Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A Shape Shifting Shark, Kos back for 2015 & Portrush Pitches for the Big Time

Picture of Dublin's St Stephen's Green during the 2014 summer heatwave

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

*Sunshine rains on Travel Trade parade

*Aer Lingus Regional to Edinburgh

*Chinese B&I visas made official

*Emirates host their golf buddies

*Diagon Alley to open July 9

Video of the week:

Our video of the week shows a Sydney diver’s close call with a great white shark. The footage, posted to YouTube by Terry Tufferson, has been view 28m times. Although there are some questions about its authenticity (at the 59 second mark the shark goes from middle of the screen to bottom left in a single frame and the markings on its tail mysteriously change), this video still makes for terrifying viewing.

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon took comedian Kevin Hart to Universal Studios in Florida to face his fears of riding a rollercoaster (watch here).

Take a look at this footage of street performer Luc Arbogast in Strasbourg. It just goes to show that you should never be quick to judge someone based on their appearance.

 

Headlines

July 2014 cover 300The July 2014 edition of Travel Extra will be delivered to agencies in the coming days. Next month’s issue (read online) concentrates on the winter sun market and investigates how the Canary Island continue to dominate the market, especially since the brave effort by Paul Weir and Pedro Bollinger of Windavia to reconnect Ireland with Madeira fell through. The Canaries recorded 395,682 visitors in 2013, 202,760 of them to Lanzarote alone, and just under a third of them in the winter months. There are special destination reviews of Cuba by Anne Cadwallader, Justsunhine’s new service to Tunisia by Carmel Higgins and a feature on Seychelles. Highlights include reports form ATE in Cairns where Tourism Australia speak of their hopes for a boost form the forthcoming double daily services from Emirates and Etihad, and TTM in Bangkok where numbers of Irish visitors continue to grow despite the coup. There is a preview of Aer Lingus’ move to Terminal 2 in Heathrow on July 9, Ryanair’s new family product, the first passenger test of the Airbus A350 from Toulouse, Marie Carberry‘s report of Royal Caribbean’s keel-laying for Oasis 3 and plans for Oasis 4, the countdown to the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando on July 9, a feature on London City Airport, Philip Airey’s memories of family holidays and a preview of the ITAA conference on board the three day launch cruise for Quantum of the Seas departing Southampton on October 31.

And so the sun came out. The picture above was taken this week in Stephens Green in Dublin. The trade reported three of the slowest days of the season on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Business fell off a cliff last June leading to an unexpected glut of late specials and unsold seats, but the market has changed considerably since then, most spectacularly because of the exit of Thomas Cook from the Irish Market. Nobody is a prepared to panic yet, but if you see someone with a glum face in the sunshine, they are likely to be a travel agent.

Universal Orlando gave the media a quick preview of Diagon Alley, and announced an opening date of July 9. Guests wandered the narrow cobblestone streets past Potter landmarks such as the Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander’s Wand Shop and the signature Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts to a grand lobby with chandeliers and animatronic goblins attending to their banking. They then descended a jarring elevator before boarding the new dark, twisting ride which brings guests face to face with Potter villains and at one point gives the sensation of plunging over a cliff.IMG_5237

Emirates, sponsors of the Irish Open, hosted 50 trade and corporate guests each day in their hospitality suite at sun-soaked Fota Island. Picture shows Margaret Shannon, Stephen Davitt and Anita Thomas at Fota. The Emirates cabin crew were on hand to meet and great and when Hannah Grey went around with her box of after dinner dates the travel trade needed no encouragement to practice their comic turns: “would you like a date?” “of course I would, how about 4 o’clock?” (it was hilarious the first five times). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Margaret Shannon revealed to Travel Extra that her imminent departure from Emirates was no surprise to those in the know. “When I joined Emirates I told them I would spend two years setting up the operation. My two years were up in December. I had a few more thing to do, but I will definitely leave at the end of August.”2014 Irish Open Golf Championship - Pro Am / Emirates

Jimmy Lennox played some of the best golf of the year when he, Joe Tully and Stephen McKenna came in seventh in the Emirates Irish Open pro-am on Wednesday, doing Margaret Shannon and Anita Thomas proud.  Like all good pro-ammers they had a ready-made excuse: “the pro held us back.”  Matt Browne of Sportsfile’s picture shows the group with Rory McIlroy: Hannah Gray of Emirates cabin crew, Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel, Jimmy Lennox of World Travel Centre, Rory McIlroy, Margaret Shannon Emirates country manager for Ireland, Anita Thomas of Emirates, Stephen McKenna of Atlas Travel/Gohop and Johanna Coq of Emirates cabin crew during the Pro-Am.itic group

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation bring one of their board meetings out of Dublin once every year. This week the board transported themselves to Carrick on Shannon where they launched their inland waterways policy document. Eamon McKeon noted that cruise boat hire was a big selling point for Irish tourism in the 1980s and 1990s (at one stage it was more prominent than golf in promotional literature) but had slipped won the priority list. There are -240 cruise boats on the Shannon and the industry is currently worth €20m directly and €20m to €40m indirectly. There are also -9,000 private boats worth an estimated €100m in tourism earnings. Picture shows assembled ITIC board members and their hosts. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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As Etihad count down to their service to Abu Dhabi going from 10w to double daily on July 15, Ireland manager Beatrice Cosgrove says that the new service will open up easier connections to 45 new destinations in Asia and South Africa. Perth will also go double daily the same day, good news for the large Irish community there. “We have been operating ten a week and have enlarged capacity already in 2014 so it is not too big a jump for us,” Beatrice said. Ask a travel writer where they were going on Wednesday morning they would have replied: “to the Abu Dhabi do”: Abu Dhabi and Emirates hosted travel media in Dublin on Tuesday where Nabeel Al Zarouni, London based director of the Britain and Ireland office of the Abu Dhabi Tourist Board spoke about the destination’s rapidly expanding hotel stock and ambitions to become the cultural capital of the world. There is also a new airport on its way, the 30m capacity Midfield Terminal will open at 7am on July 17 2017.  So far in 2014 Irish visitor numbers are up 29pc on 2013 when 13,551 Irish stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels (up 13pc on 2012) for a total of 63,430 overnights (up 22pc). Picture shows Nabeel Al Zarouni with Beatrice Cosgrove, country manager Ireland for Etihad at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Etihad event in the Shelbourne Hotel.The Open Championship Announcement

The British Open Championship is set to return to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. Royal Portrush in north Antrim was invited to stage the Open by the R&A golf club. The British Open is golf’s oldest major championship and was broadcast to 500m households last year. In the manner of these things (multipliers used by tourism organisations in estimating the impact for sporting events are notoriously crude) it was claimed the Championship will generate an estimated €87m for the north of Ireland economy. The Irish Open staged at Royal Portrush in 2012 attracted 130,000 spectators. Portrush also hosted six British Senior Open Championships. Picture shows Captain of Royal Portrush Simon Rankin, R&A Championship Committee chairman Peter Unsworth, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness; First Minister Peter Robinson; R&A chief executive Peter Dawson and Stormont tourism minister Arlene Foster.

The much anticipated Ryanair launch of its Family Extra product was not as exciting as it might have been (Emily Payne of the London Mail described the move as “a desperate attempt to appeal to family travellers” in her report on the new service). Bloomberg reported that Ryanair was targetting families with milk warmers to ease travel stress. Families still have to pay to sit together and children will have to pay baggage fees, albeit at half-price allocated seating. Infant fees have been reduced to €20 and parents will be given a free 5kg infant bag allowance and be able to take two pieces of baby equipment and a car seat free of charge. On board bottle warming and baby changing facility are not anything more than what parents expect from an airline. Ryanair even negotiated an ancillary: half-price travel insurance for children. In what may be a preview of another scheme to come, frequent flyers are to receive 20pc off every third family flight. Family Extra is now available to book online. Watch here the Ryanair promotional video for the product.westjet

Westjet CEO Gregg Savetsky brought an impressive list of VIPs to Dublin on the inaugural flight form St John’s on Monday, Federal Minister for Labour Kellie Leitch, Newfoundland Minister for innovation Susan Sullivan (listen here), Newfoundland minister for tourism Sandy Collins, Irish ambassador to Canada Ray Bassett were among the guests and Canadian ambassador to Ireland Loyola Hearn was at the airport to greet them (listen here and check out his amazing Waterford-across-the-ocean accent, Ambassador Hearn is from St John’s) as was DAA CEO Kevin Toland (listen here). The audience cheered and applauded Gregg Savetsky’s speech (listen here) when he suggested the service may go year round. Speaking to Travel Extra in the margins of the launch event he said that the decision whether to go year round would be made in November. While summer loads were spectacular and ahead of projections, more than 90pc sold, the winter would be another story. He also said that Westjet are anxious to get a higher yield from the route: ”we have not seen fares like this on trans-Atlantic since the days of Freddie Laker.” He said that the speculated decision on whether to purchase wide bodied aircraft was in the “due diligence” stage. BBC Canada described the route as a low-risk Europe expansionLeo Varadkar attended an evening event in the Guinness Storehouse to mark the inaugural. Watch here Eamon McKeon of ITIC interview with Gregg Saretsky. Both Gregg Savetsky and PR manager Robert Palmer have extended their stays in Ireland to do some sight seeing. Louis Gossein, who did so much to set up the route, returned to Canada with a group of tour operators who were hosted in St John’s and Halifax by Jeanette Yetman of Destination St John’s, Erin Skinner of the Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Kim Jardine of Nova Scotia Tourism and Michele Bourgeois of Destination Halifax. The journey time is four hours and 15 minutes. The daily service is operated with three specific 136-seater Boeing 737-700s (18 in economy plus, 118 economy) and has already been extended by three weeks until October 25. These Boeing 737-700s will be dedicated to the route after modification for operations across the Atlantic: they had “to reconfigure the radios for Atlantic operations, so it wasn’t worth our while doing that for the whole fleet.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.  Elsewhere there was a case study of the widely admired WestJet Christmas Miracle marketing video 2013 (watch here).

The circus that is the search  for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 produced another act in a lineup of competitive searches played out by America, China, Australia and now Britain. A BBC documentary complained that the search has yet to cover the southern Indian Ocean, an area which London based scientist Chris Ashton from Immarsat claims is the likely crash site.brendan mcginty peter mcloone

After Michael Landers of IMPACT grounded Aer Lingus last month, there was another victory for airport unions when the airline was told to stump up an extra €37m towards its pension fund by the four person expert panel on the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme. Brendan McGinty of IBEC and former IMPACT general secretary Peter McLoone were joined on the panel by number crunchers Laura Gallagher from KPMG and Eugene McMahon of Mazars. Their surprisingly rapid recommendation came back told Aer Lingus to hike up its pension scheme to €146.7m for existing staff (see statement here and full report here). The airline had designated €110m, for current staff and another €30m for staff who have left the company but have not yet retired. It will now have to come up with another €37m on top of this, bringing its total contribution to €176.7m. IASS also recommended that DAA increase its sum to €57.3m. The big question is will this be enough to satisfy Brendan Kennedy of the pensions board, never mind Dermot O’Loughlin and his members at SIPTU.  Read here Stephen Rogers analysis of the situation in the Irish Examiner.TOURISM IRELAND WELCOMES VISIT OF CHINESE DELEGATION TO IRELAND

It was confirmed this week that the scheme allowing Chinese and Indian visitors to travel between Ireland and Britain on a single visa, introduced on a temporary basis in 2012, is to be made permanent. Tourism Ireland welcomed the initiative. Niall Gibbons said: “The launch of the British Irish Visa Scheme…is a significant step in helping us to grow visitor numbers from these markets – whether they wish to travel to Ireland for sightseeing, golf or as business tourists…it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by new tourism markets, particularly China and India, which we believe will play an increasingly important role for travel and tourism. Given that visitors from these markets are travelling a considerable distance, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible for them to visit both Ireland and Britain on a single visa. We will be working closely with our colleagues in VisitBritain, to leverage the benefits of the new scheme in both India and China.” Tourism Ireland hosted Liu Yunshan, one of the highest ranking officials in China,Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CPC and a man tipped for leadership. He visited the Powerscourt House and Gardens in Enniskerry. Picture shows: Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland CEO with Liu Yunshan and Sarah Slazenger, managing director of Powerscourt House and Gardens.  There was criticism in the London media that changes to the visa regime for Chinese visitors ‘lack substance’.

Tourism Ireland predicted an 8pc growth in the number of American visitors to Ireland this year instancing the 14pc increase in airline seats and events such as the Croke Park Classic on August 30 when an estimated 15,000 Americans will travel for the American college football game between Pennsylvania State University and the University of Central Florida. Visitor numbers are up in many attractions with Ireland’s biggest attraction, Guinness Storehouse 10pc ahead of last year.

 

Travel Trade

sunway team no flashSami Tounsi of the Tunisia Tourist Board office in London attended the launch of Sunway’s Tunisia brochure in Brasserie Le Pont in Dublin this week. The brochure has already been distributed to agents with package holidays from €299. The 20-page brochure features 15 hotels in four resorts, in Hammamet, Yasmine Hammamet, Port El Kantaoui, and Sousse. Holidaymakers who encounter the Medinas are told that “the best way to shop in this maze is to wander aimlessly and stumble across whatever takes your fancy.” Irish visits to Tunisia are up 57.9pc so far in 2014 (2,543 to end of may) but form a small base: just 5,674 people visited Tunsia last year, a market that had 24,000 seats from Ireland back in 2002. Picture shows Sunway team members Jeanette Taylor, Sami Tounsi of Tunisia Tourist Board, Deirdre Sweeny, Tanya Airey, Mary Denton Hilary Mahon, Anita Kelly, Fiona Bolger and Philip Airey at the launch. See pictures of the launch or connect with the album on Facebook. Meanwhile Sunway Worldwide is offering Malaysia and Bali from €1,309 and Vegas and Cancun from €1,889. Book by June 30 and travel between February and March, 2015.tour america group

Lisa Geraghty, Vasco Conceicao, Eimear Martin, Orla Dunne, Kathleen O’Rourke and Daniel McCluskey of Tour America receive their winning tickets to enjoy a taste of the ocean at this year’s Taste of Dublin food festival from Tryphavana Cross of Celebrity Cruises. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • A Miami agent event will take place in Dublin tomorrow (June 23).
  • A Silversea cruise event will take place on Tuesday (June 24).
  • A New York roadshow will be held in Dublin this Thursday (June 26).
  • Travel Department’s Bob Haugh spoke to The Irish Times.
  • Travelport launched an upgraded version of its mobile app for agents.
  • CarTrawler.com announced its membership of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.
  • Virgin Holidays opened its first store in Ireland in Debenhams in Castle Court in Belfast city centre.
  • The Travel Trade charity fun day has been moved from July 13 to August 24.
  • Mike Croucher has been appointed as Travelport’s chief architect.
  • ITAA have three new family summer offers available at itaa.ie/offers.

Nicola Walsh has been appointed the new HR Manager at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel where she will be responsible for overseeing all of the hotel’s HR activities.Maureen edmund jack eoin copy

Picture shows two proud grandparents from Business Exhibitions with their twin grandchildren born at 2.22pm on Thursday, Jack and Eoin Hourican: Maureen Ledwith has Jack, Edmund Hourican has Eoin.

Travel Solutions is now offering ski holidays to Bulgaria from €574pp for seven nights. Weekly departures from Belfast to Plovdiv will operate from December 28, 2014, to March 15, 2015.

Quark Expeditions launched a new partner resource centre and revised pricing for GBP and Euro currencies.falcon summer sun brochure 2015 copy

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SUNNIES copy

Most of us have not taken our summer holidays for 2014 yet, but Ireland’s largest tour operator Falcon have dispatched their summer 2015 brochure with a renewed destination. Kos is back in the brochures, with an agent campaign to match (support the Kos?). Travel agents are being asked to do a ‘sunglasses selfie’ and upload to the Falcon Travel Agents Facebook page using #FalconS15kos. Falcon’s promotion happens to coincide with Sunglasses Day (June 27).

In celebration of the World Cup, Dosomethingdifferent.com launched a new incentive for agents. offering €10 One-4-All gift voucher for passes to every popular Florida theme park sold between now and July 13.

Tropical Sky is offering 20pc off selected all-inclusive Caribbean holidays booked by June 30: a week-long stay at Breathless, Punta Cana in Dominican Republic when departing between August 31 and October 31 (€1,459pp); or a week at Rex Resorts’ Turtle Beach in Tobago when departing between now and August5 (€1,229pp).alvaro aravena

Alvaro Aravena has joined APG as Americas Business Development Manager to be based in San Jose from July 1st, responsible for the sales and promotion of products to airlines in North and South America including the Caribbean.

E-Travel management service Amadeus announced a new agreement with SAP to provide cloud-based online products to customers.

TTC Caitriona Fleming with Rosie and Donna

TCC’s travel agent incentive will end on June 27. Agents will be entered into a draw to win a €1,000 garden or home makeover when they book an Insight Vacations escorted tour, a Uniworld luxury river cruise or a Contiki holiday.

Etihad Airways appointed Valerie Murphy as Irish corporate sales manager; Yvonne Nolan as corporate sales executive; and Shannon O’Dowd as leisure sales executive to its commercial team in Ireland.

Travel Department is offering seven nights in Lanzarote (departs from Dublin 21 October/11 November) from €649 incl tax pps; and seven nights in Sardinia (departs from Dublin on October 5) from €829 incl tax pps. See traveldepartment.ie for more.

o-callaghanshotels

Staff at O’Callaghan Hotels raised €2,000 for Temple Street Children’s hospital when they took part in the Cycle 4 Life 55k charity cycle. The hotel group has raised almost €10,000 so far this year for Temple Street. Picture shows: (back row) Bryan O’Callaghan, CEO; Mary Vaughan, HR director; Paul McGreal, HR manager; David Malanaphy, group general manager; Gerry Colreavy, IT manager; (front row) Graham Cooley, Davenport Hotel manager; Catherine Bodley, director of sales and marketing; Marian Lyne, marketing executive; Noel Healy, head chef Davenport Hotel.

falcon summer sun brochure 2015 copyFalcon Holidays announced last minute summer offers: July 17, Dublin-Lanzarote, seven nights, two sharing from €487pp; July 26, Cork-Gran Canaria, seven nights, two sharing from €595pp; August 2, Shannon-Majorca, seven nights, two sharing from €589pp. See falconholidays.ie for more.

 

HotelsOxford - Headington Shark

Hotels.com compiled a list of the world’s strangest monuments along with a recommendation of where to stay: The Kindlifresser (Child Eater) in Switzerland, Best Western Hotelbern from €110 prpn; Kun (statue of St Wenceslas) in Prague, Grandior Hotel Prague from €93 prpn; Headington Shark in Oxford, Hawkwell House Hotel from €91 prpn; and L.O.V.E (or ‘the middle finger) in Milan, Starhotels Rosa Grand from €152 prpn.

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel finalised a €6m refinancing with BlueBay Ireland. The Killiney hotel intends to use the funds to refinance its borrowings and reinvest in the hotel’s refurbishment programme.

The four-star Killyhevlin Hotel in Fermanagh is now taking bookings for its new spa which includes an outdoor hot tub and pedicure suite.

Eurostat’s restaurants and hotel index showed price variations ranging from 47pc of the average in Bulgaria to 149pc of the average in Denmark (Ireland 128pc).

Trivago‘s Irish Hotel Price Index for June is below. For the European top 50, see here.

trivago

 

International

Picture by Paul Simpson via Flickr

Picture by Paul Simpson via Flickr

Ireland sent 367,110 visitors to the USA in 2013, up 10.8pc on 2012 and making Ireland the 21st most important overseas market for the USA. The USA is out fourth biggest overseas destination, behind England, Spain and France and ahead of Italy and Portugal. In its ‘2013 International Visitation to the United States Report’, NTTO noted a more “balanced” overseas visitor pattern for 2013 compared to the previous year. Leisure travellers increased 7pc, VFR travellers also increased 7pc and business travellers increased 6pc. The top 10 overseas arrivals markets showed little increase in the length of visit and declines were reported from the English, Japanese, South Korean and China markets. The average number of states visited in 2013 declined from 1.5 to 1.4. New York State remained the most visited state, with Florida in second place and California in third. For more statistics, see here.

It was reported that 60 people were killed in an attack by Islamist militants near Kenya‘s coastal town of Mpeketoni. The Kenya Tourism Board issued a statement confirming the attacks and saying that the area “has no international tourist facilities and is not an area frequented by international visitors. There were no tourists in the area at the time of the incident.” KTB offered its condolences to the family of the victims and said that Lamu Island, one of Kenya’s main tourist resorts that is located 54km north of Mpeketoni, was “in no way affected by this attack”.

Picture by UK Home Office via Flickr

Picture by UK Home Office via Flickr

Britain’s home secretary Theresa May apologised for delays in passport applications and offered a free ‘fast-track’ for some travellers. Meanwhile, Westminster tourism minister Helen Grant said that those affected by the delays might consider a ‘staycation’, much to the annoyance of frustrated holidaymakers.

Topflight is offering trips to the Verona Opera, which runs from now until September 7. Customers can choose from a weekend break to Verona or a week’s holiday to Lake Garda, with flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast. See here for more.

The latest figures from Tourism Thailand show the number of Irish visitors to Thailand in May declined by 0.2pc to 3,928. However, the number of visitors for January—May increased 9.44pc to 24,825 visitors.

In its latest newsletter, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism celebrates Boston becoming sisters with Belfast and promotes two new bus services from Logan Airport to Downtown Boston, summer getaways to Cape Cod, craft brewery tours and the new Mohawk nature trail.

The ongoing battle over unqualified guiding on ski slopes in France (championed by ESF) moved back into the court room when Simon Butler, an English ski instructor who runs a chalet business in Megeve, was fined £24,000 (€30,000) for teaching without proper qualifications. His cause has been championed by London based media.

  • BBC reported that a 23-year-old British woman died after falling from the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon in central Australia.
  • Lonely Planet published its Best of Europe 2014 top 10 list.
  • Michelin Tyres has published 60 Michelin I-Spy guide books. Each book contains illustrations of objects backseat passengers are asked to be on the look-out for. For every object spotted, the reader will score points. Each guide book costs £2.50 (€3). For more see ispymichelin.com.

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem will host four international exhibitions until Novemeber: James Turrell: Light Spaces; Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens from the Gitter-Yelen Collection; Unstable Places: New in Contemporary Art; and Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Horizontal. For more, see here.

 

Food & Wine

Picture by Basheer Tome via Flickr

Picture by Basheer Tome via Flickr

NYC & Company say NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2014 will take place July 21-August 15 offering three-course lunches for $25 (€18) and three-course dinners for $38 (€28), excluding drinks, tips and taxes, at 300 participating restaurants. NYC & Company’s representative in Ireland John Donohue said being in New York City for the four-week event “is simply heaven for foodies”. Reservations open from July 9.

California’s Squaw Valley announced a new series of farm to table dinners in Cushing Pond and Olympic Valley Lodge. Priced at $35pp (€26), the dinners will take place on August 2, 16 and 30.

Good Food Ireland is running a campaign promoting the cooking of sea food during the heat wave.

 

Aviation

Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

British Airways launched a seat sale to Irish passengers travelling to the US. The sale continues until June 30 and reduced prices are available for travel until March 31, 2015. Return tickets from Dublin-New York are available from €485, to San Francisco from €513, Los Angeles €523 and Orlando €454.

Aer Lingus will halt Shannon to New York flights for the first three months of 2015. The Boston service will continue, but Aer Lingus has been accused of rowing back on its “year round” promise. United Airlines remains the only carrier operating year-round to New York (Newark) from Shannon.

The subsidies for Kerry and Donegal airports got a three month extension to February 2015 from November 2014. The Kerry airport AGM was told the Kerry-Dublin flight could not continue without State funding.

Ryanair launched flights for Ireland’s Six Nations games away to Italy on February 7, Wales on March 14 and Scotland on March 21. The airline has scheduled four return flights Dublin-Rome, five Dublin-Bristol and Cardiff and eight Dublin-Edinburgh. Each flight includes a morning match-day special (the Edinburgh flight includes two match-day specials).

tony-tylerTony Tyler CEO of IATA told the Air Transport IT Summit 2014 in Brussels that passengers at the boarding gate “often have more up-to-date info about a delay than airline staff thanks to social media” (see pictures here from the conference). IATA is working with the EU to remove the green stripe from luggage labels to enable home printing. IATA CEO Tony Tyler said that airlines make $6 per passenger on average.

A London Court of Appeal ruled that ordinary technical problems that cause flight disruption, such as component failure and general wear and tear, should not be considered “extraordinary circumstances” under EU rules.

Aer Lingus Regional added 15 extra flights from Cork, Dublin and Shannon to Edinburgh for the Ryder Cup in September. Flights are scheduled from September 22—29.

Norwegian Air commenced their service from Oslo to Orlando International Airport and said their American opponents threatened their global plans.

Jim Deegan of University of Limerick said Shannon Airport should be prioritised for the awarding of Fifth Freedom of The Air rights as it would assist in redressing the economic imbalance between Dublin and the remainder of the country.michael-oleary

Ryanair pulled out from Lübeck Airport. Brussels airport complained that Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary gave the airport just one hour notice of his plan to open a base before telling the press.

Check out this video of take-off at Weston airport local flight C172 (listen for what Bill O’Herlihy might call an inexactitude).

Aer Lingus added a 14th daily flight between Dublin and London Heathrow.

JetBlue launched its premium transcontinental service Mint, with the widest seat and longest fully-flat bed in the US domestic market between JFK and LAX. Analysist noted that JetBlue and WestJet began their own new chapters on the same day.

Tiger Airways is to shut down its loss-making Indonesian low-cost airline Mandala on July 1.

Etihad have completed their most recent round of recruitment, Valerie Murphy (ex SAS) as Corporate Sales Manager for Ireland; Yvonne Nolan (ex CWT) as Corporate Sales Executive and Shannon O’Dowd (ex TTC) as Leisure Sales Executive.

Ryanair will receive 20 aircraft between September and March, 15 of its order for 180 aircraft plus 5 that another airline has cancelled.

Dublin sets the European benchmark for facilities for passengers with Autism Spectrum Disorders make the flying experience a seamless one.

Bangkok’s Suvanarnabhumi Airport is to introduce a smart card system for its taxi queue in a bid to clear its arrivals hall of taxi touts.

Cyprus Airways is to cease operating from Heathrow and will operate from Stansted this September.

Picture by acme via Flickr

Picture by acme via Flickr

London City Airport was evacuated after a passenger set off a fire alarm. The passenger is said to have triggered the alarm in a bid to board a British Airways flight to Frankfurt after the gate had been closed.

Rain and thunderstorms led to the cancellation of 580 flights and hundreds more delays at O’Hare International airport in Chicago.

British Airways announced a redesign of its short-haul aircraft, which it promises will “maximise personal space and comfort”.

Boeing has placed two full flight simulator, a Next-Gen 737 and 77, at the Boeing Flight Services Singapore campus. A third 787 simulator has been placed at the London Gatwick campus. Boeing has eight advanced 787 training suites in Miami, London, Singapore and Shanghai.

An Aer Lingus flight en route to Boston had to return to Dublin after seven of its crew members became ill, two hours and 15 minutes into the six-hour flight. A slow decompression was unofficially blamed. Aer Lingus later said that two passengers also complained of feeling sick.

Research by WhichAirline.com found that the cheapest low-cost airline is Turkey-based Pegasus Airlines, with a basic average price per route at €64.64, and the same including a 20kg bag. Ryanair is the second cheapest option with a basic average price per route at €65.67, but drops to sixth place when a 20kg bag is included, at a cost €100.67. The full list is published here.

Delta airline apologised after publishing a Tweet congratulating the US soccer team’s 2-1 victory against Ghana. The airline’s social media team used a picture of a giraffe to represent the Ghanaian team, despite the fact that there are no giraffes in Ghana. The tweet was described as of “poor taste”, stereotypical and ignorant by angry Tweeters. Toronto Starcolumnist Bruce Arthur had this to say:

I’m guessing that when you book a flight to any of Nigeria or Kenya or the Ivory Coast or Ghana, @Delta tickets just say ‘Africa, whatever’

— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 17, 2014

  • JetBlue apologised after a toddler wet herself because she was refused permission to use the toilet.
  • SAS is to lay off 300 employees after it posted losses of 1.078bn SEK (€111m).
  • Bill Miller of United Airlines was appointed as the new chair of SITA.
  • Aer Lingus is offering flights to North America from €229. Book by June 30 and fly from 1 November, 2014—31 March, 2015.
  • Air Transat’s direct flight from Dublin to Toronto is available from now until October 18. See here for details on departures days.
  • Etihad Airways issued a statement confirming that it is not in talks with Malaysia Airlines about the possibility of an equity investment in the carrier.

OnAir, the inflight WiFi provider, called on the US telecoms regulator to “give the decision about inflight cell phone usage to airlines” after it ended a consultation period on extending access to inflight WiFi services. OnAir also urged the US government not to pass legislation banning the use of mobile phones during flights.

American Airlines will be the first airline to use the SITA common-use Beacon registry. The new service uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to allow airlines to provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and alerts about boarding through the installation of Bluetooth beacons.

Copenhagen Airport has been come the first airport to trial the staff use of Google Glass.

AirPortr baggage delivery service launched a new operation at London City Airport. Prices start from £15 (€19) and the service is bookable in advance or on the day.

Diamond Air services are now available at LCA. The luxury service provides travellers with: VIP pick up/drop off; escorted check-in service and boarding service; and access to the service’s booking room for any requests.

PrivateFly.com surveyed a number of its users to create a top 10 list of the most scenic airport landings: 1 Nice, 2 St Maarten, 3 Barra, Scotland, 4 Los Angeles LAX, 5 Aruba, 6 Rio De Janeiro, 7 Gibraltar, 8 Squamish, Canada, 9 London City, 10 Queenstown, New Zealand.

LCA issued traffic information for passengers flying on July 7 when Tour de France visits London.

SITA announced a 4pc rise in revenue for 2013 at $1.63bn.

 

Afloat

Picture by kokonis via Flickr

Picture by kokonis via Flickr

P&O Ferries is the latest ferry company to offer free travel to children aged 15 and under on its Larne-Cairnryan and Larne-Troon routes. Book by July 20, travel by August 31. Return fares from Larne to Stroon for a car plus driver start from £99 (€124), and from Larne to Cairnryan from £79 (€99) for a car plus driver.

Low water caused diversions for two riverboat voyages on the Danube and Elbe rivers. Riviera cancelled a cruise on the Elbe River because waters are too low to sail. Viking Embla transferred Danube cruise passengers by bus to Regensburg, Germany. APT, Avalon, CroisiEurope, Emerald , Riviera, Scenic Tours, Titan and Uniworld are reporting business as usual on the Danube.

Saga CEO Robin Shaw said the cruise line is in talks about acquiring or building a third ship to replace the recently retired Saga Ruby.

Royal Caribbean signed an agreement to build a cruise pier on, the island archipelago of Penghu west of Taiwan.

Norwegian Cruise Line launched an early booking offer to celebrate its new Freestyle Cruising 2015-16 brochure. For any six-night or longer cruise between April 2015 and April 2016, customers will receive: $300 (€220) per stateroom free on-board spending money when they choose a Mini Suite, Suite or Haven Suite; $200 (€147) per stateroom free on-board spending money when they choose a Stuio, Inside, Oceanview or Balcony Stateroom.IMG_3425A.jpg

Hurtigruten is offering a seven-day ‘classic voyage south’ from Kirkenes to Bergen for €1,150pp on September 2 with a two-for-one offer when passengers book through a travel agent. The offer applies to the six-day ‘classic voyage south’, seven-day ‘classic voyage north’ and 12-day ‘classic round voyage’ travelling from July to September.

 

Ireland

NITB is offering two nights B&B and one even meal at Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down, from £140 (€175) per adult to coincide with the Mourne International Walking Festival which takes place June 27—29.WICKLOW ‘WOWS’ INFLUENTIAL FRENCH AND BELGIAN JOURNALISTS

Tourism Ireland and Luxair hosted four journalists from France and Belgium. They visited Wicklow and Dublin. The group’s itinerary included a visit to Powerscourt House and Gardens, a guided tour of Glendalough and the Viking Splash Tour. Picture shows French and Belgian journalists enjoying a tour of the monastic site at Glendalough, with Christian Carbonne, Luxair (second right).

Tourism Ireland celebrated a successful social media campaign promoting the Game of Thrones exhibition in Belfast. The campaign, which showcased images of Northern Ireland, generated reached 100m users.

Irish Water Safety warned the public to stay within their depth when swimming in open water during the current spell of hot weather. Last year’s heat wave led to 13 drownings.

Tickets for the 2014 DigiTalk Conference are on sale now. The full-day event will take place in Belfast’s Europa Hotel on September 24. Tickets cost £65 (€81) including snacks and lunch. Speakers from Google, Heineken and Being Online will attend. Tickets can be purchased here.Wexford Maritime Festival 3

The Wexford Maritime Festival will take place June 27—29. Highlights include a kid’s disco on a boat stage; a major air and sea rescue demonstration by the Air Corps, Irish Coast Guard and RNLI; raft races, kayaking, water skiing and diving; and chef demonstrations and a market hosted by the Wexford Food Family. See visitwexford.ie for more.

The 47th annual Strawberry Festival in Enniscorthy is underway. The festival will run until June 29. Highlights include music from Ryan Sheridan, Wallis Bird and Damien Dempsey, as well as other events such as a teddy bears picnic, a busking competition, cowboy disco and the crowning of the ‘Strawberry Queen’. Paolo Tullio and Wexford chef Phelim Byrne will host the ‘Tast of Wexford Strawberries’ cooking competition. For full details, see strawberryfest.ie.

Festivals kick off around the country this week:

  • West Cork Chamber Music Festival takes place June 27—July 5
  • Dundrum Festival takes place June 25—29
  • Wexford Maritime Festival takes place June 27—29
  • PhilFest in Dublin takes place June 28—29
  • Craic in the Granite takes place in Aughrim June 27—29
  • Spancil Hill Fair takes place June 23
  • Kildare Derby Festival takes place June 27—29

In preparation of the Adventure Travel World Summit which comes to Killarney this October 6—9, Fáilte Ireland invited Adventure Travel Trade Association president Shannon Stowell and executive director Chris Doyle to tour the Wild Atlantic Way by motorbike.

Speaking at the Our Ocean Wealth conference in Dublin Castle, Fáilte Ireland’s Shaun Quinn said that tourism in coastal counties could be worth up to €2bn and could create 80,000 jobs. He also addressed the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications this week.

Delphi Mountain Resort, Monart Destination Spa in Wexford and Muckross Park Hostel & Cloisters Spa have been nominated in the Irish category for a Wellness Travel Award from spafinder.com. Voting is open until September 19. See here for the full list of nominees.

Cannonball Ireland road trip around Ireland will take place on September 12—14. The event is expected to attract 150 supercars, 400 participants and 100,000 spectators.gordon colleary

Sad news; The death was reported of Gordon Colleary of USIT, a close friend of Travel Extra over many years. His powerful personality and distinctive dicky-bow will be missed.

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