; Egyptair Sept 17; Ethiopian Sept 17; EVA Air July 2; Germanwings Nov; LOT Polish Airlines Oct 22; Lufthansa Oct 1 and 8; SAS To be confirmed; Singapore Airlines Sept 17; South African Airways Oct 22; SWISS Oct 1-8; TAP Portugal Oct 22; Thai Airways July 2; Turkish Airlines To be confirmed; United Airlines June 4; US Airways Nov; Virgin Atlantic Little Red Nov. Bob Schumacher, United’s managing director sales, United Kingdom & Ireland, has now revealed that United will have its own lounge, in addition to Air Canada having a lounge and a new Star Alliance lounge. United will have 18 flights a day out of Heathrow, up from 16 currently.

Ryanair shares took a €1bn hit, the second in recent weeks, after they reported H1 profits up 1pc to €602m, but reduced full year profit guidance from €570m to approx €510m.”  This is down from €602m last year, “Average fares fell by 2pc during the half year, and have continued to fall this winter, which will lead to a reduction in Ryanair’s profit.” Traffic was up 2pc to 49m passengers. load factor up 1pc to 85pc Revenue per passenger was up 2pc with a 22pc rise in ancillary revenues, up 18pc due to improved product mix, roll out of reserved seating across the network and higher admin and card fees. Unit costs were up 3pc largely due to a 7pc increase in fuel prices.  With aircraft deliveries not due until September 2014, the excess capacity and the yield pressure may be much less next summer. Sector length was up 3pc. Ryanair have an operating fleet of 301 (2012: 298) Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.

Ryanair is to carry 700,000 extra passengers n new Dublin routes from April 2014, a 120pc increase in capacity from the airport.  Ryanair released its summer 2014 schedule, 1,600 routes between 29 countries.IMG_7068

Christoph Mueller was back on the stage at WTM in London, telling the audience at a breakout session that Aer Lingus industrial difficulties were due to concessions made by previous management. He said the Sabena closure cost Belgium 6pc of its GDP and there was a case for telling the Belgian government to continue funding for six more months to restructure the airport, despite Brussels regulations. Picture shows Peter Davies CEO of Air Malta, Christoph Mueller CEO of Aer Lingus and John Strickland JLS consulting at the session.  Christoph Mueller said European State aid was in some ways a substitute for Chapter 11 (listen here). He said that without Ryanair Aer Lingus might have failed and instead now had the strongest balance sheet of any airline (listen here). He talked about the removal of the three euro tax (listen here), the business of competing with Ryanair (listen here), the “marble halls” built by airports and airport charges (listen here), and also spoke about Aer Lingus shift from low cost to “value carrier: (listen here),

Christoph Mueller told Victoria Moores of Air Transport World that a decision should be taken in the next 6-9 months whether Aer Lingus could add two or three aircraft to the long-haul fleet and said the A330 high gross weight may be more attractive than the A350. The A320neo isn’t for Aer Lingus because it has too many short sectors which wouldn’t make use of its efficiency.  He told Victoria a drop in the value of the A320 since the neo came on the market means Aer Lingus may go for new A320 classics as a new order. Aer Lingus is in the market for up to 3 more A321s with the right engine and “a handful of A319s.”


Las Vegas skyline has not seen a major change since the construction of New York New York’s faux Manhattan (the Aria, while delivering 10,000 beds, decided not to impose itself on the cityscape). This is to change in the coming months with the construction of the Las Vegas wheel. Cathy Tull, Michael Goldsmith and Rob Elliiott from Las Vegas CVA called by to talk about this and other developments. Cathy Tull is pictured with John Donohue of aereps who represent Las Vegas in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.IMG_7262

Royal Caribbean trainer Sharon Wilson was over from head office to treat Dublin-based agents to an acitivites night and product update. Pictures shows the Royal Caribbean team, Lorraine Quinn, Jenny Wrafter, Sharon Wilson and Jennifer Callister at the event in trendy Everleigh Garden nightclub. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.IMG_7338 copy

NYC&Co hosted the trade after WTM. Pictures shows the big supporters of the trade from Ireland Tom Travers of the Beacon Hotel, Ailbhe Enright and John Donohue from aereps/NYC&Co, and Gerry Traino of the Beacon Hotel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Virgin safety

  • Video of the week is the new safetydance Virgin inflight safety video, 6m views and growing.
  • Chic Outlets launched a suite of six packages for travel agents to sell at their European shopping village destinations, combining local attractions such as history and culture or sport (Milan) and wine tasting.
  • Solis Lough Eske Castle in Donegal castle retreat won  the Innovation in Service award at the 2014 European Hospitality Award
  • Shannon reported 116,901 passengers last month compared to 111,699 in October 2012, an increase of 5pc
  • Aer Lingus is developing new baggage fee structures and may introduce online duty-free shopping. Aer Lingus reported its biggest ever quarterly profit and said it would make a €60m operating profit this year.
  • first two winners in its No Tricks, Just Treats incentive were Lisa Walsh from Cassidy Travel Donaghmede, and Darren Hutchinson from Strand Travel, Waterford.
  • Emirates is to run a second Dublin-Dubai flight on December 21st at 14.00hrs to meet Christmas rush. Economy Class return fares from Dublin to Brisbane start from €948.
  • annabel richard cullenAnnabel Cove of dosomethingdifferent hosted members of the Irish trade in Dublin. She is pictured with Richard Cullen of Killiney travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Aer  Lingus short-haul passenger numbers in October were down 2.2pc on last year when a 15.7pc increase in Aer Lingus Regional traffic, some of which is diverted from the main-line, is taken into account
  • have added two destinations for 2014: Las Vegas and The Turkish Riviera.
  • Premursa awarded construction contracts to the value of 72m or the promoter behind Murcia’s Paramount Theme Park and LifeStyle Center,  to open, on schedule, in the latter stages of 201
  • Etihad Skyline Tour launched a new family ticket and reduced admission rates for all visitors.

murat balandi

  • Murat Balandi and Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airways hosted Volker Lorenz of Amadeus, Cormac Burke and John Galligan at the Turkish Open golf competition. Pictures shows Cormac Walsh, Des Kavanagh (MD Jungheinrich Ireland, corporate client of Turkish Airways), John Galligan, Ann Marie Dalton, and Murat Balandi
  • Cork Airport celebrated the launch of the new Ryanair Cork to East Midlands route, flying three times weekly and delivering an additional 60,000 passengers a year.
  • Sunway flights to Tunisia will resume on April 12th 2004
  • Leo Varadkar told the Irish Times that Aer Lingus is still for sale but it is difficult to see the “right conditions” for sale of the 25pc state stake in Aer Lingus in the near future.
  • ITIC commented that the incremental return on the investment from The Gathering is “far in excess of the average return” on Ireland’s €40m annual marketing spend and “the reduction by the ECB of its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 0.25pc should also see the Euro falling sharply against Sterling meaning even greater value for British visitors to Ireland.”.
  • Travel Advisors is recruiting full-time or part time retail travel consultants in its office based in O’Connell Street, Dublin.
  • Etihad Airways is recruiting a Sales Representative role base din Dublin, application deadline is Thursday 14th November 2013.
  • The London Times became the latest to fall under the spell of Michael O’Leary. He said fathers feign interest at the birth of their children.
  • Galgorm Resort & Spa announced a £10m investment in leisure facilities at Ballymena, County Antrim base, adding an additional 48 bedrooms and a new leisure wing which will incorporate a swimming pool and gym.
  • Limerick launched its 2014 city of culture programme with 200 different performances and exhibitions and 109 Limerick groups having successfully applied for funding to deliver shows and exhibitions including performance and contemporary urban art performance by the Limerick based Honest Arts Production Company,
  • A global taxi survey ranked Dublin 15th best in the world with London cabs taking first place for the sixth year in a row.
  • Last week’s reference to Eyjafjallajökull revived memories of the mispronunciationfest of April 2010 among European news channels.
  • Cathay Pacific and Dragonair have joined the Passbook mobile app: Air China, British Airways, Lufthansa, Qantas and United are among those already signed up. Passbook allows CX and KA passengers to store any number of mobile boarding passes directly into the app, meaning that they do not need to have actual printed copies of their tickets.
  • United, US Airways and American Airlines are the latest carriers to receive the go-ahead to use portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. Jetblue and Delta were first to introduce the facility after it was cleared by FAA.
  • Google Street View came to Gatwick now allowing passengers to take a tour of Gatwick’s North and South terminals using 2,000 photographs that have been stitched together
  • Thomas Cook wil not be featuring Sharm El Sheikh in its summer 2014 programme. Westminster allowed holidaymakers to return to Egyptian destinations Aswan, Abu Simbel, Alexandria and Luxor from this week.
  • Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon announced his inaugural B787-9 route between Auckland and Perth from October 15 next year.
  • Emirates is looking at 11-across seating on A380.
  • LOT was reported to have the ‘loudest’ aircraft at Heathrow,
  • British Airways Bangkok and Bucharest services have moved from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5 with Tel Aviv to follow in November.
  • In Italy,  special commission approved a plan to divert cruise ships away from Venice’s historic centre.
  • Pop-up restaurants arrived in the Alps for the ski season.
  • Aer Lingus announced a 20pc seat sale, book by Nov 17, Travel Britain and Europe December to April.
  • Sunway flight onlys to Gran Canaria during November are on sale at €169 per person including a checked in 20kg bag and a booked seat.

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