Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ho, Ho, Ho, Where’s the Snow? & a Landing in Windy Bristol

Aer Arann/Aer Lingus Regional announced a new 4-a-week service from Cork to Newcastle to launch in April. Two 72-seater ATR72 aircraft will be based in Cork and the airline will operate 174 flights between Cork and Britain every week next summer. Aer Arann plans to grow passenger numbers from Cork Airport by one fifth. Cork to Manchester will increase from twice daily to three times daily, Cork to Bristol will increase to twice daily, there will be extra flights from Cork to Rennes. Cork Airport management said they are in talks to secure a transatlantic service from 2015 after it confirmed a recovery in passenger numbers to 2.3m for 2013. This last route announcement of the season completes an exciting line-up for next year with lots of exciting new or renewed destinations on the departure screens, 17 new routes from Dublin, 9 from Shannon, 4 each from Belfast International and from Knock, and one from Cork.

Anna Aero asked Michael Cawley in what they called his last ever interview (before he leaves Ryanair): “How do you like the new nicer Ryanair? It’s not very macho is it?” Cawley replied: “No it’s not. That’s why I’m leaving!”

ryanair plane landingVideo of the week is of the Ryanair aircraft whose pilot was forced to use a slightly unorthodox approach to the runway in winds of 150km/h at Bristol airport. The Irish Aviation Authority uploaded a short film of the highlights of FlightFest, which took place over Dublin on September 15th. Westjet’s Santa is still trending, there are now over 32m views of their footage of their delivering presents to the carousel on arrival for passengers travelling from Toronto to Hamilton.

wild atlantic way germanThe soul-stirring cinema advertisements for the Wild Atlantic Way campaign in Germany can be viewed online (Irlands spektakuläre Küstenstraße). They have been showing this month in cinemas as have their French equivalent (La Côte Sauvage d’Irlande). Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland reported 8m tourists travelled to Ireland this year, a 7pc increase on 2012 in his end of year briefing to the media (listen here). Visits from Australia were up 26pc in the last quarter and Ireland’s market share from USA has grown by 15pc. Asked about his Christmas wish list, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said that a “direct air route from China would be ground-breaking for Irish tourism.” The broadcast of the report of the greening of major landmarks around the world on NBC nightly news last St Patrick’s Day was estimated by Tourism Ireland to be worth $2.2m in advertising. CEO Niall Gibbons said: “we could not afford to buy it.” He said the total cost of greening of landmarks for St Patrick’s Day was €40,000. Mainland Europe was now the biggest generator of revenue at €1.2bn, as British visitors tend only to stay an average of four and a half days.

shannon sharon carole jessicaThree years after bringing the One Stop Touring Shop to Dublin, Sharon Jordan has commenced a rebrand of the group as The Travel Corporation because: “our product offering has expanded and subsequently 50pc of our product is no longer touring.” Outside of the name change there are no other changes to the group’s four brands – Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Contiki Holidays and Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Pictures shows Shannon O’Dowd, Sharon Jordan, Carole Carmody and Jessica Byrne of The Travel Corporation.

Simon Daly, BA sales manager for Ireland, the Channel Islands and UK regions, and BA’s Irish office manager Karen Keogh, secured temporary High Court orders restraining the airline continuing with disciplinary proceedings against them. They were suspended last October after a BA line manager alleged they breached company rules by failing to declare their involvement in Dateridge Ltd, a company which handles group bookings for the airline.

Group pic_skiwelt Dec 20 2013 8159Ann Marie Foidl and Eoghan Corry outside Angerer Alm restaurant, Dec 18 2013The first ski charters of the season took off for Europe yesterday but the Alps are suffering from a dearth of fresh snow after a heavy early fall launched their season. The Austrian resorts got what they call a mausknietif (mouse knee deep) light dusting and are expecting more this weekend, although artificial snow has kept the slopes open. Fresh snow is set to return to Europe after a long absence this weekend, with some French resorts already receiving light dustings. Avoriaz woke up to a few centimetres of new snow on Thursday. Canada and the east coast of the USA continues to receive excellent early-season snow fall. Picture shows a group of journalists and their hosts who sampled Topflight’s favourite resorts in the recently verified 279km of runs in the Skiwelt, St Johann and Westendorf and their facilities, including the best gourmet lunch you will find in the Tyrolean mountains at Ann Marie Foidl’s restaurant Angerer Alm in St Johann (she is pictured with Eoghan Corry), the Alpeniglu Igloo Village near Brixental where skiers can stay (Thursday to Sunday), sup and get married, the n0-boots-needed skis for children invented by Gerhard Told, whose youngest student is 14 months and 10km of floodlit piste above Soll: Janine Guggelberger, Catherine Murphy, Aileen Eglington, Geoff Hill, John McDonald, Eoghan Corry, Hans Riedmann, Alison O’Riordan and Eoin Murphy.

Travel Awards Preview 010The Irish Travel Industry awards take place on January 23rd and a dinner for the sponsors was held in the Residence this week. Picture shows Sharon Jordan of The Travel Corporation, Helen Caron of Falcon Holidays, Clare Dunne of Travel Broker President of the ITAA, Stephen Brennan of Amadeus, Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions and Paul Muldoon of the Irish Independent. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

jody hanson austin carrollNashville hosted 93 invited international representatives and 11 states at Travel South USA‘s second annual International Showcase at the Omni Hotel. Three days of marketplace, city tours and events included two full days of pre-scheduled appointments for International Buyers and Southern Travel Suppliers. Participating countries included Australia, Brazil, China, South Africa, UAE and Western Europe, and two Irish companies Tour America and Platinum TravelJohn Carter Cash (Son of the late Johnny) performed for a private group of 40 in the Country Music Hall of Fame and guests went backstage during a live performance by Rascal Flatts at the Grand Ole Opry in its original home of the Ryman Auditorium. The group went on to Kentucky to the Corvette plant, distilleries including Jim Beam on the Bourbon trail, and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Picture shows Jody Hanson of New Orleans CVA and Austin Carroll of Platinum Travel backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Reuters reported we are reaching endgame in the Cityjet sale to Germany’s Intro Aviation GmbH, subsequently confirmed by Air France. CityJet has a fleet of 38 aircraft and offers 480 weekly flights across Europe.

etihad 9Etihad Airways Corporate Sales Manager, Alan Glover, shortly to relocate to Melbourne from Dublin and Fiona Lawless shortly to relocate to Queensland were among the team who hosted the trade at Pichet restaurant this week. Picture shows Etihad’s Europe and Ireland manager Beatrice Cosgrove with Jimmy Lennox of World Travel Centre. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

British Airways passengers from Heathrow to Barcelona, Istanbul and Madrid on Thursday were the first to benefit from relaxed rules on gadgets in-flight in European airspace.

IMG_0550Visit England and Aer Lingus Regional hosted the travel media at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill in Dublin. Picture shows Gayle Molloy of VisitEngland with Simon Fagan and Sinead Murphy of Aer Lingus Regional.

Aer Arann/Aer Lingus Regional will take delivery of the sixth of their eight new ATR aircraft on Christmas Eve. It means that all the trunk routes from Dublin are now served by new craft.

o ceidigh cockpit

  • Scottish writer Kenny Kemp commenced writing a biography of Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the Spiddal entrepreneur who transformed Are Arann.
  • The Irish Aviation Authority will be one of five partners involved in a $400m technological partnership, Aireon LLC, a revolutionary space-based air traffic surveillance venture with Iridium (USA) and the air navigation service providers NAV CANADA (Canada), ENAV (Italy) and Naviair (Denmark).
  • Budget airline Europe Airpost, a subsidiary of ASL in Swords, have followed WestJet’s Dublin-St John’s narrowbody initiative and announced a Boeing 737-700 summer link from Glasgow to Halifax. Aer Lingus came very close to launching an A319 service from Dublin to Halifax before Westjet’s arrival on the scene.
  • Trivago reported the average price of a hotel room in Ireland in December on their price comparison site was €93, up 1pc month on month and down 3pc year on year: Cork €112, Donegal €111, Dublin €98, Killarney €97, Belfast €96, Kilkenny €94, Galway €90, Sligo €88, Derry €82, Tralee €84, Waterford €81 and Limerick €78.
  • Jetpac City guides declared Belfast was the happiest city, with the highest “smile score” based on the average size of the smiles in photos. Jetpac, a new iPhone app that curates more than 100m Instagram photos across more than 5,000 cities, used “geo-parsing” technology to analyse patterns in images on the photo-sharing app Instagram.
  • Remember Gerard Depardieu’s Cityjet incident on a flight from {Paris to Dublin in 2011 and the hilarious reprise where he spoofed himself? The International Air Transport Association said 15,000 incidents of unruly passenger behaviour have been reported since 2007, when it began recording data and the problem is growing. IATA will use a conference in Montreal next March to seek agreement on the rights of crews and captains to do whatever is necessary to subdue offenders. This year’s incidents include a woman passenger who fought cabin crew after throwing liquor at them, a Russian woman who drank liquid soap when refused alcohol on a flight from Los Angeles to London, a violent attack on a stewardess in China, an American viewing pornography on his computer, and a South African couple en flagrant.
  • Sunway launched their summer sun programme for 2014 with a schedule of charter flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon & Knock.  An early booking offer of €100 off per couple is available until February 28.
  • Aoife the festival events organisation has published its annual review and changed its membership structure so that every fee now includes a free Registration to the two day Annual Conference in November.
  • A spoof TripAdvisor review of the Inn at Bethlehem was sent to the website for Christmas.
  • A Taiwanese tourist in Australia had to be rescued by police when she fell off St Kilda’s pier into Port Phillip Bay while browsing Facebook on her phone.
  • A passenger gave birth to a baby boy on a Wizz Air flight from Valencia to Bucharest.
  • The Stena Adventurer on the Dublin Port to Holyhead route has completed a refit to increase capacity from 1200 to 1500 passengers. Deck 7 has been transformed to offer a brand new area for passengers to eat, drink and relax with a Metropolitan Bar and Grill restaurant, a new seating area, movie lounge and children’s play area. 
  • Eircom Business has scrapped roaming charges for business customers travelling within the EU and the USA from New Year’s Day. Free roaming for customers in Britain was introduced earlier this year. Existing customers will be automatically upgraded to avail of the free roaming.
  • Plans are being finalised for next week’s NYE festival with the organisers promising an explosive ending to the year.

gadget insurance

  • Picture shows Ruth Bracken of GadgetInsurance.com with Darren Kavanagh and Amy Cunningham who won the Gadgetinsurance.com climb the Christmas tree radio giveaway and Ian Kennedy of Gadgetinsurance.com.
  • MyRyanair has been given a soft launch. Passengers who book flights now are being given the option of registering before you get to the payment page.
  • Is this the end of the Heathrow stacks? A report on England’s runway problems listed Gatwick and two Heathrow runways as the main options for runway expansion. The London Telegraph charted London versus rest of Europe in air connectivity: Amsterdam Schipol (5 runways) has 317 destinations, Paris CdeG (4 runways) 315, Frankfurt (4 runways) 295, Gatwick 200, Heathrow 184 and Stansted 150. Dublin is Stansted’s busiest international destination and Heathrow’s third busiest. Michael O’Leary said the market should decide where to build new runways, and that England got into this mess in the first place because of a centralised approach.

Tour America Gingerbread house

  • Massimo Larni of United and Liz Wright of Tour America led a fam trip to Florida. Picture shows Ross Waters, Lisa Geraghty, Niamh Doherty, Tracy McLoughlin, Massimo Larni, Veronica Flood, Natalie Hanley and Liz Wright  at The Gingerbread House (made from real gingerbread), See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Merrion Square was chosen as one of twenty cases of innovation and best practice by the European Commission.
  • The funding rounds of Fáilte Ireland, IPB, and the Arts Council are all very early this year. The message for inbound tourism project and event managers is: don’t let it spoil your Christmas but get working on the applications early in January.

ONE IN A MILLION – OUR 1,000,000th AMERICAN VISITOR LANDS IN IThe one millionth American visitor to Ireland this year, Leonie Higgins, flew in from JFK with her husband on Thursday. Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus offered the couple two return tickets for a future visit to Ireland. Picture shows Leonie Higgins, and her husband Jim (centre); with Brian Desmond, of Aer Lingus JFK, and Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland US and Canada.

  • The Slieve Donard hotel in County Down is offering an arty weekend from January 3 -5 as sculptor Paddy Campbell takes up residency over the weekend.
  • Dublin Institute of Technology will host the inaugural Irish eTourisim Day, supported by Fáilte Ireland at the Chartered Accountants House, Dublin on Wednesday, January 22nd. The event is open to all travel agents and travel industry professionals who can register for the event at www.irishetourismday.com. It is part of the Enter 2014 conference organised by the International Federation for Information Technology and Travel & Tourism and held in Dublin for the first time.
  • Footfalls Walking Holidays is organising Wicklow Tourism’s first annual Christmas Walk on Sunday December 29th, beginning at the Brockagh Centre in Laragh and taking in some of the lesser known paths around the Glendalough Valley and surroundings.
  • Ryanair finished in the top ten search terms announced by Google Ireland this week.
  • Ryanair captain Dan Pepper apologised for postings on the airline industry discussion website pprune.org using the username Vexed and resigned from the airline.
  • A Delta Air Lines flight carrying 60 passengers slid off a taxiway in the snow after arriving in Wisconsin.
  • The Boeing 787 which had a spectacular electrical fire at Heathrow on July 12 made a test flight after repair yesterday.
  • Shannon Castle Banquets & Heritage Ltd reported a pre-tax profit of €65,079 after gross profits increased 3.5pc to €7m. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park continues to be the company’s flagship attraction with 286,270 visiting the castle in 2012.

Santa Flights Shn 2Ryanair provided free 40-minute Santa experience flights from Shannon airport, six each day on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate their eight new routes launching April. There are 12 more free flights this weekend. In all 4,500 children will get to fly with Santa.

  • Pat McCann’s Dalata group will take over the operation of the Clarion Hotel at Dublin Airport after it was bought by the DAA for more than €10m.
  • Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the Government will extend public funding for airports beyond 2014, when it was due to end.
  • Dublin Airport experienced its busiest day of the Christmas season on Friday.
  • A 26pc increase in airline seats from the US this summer.
  • Lufthansa Technik served redundancy notice on 400 staff at their Rathcoole plant.
  • LMT 2013 Global Travel Trends Report found that just 4pc cited a hotel’s brand as their main deciding factor when booking.
  • AerCap is to buy leasing company ILFC from IAG and will vie with General Electric’s Gecas unit after the deal as the world’s largest aircraft-leasing company by fleet size . AerCap employs about 50 people in Dublin. Keith Helming CFO of AerCap said that the merged group will expand the Irish base and increase the organisation structure there [probably some at least in Shannon.
  • Globe Hotels is offering eight agents the chance to win a fam trip to the five star Marbella Beach Resort Corfu with Globe Hotels and Aer Lingus April 23-27 2014. All Globe accommodation bookings made between now and the 28 February 2014 will earn a point with bookings made for the Marbella Beach Hotel earning five points.
  • Low-cost Malaysian airline AirAsia X looks likely to return to Europe after announcing an order for 25 long-range aircraft
  • More airports are charging drivers to drop off and pick up passengers in front of the main terminal building
  • Lowcostholidays hit back at England’s Civil Aviation Authority over claims that its customers are not financially protected
  • The Step into the Void attraction opened at 3,842m in the Mont Blanc Massif mountain range, a kilometre above the Chamonix Valley. The London Telegraph visited other vertigo attractions.
  • Plans for a new Moomin theme park were announced in Japan.
  • In a bid to appeal to a wider family audience, the Premier Inn hotel appointed a 10-year-old “hotel inspector.”
  • There were fears that new restrictions on self-catering accommodation could push up the cost of holidays to dozens of European destinations
  • Cristiano Ronaldo opened a museum about himself. The London Telegraph looked at other vanity tourism projects and eponymous attractions
  • Virgin Atlantic is to charge for seat reservations.
  • TripAdvisor said London is its most reviewed city.
  • A passenger Jeff White discovered he was given a H8GAYS confirmation code after checking in for a Delta Air Lines flight from Pensacola, Florida, to Albany, New York
  • EasyJet faced a €70,000 fine for forcing a disabled woman off a flight, saying she could not fly unaccompanied.
  • The Canary Islands was announced as a location for cheap space flights.
  • Aurigny Air Services serving the Channel Islands was rated the best short-haul airline in an annual survey conducted by London-based Which? magazine, with Swiss and Norwegian second and third and Ryanair finishing at the bottom. Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines were joint top long-haul airlines with Iberia bottom. In September Ryanair was rated worst brand in a customer service survey,
  • Boeing revealed a $10bn share buyback.
  • Jet charter company Private Fly offers passengers the chance to celebrate New year in Sydney until 2am, then hop on a plane to LA, moving backwards across the international date line and arriving at 8.15pm to celebrate new year again.
  • Thailand based hotel chain, Anantara opened its first luxury resort in Africa in the Bazaruto archipelago 30km off the coast of Mozambique with 44 thatched villas, four-poster beds and sunken baths, surrounded by tropical gardens and a Portuguese-influenced Golfinho Restaurant.
  • Design Hotels will open a six-room pop-up hotel in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Teresa area on January 1 which will remain until December, 2014. As well as accommodation, it promises an open-door policy, with a year-long series of fiestas. Double rooms from US$350 are bookable now via the website.
  • Okko a new mini-chain of four-star hotels launches in Nantes in January, next to the castle, and will be followed by others in Grenoble and Lyon in 2014, and a further six by 2017.
  • The mountain village of El Tarter, Andorra opened 50 new holiday flats next to the main gondola up to Grandvalira, the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, with 210km of ski and snowboard runs.
  • Slovenia’s Tourist Board has joined the International Coalition of Tourism Partners.
  • Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have signed a deal to implement a single regional currency within the next 10 years.
  • Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with Aegean Airlines, Greece’s largest commercial airline. Etihad will expand its destination network in India with the launch of a daily service from Abu Dhabi to Jaipur.
  • Emirates launched its 24th A380 route to Mauritius from Dubai.
  • Carrick on Shannon 400 Celebration organisers say the event generated an extra €11m in tourism revenue as an additional 38,000 visitors came to the town in 2013.
  • American and US Airways say their two airlines ail remain separate for quite some time and very few changes will happen immediately. They will be announcing what they term “exciting benefits” in early January. US Airways have improved the process for submitting a refund request on usairways.com.
  • For the 10th consecutive year, readers of Global Traveler named United’s MileagePlus the “Best Frequent-Flyer Program.” Newly Appointment Brian Bowler3 copy
  • Brian Bowler was appointed General Manager of the Brehon, Killarney, he is pictured with Patrick O’Donoghue, MD Gleneagle Hotel.
  • Wings Abroad say they are going to step up the Think Turkey campaign in 2014 “to get people to Think Turkey as a possible holiday choice but also the objective is to get people to Think about Turkey in a different light.” The campaign is really to say “Do you want a beach, a bar, a restaurant? – you got it” “Do you want something a little different?” – you got that too.
  • DoSomethingDifferent.com will be running another exclusive incentive In January, giving agents the chance to win a holiday for two, to Las Vegas. Cassidy Travel, Dundrum, and Magic Vacations, Kinsale, who will each be spending a night at the Dogs with the DoSomethingDifferent team. DoSomethingDifferent.com are sending out €5,000 worth of One-4-All vouchers to participating agents.
  • Hilton Worldwide opened DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles, Allamanda Resort & Spa.
  • Passenger numbers from Kerry Airport to Dublin have increased by 22pc in the second half of this year
  • Tanzania has increased its air/safety tax for both domestic and international flights. Domestic tax is now $2 on any through fares or direct tickets. Taxes will rise again on January 1st 2015, an additional $3 on International departures and $1 on domestic flights.
  • Moscow Domodedovo Airport became the first in Russia and the CIS to install self-service WorldTracer Kiosks provided by air transport IT and telecoms specialist SITA which has a presence in Letterkenny.
  • Bristol Airport found the owners of an antique teddy bear left in a carrier bag at the airport in February 2012.
  • CWT Ireland and Britain became the first TMC to use Travelport’s Smartpoint desktop technology.
  • Janapar Love, on a Bike, an independent film made over four years in 32 countries to be released on January 24 will tell the story of Tom Allen, a British IT expert who gave up his career to travel the world by bike.
  • A Gathering anthology was compiled and published by the Irish Hospice Foundation,
  • Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok, was the most popular Instagram location of 2013, followed by Times Square, New York, Disneyland, California, Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas, Disney World Florida, Staples Centre, Los Angeles, Central Park, New York, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, and The High Line, New York.
  • The London Telegraph lists and galleries included at dark tourism from tours of Robben Island to Ground Zero and attractions associated with atrocities and death, and travel gaffes of the year from pornographic logos to a pilot’s ill-advised rap and Ryanair’s take-off from a Polish airport half an hour early, leaving around 20 passengers behind and their depositing passengers on board a flight to Kefalonia in Thessaloniki, 200 miles from their destination, because – according to the pilot – it was “too dark to land”.
  • Clickandgo launched a new destination for 2014, the Istrian Riviera in Croatia.
  • Royal Caribbean is offering up to €600 savings, flights from Dublin for selected cruises from the UK from €119 and family-friendly free unlimited soft drinks for kids (or 3rd and 4th person bookings). Book before February 28.
  • A letter from Ultan O Broin in the Irish Times claimed that cabin crew in Aer Lingus are now promising friends and family buddy pass flights to San Francisco.
  • To our readers everywhere we wish you Nollaig fé Shona is fé mhaise, Καλά Χριστούγεννα, Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Feliz Natal, Joyeux Noël, С Рождеством, Crăciun fericit, Շնորհավոր Սուրբ Ծնունդ, God Jul, Gleðileg jól. etc

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