Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Irish Aviation Feels a Cold Wind From Moscow & the Backpackers Everybody Loves

Camping at night

Camping by moonlight. Credit: Arup Malakar via Flickr


The headlines this week:

*Dobrolyot’s Irish headache

*July traffic growth for EI (6.2pc) and FR (4pc)

*Backpackers love the look of the Irish

*Hysteria epidemic over Ebola virus

*Pandemonium at Perpignan


Travel Extra TVbaby seal

Our video of the week shows surfers Matt Stanley and Andy Flounders up close and personal with a baby seal. The two were surfing off the coast of Northumberland when they were approached by an incredibly friendly pup. The seal decided to join in on the fun and jumped up on Matt’s board. He struggles at first and can’t decide whether he should lie horizontally or vertically. With a helping hand from his fellow mammal, the pup is catching waves in no time. Watch here.


  • If large scale structures float your boat, check out this video countdown of the 5 biggest cruise ships in the world. The list includes The Allure of the Seas, which is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and the Norwegian Breakaway, which is heavier than the Eiffel Tower. Watch here.
  • Dublin Airport uploaded a video of Area Port Director Bill Carratini explaining the US preclearance facility at Terminal 2. US-bound passengers now have the option to download and fill in the required US Customs Declaration Form before coming to the airport. Watch here.
  • Following the lead of Virgin Atlantic and Delta, United Airlines rolled out a new, more entertaining in-flight safety video. Having lagged behind in customer satisfaction polls since merging with Continental in 2010 and after a poor Q1 performance, the new video is an attempt to boost United’s image as a major global brand. The campaign carries the tagline ‘Safety is Global’ and shows off as many far flung destinations as possible in the four-and-a-half minute slot. Watch here.
  • A promo video for Keary’s Mini dealership in Cork received almost 150,000 views on YouTube. Keary’s sent four Corkonians on a four-day road trip around Ireland (in a D-reg car) to capture the best of the country – and show off the new Mini Hatch. Armed with a GoPro camera and a soundtrack by Hermitage Green (from Limerick), the four lads headed up the west coast, on to Malin Head, back to Dublin and through the midlands back to Leeside (bypassing the south-east coast). They visited most of the tourist hotspots: Father Ted’s house, Giant’s Causeway, Newgrange, the Guinness Storehouse. Watch here. A similar “lad’s holiday” video was posted by USIT to advertise J1 trips to the US. Watch here.
  • YouTube user IrishPlaneSpotter posted a video of Aer Lingus’ A320 Retrojet on Runway 35 at Cork Airport. The aircraft, St Coleman, was operating flight EI712 from Cork to London Heathrow. It was painted in the old ‘Irish International’ style to mark the airline’s 75th anniversary in 2011. Watch the take-off here.
  • CCTV footage showing commuters in Perth freeing a fellow passenger who didn’t mind the gap received lots of media attention this week. Watch here.


dobrolet mergeIreland’s aircraft leasing industry watched closely this week as the tit-for-tat sanctions war between Europe and Russia threatened to extend into aviation. Russia’s low-cost airline, Dobrolyot, was grounded when the contract for Boeing-737-800 aircraft leased from Colm Barrington’s BBAM, based in Dun Laoghaire, was annulled by EU sanctions on airlines which operate flights to Crimea. The sanctions are also aimed at Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Uralskiye Avialinii and Red Wings. Aeroflot has eight A320s leased from Raymond Sisson’s AWAS, headquartered on John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin, which also leases to S7. The sanctions could ground more Russian airlines in the coming days, as Russian airlines lease 90pc of their aircraft from international lessors, many of them in Ireland. The stakes are high, potentially higher than for the agrifood industry. Meanwhile, European airlines were calculating the cost of a rumoured Russian trans-Siberian flight blockade, a move that could cost Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France an estimated €1bn over three months and hand an advantage to Asian carriers.

backpackersFemale budget travellers love the Irish more than any other nationality, according to a survey of 11,000 budget travellers by London-based Asked which nationalities they find most attractive, Ireland finished top followed by Australians, British, Italians and Canadians, while the top five for males were Russians, Poles, Colombians, Swedish and Brazilians. French, Bulgarians and Brazilians are most likely to be unfaithful: overall 16pc of respondents admitted to cheating while abroad. The stress of travelling apparently has the power to break up relationships: 48pc of respondents split “over travel”, 37pc before they had even left home.

As the Ebola virus spreads, so too does unnecessary panic through the industry. The media frenzy has caused no end of damage to tourism to the whole of west Africa (as Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry said on RTÉ Radio, there are 30m people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who DON’T have the Ebola virus) here is some reassurance from a scientist. High in the hysteria stakes is Mike Adams of who wrote about an infected Ebola patient being flown to Atlanta: “Are health authorities risking a US outbreak?”

High drama in Perpignan airport this week where the bomb disposal team were called in from Montpelier to carry out a controlled explosion on a package left beside some gas canisters under the control tower. Aer Lingus flight EI 510 went to Toulouse to refuel after holding for some hours and the return EI 510 was delayed as a result. Travel Extra’s Ida Milne, on her way home from a walking holiday at Chaise Dieu in the Auvergne, was there to witness the excitement:

“I was told we were waiting for the bomb disposal squad to come from Marseilles, which was about 90km away…The wait in the heat seemed eternal, as most of us had dumped our water bottles to get through security, and the car park was about 30 degrees Centigrade. We were grateful that cloud cover increased, and that the staff brought us out some water.”

Aer Lingus passengers received a text from the company informing them about the position, and that the incoming aircraft would not land until the danger had passed.

perpignan“The drama unfolded before us – the airport was blocked off to incoming traffic, the television camera crews arrived, the air was full of sirens as emergency forces came, and eventually the bomb disposal crew came in, and a few minutes later there was a loud bang.  Within 10 minutes we were all back in the tiny building.

“The Aer Lingus incoming flight had been circling over the airport, waiting for the all clear, but then ran low on fuel and went to Toulouse to refuel, which caused a further delay.  After all the excitement the delayed flight landed three hours late at Dublin on Friday evening.”dublin screengrab

Dublin was voted in joint fifth position on the list of world’s friendliest cities selected by Condé Nast Traveller readers, who declared, Dublin is a vibrant city that’s a bibliophile’s dream. Apart from being green, lush, and very walkable, it’s also the kind of place you stop in for a drink in a local pub, only to end up chatting with the locals for the next five hoursAuckland and Melbourne shared top spot while Johannesburg was voted the unfriendliest. The full list: 1 (tied) Auckland and Melbourne; 3 Victoria in BC Canada; 4 Charleston in South Carolina; 5 (tied) Dublin and Sydney, 7 Siem Reap in Cambodia; 8 Cape Town; 9 (tied) Savannah and Sevilla; 11 (tied)  Budapest and Salzburg. The ten least friendly were: 1 Johannesburg; 2 Cannes; 3 Moscow; 4 Paris; 5 Marseille;  6 Beijng; 7 Frankfurt; 8 Milan; 9 Monte Carlo; 10 Nassau. Charleston was voted America’s friendliest city in the survey, followed by: 2 Galena, Illinois; 3 Savannah, Georgia; 4 Asheville, North Carolina; and 5. Austin, Texas. The five least friendly were: 1 Newark, New Jersey; 2 Oakland, California; 3 New Haven, Connecticut; 4 Detroit, Michigan; and 5 Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Paul carty guinness grave_0053Picture shows Paul Carty of the Guinness Storehouse, Chair of the Irish Travel Industry Confederation, on a visit to Arthur Guinness’s grave at Oughterard Co Kildare. Arthur’s Way, a 16km trail from the site of Guiness’s first brewery in Leixlip to his burial spot at Oughterard (of the Kildare, NOT the Galway persuasion), was launched last week. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


Travel Trade

Exif_JPEG_PICTURETourism Authority of Thailand hosted 900 travel media, bloggers, celebrities and travel industry executives from 47 countries as part of its post-crisis recovery campaign, focusing on marketing and social media managers rather than product managers. TAT London invited 16 English tour operators, three South African tour operators, six South African media, four English media and Fionn Davenport from Ireland. The group is pictured in Kanchanaburi. They travelled on to Hua Hin to showcase the variety and beauty Thailand has to offer within just three hours of Bangkok. They experienced jungle, floating rafts, ancient Khmer ruins, an elephant sanctuary, trekking, the beach, night markets, rooftop bars, pool parties, local restaurants, fine dining, street markets, flower markets, temples, and long tail boat river trips.


sinead reilly

  • Travelport reported in its Q2 results that 50 airlines have signed for Rich Content & Branding in addition to their merchandising capabilities. The group said it had expanded Beyond Air capabilities through strategic investments, purchased Hotelzon, a European based provider of corporate hotel booking technology, purchased 49pc of Locomote, an Australian based corporate travel procurement and management platform and purchased a further 16pc of eNett, their B2B payments company, taking their share from 57pc to 73pc in a transaction valuing the company at approximately $450m. Traveport signed a new long term agreement with Delta Air Lines to host their core reservations and operations systems. Travelport Britain and Ireland appointed Paul Broughton from Chambers Travel Management as Commercial Director and Claire Osborne to the newly created role of Technical Director. Picture shows Sinead Reilly of Travelport.
  • Antonio Padeira, director of marketing at Portugal’s Tourism Institute, has been nominated by Turismo de Portugal as the new Director for the Ireland and British Markets.
  • The trade expressed concern over TUI’s takeover of the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus, a big seller for the Irish trade, after Thomson/TUI announced it will rebrand the resort under its Sensatori name ready for summer 2015.


lough eske 001Donegal continues to top Trivago’s Irish hotel price index for July, followed by Galway and Killarney with Limerick the most inexpensive. The full list in alphabetical order, with year on year comparisons, is: Belfast €121 (-16pc), Cork €109 (+3pc), Derry €102 (-9pc), Donegal €176 (+30pc), Dublin  €131 (+24pc), Galway €138 (+1pc), Kilkenny €108 (-9pc), Killarney €138 (-4pc), Limerick €83 (-2pc), Sligo €127 (+2pc), Waterford €98 (-4pc). London overtook Geneva in July in the chart of Europe’s most expensive hotel rooms, according to Trivago.westindublin_ext

  • The Westin Hotel on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street has been bought by John Malone for €65m. The Shelbourne Hotel on Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green has been acquired by US property investment group, Kennedy Wilson. Bank of Ireland has sold half the outstanding €206m loan on the hotel to Kennedy Wilson in January. Killashee House hotel in Naas was sold for €13.2m by Brehon properties.
  • An Bord Pleanála refused Monteco Holdings’ appealed proposal to demolish and rebuild the Ormond Hotel. The hotel, which was built c.1900 and closed in 2005, famously featured in the Sirens episode of Ulysses. The plan was rejected on the grounds that it was likely to “seriously injure” the character of the conservation area. Permission was refused by DCC in February.
  • Corporate travel bed-bank HRS reported Dublin’s average room rate has increased by 16pc in the last two years, revising an earlier estimate.union-street
  • In what must rank as the week’s most outrageous publicity stunt, The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY was reported charging wedding guests $500 for every negative review and then refunded once the review is removed. The post was subsequently taken down, but of the 572 Yelp reviews online, 554 of them were posted on Monday after media outlets drew attention to the hotel’s policy.  “Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” says the website. Yelp users have been having fun since: “They held me down and made me eat a fried rat. Could of [sic] been my ex-wife,” says one reviewer.
  • Portland has approved measures to legalise Airbnb. Residents must allow safety inspections to be carried out and apply for a $180 city permit. The peer to peer room rental agency remains illegal in many US cities, most notably New York.
  • USA Today listed the 10 best retro hotels in the US (although many of these establishments classify themselves as motels in keeping with 1950s nostalgia).peninsula
  • The publicity campaign for the recently refurbished €750m Peninsula Paris continues, having wowed the Wall Street Journal and Sydney Morning Herald among others: it now features the city’s most expensive suite. WATCH: Bloomberg’s Inside the New $1bn Posh Hotel in Paris.
  • Worldhotels expanded its partnership with TripAdvisor to allow access to real time rates and availability on TripAdvisor’s new platform TripConnect.
  • Donna Sargent of DAA has committed to competing in five separate endurance events to raise money for Special Olympics Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and the Jack & Jill Foundation. So far, Donna has successfully completed the 20k Hell & Back challenge, the Wicklow Adventure Race and a half marathon. This month, she is preparing for Gael Force. Donna is going to complete the five adventures challenge by climbing Kilimanjaro in October.

InternationalOutdoor Weddings at Inchydoney

The winners of the European leg of the World Travel Awards were revealed in Athens. On an obvious roll after hosting the opening stages of the Tour de France, Yorkshire was the surprise winner of Europe’s Leading Destination. Lufthansa won Europe’s Leading Airline and Zurich the Airport award. Other winners included: Monarch (Charter Airline); Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt (Airline Lounge); Corfu, (Beach Destination); Geneva (City Break Destination); Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna, Italy (Beach Resort); Pestana Porto Santo (All Inclusive Resort); Hotel Les Ottomans, Turkey (All Suite Hotel); Vila Joya, Portugal (Boutique Hotel); Choupana Hills Resort & Spa, Portugal (Boutique Resort); Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, (Business Hotel); Norwegian Cruise Line (Cruise Line); DFDS Seaways (Ferry Operator); and Europcar (Car Rental Company). The Irish winners were Conrad Dublin (Leading Hotel); Dromoland Castle (Boutique Hotel); Inchydoney (Spa Resort); Presidential Suite at the Conrad Dublin (Hotel Suite); Hilton Dublin (Business Hotel); and Powerscourt (Hotel Residences).

s africa immigration

  • South Africa’s controversial new immigration rules will come into effect on October 1. Parents travelling with a child must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child; copies are acceptable. The new rules state that an affidavit will be required if both parents are not travelling with the children, or court order or death certificate for a deceased parent.
  • The Riggs-Long family suffered a real-life nightmare of Scooby Doo proportions: the family of five were left trapped at the top of Adventure Island’s Ferris wheel as staff started closing up for the night; though they weren’t trapped for long (2mins 58 seconds to be precise, according to Adventure Island). Free wristbands and meals were offered to make up for the ordeal after the adventure park apologised to the family.
  • The TBEX travel bloggers’ conference due to be held next month in Cancun, which describes itself as “the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators,” is the latest in a string of tourism companies to be put under pressure for their association with dolphin or whale tours. The conference, which came to Dublin last year, proved to be not as worldwide as their self-promotion suggested and consisted of mainly US based bloggers. They were criticised for offering attendees the opportunity to sign up to two tours at a dolphinarium in Cancun.
  • Outdoor holiday specialist, which offers over 5,000 sites across nine European countries, said lodges and static caravan holidays were now the new way to camp.Liebesstein-Alte-Bruecke-HDM_03
  • Heidelberg says it has found a solution to the problem of the weight of love locks. The Heidelberg Liebesstein a 3.5 tonne sandstone structure erected on the Nepomuk Terrace by the famous Old Bridge. It was officially unveiled in summer 2013 and is already adorned with many hundreds of padlocks from around the world. The idea was conceived by the city marketing team.
  • Blackpool was reported as trying to return to its family-friendly heyday, a throwback to the late Ken Lendrum’s famous Blackpool campaigns with the Irish travel trade.
  • New York real estate developer Blayne Ross is looking to crowd-fund the construction of a floating beach on the Hudson River. The proposed beach will be built on a barge on the river and will include shops, a food court and changing rooms.
  • Phillipines Airlines told visitors to Thailand not to pack George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. At least one person has been arrested while reading the novel in public.
  • The collapse of Labirint left 27,000 Russian tourists stranded abroad. Russia’s Tourhelp service has spent the week trying to get those stranded on flights chartered by other firms. Labirint is the fourth Russian tour operator to halt operations in the past three weeks.
  • Coral Sea Waterworld resort in Sharm el Sheikh faced claims legal action after around 100 holidaymakers came down with a bug allegedly caused by food poisoning. Many of the ill guests took to TripAdvisor to vent their anger. Some guests claimed to have been so sick they had to be given an IV drip.  A compensation firm, Your Holiday Claims, claimed that  70 holidaymakers were struck by a vomiting bug in two Spanish hotels.
  • A Kenyan ranger told The London Telegraph about the increasingly tough task of protecting Africa’s wildlife.
  • A 25-year-old Irish woman who was backpacking across Australia’s outback was charged with hiding the body of her new-born.
  • The London Telegraph published a guide to holiday shopping can incur its own set of charges and fees.
  • Minneapolis will host the 52nd Super Bowl in their new Minnesota Stadium in February 2018.
  • Explore has late availability for September tours on their eight-day Pedalling in Poland.
  • Universal Orlando Resort celebrated its one millionth rider on the Hogwarts Express.
  • Vienna is to host the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Food & Wine

Latte art

Picture by GoToVan via Flickr

Budding baristas are invited to take part in the National Home Barista competition at the inaugural Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival at the RDS. The festival takes place September 12—14.

  • Clodagh McKenna is hosting an Italian cookery evening at her Blackrock restaurant on August 21. Over cocktails and canapés, Clodagh will demonstrate how to prepare homemade pasta, risotto and panna cotta. As well as the demonstration, guests will enjoy a four-course dinner. Admission €55. Places can be booked on 01-2122981.
  • The Kitchen at Howth’s Castle Cookery School will host an evening class on using the right knife for cooking takes place tomorrow (August 11). Participants will learn how to correctly sharpen a knife on steel and learn how to correctly adopt the brunoise and chiffonade techniques. Punters will also prepare a three-course dinner. Admission €65.
  • The Big Grill BBQ festival and competition takes place in Hermitage Park, Ballsbridge next weekend, August 15—17. Weekend passes cost €25 and day passes cost €10. Family day passes cost €30.
  • Rudy Kurniawan was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $20m fine and $28m in restitution for selling millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent wine. Kurniawan was considered one of the world’s finest aficionados until police discovered he was labelling newer vintages as expensive wines in his kitchen. The scheme ran from 2004 to 2012. It is believed he sold up to 12,000 bottles at an auction in 2006. Billionaire Bill Koch, restaurateur David Doyle and former head of Vornado Realty Michael Fascitelli were among those duped by Kurnaiwan.


Enda CorneilleThe news that Enda Corneille, ex Aer Lingus (pictured), is to be the new Ireland manager of Emirates was prematurely leaked – while Enda was on holidays.

Irish air traffic increased 1.8pc in July. North Atlantic Communications flights increased 2.9pc and en route traffic increased 0.7pc. There was an average of 1,712 daily flights during July and the busiest day was July 17, with 1,853 flights in Irish airspace. The month saw 29,888 en route traffic movements and 41,369 North Atlantic Communications flights. Commercial terminal traffic for Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports for January—July was up by 5.9pc. The individual figures for the three state airports for July: Dublin, up 3.3pc with an average 541 daily commercial movements; Cork, down 5.4pc with an average 66 daily commercial movements; and Shannon, up 18.3pc with an average of 74 commercial daily movements.Airfasttickets_IATA_Koklonis_debt

It is likely IATA will propose moving towards weekly remittances as the collapse of US-based OTA AirFastTickets seems imminent. Airfast says it still remains hopeful that it could still reach an agreement with IATA despite being put in default over €45m in unpaid bills, €22m in Germany, €14m in England and €9m in Greece, birthplace of AirFastTickets 30-year-old founder Nikolaos Koklonis.

  • Vance Street Capital bought Shannon-based aircraft coating company Eirtech for an undisclosed amount. Eirtech employs 250 people and is estimated to have an enterprise value of €36m.
  • Ryanair’s Q1 figures indicated it has a 13pc share of the European market. It claims a 40pc share of seats in Ireland, a 28pc market share in Malta, followed by 27pc in Poland, 21pc each in Italy and Belgium, 18pc in Spain, 13pc each in England and Portugal, 6pc in France, and 4pc in Germany.
  • Ryanair July traffic grew 4pc to 9.15m customers. Load factor rose 3pc to 91pc. Aer Lingus July passenger numbers were up 6.2pc to 1.212m passengers. Load factor for the month was down 0.6pc to 87.3pc. Ryanair’s average fare is expected to rise 2pc to €47 this year, according the company’s Q1 results.  The traffic estimate for the year 2014-15 has been increased to 86m from 84.6m and for 2015-16 from 89m to 90m.
  • Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told USA Today that fllghts to Los Angeles will commence June 2015if everything goes as expected” (via Dublin, as first reported by Travel Extra, listen here).
    michael cawley
  • Michael Cawley (pictured), who worked with Ryanair for 17 years, was appointed to the Ryanair board.
  • July was the busiest month in the history of Knock airport with 91,000 passengers.
  • Ryanair called on the DAA to extend the operating hours of ‘self-service’ border control gates in Dublin Airport’s T1 to beyond their current 5pm cut-off. The DAA responded by saying that immigration was the responsibility of INIS and the Garda Siochána.
  • British Airways services from London Heathrow to Freetown (FNA) and Monrovia (ROB) are temporarily suspended until August 31 because of the Ebloa virus.
    Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
  • Malaysia Airlines shares were suspended as state investment firm Khazanah Nasional, which currently owns 69.4pc of the airline, prepared to buy out minority shareholders and take the airline back under complete government control. The delisting is to prepare for a ‘complete overhaul’ of the troubled airline which is likely to include a name change. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pictured, see statement here) said a detailed plan will be announced by end-August. Peter Gasca offered five crisis management lessons to learn from Malaysian Airlines.
  • Air New Zealand’s CEO Christopher Luxon apologised again to passengers affected by the longs delays on flight N29 from Honolulu to Auckland last week. A review of the delay, which left 227 passengers waiting for three days while the airline fixed its aircraft, concluded that some staff “may have failed to meet the high standards expected of them”. Passengers were compensated with NZ$1,000. Luxon said: “I would like to apologise again to our customers whom we let down in Honolulu. This disruption should have been managed better on many levels and some valuable lessons have been learned across our airline.”
  • Buy your currency before you reach the airport is Aideen Sheehan of the Irish Independent’s advice. The reporter found that holidaymakers could save €22 by changing €500 in US dollars before coming to the airport and €23 by shopping around before changing €500 in sterling. Victorias_Secret_2_600
  • The Loop at Dublin and Cork Airports, Jo Malone in T2, Victoria Secrets and the newly redesigned Topaz filling station at Dublin airport have all been announced as finalists in the Retail Excellence Annual Awards in separate categories. Picture shows Karen Grehan (centre) Manager Victoria Secrets in T2 and finalist in the Manager of the Year Category.
  • EasyJet saw an 8pc increase in passenger traffic last month (6.4m passengers) leading Natalie Thomas of The London Telegraph to suggest England was beating Ireland’s Ryanair in the race for new fliers. ray conner john leahy
  • Cancellations have turned around Airbus’s lead over Boeing in the latest round of the battle for dominance between the aviation giants. Airbus won 980 aircraft orders between January and July but this fell to 705 after cancellations, most notably  Emirates’ cancellation of an order for 70 A350s. Boeing won 837 gross orders but overtook Airbus with 783 net sales after cancellations. Boeing’s Ray Conner (pictured on left) leads John Leahy of Airbus (on right) by a huge margin in the wide-body market, 273-27 following cancellations. Although Airbus has commitments for 121 new A330neos, none were finalised by the end of July. Since the order sheet was compiled, Boeing added an order for 40 wide body jets from All Nippon Airways and Airbus added 8 wide body orders by Willie Walsh’s IAG.
  • Michael O’Leary said he hoped Boeing will develop a 198-seat 737 which he would consider for order in 2019-25. He will also consider the Airbus A320 in that period. He said he has no intention of changing Ryanair’s existing 180-aircraft order due for delivery between September this year and 2018 for 189-seat 737-800s.
  • Denis O’Brien sold €4.7m worth of shares in Aer Lingus, reducing his stake in the company to less than 3pc.
  • Wizz Air will launch a twice-weekly service from Belfast International to Vilnius, Lithuania, on April 22, 2015 (flying Wednesdays and Sundays).
  • An Air India aircraft had to be grounded and fumigated after a rat was spotted scurrying around the passenger cabin.SJM-SJSTOW-0806-01
  • The San Jose stowaway, Marilyn Jean Hartman (pictured), who took a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles without a ticket tried at least three times that day to breach airport security before she managed to board the plane, federal law enforcement officials claimed.
  • claimed that the average fares on Europe’s major low-cost airlines have increased. By comparing the average cost of a one-way ticket in 2013 with 2014 figures, the site found that Ryanair’s fares have increased 12pc (€58.45 to €65.67). The study found that EasyJet fares increased from €72.97 to €87.44 (+19.8pc) and Wizz Air increased from €60.74 to €70.62 (+13.5pc). A spokesperson from Ryanair discredited the research, describing it as “hopelessly inaccurate”. “Ryanair’s average fare fell by 4pc to €46 last year,” they said.Piquardo, T2 copy
  • Picture shows: Sales assistants Diana Baibarina and Maria Berlin ready to serve at the new Piquadro store in Dublin Airport Terminal 2,. Piquadro’s first in Ireland. Piquadro specialises in innovative business bags and accessories, laptop cases, wallets, business card holders as well as covers for mini and full-size iPads. Earlier this summer National Geographic opened its first Irish store in Terminal 1.
  • Mountains of suitcases have been piling up in Rome’s Fiumcino since Sunday as over 100 flights have reportedly left Rome without any luggage on board as a silent slow-down of baggage delivery turned into a strike by hundreds of baggage handlers.
  • Turkish Airlines was forced to cancel 201 flights across Istanbul Ataturk, Milas Bodrum, Ankara and Anatalya airports due to adverse weather conditions. Irish flights were not affected.
  • Dublin airport saw 2.3m passengers in July. The year to date figure is 12.3m, up 7pc, putting the airport on course for 21.6m passengers this year. Transatlantic traffic to North America is up 15pc. BritishAirways_77_BA179_GYMMO_DUB_070814_2282
  • Mike Kelly’s photograph shows the BA diversion to Dublin because of a sick passenger.
  • A man was apprehended under the Mental Health Act after a bomb hoax resulted in military jets escorting a Qatar Airways flight in to land at Manchester Airport.
  • American Airlines is scrapping first-class meals on flights less than three hours from September 1. First class passengers will have to settle for a packaged snack on flights under an hour, a snack in a basket on flights running one to two hours and a snack in a basket with fruit, breads and sandwiches on flights up to 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The snacks-only rule does not apply to all routes – American will keep the meals on about 15 routes used heavily by business passengers.
  • Air Seychelles announced a codeshare agreement with Alitalia. The new deal opens up flights from Rome, Milan and Venice to Seychelles via Abu Dhabi.ryanair couple
  • Jamie Kelly, a love-struck Galwegian, launched a Twitter campaign to track down a Canadian woman called Kate who he met on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to Dublin last week. Using the hashtags ‘#loveatfirstflight’ and ‘#findkate’, Jamie managed to find Kate and was reunited with her on the Ray D’Arcy Show. It looks like Michael O’Leary’s cuddly persona rubbed off on the Ryanair Romeo…
  • The Labour Court found that Ryanair did not discriminate against a Polish staff member who was laid off last year.
  • The long-running pension dispute at Aer Lingus could cost the airline €4m by year end. The airline has already forked out €1.9m in legal and professional fees.
  • Swedish airline Fly Olympic AB blamed its demise on the new services from Gatwick to Eritrea and Somalia, which performed below expectations. As with all scheduled airline failures, there was no protection for consumers when it failed, leaving thousands of people stranded.
  • Hertz is offering 31 Ryanair customers who book a car with any of the three car rental brands Hertz, Thrifty or Firefly the chance to receive a €250 refund.
  • United points are now available on Aer Lingus’s Dublin to San Francisco service.
  • Aer Arann changed its air traffic control callsign to Stobart Air. 
  • Passenger numbers increased 4pc at Aerfort na Minne Connemara airport.
  • Peter Costelloe and Michael Ryan ‘s EVS Aviation opened a fixed base operation at Cork Airport.
  • Cathay Pacific cut back on premium economy seats.
  • Ethiopian Airlines accepted its ninth Dreamliner.
  • Singapore Airport revealed its €1m redesign plans.
  • Azerbaijan Airlines will commence flights from Baku to JFK Airport from September 24.
  • Alitalia sealed the deal with Etihad on Friday.
  • United is to offer passport scanning functionality on the airline’s mobile app.


  • Azamara offered 50pc off companion voyage fares on 2015/16 voyages.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced a ‘Bring your Friends and Family for Free’ promotion until Tuesday, August 26.
  • Talk about seasick: A poll by found that the average cruise passenger consumes 42 bottles of beer, 16 cocktails, 7 bottles of wine, 16 shots of whiskey and 2 glasses of champagne on a single voyage.
  • A professor at Rome’s Sapienza University is facing a disciplinary hearing after inviting Captain Francesco Schettino of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner to lecture students on emergency procedures.
  • Carnival plans to build a $70m cruise port facility on Tortuga Island off Haiti. Royal Caribbean already has a cruise facility in Labadee.

IrelandDuncannon Sand Sculptor copy

Professional sand sculptors will be onsite on Duncannon Beach in Co Wexford from Monday, August 11 creating giant sand-sculpted masterpieces under the 2014 theme of Jurassic Beach for the 28th annual Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival will take place from August 15 to 17. Picture shows sand sculptor, Daniel Doyle putting the finishing touches to a sand sculpture for the 2013 annual Sand Sculpting Festival.

To celebrate Heritage Week (August 23—31), OPW in Meath invites music lovers to take part in a drumming workshop on the Hill of Tara; August 23, 2pm—5pm. John Bowker of Tribal Spirit Drumming will be there to lead 200 drummers throughout the three-hour event. Suitable for children aged 8+, drums provided, free admission. Book a place at OPW is also organising stargazing at Newgrange (Aug 31, 8pm—10.30pm, free event) and a recital by Army Number 1 Band at Trim Castle (Aug 24, 2pm—3.15pm, free event). See here for the full list of events.TOP TRAVEL BLOGGER TAKES ON “CHALLENGE OF HER LIFETIME” –

  • Picture shows Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth is who is to cycle the entire Wild Atlantic Way, or some 2,500 km along Ireland’s western seaboard over the next five weeks.
  • Over 20,000 overseas tourists are expected for the Croke Park Classic between University of Central Florida and Penn State on August 30th.
  • The annual Abbeyshrule Airshow and Village Festival takes place August 15—17. Highlights of this year’s event include displays by European Aerobatic champion pilot David Bruton, an Irish coast guard helicopter and a jump by the tandem sky diving team.
  • Water supplies on Inis Méain and Inis Oírr were dangerously low this week. Up to 240,000 litres of water had to be transported daily to the islands.
  • Twelve beaches were closed by Fingal County Council during the week because of concerns over water pollution. The ban was lifted on Saturday.
  • Brian Ború is the central theme of this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest from August 14-17. Delegations from Killaloe where he was born, Clontarf where he was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin in 1014, St Patrick’s Cathedral in the City of Armagh where he is buried; the Rock of Cashel where he was crowned High King of Ireland; and Lough Derg and the River Shannon where his navy was located.IRELAND GETS THE ‘OZ’ FACTOR
  • Tourism Ireland and Travellers Choice hosted nine Australian travel agents visiting Ireland this week at Dublin Horse Show, the Book of Kells, Guinness Storehouse, Sliabh League Cliffs, Sligo, Westport, Connemara and Galway. Picture shows Australian travel agents at the viewing point on Slieve League, Co Donegal, with tour guide Josephine O’Keeffe (second left); Christian Hunter, CEO of Travellers Choice (third left); and Máire Áine Gardiner, Fáilte Ireland (fourth left).ITAS Launch - Minister copy
  • Predictably, theft was the complaint for the majority of tourists that received assistance from The Irish Tourist Assistance Service, which dealt with 7,500 cases of tourist crime last year, assisting 13,000 tourists from 50 countries. The service reported 86pc of victimised tourists continued their holiday after ITAS intervention. Picture shows ITAS CEO Lisa Kennedy, Tourism Minister Pascal Donohoe and ITAS Chairman Martin Holohan at the launch of the ITAS report and 20th Anniversary of the Service at the Guinness Storehouse.
  • CEO of Irish Water Safety, John Leech, reported that lifeguards rescued 413 swimmers last month. One of the most venomous jellyfish that visit our waters, the Lions Mane Jellyfish, was spotted in Sutton. John Leech urged the public to use the Local Authority manned lifeguarded bathing places.Mukesh Sharma Mela 001
  • Belfast Mela, the Festival of World Cultures, sponsored by Turkish Airlines, was launched on board SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Picture shows Mukesh Sharma of World Travel Centre and Board Member of ArtsEkta who organise the event, Nizam Bulut Corporate Account Manager for Turkish Airlines, event host Julian Simmons from UTV and East Belfast sisters Leona (6) and Cody (9) Kernaghan.

Fáilte Ireland published the Holidaymaker Study 2013, which analyses the views of almost 10,000 overseas and domestic holidaymakers who visited 11 holiday areas across Ireland between May and October 2013. All 11 regions scored above 4 out of 5 across key factors including friendliness of locals, landscapes and the availability of attractions. Some of the key insights in the report: Counties surrounding the capital were considered the friendliest region in Ireland, with an average score of 4.93 out of 5. West Cork and Clare proved to be the best areas for value for money when eating out. The North West, South East and the Dingle Peninsula scored particularly high for scenery. Scenery was cited as the top reason to all regions excluding Dublin and the Shannon corridor, where history and culture were the main motivation for holidaymakers to visit. Hotels were the leading source of accommodation in all regions with B&Bs putting in strong performances in the Dingle peninsula, the ring of Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo and West Cork. Hotels, restaurants and pubs were the main venues for eating out, but cafés were especially popular in Kerry. The results for the individual destination surveys are available too:

An analysis by Eurocontrol shows that four of Ireland’s top 10 airport pairs showed growth (or neutral growth).The most significant growth was for Manchester-Dublin (+9.1pc), Newark-London/Heathrow (+6.3pc) and London/Heathrow-Dublin (+4.3pc):



Eurocontrol’s data of Ireland’s major departing and arriving flows during July:




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