Sunset at Black Head, Co Clare. Picture by Kara Nagai via Flickr.
HEADLINES – AVIATION – AFLOAT – FOOD & WINE – HOTELS – INTERNATIONAL – IRELAND – TRAVEL TRADE
The headlines this week:
*Lifting the duvet on Bedbanks
*Russian Overflights: Myth and Substance
*Terminal 2 of 5 at Heathrow will become Terminal 2 of 3
*Belfast by the Bellyful: 64 sign up for restaurant week
Our video of the week shows pianist Maan Hamadeh performing Beethoven’s Für Elise and the theme from Titanic at gate D1 in Prague airport. The talented musician plays a mash-up of the two pieces in a four-and-a-half minute performance. The original video received over 7m views since it was first uploaded on August 7. Watch here.
A snappy video, especially for swimmers, Manuel Carrera captured video footage of a crocodile chasing a swimmer on the Boca Paila Preserve south of Tulum in the Riviera Maya , Sian Ka’an, Mexico. Luckily a quick-thinking observer lobbed a missile at the crocodile, which diverted its attention. Watch here.
British Airways in-flight entertainment manager Richard D’Cruze talks about the September launch of ‘Paws & Relax’, the airline’s new long-haul channel that is dedicated to documentaries, cartoons and TV shows about dogs and cats. The idea is that the footage of cute animals will reduce passengers’ heart rate and make their flight less stressful. Watch here.
Richard Joye, VP of Swiss Space Systems Asia, talks to Bloomberg about the launch of zero gravity flights in the Asia-Pacific. Watch here.
The Aloft hotel in high-tech Cupertino, California, posted a video promoting Botlr, its robot porter. The hotel designed Botlr with Silicon Valley start-up Savioke. The robot is three-feet tall and uses sensors to travel through the hotel’s corridors. Botlr can detect when a guest opens their door so it can make a delivery. Guests don’t tip Botlr; they give it a review instead. Aloft plans to use Botlr from August 20. Watch the promo here.
RTÉ Ten reporter Suzanne Keane interviewed some of this year’s Rose of Tralee participants and host Daithí O Sé at a photo-call in Dublin Airport. Watch here.
The bedbank revolution is continuing apace. Nowadays 80pc of a travel agents’ business is done with bedbanks, rather than traditional tour operators, according to Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA. With the print edition due for delivery to agencies this week, the September issue of Travel Extra (view online here) looks at the phenomenal growth in bedbanks since 1999 and the major players among the 200 who are operating in the market. We examine the story behind the Irish operations of Lowcost and Bookabed and the corporate specialist HRS.
We also look at the fast moving world of travel technology, the great game between Amadeus and Travelport and the emergence of low-cost inventory, and we explain how the travel technology business has grown from an attempt to reform a Canadian airline’s ticketing structure to the complex multi-layered GDS’s of today.
Figures seen by Travel Extra indicate the Irish travel industry has set aside €55.4m in bonds that will never be called in. We focus on Aer Lingus‘s proposed trans-Atlantic expansion due to be announced in the next six weeks – Travel Extra proposes it is going to be a north-eastern USA destination rather than the widely speculated Dallas, Houston or Miami. We look at Ryanair’s catch-up app and the impact the policy of being nice to customers had on their half-yearly returns, listen to Michael O’Leary’s opinions on the controversial seven-day check-in, the proposed Ryanair routes to Moscow and St Petersburg, and loyalty schemes, Dublin’s over-long immigration queues, how London has outpaced Switzerland and Scandinavia to unexpectedly offer Europe’s priciest hotels. MSC’s new mega-ships (as explained by Rebecca Kelly, pictured with Roz Walsh of Travelfox), Hurtigruten’s use of charters to boost sailings, Royal Caribbean’s entertainment dimension to Quantum, and the plans for the ITAA conference on a cruise ship at end October.
England remains Ireland’s single biggest outbound destination with 1.8m visitors. Ida Milne goes to see the World War 1 galleries in the Imperial War Museum, which has just opened a major centenary exhibition, and Siofra Tobin Larkin follows the trail of Philip Larkin (no relation) to Hull.
How dangerous is Johannesburg? Eoghan Corry joins one of the walking tours run by PAST Experiences which have successfully reclaimed the city centre. As part of our destination focus on South Africa we join a helicopter flip in the Drakensberg Mountains, a bungee jump and shark dive in Durban, the exquisite cuisine of Cleopatra’s Farm and the spa safari lodge at Karkloof, both in KZN. We also examine the new passport requirements for people travelling with children to South Africa.
Conor McMahon visits the new UNESCO world heritage site in Langhe in northern Italy, Eoghan Corry discovers fast cars and slow food in Bologna, Marie Carberry visits Spain’s most scholarly city, Salamanca, and the walled wonder of Avila, and we took a stroll along Ireland’s newest walking trail, Arthur’s Way, in north Kildare through the landscape of Arthur Guinness’s childhood.
Heathrow’s new airy Terminal 2 will not be renumbered when Heathrow goes from five terminals to three early next year. Eventually, terminal numbers are to be dispensed with altogether and Heathrow will become Heathrow East and Heathrow west. While this process is underway, best not get too familiar with Terminal 5. It is speculated that Terminal 5 will change to 1 in the interim, with 4 becoming 3. The new Terminal 2 will remain as it is.
Ciaran MacDonagh and Robbie Lynch of Aer Lingus and Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director of Heathrow hosted a group of trade and travel media at the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2. Picture shows Don Shearer of Worldchoice with Catherine McDonnell and Lisa Meehan at the showcase. Aer Lingus use gates 21 to 26 in the new terminal. The Aer Lingus inter line partners are based in the terminal including Air Canada and United with whom Aer Lingus have important codeshare agreements. It is the second biggest user of the terminal in movements behind Lufthansa and third behind United in passenger numbers. The new Gold Star lounge cost €1m and is fitted out by Dublin based Glenbeigh Construction with Irish stone, Irish wood and other home-sourced furnishings. An innovation: all restaurants in the terminal offer on board picnic options. Listen here to Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus speaking about the relationship with Heathrow. Listen here to Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director of Heathrow speaking about the delivery of Terminal 2 and the implications for airport users. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry last toured Heathrow T2 prior to its opening when he was shown around by designer Luis Vidal (pictured). Despite the detractors (“more boring than soaring” said Rowan Moore) the Terminal has impressed the Aer Lingus passengers weary of the walk thought the tunnels in the Terminal 1. Just over a dozen passengers have shown up in T1 since the move looking for their Aer Lingus flight and all of them were in the first week. Aer Lingus is the third biggest airline operation at Heathrow, serving the airport 12/13 times daily from Dublin, four times daily each from Belfast and Cork and three times daily from Shannon.
Belfast Restaurant week from October 4-11 will see a record 64 of the city’s 400 restaurants participating. Travel Extra popped in to see Niall McKenna whose iconic James Street South restaurant in Belfast is undergoing refurbishment and hear of his plans for this and his other ventures, the Bar and Grill, Hadskis and the Cookery School. Niall, pictured with chef Dave Gilmore, will be running an apprenticeship programme for aspiring chefs offering hopefuls the chance to work with an award winning team. Hadskis do ‘wine Mondays’ every week. Other upcoming festivals taking place in Belfast this September include Culture Night, Cinemagic and the CS Lewis festival.
A £250,000 park and performance arts area dedicated to CS Lewis is to open next April around the famous statue of the Belfast writer at Hollywood Arches in East Belfast. The second CS Lewis festival is planned for November, reviving interest in his multi-faceted life. Picture shows Ken Harper, who conducts taxi tours around Belfast with the statue of CS Lewis peeking into a wardrobe (adventure travel of a different kind). Features along the way of the CS Lewis tour include the lion-shaped door handle of his grandfather’s rectory, St Mark’s in Dundela that inspired Aslan. As with the Brontë homestead in Haworth in Yorkshire, a disproportionate number of Lewis tourists are from Japan.
Sligo’s hosting of the All Ireland Fleadh Cheol comes to a climax today with a band competition; 10,000 visitors brought a spend of €7m to the town. Events in 40 different locations included Dervish, the Boróimhe and De Cuellar Suites, Téada and the Máirtín O’Connor Band. Tourism interests remind visitors that within a five mile radius of Sligo you’ll find 3 Championship golf courses, blue flag beaches, a pathway up Knocknarea, and the megalithic tombs and dolmens of Carrowmore.
The Moscow Times reported that Russia was considering launching a sanction-proof airline to service Crimea, in reaction to the grounding of Dobrolet last week (pictured) when contracts with an Irish based lessor were sanctioned. while elsewhere it was speculated Russia will respond by expanding its regional-plane fleet. Fears that Russia would impose a fly-over ban seemed less shrill than had been reported in recent weeks. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s statement on sanctions is much more moderate than it has been portrayed: “there is one decision that the government has made. I am talking about the cessation of overflights [only] by Ukrainian carriers operating services through the airspace of Russia to a number of countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Turkey [and only] from next winter”, less severe, and more graduated than portrayed generally. Flights between Kyiv and Moscow continue to operate. Russia is also talking of opening the Sevastopol airport to civil traffic. It used to be a Ukrainian Air Force field. The most vulnerable European airline of all, Finnair, said its ordered A350 has the range to detour if Russia closes skies. Finnair will launch A350 services in the second half of 2015 initially serving Shanghai ,Bangkok and Beijing. Listen to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on Morning Ireland talking about implications of Russia-EU sanctions on Irish aviation industry (listen here), and Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarth óir Travel Extra speaking about EU/Russia sanctions and their effects on overflights and the Irish aviation industry on Raidio na Gaeltachta programme Údar Cainte.
John Donohue of Aereps confirmed that two planned joint Irish Travel Trade FAMs to New York at the end of August and Las Vegas in October are going ahead as planned, despite the decision of Aereps to end representation of its suite of travel products. The Irish Travel Trade FAM to New York City with NYC & Company and Delta Air Lines at the end of August will be headed by Teresa Murphy of Delta Air Lines and Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company. The planned joint Irish Travel Trade FAM to Las Vegas in October with Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Virgin Atlantic will also go ahead as planned, headed by Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic and Kelly Sawyer of Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. Read John Donohue’s letter to the Irish travel trade here.
Lowcostbeds’ new manager for the combined markets of Ireland, Britain and Middle East, Paul Riches, will come to Ireland to meet key trade people in September. The fast growing Lowcostbeds has appointed a new layer of management: Elodie Leunen has been promoted to Managing Director Lowcostbeds Europe with Claudia Baino, and Adam Alford continuing to run the USA, Canada and Latin America. All will report directly to Alex Gisbert. Clem Walshe says this is part of an overall reshaping of the LCTG international team that Irish manager and “will help us drive more focus in the areas that are especially affected by growth. It is purely to assist us in managing the growth we’re enjoying and ensure we can continue to deal with the challenges presented by that growth. Bear in mind our local Irish beds business is now up over 40pc year on year so we need more resource right across the board to ensure we manage that growth in an effective manner.” Clem says business in the north of Ireland is also enjoying significant growth over the last six months “so we’ll more than likely have to look for some local resource to support that market in the short term”.
- IPW (Pow Wow) in 2016 is changing date as well as venue. Having moved to New Orleans because of redevelopment of Miami’s convention centre, the new date is June 18-22 2016.
- Germany’s TUI said it had “no plan B” for merger with TUI Travel. TUI earnings surged 89pc on hotel, cruise price increases.
- Travel Department reported an increase of 12pc on solo friendly holiday bookings year on year since 2012 with 800 solo passengers travelling on 39 different departures to destinations such as the Venetian Riviera and the Lisbon Coast.
- ETOA is now accepting final early bird registrations for their largest member workshop GEM and next year’s Ireland and Britain specialist March Marketplace.
- Aer Lingus’ discount offer exclusive to ITAA Members will continue until August 31 on the members’ area of itaa.ie. There is a booking incentive as well as a 20pc discount: for the first time there are free seats for agents if targets are met.
- ITAA legal officer Anne Dolan will host two more Travel Law Webinars: E-Commerce – Compliance Matters on Wed August 13, and Legal Update, Wed August 20, both at 8:30am-10am and both €25. More information/ bookings.
- Tour America is offering a free quick-service dining plan for families that book a selected Disney Hotel and ticket package for a minimum 5 nights, and a free Disney dining plan for those that book a minimum 5-nights package at a Disney Deluxe Hotel of Disney Deluxe Villa. From €1,099pp. Travel between Jan 1 – March 24 and April 12 – November 30.
- A contender for best travel headline of the week: “Lourdes tour operator hit by losses following biblical flood”. Irish-registered United Irish Pilgrimage to Lourdes reported a loss of €41,763 for 2013, the year of the floods.
- ITAA’s offers this week: 4 nights at the Kech Hotel, Marrakech, Morocca from €539pp, travel September 17; 7 nights at Dom Pedro Golf Hotel, Vilamaoura, Portugal for over 50s from €459pp, travel September 29; 6 nights at Le Green Beach Apartments, Omaha Beach from €795 per couple, travel September 8.
- Clickandgo.com is offering 4 and 5-night trips to UFC 178 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. Prices start at €1,105pp. Travel September 25. Stay at the MGM Grand or the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Irish UFC star Conor McGregor will fight at the event.
- Falcon is offering 7 nights all-inclusive at Blue Lagoon Resort, Kos, from €1,858 for two adults and one child or from €2,317 for two adults and two children. Depart May 23, 2015, from Dublin.
- Thomson is offering 7 nights in Sharm El Sheikh all-inclusive at the Sensatori Resort from €1,069pp or Tropicana Rosetta & Jasmine Club from €809pp during winter 2014/15. Weekly departures start December 26. Offer based on January 2, 9, 16 departures. Thomson added Kos to its summer 2015 destinations and two Sensatori Resorts at Cala Tarida, Ibiza, and Fethiya, Turkey.
- The American DOT’s approval of resolution 787 was hailed as a breakthrough for NDC implementation in the USA.
- The Comer Group acquired the partially built Kilternan Hotel & Country Club for an estimated €7m. The hotel which cost €171.5m to redevelop comes with anticipated costs of €20m to reopen the resort. Watch RTÉ News’ report here.
- The IHF’s diploma course in Digital Marketing commences Tuesday, September 23. The course will run every Tuesday, 6pm-9pm, until December 16 in the Irish Times Training building on Tara Street, Dublin 2. Full cost €1,500, members rate €899.
Trivago circulated a list of social media hotels where you can: get a discount if you have 2,000 Facebook friends, get a FREE stay if you have 10,000 Instagram followers, arrange your trip via Pinterest, go on a personal Instagram walking tour to get the best snaps. They also listed the top ten swim-up bars.
- The 2015 Hoteliers European Marketplace workshop will take place in Hôtel du Lac, Enghien-les-Bains, Paris, from February 23.
- Aloft Hotel Liverpool on North John Street will open in October.
- Plans to open a Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired bondage hotel in Vilafranca, Spain, have been delayed following objections from the town council.
World Travel Market launched the new 2014 WTM Responsible Tourism Website. Cavan town was long-listed for ‘Best Destination for People with Disabilities’ in the 2014 World Responsible Tourism Awards. Picture shows Joanne Hayes from “This is Cavan” tourism office and Savina Donohue from Cavan County Council receiving last year’s EU EDEN award for environmental tourism initiatives Pedro Ortun from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry in Brussels.The shortlist will be announced in September.
- The World Health Organisation released a statement aimed at reassuring travellers that the Ebola virus posed “low risk” to air travel.
- Lonely Planet dispensed advice on how to survive a multi-generation family holiday: Have a safe word (if things are getting too tense, yell ‘Paparazzi’), let tempers cool, take the blame, separate and conquer, (allow people to take as much time away from the group as they need, good things come in small quantities, especially when it comes to family) sample little pleasures (take care of yourself, especially if you are the person in charge; if the captain is unhappy, his crew will be miserable). End each argument with a family hug. “You are making memories (good, bad and ugly) and when you get through this, you’ll look back on nearly every moment as one of the best times in your life.”
- There were only two slight changes in the WTO’s top 10 tourist arrivals rankings. With 60.7m international arrivals, Spain re-claimed third place after losing it to China in 2010 (55.7m arrivals in 2013), while Thailand climbed five places to enter tenth in the top 10. France remained in the number one spot with a total of 84.7m overseas visitors in 2013. United States was second with 69.8m arrivals. International receipts in Europe grew 3.8pc to €650bn. Northern Europe posted a 6pc increase in arrivals with Iceland recording the highest relative growth (+20pc).
- The European Commission has written to six car rental companies operating in the EU – Sixt, Enterprise, Goldcar, Europcar, Hertz and Avis – warning them about discriminating against consumers based on their nationality: the companies allegedly give customers a different price based on the country of residence submitted in an online booking. All six companies responded to the letter, but the EC says it has requested a follow-up from Europcar, Hertz and Avis by August 30. The EC said rental and leasing of cars account for 5.5pc of all complaints handled by European Consumer Centres.
- Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurances commented that the cost of additional insurance covering excess damage has risen significantly. Picture shows Ian Kennedy and Ruth Bracken of Blue Insurances.
- Minister Charlie Flanagan said he supports the Passport Service’s proposal to introduce a passport card for travel within the EU. Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue said he has raised the need for faster immigration services at Dublin airport and is awaiting a response.
- The Mountain Collective added a new partner destination for the 2014/15 ski season: Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine.
- Axa suspended new travel insurance policies during a site upgrade.
- Christine Duffy of CLIA (pictured) said the construction of an alternative canal route must commence as soon as possible after the Italian government said large cruise ships will be banned from the centre of Venice from 2015. The ban will exclude all ships exceeding 96,000 tonnes from St Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal. Guidelines will also restrict visits by smaller ships of no more than 40,000 tonnes.
- Tasmania launched the world leading destination programme with more than 700 operators.
- The body of an American tourist was found in a suitcase outside the luxury St Regis Resort in Bali. The victim’s daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were arrested.
- Forth Bridges Festival celebrates the 50th birthday of the Forth Road Bridge from September 4—13. Picture shows the railway bridge with the road bridge in the background.
- Disneyland Paris Half Board Offer ends August 17.
- EyeforTravel‘s TDS Europe 2015 will take place in the Hilton Tower Bridge, May 6–7.
- A woman managed to climb the 10ft security fence at Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia. Airport officials spotted and apprehended the woman by the time she reached the tarmac.
- Eleven people were injured when a tourist train travelling from Chur to St Moritz in the Swiss Alps derailed after hitting a landslide.
- Parisian city officials and travel agencies expressed concern at the increase of pickpockets targeting Chinese visitors.
Food & Wine
- The line-up for this year’s Theatre of Food at the sold-out Electric Picnic festival was released. Declan Maxwell, Neven Maguire, Lilly Higgins and Kevin Thornton are among the restaurateurs, chefs, critics and foodies who will appear at the event. The full line-up is available here.
- The 22nd Anfas Food Product International Specialisation Fair will bring together 400 international exhibitors from 12 countries and 35,000 food & beverage professionals. The fair takes place February 25- 28, 2015, at Antalya Expo Centre.
- Killruddery House & Gardens is offering two-course suppers for €14 and three-course suppers for €17.50 every Thursday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm until the end of September. Phone 01-2863405, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
- Jurys Inn claimed that Irish guests prefer orange juice and muesli to a Full Irish and tea.
There was much discussion of James Hogan’s declaration last week that Alitalia is set to become the sexiest airline in Europe (watch press conference here). USA Today suggested Gulf carrier Etihad would ‘reboot’ Italy’s ailing Alitalia. At least one blogger pointed out that territory has already been taken by Michael O’Leary with his famous Dusseldorf press conference in 2008. Watch here.
- According to the IATA’s latest WATS statistics, Dublin-London was the second busiest international route in 2013 (3.6m passengers, +6.9pc). The top spot went to Hong Kong-Taipei (4.9m, -11.5pc). Jakarta-Singapore came in third (3.4m, +8.6pc). The price of air travel in real terms fell by 7.4pc last year, according to the report. The three busiest domestic routes were Jeju-Seoul, Sapporo-Tokyo, and Fukuoka-Tokyo, reflecting a shift away from the USA as the world’s biggest users of aviation. IATA said it was seeking to eliminate the check-in process altogether.
- Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey (pictured with Shannon chairperson Rose Hynes) said passenger numbers at Shannon for the first six months of the year were up by 15pc and have outpaced the national average.
- The Department of Transport issued the invitation to tender notice for the remaining Public Service Obligation routes, Donegal to Dublin and Kerry to Dublin.
- There was confusion and even a denial of reports that Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon was to be subject of takeover talks by a Chinese fund. The financing arm of Avic released a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange contradicting widely circulated reports that its parent company and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation was buying Avolon, with two different prices being mentioned, €3.7bn and €12bn. See profile of Domhnal Slattery in the Business Post here.
- US Airways/American reinstated the A330 on the Dublin-Philadelphia route.
- Intro aviation is in final talks to replace Cityjet’s Avro RJ85 fleet.
- Aercap said it was holding off on renting some new planes holdings. CEO Aengus Kelly reported strong second quarter results.
- Former Worldspan head of technology and Expedia founder Timothy O’Neil-Dunne asked whether codeshare flights should be discontinued.
- The IAA said Irish air traffic figures continued their strong upward surge.
- Air France launched its innovative FlightPath3D moving map service.
- Airbus A350 ended flight tests, paving the way for deliveries. Qatar airways may receive the first A350 aircraft this year after airbus ends trials. The speculation about the A330neo rethink announced at Farnborough continued apace while Seattle media pondered the differences between the airbus A380 strategy and the Boeing B787 strategy. The New York Times reported what it called “oversize expectations for the Airbus A380”. Boeing said July brought the most orders ever for any month.
- Anna Aero reported that China’s airlines are now growing faster internationally than domestically.
- CN Traveller looked at the two new transatlantic carriers, La Compagnie and Norwegian Air Shuttle.
- Emirates raised $425m to finance more A380 aircraft.
- As more airlines look to provide entertainment on passenger’s personal tablets (or devices distributed by the airline), Emirates confirmed it expects to offer seat-back IFE for many years to come.
- Lufthansa was reported to be considering B787s and A350s for a new low-cost longhaul subsidiary.
- Cleveland’s International Women’s Air & Space Museum celebrated Irish aviator Nancy Corrigan.
- Frankfurt Airport’s third terminal won planning clearance.
- Air Malaysia is likely to be the new name for the rebranded Malaysia Airlines. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry as Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ag caint ar athrú Malaysia Airlines, the changes facing Malaysia’s national carrier.
- Aviation Weekly reported on the information sharing challenges facing airlines.
- Bloomberg reported that European Airlines were cutting jet fuel hedging as prices began to fall.
- Research emerged of the risks to aircraft from exploding lithium batteries.
- British Airways extended their Vueling codeshare.
- Cebu Pacific said its “long-haul low-cost programme” promised a new period of growth begins with the addition of five destinations.
- The London Telegraph asked can you really fly cheaper than easyJet on a private plane?
- Finnair said it is to roll out ‘economy comfort’ product by the end of the year. Finnair expects the 2014 operational result to ‘show a significant loss’.
- Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific reported a slightly improved profit as growth “has required fare discounting”. Cathay Pacific reported earnings were below estimates on yields.
- It was claimed that extreme weather was becoming more common place.
- Koreanair is to suspend of all Nairobi flights from Aug 20.
- NASDAQ asked which airlines are interested in Boeing‘s latest idea?
- Qantas introduced online mall to its frequent flyer programme.
- Abu Dhabi Airport’s Passenger Traffic grew 19pc In H1.
- The Belfast Telegraph profiled Belfast International Airport’s role in developing the economy of the north. Aldergrove-Gatwick traffic was up 9pc to 40,412 in July.
- Air Canada‘s CEO Calin Rovinescu announced second quarter results earnings call (full transcript here) including growth prospects for Canada Rouge which serves Dublin-Toronto. Air Canada London Heathrow-St John’s is to go year round at 11.05 daily from October 26th using an A319 with what GSA Premair say is great connections from Ireland.
- USA Today speculated that airline mergers are not good in the long term as they drive up consumer prices.
- British Airways found that British visitors to Ireland take home the local white pudding, soda bread and cheese and onion Tayto’s crisps. Visitors also shop for Guinness, Paddy Whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
- Australia’s DIRD secretary said the international trend is moving away from liberalised air markets.
- A new French airline challenged Air France business flights.
- Dermot Mannion’s Royal Brunei is considering new Australian routes with A320neo.
- In Portugal it was reported that inter-rail is losing out to low cost airlines.
- Galway‘s two local authorities are to employ consultants to examine options for the 115-acre site that contains Galway Airport. Former Galway city mayor Pádraig Conneely proposed the Galway Airport site as a suitable location for an industrial IT hub.
- Virgin America’s airline flight attendants voted to approve union membership.
- Star Alliance is now the largest alliance with 26.6pc of all RPKs, followed by Skyteam with 20.1pc and Oneworld with 15.4pc.
- Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased 19.4pc to 9.48m passengers for the first half of this year.
- Dayton International Airport is using long grass to prevent bird strikes: heavy birds are believed to avoid long grasses because they fear predators may be hiding.
- An AIIB report investigating an incident at Belfast City Airport on February 12 found that the captain lost control of the Dash 8 aircraft because his prosthetic arm detached during landing. There were 47 passengers on board the Flybe flight from Birmingham to Belfast. There were no injuries and the aircraft was not damaged.
- Aer Lingus Regional carried 141,737 passengers in July, a 22pc increase. Dublin to Southend flights will be operated under the Flybe brand from Nov 14 . Cork airport reported Stobart passenger numbers were up 14pc in July.
- The World Airline Road Race is scheduled for Dublin on Oct 1-5.
- Alitalia chief executive Gabriele Del Torchio said he is ready to leave the airline after striking a rescue deal with Etihad.
- The early booking offer for the ERAA general assembly in Barcelona ends August 19. Click here to register.
- Jet Airways will scrap its low-cost subsidiary, JetLite, and integrate its 11 aircraft into the main fleet. As well as the plan to offload its budget unit in search for profit, it announced what it termed a master brand plan.
- Indian domestic airline Vistara‘[limitless expanse in Sanskrit), a Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture, is expected to launch its new full service Delhi based airline in October, subject to government approval. Singapore Airlines plans to invest $4m and the Tatas completing the $100m investment. The chairman of the Tata Group, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, has Irish citizenship because his mother (of Indian background) was born in the Hatch St Nursing Home in Dublin.
- At least 39 people were killed when an Iran-140 Sepehan Air passenger jet bound for Tabas crashed after take-off from Tehran Mehrabad.
- Air China is to double flights from Heathrow to Beijing in October, meaning there will be a total of 51 departures a week from London to the Chinese capital.
- Lufhansa CEO Carsten Spohr said the airline is likely to expand its planned low-cost long-haul operations if their launch goes well.
Uniworld released further details of the SS Maria Theresa to launch in spring 2015. The new river ship will sail Uniworld’s ‘European Jewels’ itinerary, a 15-day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and also offer on selected dates the 10-day ‘Tulips and Windmills’ itinerary that departs in March and April 2015. Later in December 2015 she will also offer a Danube Christmas markets cruise. Picture shows the Uniworld/TTC team in Ireland Rosie Leary, Sharon Jordan, Donna Kenny and Carole Carmody.
- Royal Caribbean say guests who book on select 2015 holidays on the new Anthem of the Seas can enjoy gratuities and select drinks packages included into the price of their holiday. An eight-night cruise throughout France and Spain costs from €1,599 per person (based on two people sharing an interior stateroom). Price includes flights from Dublin, transfers, gratuities, a select or soda drinks package per person and an eight-night cruise departing from Southampton (England), and calling at Vigo (Spain), Gijon (Spain), Bilbao (Spain), Paris (Le Havre, France), before returning to Southampton (England) for the flight home.
- It is a big week for cruise ship visits and hostings, Thomson Spirit is in Dublin on Wednesday, MSC Magnifica is in Belfast on Monday, Dublin on Wednesday and Cork on Thursday.
- The 199-passenger Ocean Endeavour will join Quark Expeditions’ fleet of small Antarctic Expedition ships to replace the Sea Spirit beginning in the 2015/16 Antarctic season. Quark says that it offers a greater choice of vessels and number of voyages to Antarctica than any other operator.
- Irish Ferries is offering Premiership day trips by coach, inclusive of match ticket and ferry travel starting at €149 per person return, while overnight accommodation inclusive of coach, return ferry travel and match ticket starts at €209 per person.
- Norwegian Cruise Line extended its 2015/16 brochure early booking offer of $300 on-board until August 31.
- Stena Line is offering Rosslare-Cherbourg from €150 return for car and driver. The offer is available from September 1—March 31. Stena Lines is also offering return tickets from Belfast to Cairnryan from €235 for three-day stays. Travel between September 1 – October 31, book by September 30.
Picture shows Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe with Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons, at the mid-year review of overseas tourism in 2014. Tourism Ireland confirmed that this year’s growth of 10pc has come from all four market areas around the world (Britain, North America, Mainland Europe and Other Areas). Tourism Ireland outlined what has contributed to this success and, more importantly, what will sustain and build on the growth to year end and into 2015. They said the growth was due to global advertising reaching 200m people, strong online and social media presence, air access, positive publicity and government initiatives such as VAT on tourism services, the air travel tax and visas. New tourism minister Paschal Donohue said 10m tourists a year was a new target.
Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry pointed out on Raidió na Gaeltachta that the increase in market share in the British market is the most significant trend this year. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Adhmhaidin ag caint air figúraí nua inturasóireachta.
Jonathan Barry will be reading extracts from some of the books he has illustrated, including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter, and Dracula, at the Titanic Centre on August 23.
- Fáilte Ireland reported that employment in the targeted hospitality and tourism sectors increased by 30,000 since the Irish government cut VAT, with direct tourism employment up by more than 20,000. They said price pass through of the rate reduction to consumers is evident across nearly every category. Fáilte Ireland estimates that the Exchequer’s tax take on the growth in spending by overseas visitors in 2013 was worth more than €100m.
- The Dart Underground and Metro North will have to rely on private funding if they are to be built, according to ministerial briefing papers prepared for transport minister Paschal Donohue.
- Delphi Adventure Resort, The Spa @ Delphi, its 4 star hotel (the Wild Atlantic Hostel), Delphi Conference Centre and its three catering outlets, has released the first in a series of five videos to promote Delphi Adventure Resort and its stunning Connemara location.
- Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola (who famously directed Apocalypse Now and The Godfather as well as Jack, which starred the late Robin Williams) named Ireland as the most underrated holiday destination in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “It’s a beautiful country, and the people are extraordinary. They have such a wonderful literary tradition, one of warmth and humour. Also, Irish ice cream is among the best in the world, which no one knows.”
- Ireland will bustle to the largest hosting of Heritage Open Days on August 23—31 (details here) and September 13—14 in the north (details here). There are events in 50 countries.
- Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering 7 nights for the price of 5, 5 nights for the price of 4 or 3 nights for the price of 2 throughout September and October. Booking/more info.
- Clare Local Development Company uploaded off-road panoramic scenic images of six trails using one of Google Street View’s Trekker packs.
- Picture shows Mary Keenan of The Ross Tapestry, Caroline Rice of Heritage Island, Silva Dorang of Aviva Stadium and Pat Boyce, The House of Waterford Crystal who participated in the Heritage Island exhibition at the Dublin Horse Show.
- Fáilte Ireland will host a group of 23 travel media from 13 countries next week who are visiting the Wild Atlantic Way. The group’s itinerary will be focusing on counties Clare and Kerry with trips planned for the Burren, Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Cave before heading south to visit Tralee and Dingle. A highlight will be Monday night’s visit to Miltown Malbay to meet the Oidhreacht an Chláir, the group launched by Harry Hughes in 2003 with the aim of conserving and promoting the traditional arts in their native environment. On their way back to Dublin they will visit to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. Ellen Redmond and Christina Walsh of Fáilte Ireland and tour guide Will Collins will accompany the group: David Batzofin of Batzofin Blog, 29k Radio Today South Africa, Willemijn Bos of Reisgids, Netherlands, Tony Conboy of the Tampa Tribune in Florida, Luzia Grasse of Augsburger Allgemeine Germany , Helen Hewetson of Ensemble Vacations Mag Canada, Hanne Hoiberg of Sondag Denmark, Richard Holmes of Travel Ideas Mag South Africa (pictured), Andreas Jacobsen of Urlaubtipp and Touristik Aktuell Germany , Yang Luyu, Lal Neeta Lu Tao, Lihua Wang and Ming Zhang from China, Eduardo Vessoni Lopes of Viagem em Pauta, Brazil, Michael Marek of NDR radio Germany , Katie Nanton of Nuvo Mag Canada, Joppe Ranta of Retki Outdoor Magazine Finland, Barbara Sloane of the Westchester Guardian NY State, Gabrielle Spiller of Der Landbote Switzerland, Stephen Vermeylen of Rotary Contact Belgium , Andrea Wiebel of Schweiz am Sonntag Switzerland and Ursula Wiegand of Westdeutsche Zeitung Germany.
- Picture shows Daliya Khadir of ArtsEkta’s South Asian Dance Academy and Nizam Bulut of Turkish Airlines to publicise Belfast Mela at Belfast Botanic Gardens Sunday August 24.
- South Kildare Heritage Trail will launch at Burtown House and Gardens, Athy on Thursday.
- Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said urgent action is needed to address the escalating crisis of aggressive and often organised begging which has left tourists feeling unsafe as they tour Dublin City Centre.
- A free talk and presentation on heritage on the Wild Atlantic Way in Loop Head and Kilkee will be held at the Stella Maris Hotel on Wednesday, August 27 from 8pm-9pm.
- The Burren Tolkien Society Festival opened this week and will run until Friday, August 24.
- President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visited the Tourism Ireland pavilion at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, attended by 700,000. Picture shows mayor of Galway Donal Lyons, President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne; Finola O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland; Caitriona Butler of Irish Ferries and Serge Fonseca of Tourism Ireland, at the Festival Interceltique.
- TD Thomas Pringle criticised Fáilte Ireland and Donegal County Council for planning to partially close Sliabh Liag cliffs for maintenance drink the peak summer holiday season. Listen here to Paddy Clarke of Sliabh Liag Cliffs Centre.
This month’s festivals in Ireland:
- Timoleague Harvest Festival, August 15 to 24
- Féile Carraig Arts & Culture 2014, August 22 to 24
- Camlough Lake Water Festival 2014, 22 to 24 August
- Nigerian Carnival Ireland (NCI), August 18 to 24
- SugarBeat Music Festival , August 23
- Rose of Tralee 2014, August 15 to 19
- Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival 2014, August 21 to 24
- Ballinamore Family Festival 2014, August 10 to 17
- Geesala Festival 2014, August 10 to 17
- The Irish Game & Country Fair 2014, August 23 to 24
- National Heritage Week 2014, August 23 to 31
- Terryglass Arts Festival 2014, August 13 to 17
- The Walled City Tattoo 2014, August 27 to 30
- Waterford & Tramore Racing Festival 2014, August 14 to 17