Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: MH17 blame game, Mueller’s departure & Ryanair’s app catch-up

Great buzz around Óstán Na Feithidí in Ferbane, Co Offaly.

Great buzz around the Óstán Na Feithidí in Ferbane, Co Offaly.

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

*Mueller’s staying-here departure

*MH17 blame game continues

*Irish Leasing Firm orders 115 A320s

*Ryanair plays app catch-up

*A trip to Heathrow T2

*Garth’s parting a foul-up for Irish tourism

Travel Extra TV

Footage of a freak hailstorm on a beach in Russia received lots of coverage this week.  The video shows people running for cover when debris and hail starts to pelt down. The YouTube user that posted the video said the “apocalyptic” hail brought with it a sudden drop in temperature as well. See the chaos for yourself.

  • Another popular video this week shows a solemn faced London Tube passenger trying desperately not to laugh at the the atrocious singer beside him. Talk about lost in music. Watch the footage here.
  • A Ryanair passenger posted a video entitled “Luggage destruction in Bergamo airport”. The video shows baggage handlers haphazardly loading bags onto an evening flight at the Italian airport. The original footage was viewed over 90,000 times during the week and gained a fair amount of exposure. A Ryanair spokesperson responded in a statement: “The handling of these bags by our handling agents in Bergamo is clearly in breach of Ryanair bag handling guidelines and will not be tolerated…Ryanair has instructed the Bergamo Airport authority that we want these two individuals removed from handling Ryanair flights and we have received assurances that this cavalier treatment of our customers’ bags will not be repeated.” You can watch the video here.
  • ITIC uploaded a video interview with John Concannon of Fáilte Ireland talking about the domestic market. You can watch the video here.
  • Heathrow advises longhaul passengers to adopt the “feast-fast-feast-fast” eating method to beat jet lag in this video.

Headlineschristoph

Where to next? Christoph Mueller’s impending departure from Aer Lingus next May lands the airline back in even more  uncertainty than that created by underfunded pensions and cranky cabin crew. We know where he is NOT going. Once speculated as an outside runner for the CEO of Lufthansa job, now occupied by Carsten Spohr, Christoph responded by saying Lufthy has never appointed a CEO from outside the airline in its history and said that his previous innings in Frankfurt had fulfilled his appetite for service with his national flag carrier. Once best known as the man who closed Sabena, he will depart Lingus with a greatly enhanced CV, a much wiser and eminently more wanted man by airlines around the world.  He is reportedly not planning to return to his native Germany, and intends to stay in Ireland and continue as chairman of An Post, to which he was appointed in June last year, and on the board of Tourism Ireland.

Some good news amid all the bad news in a dreadful week for aviation – and from an alleged conflict zone. The Department of Foreign Affairs changed their advice on travel to Sharm El Sheikh 1Egypt to allow holiday makers visit Sharm El Sheikh (see website here). The loudest sigh of relief was heard at Falcon Holidays who have a winter schedule due to start on December 26 in Dublin. Meanwhile the Belfast Tuesday charter operated merrily away under a Westminster advisory, meaning a place that is too dangerous for holiday makers from Dundalk is perfectly acceptable for holiday makers from Newry. Ah, the joys of the travel industry.

The extent of the tragedy of Flight MH17 can only be appreciated by treating each of the 298 victims individually. In the manner of these things, the impact on Ireland will be greater than the one native we lost so tragically. The deaths each cast a pall over their Irish colleagues, relatives and friends: , she worked as a school administrator at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in Kelmscott in outer-suburban Perth; Sister Phil Tiernan from Sydney Tiernan who had spent May at All Hallows College in Dublin; and Mornington-based Irish-Australian writer Liam Davison. Read the statement here from Edel’s family about the tragedy. And the flames on the crash site had not gone out (see Scott Heidler’s excellent coverage here) before the blame game started. And the flames on the crash site had not gone out (see Scott Heidler’s excellent coverage here) before the blame game started.edel byrne sr phil tiernan liam davison

RT condemned the rush to judgment in America and Britain (watch here), largely based on the social media post by Igor Girkin that a Ukrainian AN-26 had been shot down. The name-calling is astonishing given that the Americans and the Russians and the Ukrainians all know a thing or two about shooting down passenger aircraft, as do the Israelis and the British, who still deny the accidental shooting down of Aer Lingus Flight 712 in 1968 (by the English version of the FCA, the Territorial Army) despite evidence to the contrary. Passengers everywhere have been asking: is it right to fly over a war zone? The answer is

Ukranian An26 and Malaysian B777: The 'mistaken target' theory

Ukranian An26 and Malaysian B777: The ‘mistaken target’ theory

that nobody has shot down a craft at 36,000 feet before. The old assumption is that surface to air missiles are not accurate enough to engage a target higher than 10,000 feet. The fly zone was thought safe over 24,000 feet and air traffic controllers added a safety margin of a third. MH17 was flying to the north of the area subject to a safety warning in May and popular with airlines who wish to avoid Iran air space. In fact Travel Extra writers have flown over the banned airspace several times since the conflict began.

mh17 tableAbove is a breakdown of nationalities onboard the flight: Many media covered the double tragedy of Kaylene Mann. Her brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board flight MH370 when it vanished in March, her stepdaughter, Marie Rizk, was killed along with 298 other passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The difficulties of securing access to the site has indicated how strong the separatist movement is in Donbass. As for the coverage, graphic shots of bodies and the rescuers flipping through clearly identifiable passports (watch here, video inappropriate for some users). The Ukrainians even released a supposedly taped conversation between militants which turned out to have been made before the aircraft was attacked (watch here).

tripoli damaged aircraftUkraine was not the only battle site this week. After the firefight between two militias for control of Tripoli airportLabraq Airport near Beida and Tobruk Airport are now the only airports operating in Libya, although non-Libyans were banned from arriving at Labraq at the end of May. Nine aircraft were damaged during the fight but Swords based Air Contractors are coming to the rescue. They operate three Airbus 320s that fly on Afriqiyah Airways’  European routes and moved the aircraft to Malta before the battle. They plan to resume flights from Misrata to London and Paris on Monday.

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The news from the launch of Ryanair’s much heralded new app, allowing passengers to download boarding passes to their smartphones for the first time, was that a more impressive update is due in October. Ryanair talked about become leaders in the field with their new app, but this week’s version is largely concerned with playing catch-up to other airlines. Surprisingly, given the clunkiness of the previous operation, already 30pc of traffic to Ryanair.com is from mobile devices at weekends.

The October update will facilitate push notifications and the loading of Ryanair boarding passes on Passbook. By then it is hoped 1m Ryanair users will have downloaded the app. Kenny Jacobs told the media that “second mover advantagemichael o'leary being photographed copy allows you to spend less money” (listen here to full presentation) while Michael O’Leary (listen here to full presentation), , after posing for photographs, said that Ryanair will be available on a second GDS, Amadeus by year-end. It is currently available on Travelport. The return to travel agents and the new friendlier image of the airline has boosted Ryanair’s forward bookings by 7pc. The troublesome seven-day check-in threshold remains, but O’Leary pointed out that the new mobile app means holiday makers who don’t want to pay for allocated seating don’t have to get to a desktop connected to a printer while away on holidays.  Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ó Travel Extra ag caint ar Raidió na Galtachta le Cormac Ó Headhra are an aip agus cúrsaí taistil.

Speaking to Travel Extra on the margins of the launch Michael O’Leary described the launch of Ryanair’s new business product in September as a potential game changer for the airline. For an extra €40 business passengers will be given baggage allowances and more flexible terms. Rome, Madrid, Bergamo and Barcelona will be increasing to twice daily, Birmingham and Manchester to four timers daily. Asked about the proposed Dublin services to Russia he said that while the visa issue for cabin crew has been resolved, the two routes scheduled for a September start-up, to Vnukovo (Moscow) and St Petersburg, will not commence without some support from Tourism Ireland or similar agency.

Tourists were evacuated from Gaza in advance of Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion that has left 335 dead in 12 days. Tourists were strongly advised to reconsider their need to travel to areas within 40km of the border with the Gaza Strip. See DFA advice here.

Travel Extra’s Ida Milne flew into Heathrow’s spanking new Terminal 2 for the launch of theHeathrow t2 Aer LIngus check in_8770 Imperial War Museum’s new WWI exhibition this week, courtesy of Visit England and Aer Lingus, whose new check in desks are pictured here:

“The long walks out to the gate in Terminal One is a thing of the past, the gates are right beside the shopping and dining area. Toilets are where you need them, and the ladies’ cubicles are wide enough to bring in your trolley case. One of the restaurants, London Pride, has an offer of a free pint of stout for people buying food, with an Aer Lingus boarding card.

“There’s still a long walk to Heathrow Express, and in the heat this week a few older people seemed to be finding that difficult. There’s no seating along the way for rest stops.

“The access to the Tube is slightly closer than the Express, so depending on where you are going that might be a quicker option – transfers can eat time. But on my way back to Dublin, I made it from the Imperial War Museum to Heathrow via Tube and the Express, including walking time, in 75 minutes, which is impressive given that there was a 30 minute Tube ride.heathrow t2 airside

“Within the terminal, the shopping style has changed completely from Terminal One. There’s a lot more high end shopping – a Harrod’s, and several luxury brand handbag and shoe shops. The same applies in the food courts. There is a health conscious vibe in many of the food outlets, allowing people to make healthy choices.” Security seems still to be having teething problems – the queues were slow even though there weren’t very many people there. Men were put through a full body scanner, but not women, for some reason. Be prepared for a second security check at the gate.

For those who have not heard enough about the Parting of Garth: Travel Extras Eoghan Corry eoghan corry vincent browne July 14pointed out on Monday’s Tonight With Vincent Browne that Ireland’s dropping the ball on Garth Brooks was the equivalent of taking all the dosh from the Gathering and handing it back. Our future as a primary concert venue is also in danger just as we hit the big time at last: earlier this year the Muppets Most Wanted movie endorsed Dublin’s new found position on the big time concert circuit (for TV3 on Thursday talking about MH17, watch here). The reclusive Brooks had big plans for his Dublin concerts, based on the success of the 1997 visit to Croke Park. Alas all of them are gone awry while Dublin city manager Eoin Keegan and the Croke Park residents continue to squabble. Dublin’s horrified hoteliers have been trying to dublin C&W Ministers Donohoe & Ringentice concert goers with tribute bands and new Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue gave his endorsement to a hastily convened country and western concert. But for purchasers of the 70,000 tickets sold off island, the Bay of Gigs affair (as one tabloid called it) will stand out for a long time to come as a landmark foul-up for Irish tourism.

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A group of travel partners from Ontario hosted the travel trade at three separate events to promote the offerings of the Canadian province, served by Aer Lingus’ and two other carriers. The group is pictured at a pancake cooking demonstration at Cook’s Academy of South William Street Dublin: Ursula Barda of Choice Hotels Canada, Mark Rich of Blue Mountains Resort, Anna Pierce of Niagara Helicopters, Nicole Graves of Ottawa Tourism, Brenda Wood of Niagara Falls Tourism, Mia Dario of Eaton Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Lori Reed of Niagara Parks Commission, Eileen Penrose of Premair representing Air Canada, Kelley Coville of Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Gabriele Kotz of Ontario Tourism and Puja Khanna of Aviacircle. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

TTC Georgia sharon caroleSharon Jordan of TTC and Peter Hannaford of Explore Georgia hosted travel media for the launch of the Insight Vacations USA and Canada brochure for 2015. To date Insight has seen double digit growth on 2015 bookings. She said since we opened at the end of 2010 we have seen huge growth in the traffic we have sent to the USA. Listen here to Sharon Jordan’s update on Insight vacations and other travel products in her portfolio. Listen here to Peter Hannaford’s address to the media on behalf of Explore Georgia Listen here to an interview with Peter Hannaford describing Georgia’s efforts to promote the state beyond its iconic Atlanta gateway and the double anniversary, 150 years since the Civil war burning of Atlanta and 75 years since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was made into one of the most famous movies in cinematic history. Picture shows Sharon Jordan of TTC, Peter Hannaford of Travel Georgia and Carole Carmondy of the Travel Corporation. See here for more pictures or connect with the album on Facebook.

viceroy group

The Viceroy Hotel Croup and Visit California hosted tour operators at a function in Dublin to promote the Los Angeles-headquartered hotel group. Listen here to Jane O’Shea speaking about the Viceroy Group and their offerings in other California and other locations, including the Caribbean hotels very popular with the Irish trade.  Picture shows Mary McKenna of Tour America, Fiona Dobbyn of Classic Resorts and Beth Bond of Black Diamond Group. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Events Partners and Fáilte Ireland hosted meeting and event planners from Germany with support from The Four Seasons, Lufthansa and STR Destination Handling. The group stayed in the Four Seasons Hotel and visited the Guinness Storehouse, the Marker Hotel and Royal Hospital Kilmainham.blue insuracnes

Blue Insurances hosted their key suppliers, strategists, advisers, underwriters, overwriters and travel trade partners at a night at the dogs at Shelbourne Park where the laws of probability and actuarial sciences were put to the test on the hallowed 550-yard track. Founder Ciaran Mulligan, who was jetting off the following morning to a birthday bash in Sitges, reported the breakneck growth of the insurances group was continuing. Picture shows Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Astronomy Ireland and Project Travel’s 6-night tour to look for Norway’s Northern Lights is available to book until July 31. The trip leaves Dublin on November 24 and includes 3 nights full board on a Hurtigruten ship, two nights in Tromso and one in Oslo for €2,095pp/€419 single supplement. Leo Enright and Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore will present several lectures on the ship and offer a guide around the night sky from the deck. The package includes most meals, transfers to Norway and flights.

Celtic Horizon Tours’ Soap Tours for July and Friday departures in August are sold out, but Coronation Street’s Owen Armstrong and Gary Windass will be appearing at Dundrum’s Mill Theatre for two nights (September 13 and 14) to give Irish fans an update on what’s happening on and off the set. Tickets €20.

  • Next year’s Rocky Mountain Roundup will be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on April 12—16.
  • Sunway is offering a 5pc discount to customers who book a 2015 AMA river cruise before the end of July.
  • Travel Department is promoting its July Super Saver offers.
  • Low Cost Holidays reported an increase in last-minute booking for sun holidays this month.
  • Huffington Post listed 10 reasons why travel agents are better than the internet.

Innstant Travel announced to appointment of Gary Gillespie as London head of sales. The group also added a new collection of Chateaux and Hotels to its portfolio.

Do Something Different is encouraging holiday makers to take part in one of its cycling experiences: 4-hour London family bike tour, €25pp; 3-hour Florence bike tour, €35 for adults; 9-hour Haleakala Sunrise Cycle Safari, €157; 4-hour electric bike tour over Golden Gate Bridge, €65.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is hosting a training day on how to plan present and promote your own videos on July 24. The ‘Confidence on Camera’ course costs €120. The next instalment of Anne Dolan’s online travel law series takes place August 13. See here for more information.

Butlins is offering discounts on three upcoming live events at its Minehead resort: WWE Live wrestling, November 7—10, trade price £99pp based on four sharing a standard room;  Peter Andre, November 14—17, prices start from £40pp based on four sharing a standard room; and Back Together Live Weekend featuring Coolio, B*witched and S Club Party, trade price starts from £89pp based on four sharing a standard room. To avail of the discount, agents must quote the code AGENTMH when booking one of the events.

ITAA is promoting three offers this week: Thailand Sail and Stay, 13 nights, October 17, from €1,869pp; Fuengirola Beach , Costa Del Sol, 7 nights, October 27, €1,119 for two adults and two children; and Laguna Park Studio Apartment, Tenerife, 2 weeks, August 8, €599pp. See here for more offers.

Killester Travel is offering Ryder Cup packages for €1,450pps: 2-night packages include return flights to Edinburgh, accommodation in 4-star city centre hotel, Thursday practice and Friday matches, all transfers. Depart September 24 return September 26.

Rathgar Travel is offering late bargains to Spain: 7 nights in Marbella, half board, departing October 18 from 594pps including flights; Sol Principe Hotel half-board including wine water with dinner from €434pps. Depart October 7; Pyr Fuengirola self-catering, 7 nights from 400pps, depart October 7; Nerja Perla sea view room half board from 508pps, depart October 7; and Senator Marbella from €386pps, depart October 7.

Classic Resorts last minute holiday and honeymoon offers include: 5 nights at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, from €919pp, book by July 31 and travel between August 3—31; 7 nights in Bangkok’s five-star Amari Watergate or four-star Amari Phuket for €1,459pp, travel between May 1 and July 15, 2015; 7 nights in five-star Dreams Sands Cancun, Mexico and 3 nights in Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, from €1,595pp, travel from May 1 and June 21, 2015; 7 nights half board at four-star Medhufushi Island and five-star Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates from €2,249pp, travel from May 1 and July 15, 2015.

Michael Ward copyPayingTooMuch.com’s managing director Michael Ward issued a statement following the publication of a review Financial Conduct Authority’s that found that some price comparison websites in the insurance sector are failing to meet consumers’ expectation and FCA standard. In the statement he said: “We certainly support the FCA’s review, in particular the concern that consumers are focused on headline pricing and brand distracting them from crucial product coverage and terms. With travel insurance, the cheapest policy is no good if people do not disclose their pre-existing medical conditions when buying as this can result in serious disappointment at the time they need to claim. PayingTooMuch will not provide travel insurance unless full disclosure is made and will not knowingly allow customers to buy policies without their medical conditions being included. We and they will want them to have a policy that will pay out and give them a true feeling of security.”

The next SKAL Dublin club function will take place on board the Ruby Princess Cruise Ship non September 2.

Hotels

  • Shangri-La Hotel, Paris was awarded ‘Palace status’ by Atout France.
  • Twr Y Felin Hotel in St David’s will reopen in 2015 as a luxury boutique property.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 20pc off stays at the Sandos San Blas Nature Resort between August 1—21 and 15pc off stays between November 1, 2014, and April 30, 2015.

International

Picture by Evan Wohrman via Flickr

Picture by Evan Wohrman via Flickr

Around 120 people had to be evacuated from a monorail at Disney World Florida after it experienced a power outage believed to be caused by lightening.

World Challenge, the adventure holiday provider, said that a quarter of 16 and 17-year-olds failed to pass a fitness test participants are required to take before embarking on a trekking expedition.

In its latest newsletter, Spanish Tourism Office announced the launch of an online lifestyle magazine focused on culture in Spain. Dublin staff also announced the new Spain Train Pass Service from Renfe and said that pets will be accepted as hold luggage on Iberia Express flights to and from Dublin.

The ‘Journey to Churchill’ Arctic exhibit is open at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. Set over 10 acres, the attraction allows visitors to see polar bears, seals, caribou and wolves among other creatures.

Tickets for the Sensation dance music festival are available now. The event will be held in Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse. Around 15,000 people are expected to attend. Dubai will host magician illusionist Criss Angel’s first live performances outside Las Vegas in six years on November 12—14 at the Hamdan Sports Complex. The city will also host two sporting events this winter: the DP World Tour Championship will take place on November 20—23 and the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens on December 4—6.

Visit Wales is promoting Bounce Below, an underground trampoline that opened in a disused state mine; The Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Factory that recently opened near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire; and Food Adventure trips, which allow visitors to take part in food tours and visit vineyards, farms, restaurants and hotels across South Wales. Visit Wales also listed upcoming summer events: The Senior Open, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, July 24—27; Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly, July 26—27; Brecon Jazz Festival, Brecon Beacons, August 7—10, Green Man festival, Brecon Beacons, August 14—17; Grand Medieval Mêlée, Cardiff, August 16—17; International Paralympic Committee Athletics European Championships, Swansea University, August 18—23; FestivalVOALA PROJECT Y DUCHAMP PILOT - MUARÉ No 6, Portmeirion, September 5—7; and Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny, September 20—21.

The eighth annual Derby Festé will take place September 26 and 27.

Visit Scotland launched the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference 2014 – International Edition at Peebles Hydro hotel. The conference will take place November 11—13. Commonwealth Games cyclist Grant Ferguson will take centre stage at the event and Swiss cyclist Hans Rey will be speaking too. It is expected that around 200 mountain biking experts will attend.

Food & Wine

Picture by Trocaire via Flickr

Picture by Trocaire via Flickr

Donal Skehan‘s YouTube posts will now feature on Jamie Oliver’s online channel, Foodtube.

3fe café in Dublin was listed as one of Buzzfeed’s ’25 coffee shops you need to see before you die’.

Alibi 24-hour Cocktail Lounge will open at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort and Casino in autumn.

Aviation

Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific was 2014’s best airline and Singapore was the best first-class cabins, according to the 2014 Skytrax Customer Survey Awards. Continuing a remarkable winning streak, the fast growing Turkish Airlines won the best airline in Europe for the 4th successive year. Despite deciding not to participate this year, Etihad were placed in eight different categories.

best-airThe news, first reported in Travel Extra last January, that Ethiopian Airlines is considering an Addis Ababa to Los Angeles service that would use Dublin as a stopover, re-emerged this week with March being mooted as a start-up date. The Department of Transport told The Irish Times that staff initialled a bi-lateral agreement with Ethiopian authorities but new Transport and Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue has yet to sign off on the deal. The airline had yet to apply for fifth-freedom rights.  Listen here to Tewolde Gebremariam CEO of Ethiopian talking aabout the proposal to Travel Extra.

Ryanair is investigating an incident in which two families missed their flights to Spain after staff allowed them board a plane heading for Latvia. The English Daily Mail reported that crew realised the error when the correct occupants of the seats arrived. It is reported that the mix-up occurred when two queues formed close together for the flights to Almeria and Riga. Ryanair issued a statement saying it would investigate the incident and apologised to the families. A spokesperson added: “It is the responsibility of each customer to ensure they board the correct aircraft.” 

DC 10/07/2014 - REPRO FREECork AirportPic: Diane CusackBooked Aer Lingus transatlantic feed from Stobart Air/Aer LIngus Regional has doubled in the first four months of 2014., Picture shows Denise Sidebottom from Cobh, the winner of Cork Airport eZine’s competition with Aer Lingus Regional, Hotel Indigo Newcastle and the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative. Denise won two return tickets to Newcastle, flying with Aer Lingus Regional from Cork Airport, luxury accommodation courtesy of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and a meal for two in a city restaurant.

  • US Airways launched its codeshare agreement with Finnair.
  • Dublin-based SMBC announced a record order by a leasing company for single-aisle aircraft at Farnborough air show, 110 A320neo and five A320ceo.
  • British Airways’ Hand Baggage Only  fare was extended to all economy fares types on British domestic and European flights to/from Heathrow, City and Gatwick.
  • Huffington Post listed 5 ways to ease transcontinental flights.
  • Etihad increased its Abu Dhabi to Dublin service from 10 flights per week to twice a day.
  • Two retired US Airways pilots debunked 5 myths about turbulence.
  • SkyWork Airlines will move its London service from City to Southend Airport on October 27.
  • The Irish Aviation Authority has issued permits to 22 operators to use drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems to  be used mainly for aerial survey, filming and photography.  Aviation regulations governing drones in Ireland mean that operators are restricted to flying no higher than 150m and no further than 500m from the control station.
  • Flybe launched its new on-board menu, Refuel.
  • The London Telegraph listed 11 of the most ridiculous air travel charges.
  • Brussels Airlines will offer a choice between four travel products from September, check & go, light & relax, flex & fast  nd biz & class.
  • Emirates announced a fourth daily flight between Dubai and Johannesburg from Oct 26.  Emirates is to add Dubai-Budapest daily from Oct 27 with A330-200.  The Kiev service will be suspended from August 2.
  • Alitalia has agreed with the trade unions except CGIL on the conditions for the entry of Etihad.
  •  The Cyprus government is seeking to divest its 93.67pc stake in Cyprus Airways.
  • GuestLogix on-board retail and payment technology provider to airlines, rail operators and the passenger travel industry, is to base its Global Customer Support Centre in Dublin

Ryanair reported a 5pc increase in passenger numbers for June; its load factor increased by four points to 88pc.  From October, Ryanair will be flying out of Hamburg and scrapping its service from Lübeck, which is 70km from the city, with services to Lisbon (daily) and Porto (3 per week).  It is also adding Berlin-Porto (4 pw).  Hamburg already has services by easyJet and WizzAir.

The Public Service Obligation contract for the provision of air services to the Aran Islands held by with Aer Arann Islands has been extended by a year to September 30 2015 according to retiring Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley.

Etihad is offering a complimentary 2-night luxury stay in Abu Dhabi to business class passengers. Customers must book by September 15 and fly before September 30.  See here for more.

Ulick McEvaddy‘s Omega Aerial Refueling Services is to offer its contracted tanking services to the European Defence Agency

British Airways will launch its five-a-day service from Dublin to London City Airport on October 26 using a mix of Embraer 170 and 190 jets. Meanwhile, BA’s Heathrow-Tripoli service has been suspended up to and including July 24. BA’s issued guidelines say that if an alternative gateway is requested by a customer reps should suggest they use another BA service such as Gatwick-Malta or Heathrow-Cairo.

Virgin Atlantic announced a new Belfast to Orlando service for next summer. The service will operate Thursdays in June and July commencing July 25, 2015. Seats will go on sale Inaugural flight from Etihad Abu Dhabi to Perth July 16, 2014.through Virgin Atlantic this Friday (July 25).

Etihad launched Abu Dhabi to Perth. The airline also launched its double daily schedule between Dublin and Abu Dhabi. The extended service will provide 8,988 seats each week.  Etihad is to start daily flights from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco on November 18, using a dry-leased Jet Airways B777-300ER on this flight.

Aer Lingus Regional reported its best month since it was set up four years ago. Last month, the airline carried 130,098 passengers, a 37pc increase compared to last year. Passenger numbers were up by 26pc for the first half of 2014.

Border Control booths at Arturo Merino Benítez Airport have been upgraded with antimicrobial copper material to reduce the spread of infections.michael o'leary old and new office

Spot the difference. Picture above shows Michael O’Leary’s old office at Dublin airport and the new office in the trendy Ryanair offices in Swords. Michael points out that he has Davy Russell, the jockey he fired last January, looking down on his every move as he clears a fence on Savello.

Transfairlog 2014 has been cancelled. The event had been planned to take place from November 4—6 in Hamburg. Exhibition director Peter Kazander said: “We did not want to put on another intralogistics trade fair. When important players that represent the transport segments are missing, then the event loses the critical basis for bringing together supply and demand in the expected proportions in line with the concept.”

Travelport and Res2 BV IT developer announced that CityJet will use iPort DCS for ground handling.LCY runway at dusk copy

Declan Collier, CEO of London City Airport, highlighted statistics from the London Civil Aviation Authoriy that said LCA was the most punctual English airport last year: “we have the shortest average delay in the country, at just six minutes compared to an average of nine minutes. .”

The London Telegraph reported that Ryanair was approached by Ashley Madison, a dating website for extra-marital affairs, to paint one of its aircraft pink and advertise the agency with the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”. Ryanair is reported to have backed out of the €120,000 because it feared a backlash from customers.

Etihad launched a daily service between Abu Dhabi and Rome. CEO James Hogan said the new service was “the next step in a burgeoning relationship with Italy”.

According to a survey by Car Trawler and Idea Works Company, global airline ancillary revenues grew to $31.5bn for 2013.

Aer Lingus’ reduced fares offer on all European destinations will close tomorrow (June 21). Customers must book by tomorrow and travel between August 1 and October 25.

Businessweek analysed Emiratesmulti-million sports sponsorship deals; the article is prompted by the fact that the airline paid big bucks to have its flight attendants present the German soccer team with the World Cup.

W. James McNerney, JrBoeing CEO Jim McNerney spoke to Aviation Week about the company’s current commercial strategyBusinessweek reported that Boeing is working on a high-capacity revamp of its 737 model to attract low-cost airlines. Boeing unveiled key elements of the B777X design at Farnborough air show, including windows that are 15pc larger than the competition, new interior design that allows airlines to customise cabin architectures by class, lower cabin noise and higher cabin humidity and cabin altitude of 6000 ft (comparable to the 787).

Airbus launched two upgraded models of the A330-200, the A330-800neo and A330-900neo. First delivery is expected by the end of 2017.

More controversy from Norwegian Air International’s registration in Dublin, the European Social Dialogue Committee for Civil Aviation urged the European Commission and newly elected Members of the European Parliament to take “urgent measures” against the use of Flags of Convenience in aviation claiming airlines using Flags of Convenience would “undercut fair competition in the sector, avoid many regulations and scour the globe to exploit labour without European social rights and standards.”  US transportation officials planned to meet with their European Union counterparts on Monday to discuss the controversy.

Easyjet estimates that it will serve 30,000 passengers during the first 12 months of its new Belfast-Reykjavik service.

Ryanair launched a new route from Manchester to Eindhoven. The service will run four times a week starting in October.

Quickpark and Irish Greyhound Board are offering free admission with every Quickpark receipt presented at participating greyhound tracks for any night of racing until August 31. Participating venues are: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge.

British Airways cancelled 12 round-trip flights from Heathrow to Tokyo Narita from its January 2015 schedule.

A design of a cycle seat patented by Airbus received plenty of online backlash this week. Huffington Postdubbed the idea “literally the worst seat in the history of aviation”. Business Insiderreported that the seats “would function like the folding seats in a movie theatre…They would fold down when in use, and flip back up when occupied”. Twitter and Facebook users were horrified at the sparse designs. Despite all the excitement, an Airbus spokesperson told the LA Times that the seats may never be used, saying that the “patent filings are simply conceptual”.

AfloatIrish Ferries - Spraoi Festival copy

Irish Ferries is the official sponsor of this year’s Waterford Spraoi International Street Festival, which takes place August 1—3. The ferry company hopes to attract participants travelling from Britain and France as customers.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that together with Meyer Werft it will build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter of 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2019. Each ship, weighing in at 164,600 gross tonnes, will include 4,200 passenger berths.

Royal Caribbean is offering holidays from €689pp with $100 on-board spending money to customers who book before July 31.Kathryn beadle copy

Hurtigruten is offering two trips to an Arctic wilderness lodge by husky or snowmobile which can be added to voyages starting or ending in Kirkenes between January 5 and April 5, 2015. Hurtigruten also announced that Kathryn Beadle, managing directors in its London office, will leave her role later this year to “pursue other business opportunities”.

Norwegian has banned smoking on ship balconies. The new rule will take effect from November 1.

Stena Line’s Kids Go Free offer on Dublin/Dun Laoghaire- Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard routes ends today.

Ireland

Michael Ring was re-appointed Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with Special Responsibility for Tourism and Sport

russboroughRussborough House officially launched its Garden Sculpture Exhibition. Wicklow Rose Gillian Burke was there to cut the ribbon. The showcase will run until August 10 and entry is free.

Dusty – the infamous bottlenose dolphin – is reported to have relocated to Inis Oírr where locals renamed her Sandy. The dolphin formerly known as Dusty was a big attraction at Doolin until she grew more aggressive in recent years after swimmers teased and mistreated her. Islanders on Inis Oírr told the Irish Examiner that since her move she shows no fear of humans and is “actively seeking out swimmers” to interact with. But the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has warned that while there are positive reports, other swimmers have experienced “aggressive encounters and are being hit by the dolphin’s tale or, less occasionally, rammed”. Visitors to the island are warned not to swim with Sandy but are encouraged to admire her from the pier, shore or boats.

Cable and Wake

Making the most of the hot spell, NITB put together a list of new outdoor activities for visitors to try: mountain biking, various locations; Cable Wakeboarding at the Titanic Quarter; Stand Up Paddleboarding with Long Line Water Trails in Derry; Segway Adventures in NI, various locations; Wet Caving in the City, Belfast Activity Centre; Blokart World, beaches across Northern Ireland; Foyle Hovercrafting & Leisure, Limavady; and Scuba Diving on the Causeway Coast.

The DCC placed a temporary ban on swimming at Sandymount strand because of health Culture Night 871concerns about the quality of the water.

This year’s Culture Night takes place September 19.

Bray Summerfest continues today with the Bray Air Display at 3:30pm today. The event is free and organisers promise impressive “aeronautical antics”. The three-hour display will be streamed live on aertv.ie.

TCD’s Science Gallery opened its latest exhibition, Strange Weather: Forecasts from the Future. The free exhibition explores how “humans are attempting to understand, adapt to and control our changing weather”. Strange Weather is curated by Met Éireann’s Gerald Fleming and Zackery Denfeld and Cathrine Krame of CoClimate. The exhibition runs from now until October 5 and has a number of special events will run alongside it. A list of exhibits and events can be found here.

Irish Water Safety’s newest drowning statistics show that there were 91 recorded drownings in 2013, the lowest for 78 years. IWS issued an appeal to the public to stay vigilant around water. The figures show that the majority of drownings last year were accidents (60pc) and during two weeks of fine weather in July 2013, 13 people drowned.

Festival organisers body AOIFE issued a statement about “Garthgate” and Minister Alan Kelly’s review of the Event Planning and License process. In a members’ ezine, the organisation said: “The last act was rushed and has proved to be flawed, our advice is – take your time and do it methodically.” It also encouraged members to submit suggestions to the Department of Tourism about The Draft Tourism Plan.

She has wheeled her wheelbarrow once more. Molly Malone is moving to Suffolk Street, a little closer to her alleged burial site.

The Fairies were out in force at the Fairy Fundraiser event which took place at Strokestown Park. The family event, which saw Strokestown Park’s woodlands transformed into a fairy woodland park for the day, was arranged to raise funds for St. John’s Ward, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.10 MILLION INDIAN TV VIEWERS TO SEE CO CLARE AND THE WEST OF IRE

Indian travel channel Travelxp HD was filming in Ireland this week. The crew – hosted by Tourism Ireland – captured footage in Dublin, Limerick, Clare and Galway. It is expected that 10m will tune in to the broadcast in India.

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