Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: At last, is this the end to the blue queue at Dublin airport?

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

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Ben Bouldin speaking at the launch of Royal Caribbean’s reward cards for agents.

The headlines this week:

*People who remove socks in mid-flight & other terrorists 

*24-hour self-service passport machines by year-end at DUB

*Royal Caribbean launches loyalty programme for agents

*J1 veterans invited to RDS

*Youth travel convention in Dublin

*Christoph predicts an air fare bloodbath in 2015

*Travel Extra takes the helm in Ahakista

Travel Extra TV

thank-you-emiratesOur video of the week shows the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir singing Emirates’ praises on-board an A380 flight from Dubai to Zurich. For those in need of a short ‘n’ sweet pick-me-up this Sunday morning, watch here.

  • Discover Ireland uploaded a video of ‘Location, Location, Location’ presenter Phil Spencer telling punters why they should take a vacation, vacation, vacation along the Wild Atlantic Way. Watch here.
  • Cork Airport uploaded a video of Head of Communications Kevin Cullinane, Head of Aviation Marketing Anita Gackowska and Managing Director Niall MacCarthy commending the airport’s latest Red C passenger survey results. Watch here.
  • Mike Welsh captured footage from inside a JetBlue aircraft that was forced to make an emergency landing after its right engine failed. The Austin-bound flight was forced to return to Long Beach CA (where Wrong Way Corrigan started his famous flight to Dublin) after smoke began filling the cabin (watch here). Thankfully, the captain made a successful landing and only four of the 142 passengers received minor injuries. None of the five cabin crew were injured (watch here).
  • Footage of James Heptonstall racing the London Tube received plenty of social media attention this week. The video, which was originally uploaded on Aug 12, reached number two in The English Guardian’s Viral Video Chart. The video shows James sprinting from Mansion House to Cannon Street before the Tube reaches the stop. Watch here.
  • Oceanographer Robert Ballard released footage of the rare siphonophore, captured while exploring the ocean floor in the Caribbean Sea. Watch here. Dr Ballard is known for discovering the remains of the Titanic in 1985 and the Bismarck in 1989.

Headlines

immigration_5225Self-service passport machines at Dublin airport will be operating 24 hours by the end of the year, according to Noel Waters of the Irish Immigration Service (listen here) and will be open from 7am until midnight from November 1. It is a year since they were first announced with great aplomb, before everyone realised the Gardai who were manning the immigration booths were extremely unhappy at the prospect of being replaced by a machine.

self service_5196The Gardai are not allowed to strike but they did something much more painful, an unannounced, unofficial go-slow, which sent Ireland’s famously expedient immigration queues out to the levels we sometimes encounter in other countries, an hour or an hour and a half in cases. Remember the blue flu (as in 1998 reported here)? We had the blue queue at Dublin airport when the project to move immigration duty from the Gardai was first announced, and the lunch allowance adversely affected by a transfer of headquarter location from the airport to Burgh Quay.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was there to announce the project called by those who respect bureaucracy more than the English language, civilianisation. Frances Fitzgerald said that the Department of Justice’s safety concerns were satisfied in advance of the changeover (listen here). DAA CEO Kevin Toland said DAA’s role in the service is ensuring passengers should have the right information (listen here).self service_5188

While only 5pc of airport users are scanning themselves until now, the target is that 30pc of them will eventually do so (listen here). Recruitment of immigration staff will begin immediately and the first will be on duty by year-end (listen here). It is expected that both staff and technology will be implementing iris scanning by the end of next year (listen here) when the machines will eventually operate for 24 hours, to cover the redeye Baltic flights that arrive in the early hours of the morning. The passport machines work on a facial recognition basis: the picture is compared to that on the passport and as soon as it has been checked, the picture is discarded (listen here). When Travel Extra tried it for the first time last week, it worked.

ben-eoghanBen Bouldin of Royal Caribbean (pictured with Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry) launched a trade loyalty programme for agents, a prepaid card which it says offers agents a simple, fast and flexible way to earn rewards for bookings. Royal are targetting 10,000 frontline agents (listen here) who can qualify by becoming a captain under the revised training scheme and make four bookings (listen here) with two bookings back to back counting as two bookings (listen here), and who register (listen here) on myroyalclub.ie (or myroyalclub.co.uk). The prepaid card they will get was established in partnership with Mastercard (listen here). Ben Bouldin lauded the simplicity of the scheme with £5 for every booking (listen here) which translates into euro for Irish agents (listen here). He wants Ireland to be 15pc of the regional business, up from 12pc (listen here). He said an excessive budget would mean sales targets would have been exceeded (listen here).

Vicky Billing Amy Newman copyPicture shows Vicky Billing and Amy Newman of Royal Caribbean at the launch event. Once registered, agents will immediately receive a €24/£20 balance on their card as a ‘thank you’ for joining and earn €6/£5 for every booking, loaded directly onto the prepaid card, for immediate use. Ben Bouldin said he looked at the different incentive schemes that were in place and sought to replace them with a single simple scheme. Royal aims to have 10,000 agents signed up to the programme by the end of the year. Additional membership benefits include access to Gourmet Membership and Red Letter Days, as well as bonuses for bookings and a number of exclusive Loyalty Events for members, including a sailing onboard Quantum of the Seas with their partners; a first class trip to Paris. Already 2,500 agents have signed up for the scheme in two weeks., See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_5630 copyBen Bouldin quoted Adam Morgan at the launch: “We have marketed ourselves as a safe challenger brand for a while and what we have to do is really put ourselves out there. We are probably the best funded challenger brand in the world (listen here) and we have got to take consumers on a journey and show them that we are so much more than what we were in the past (listen here).” Is he going to be number one? “I’d love to, I think that’s a journey.”

He said: we were spending £600,000 and couldn’t quantify the return (listen here), previous promotions had no “clearly defined endgame” (listen here), even the administration time they took indicated the need for a simpler scheme (listen here) and spot prizes did not enable the cruise company to reward the right people (listen here). Doing 60 or 70 things and spending half a million pounds on them with no clearly, really defined endgame as to what we were going to get out of them was not good either for us or for the agents.  He said agencies can choose to opt out of the scheme (listen here) but he felt he said there was enough in the deal to make something for owner managers (listen here). Feedback from agencies was: don’t have a silly amount of reward (listen here).IMG_5594

He said Royal Caribbean was going to become the biggest brand for consumers to engage in (listen here). Sales for Anthem of the Seas have gone through the roof (listen here) after the publicity associated with recent shipyard visit to Papenburg. The cruise line’s forthcoming capacity increase is the equivalent of the entire capacity of the Celebrity brand (listen here) and filing this would require Royal to act like a global brand and go after new to cruise (listen here). He said they needed to change the way they do things (listen here), change as a business (listen here), about the journey over next three years (listen here), going after land based all inclusive holidays and they have plenty of tools to do it (listen here). He talked about the heavyweight programme planned for next few month (listen here), rewarding agents in a realistic way (listen here), access to benefits and flexibility (listen here), how ten cabins on Quantum were reserved for top performing front line agents (listen here), about putting 1,000 agents on Anthem (listen here) an aspirational trip to Paris as a reward for agents (listen here) and sending agents on what he called Nicki Lewis’ bucket list (listen here). He said this was about leveraging not about money (listen here) as Royal wants to be bigger than we are today (listen here). The cruising for excellence training programme was being updated (listen here).

1ciara foley clodagh oxley_2431Sometime somebody (a Fulbright scholar?) will assess the impact on Irish life of the American J1 visa: the social and emotional impact may have been greater than the economic impact or what they call nowadays networking (but used to be called a pint and a chat). Since the Fulbright–Hays Act of 1961 enabled the first groups of teenagers to encounter a more libertarian and youth-centric culture of the USA it has informed three generations of Irish business leaders, legislators and ordinary people who found their first love in the extraordinary tapestry of landscapes, peoples and cultures that is the USA. The US embassy in Dublin issued 7,000 J1 visas this summer (there were 11,000 issued to Irish citizens last year, including those domiciled abroad and the year long  J1), and 150,000 have been issued since its inception. The American Embassy in Dublin is hosting an event in the RDS on Thursday night to commemorate the experience– register here. It is directed at J1 veterans who can learn about building on the skills, interests and connections they made in the US. Travel stands at the event include Visit USA, Fly Drive USA (Platinum), American Holidays, Hertz, The Travel Corporation and Celtic Horizons. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will be among the speakers at the workshops. Picture shows Ciara Foley and Clodagh Oxley of the Dublin Visit USA committee who will be at the event. 10.30am Registration, 11am Opening Remarks and Panel Discussion, 12.30pm American Inspired Food Market, 2pm Workshop I: US Visas, US Study Opportunities, and Networking, 3pm Workshop II: US Visas, Travel Trends, and Study in the USA, 4pm Workshop III: Setting Up Business in the USA, US Visas, and Personal, 5pm J1 Homecoming Celebration with Derek Ryan and Band, 8pm Event ends

david chapman 150Is the $182bn youth travel market going to overtake business travel in terms of revenue? That is one of the issues to be discussed at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference in Dublin this week (programme here) and the Global World Youth Tourism Awards in the Round Room at the Mansion House. David Chapman (pictured) of the World Youth Student and Education Travel Federation will be welcoming delegates from 60 countries. Key participants at the three-day event will include Filip Filipov, the head of B2B at Skyscanner, Robin Lerner, Deputy Assistant US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Carlos Vogeler, Regional Director for the Americas at the UNWTO, Ranulph Fiennes, explorer, and South African Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa. Two new candidates are standing for election to the WYSE council at the AGM in Dublin on Tuesday: Jason Merrithew and Dieter Raith.

tour americaTour America announced details of their 14th Annual Sale Day at Red Cow Moran Hotel to take place on Sunday, October 5. The 35 exhibitors include key tourist boards NYC, Orlando and Philadelphia, cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and hotels such as Fitzpatrick Hotels in NYC and key guest speakers to keep you up to date with all that is travel, and to provide you with additional information on all the destinations available to book in the USA. Doors open 10am-6pm and admission is free. Picture shows Niamh Doherty, Mary McKenna, Ross Waters, Linda Ryan, Alice Carrick and Saruna Zerauskaite of Tour America.

conor-ellie-edenTravel Extra’s visit to Ireland’s EDEN concluded on Monday with a visit to Bantry & Sheep’s Head. Conor McMahon and Ellie McMahon (no relation) started day four of the trip to three EDEN award winning sites with a walk along the lush Sheep’s Head pathway with local guide Seán Coughlan. The ground was loose in parts, but thanks to Seán’s efforts, the safest routes are clearly marked out. Visitors should bring a stick just in case, as some parts are quite marshy. A venture out on to the cliff-side near the lighthouse is a must. Afterwards we had lunch in The Old Creamery, which opened in Kilcrohane during the summer. The salmon and brown bread was incredible, and the taste was only enhanced by the sunshine out on the decking in the treetops. The final activity of the weekend was a half-day sailing in Dunmanus Bay with Chris Forker of Carbery Sailing– perhaps the highlight of the whole trip. We paid a visit to master stone carver Victor Daly (who runs one- and two-day workshops in his cottage in Ahakista) before having fish and chips in Arundels and watching the sun set. Pure magic. Picture shows Conor McMahon and Ellie McMahon on board Carbery Sailing’s HR46 yacht, Merlin.

Travel Trade

turkish-meath-eventTurkish Airlines hosted the trade for their burgeoning world cup event at Killeen Castle golf club in Co Meath this week, where Dave Conlan of Travelport and Shane Taggart won the prizes of a place in Belek at the finals. Picture shows Onur Gul, Ann Marie Dalton and Adnan Cetinkaya at the Turkish Airlines golf event in Killeen Castle. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

travel-counsellors-newrecruitsPicture shows new recruits Sonia Blakeman, Cara Hunter and Lisa Brennan who have joined the Travel Counsellors team in Ireland, bringing the total to 60 with a further 25 in the north. Sonia worked at Shandon Travel for 14 years. Cara previously worked in Travelcare in Bray for 12 years. Lisa worked in Carlow and was referred to Travel Counsellors by one of the company’s current agents. They are pictured participating in the ‘Return to Travel’ programme at the company’s Irish head office in Cork. Travel Counsellors Ireland General Manager, Cathy Burke said: “We will continue to focus on recruiting the very best agents in the industry and providing them with the tools to succeed, and I look forward to welcoming more travel professionals very soon to our growing team here in Ireland.”

Group with surf school instructors copyWorld Travel Centre, in partnership with British Airways and the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted a group of agents from across Ireland on a fam trip to Santa Monica, California. The group sampled the 38-inch pitch Club World (Premium Economy) cabin on board the new British Airways A380, Santa Monica beaches with butler service, hotels, shopping and Beverly Hills and Hollywood sights. Brendan Mallon, Sales Development Executive for WTC said “The agents were impressed with Santa Monica. A great spot for visitors from Ireland with a lot to offer travellers from our area. British Airways A380 is a fantastic, quiet and efficient aircraft with the usual high standard of service from the airline.” Picture shows Claire Picknell of Mahlatini Travel, Nicola Quigley of O’Hanrahan Travel, Eliza Geraghty of 1Stop Travel, Bernie Grace of Roscrea Travel with instructors from Aqua Surf School.

See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Martin Penrose of Ifonly and Jane Masterson of Emirates led an agents fam trip in India, and were joined by Martin Skelly, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association. The trip will take in one night in Delhi, two in Jaipur, two in Agra and another night in Delhi.

stephen-mary-mckennaAmadeus will host the trade next Thursday, Sept 25, in Con Horgan’s Castlerosse Hotel in Killarney, where the current Travel Industry Golf Society captain Volker Lorenz will be host. The champion cousins Mary and Stephen McKenna (pictured) will be defending their titles at one of the best supported travel events on the calendar.

Topflight’s new ski brochure was released to the trade this week. It will be officially launched on September 23. Tony Collins’ company anticipates growth of 20pc this winter after a previous season that was up 25pc on 2013, and a very high satisfaction rating: 98pc of Topflight clients said they would travel with Topflight again. Highlights include the Topflight Chalet Collection and tailormade holidays to The USA and Canada from €749pps.

msc-brochure-winnersMSC picked two winners for its brochure competition. Rebecca Kelly of MSC says: “Agents had to send in a pic with the new brochure and we had a very hard time choosing winners so we chose two, Tour America and Navan Travel.”

Juan Cullen (pictured) will be joining The Atlas Travel Group’s digital division, Travel Management Solutions, on a consultancy basis after Atlas acquired Supersun brands such as LateDeals.ie, VisitSanta.ie, Travel 55.ie and Italy.ie. juan-cullenStephen McKenna of Atlas said: “Juan Cullen’s leadership in digital marketing and online brand development was instrumental in this partnership being developed. Through combining their respective strengths and resources, both parties believe there is great potential for future growth. Our Leisure portfolio of brands has grown to reflect the growth in niche brand and specialised products in specialist areas and this acquisition adds to our existing online brands GoHop.ie, Nuevo Mundo and Cuba Travel.”

antonio padeiraTurismo de Portugal officially confirmed the appointment of António Soveral Padeira (pictured) as director of the Portuguese National Tourist Office in Ireland and Britain. Padeira has a wealth of experience working within the travel industry, having spent seven years as general marketing manager at Turismo de Portugal in Lisbon. In this position he was responsible for marketing strategy across 22 global offices.

Thomas Cook unveiled their premium long haul, transatlantic service from markets in which the tour operator still sells including Belfast to destinations including New York, Miami, Las Vegas. The travel firm will then launch brand new economy and premium offerings in May 2015. Thomas Cook Airlines England CEO Christoph Debus said: “As more and more customers book flight-only seats, it’s also important that we compete with scheduled airlines on these routes, combining great value and great service to provide outstanding value for money for the savvy long haul traveller.” The new premium service will begin in May 2015.

  • Sandra Finnegan from Globe Travel won British Airways’ bonus prize in the T5 competition to win six tickets to see One Republic at the 3Arena. The original competition runs until Sept 23. See here for more.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive from Dublin to Sharm El Sheikh from €220pp, depart Jan 16.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights half board from Dublin to Lanzarote from €839pp, depart December 7.
  • Travel Department’s city break offers: 4 nights B&B in Istanbul from €599pps, depart Sept 25, Oct 16 or Nov 13; 4 nights B&B in Porto from €299pps, depart Sept 23; 3 nights B&B in Santiago de Compostela from €299pps, depart Sept 27.
  • Sunway is offering 7-night trips from Dublin to Morocco from €519 incl. flights, transfers, accommodation, checked baggage and resort rep services. Depart December 20. Sunway is also offering 7-night family trips to Turkey from €1,657 for two adults and one child, depart October 25, and 7-night trips to Tunisian from €399pp, depart October 24.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation issued a new licence to Virgin Holidays.
  • IT specialists for the travel industry, Ypsilon.net AG is to move its payment systems to Brian Staunton’s eNett Virtual Account Numbers to provide secure supplier payments for online travel agencies.
  • Do Something Different is plugging five family attractions ahead of the mid-term break in October: The London Pass, from £47 adults/£31 children; speedboat ride down London’s Thames, from £41 adults/£21 children; 4-days for the price of 3 to Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, £138 adults/£127 children; 3-Park ticket to Seaworld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for £87 for adults/£82 children; and Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass at Universal Studios for £59 (age 13+).
  • ITAA’s Halloween and mid-term offers this week: Alton Towers Scarefest from €89pp, depart Oct 25; Peppa Pig World, Southampton, 2 nights B&B from €999 per family; and Haven Holiday Parks in Presthaven Sands, Wales, 4 nights from €299 per family, depart Oct 27.

Hotels

  • Fethard native Jack Halley, proprietor of the Robot Pub in Chelmsford in London, bought Hayes’s Hotel in Thurles. The billiards room was where the GAA was founded on November 1, 1884 by Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin.
  • Harvey’s Point Hotel won their third Best One Day Carvery in Ireland award in succession at the Great Irish Carvery Awards from a vote by members of the public and adjudication by a team organised by sponsors Unilever Food Systems.
  • Microsoft Word - Irish hotel prices table sept 2014.rtfTrivago’s September price index showed the usual suspects at the top (Venice €275, Geneva €265, London €219, Paris €215) and the bottom (Sofia & Zaragoza €60, Warsaw €75, Bucharest €76, Venice €83, Riga €86), but some very high climbers, predictably Munich (up 74pc to €231) in the run up to Oktoberfest, but also Madrid (up 74pc to €127). Within Ireland prices in Limerick rose 6pc to an average of €88, Dublin up 1pc to €132, Donegal up 1pc to €177. Sligo was down 26pc to €101, while large drops were also seen in Galway (down 23pc to €112), Kinsale (down 23pc to €117) and Athlone (down 20pc to €84).
  • Airbnb are to start collecting room tax in San Francisco with a 14pc transient occupancy tax remitted from October. Legal battles continue with several other US cities, after settlements were concluded with Portland and San Francisco.
  • Two hospitality brands have joined forces as Madrid-based NH Hotel Group selected Preferred Hotel Group as its exclusive partner for the launch of NH Collection, a brand of 14 hotels and resorts in Argentina, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
  • Dusit International group opened a new property named DusitD2 in Nairobi.
  • Thailand’s second OZO property has landed in the bustling seaside town of Pattaya.
  • Everglades Hotel in Derry is offering overnight stays from £50pps. Offer includes afternoon tea, a cocktail and breakfast. Book here.

International

Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism Thong Khon opened the PATA Travel Mart 2014 in Phnom Penh, with 1,000 delegates from 60 countries, who were hosted at an excellent late night party at NagaWorld Hotel and concluded with two intensive seller buyer sessions.

The three-day UNWTO pilgrim tourism congress opened in Santiago de Compostela. One of the best contributions came from Ahmed Hassen of the, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, University of Addis Ababa on Traditional Ethiopian pilgrimages. Participants included Fr James Gardiner of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington and John King of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. The conference (programme here) concluded with a trip to Finisterre.

Thailand moved quickly to reassure visitors after a grisly double murder on Koh Tao Island. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry said Thailand remained a safe destination (read here) and a favourite with Irish visitors, with 63,000 in 2013 making it our second most popular long haul destination after Australia (and no, USA is not considered long haul). He argues that Thailand will not allow its €31bn tourist industry be threatened by the incident.

Newcastle safe taxi DSC3145LA Taxis in Newcastle, England launched an app to keep female passengers safe. The app allows passengers to send photos of their drivers to tablets/mobile phones upon dispatch of the taxi, pinpoints the customer’s geographic position and records phone calls made with the driver.

  • Tourists stranded in Mexico following a hurricane will be evacuated over the weekend as hotels assess the damage and announce closures.
  • The introduction of the new regulations for children travelling to/from South Africa has been postponed until June 2015.
  • Israel is to aid its tourism industry hit hard by the Gaza crisis with subsidised special deals and funded promotional trips.
  • Last week’s Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Marrakesh, heard that the spa industry grew 58pc between 2007 and 2013: from $60bn to $94bn, with a 47pc growth in spa locations, to reach 105,591 spas.
  • Spain will host the inaugural Halal Tourism Conference 2014, which is being held in Andalucia on Monday September 22
  • Mürren Kandahar Snowsport Festival (MKSF), launches Monday December 15 in the car-free Swiss village of Mürren, cradle of Alpine ski racing.
  • Operators were warned of a logistical headache in advance of a €13/30 dinar Tunisian departure tax to be introduced on October 1.
  • Top Connect offered a new product it says will cut Latin American roaming charges.
  • A new-generation guide on the Masaai Mara, the Official Guide to the Masaai Mara: Mara Triangle, has been created by David and Rosemary Watson.
  • Car Trawler released a video featuring staff as part of a new recruitment campaign: We’re People, not Robots (watch here).
  • The 9/11 Museum in New York welcomed its one millionth visitor, four months after opening.
  • Following The Ryder Cup on Sept 26-28, Scotland will host a number of events as part of The Homecoming in October: Deep Roots, Dean Castle, Glasgow & The Clyde Valley, Oct 1 to Dec 31; Shetland Wool Week, Oct 7-13; the Creative Mackintosh Festival, Oct 11-26; Race the Castles Orienteering, Oct 11-19; Perthshire Amber, Oct 24 to Nov 2; and An Féis Mór, Oct 24-26.
  • Boris Johnson announced that London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display will be ticketed for the first time. Tickets will cost £10.
  • SeaWorld has been hit by a shareholder lawsuit accusing the company of misleading investors about the impact of last year’s Blackfish documentary.

Food & Wine

  • The Ambassador of Spain and President of Bodegas Emilio Moro and Cepa 21 (Ribera del Duero DO) José Moro hosted a Wines from Spain tasting, taking guests through seven of the best Spanish wines, personally selected by him for this occasion and including two of his most emblematic wines. There is an increasing passion for Spanish Wine in Ireland. This is reflected in the rising presence of Spanish wines not only in restaurants and retail outlets but also in the media, where top Irish wines critics have praised the complexity, quality and innovation of Spanish wine regions.
  • Seafood in September on the Loop Head Peninsula concludes today. Today’s events: the Artisan Food and Craft Fair in Carrigaholt, 10am-4pm, a seaweed cooking demonstration and talks from 11am-4pm and John & Sally McKenna will be signing copies of ‘Where to eat and stay on the Wild Atlantic Way’.
  • Watford-based pub chain JD Wetherspoon will spend around €100m developing its network of pubs in Ireland to about 30 outlets. The company just completed its Blackrock outlet and has bought three pubs in Dublin, two in Cork and is looking at sites in Galway.
  • The National Organic Food Fair takes place in Marlay Park today from 10:30am to 4:30pc. Admission is free. Highlights include cookery demos by Clodagh McKenna at 12:30pm and 2pm. See nationalorganicfoodfair.com.
  • Irish Independent reported that wine importers have blamed increases in excise duty for the 8pc drop in the number of cases sold in Ireland in 2013.

Aviation

pashal_donohueThere were fears of a return to the dark days of Irish aviation when the Minister Paschal Donohue (pictured) stepped in to overrule the Commission of Aviation Regulation. Ryanair pondered the relevance of a commissioner who could be overruled by the politicians, and called for the office to be abolished. Minister Paschal Donohue directed acting Commissioner John Spicer to increase airport charges at Dublin, against the CAR’s stated intention to reduce the charges by 22pc over a five year period to 2019.  Aer Lingus also called for an end to political interference. The final decision on charges is not due until next month (see submissions here).

Aer Lingus’s presentation to share analysts in London (see here) revealed the transatlantic ambitions (average 6.42pc capacity growth 2010-2018), short-haul development opportuntiies and plans for a new loyalty programme. The revised long haul fleet additions were: 8th A330 added, 2016: 4th B757, 2017: no change 2018: 3 A350 in, 2 A330 out, 2019: 3 A350 in, 3 A330 out, 5th long-haul narrow-body in; 2020: 3 A350 in (total 9), 3 A330 out, all plus possible seasonal leases.  There was no reference to A330neo. The airline is projecting that 11pc of capacity will be allocated to Transatlantic routes, 65pc to European cities and 24pc to sun routes. Revenue since 2011 is up 24pc on Trans-Atlantic, 18pc on European cities and 46pc on sun routes.  The target for ancilliary revenue is €23 per passenger.

The airport executives and 250 airline executives and ministers of the world head for Chicago to attend next week’s World Routes conference. Tim Clark of Emirates and Scott Kirby of American Airlines will speak at the strategy summit; attended by 40 of top 50 global carriers.

christoph muellerMost of the aviation headlines this week came from the 11th annual World Low Cost Airlines Congress attended by 700 delegates at the Business Design Centre in London. If Michael O’Leary provided the meat for last year’s event, Christoph Mueller (pictured with moderator Guy Johnson of Bloomberg), emerging as the new darling of the aviation conference circuit, was this year‘s star performer providing the standout moment and many of the best quotes when he said that 500 short haul aircraft in Europe are flying at a loss and predicted a blood bath in Europe’s airline industry in 2015, with heavily discounted fares. You need an indefinite number of product combinations to cover all ground. Low cost airlines are the only way to stay in the industry, elastic product offering will drive highest revenue. Aer Lingus revenue Officer, the man who won back the revenue lost by the spring strikes at the airline, Mike Rutter said that Aer Lingus will make some “fairly large” announcements on customer service and loyalty soon: The strategy is to be able to present the right retail offer at the right time, right place, on the right device. Bjorn Kjos of Norwegian said the deciding factor of the airline’s long-haul expansion was the introduction of the 787-8 in 2011. He said he believes Norwegian will get US DOT approval of its Irish operation after the US Congress elections in November.

Orbis Plane Pull SNN 11Orbis Ireland hosted its annual Plane Pull for Sight fundraiser at Shannon Airport. 150 participants competed in teams of 25 to record the fastest time to pull an 85 tonne Kenyan Airways Boeing 767 over a distance of 12 feet. All funds raised at the event will go directly towards Orbis’ sight-saving programmes in Southern Ethiopia. The event was supported by GECAS and Shannon Aerospace.

Michael O’Leary told Irish Mirror entertainment writer James Ward that he sees Ryanair opening a trans-Atlantic service within ten years. He said the flights would not operate from Dublin, but from a number of other major European cities to routes across the US. We’ve had a business plan ready to roll for a transatlantic, low-fares airline: “The difficulty is, I keep cautioning, is that there’s no availability of long-haul aircraft for another four or five years. So unless we can secure a fleet of low-cost aircraft, frankly, the business doesn’t get off the ground. The future is very hard to foretell, it certainly is unlikely to happen within the next five years, but I’d be disappointed if it doesn’t happen within the period, maybe, five to 10 years.”

flight experience expoA surprise from Air Passenger Experience Association conference in Anaheim who were told that 70pc of passengers are satisfied with airline food. CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker told the Future of Flight Aviation Policy Summit in Washington (watch here): Our industry is transformed, but how our government treats us has not. We can do better.

Westjet, who fly daily from Dublin to St John’s and on to Toronto, became the first airline to charge far carry-on bags on our side of the Atlantic. Spirit airlines are already during that. Travel Extra flew with Spirit in April, and noticed the carry on charge greatly reduced the number of bags in the overhead rack, an idea Michael O’Leary, thankfully, did not have before his decision to be nice to people. Ryanair sources say they were within weeks of introducing a similar policy.

Clodagh mCkenna and Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike RutterPicture shows chef and restaurateur Clodagh McKenna and Mike Rutter of Aer Lingus launching a new range of gourmet pre-order meals available on Aer Lingus transatlantic flights under the Bia brand from Oct 1.

Research by Jetcost.co.uk said airline passengers object most to being seated separately to fellow travellers (73pc) followed by passengers reclining their seats (66pc), crying children (64pc), not enough leg room (48pc), and poor customer service from the flight attendants (29pc). The website uncovered dozens of mid-air miscreants, with in-flight sock removal among the worst crimes.

Etihad Airways Hosts Airline for IATA World Financial Symposium - PHOTOThe 700 delegates attending the International Air Transport Association’s inaugural World Financial Symposium in Jumeirah Etihad Towers conference centre in Abu Dhabi were addressed by Etihad’s CEO and President James Hogan (pictured) on behalf of the event sponsors.

Safarilink launched direct flights from Nairobi to Lodwar in Northern Kenya, opening up access to Lake Turkana (Cradle of Mankind) and Sibiloi National Park.

The Dublin Aviation Institute at Dublin Airport was launched by DCU and DAA International. The new facility will offer professional training programmes, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and research opportunities.

There are few surprises in the Expedia 2014 Low Cost Carrier Index: 71pc of the 1,500 respondents from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and Spain have flown on a low cost carrier in the past two years (99pc of those from Ireland). 36pc of respondents cited “saving money” as their main desire when flying low cost (the clue is in the name), outranking airport locations (24pc) and flight times (16pc). 65pc were willing to sacrifice in-flight entertainment in order to get a cheaper ticket. Pillows and blankets were next in the line of fire (63pc), followed by snacks and beverages (51pc), ability to choose seats (45pc), free checked luggage (17pc), legroom (16pc), bathroom privileges (14pc) and finally carry-on luggage (12pc). 45pc would consider an LCC for a flight time of up to three hours, 23pc for up to five hours. 3pc would fly with an LCC for up to eight hours and 1pc would fly up to 12 hours. 81pc expect “much or somewhat better” customer service from traditional carriers compared to an LCC. 77pc are willing to accept worse customer service in exchange for a cheaper seat – the Irish were least happy with that trade-off (65pc compared to Spain’s 82pc).

Etihad Airways - Celebrates social media success PhotoEtihad launched the #OneMillionMoments social media promotion to celebrate its one-millionth Facebook like. Punters are asked to share photos from their experience with Etihad on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the chance to win two tickets on any of the airline’s routes. The competition is open until September 30. Picture shows Etihad Airways’ Head of Social Media Elizabeth Selby and Senior Manager Social Media, Marvin Burton receiving the Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award from SimpliFlying’s CEO Shashank Nigam at the SimpliFlying Social Media Awards.

  • Air France had to cancel 60pc of their flights as a damaging six-day pilots’ strike played havoc with their network connections. The flight has been extended for another three days.
  • South African Airways becomes the first carrier in Africa to sign up for Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding, designed to faciliate ancillaries.Ryanair signed a flight data partnership with Navtech to provide aeronautical charts and flight management system data for use onboard its fleet of 300 Boeing 737-800s.
  • Robin Hayes is to become JetBlue CEO when Dave Barger steps down in February.Emirates is to buy some 777X to replace 777-300ERs that haven’t been delivered yet.
  • Air Canada is to introduce bag fees for economy Tango fares on domestic flights.

Flybe is to cancel an order for 20 Embraer 175s in favour of leasing Q400s from Republic Airways.

  • British Airways will resume direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from London from May 27, 2015.
  • Ryanair said it was selling 4,000 ‘business plus’ bundles a day.
  • Germanwings fares and ancillaries are available to Amadeus subscribers as of Tuesday, September 23.
  • Christoph Mueller said Dublin’s share of the transatlantic air market can grow from 2.2pc to 5pc, speaking at the Low Cost Airline Conference in London.
  • Kenny Jacobs said that if Ryanair loses its bid for Cyprus Airways it will apply for its own Cypriot AOC. He also said the airline may add tech start-ups and retail businesses as acquisition targets as the airline seeks to develop its online presence and increase ancillary sales.
  • Kevin Toland told DAA staff if they refuse the proposal that they could lose cash and pension benefits worth up to €200m.
  • Butlers are offering a free coffee promotion with every short term car park booking with DAA.
  • Members of the Airport Council International Airport Excellence programme are to visit Cork Airport.
  • KLM said more than 50pc of passengers prefer smart boarding to normal boarding.
  • Lufthansa’s regional carrier Eurowings will take delivery of 10 Airbus A320 jetliners in 2016 and 2017.
  • etihad-butlersThe first Etihad Airways butlers (pictured) departed for Savoy Academy training.
  • Jet Airways India will start offering full service and complimentary meal service on all flights.
  • Vitaly Saveliev CEO of Aeroflot Dobrolet, forced to suspend operations due to the sanctions imposed by the European Union, would restart flights at the end of October under the name Dobrolet Plus.
  • Heathrow Express extended its partnership with Avios to include Iberia Plus.
  • A former air stewardess got a suspended sentence after kicking BA crew while flying from New York to London on honeymoon.
  • An Italian court ruled on the legality of airline luggage fees with carriers being told they can’t charge for some bags.
  • Safarilink launched direct flights from Nairobi to Lodwar in Northern Kenya, opening up access to Lake Turkana (Cradle of Mankind) and Sibiloi National Park.
  • British Airways’ North American seat sale on all cabins ends this Tuesday, Sept 23.
  • EasyJet launched its £8.5m ‘Business Sense’ campaign aimed at business flyers. The TV ad features the voice of Blackadder and House star Hugh Laurie. Watch here.
  • Travelport announced that South African Airways signed up for its rich content and branding service.
  • KLM flight KL-765 en route from Bonaire island to Amsterdam was forced to make an emergency landing in Shannon after the aircraft experienced a problem with its left engine.

Afloat

  • norwegian-cruiseNorwegian Cruise Line celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape in Papenburg, Germany. The ship, which will be able to carry 4,200 passengers is set for delivery in October 2015. Picture shows MEYER WERFT Project Manager Stefan Schmees, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line Senior Vice President of New Build Christer Karlsson and MEYER WERFT Managing Partner Bernard Meyer.
  • ovation-of-seasRoyal Caribbean’s third anthem-class chip will be named Ovation of the Seas: picture shows Ovation being laid at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where all three Quantum class ships are under construction although Quantum will leave for sea trials next month. Royal Caribbean also have two Oasis class ships on order.
  • Holland America line named its new 2016 Pinnacle class ship MS Koningsdam reflecting a regal new design and rich Dutch history in the name of new class of the ship. The 2,650-passenger ship is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard.
  • Mike Bonner, regional GM of Silversea hosted a ship visit for agents in Dublin to promote its 2016 Voyage Collection that covers 845 destinations (including 107 new ports) on 272 voyages across seven continents.
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic became the first non-Russian cruise ship to navigate the Northeast Passage successfully, 6,032 nautical miles between the Russian Far East and the finishing point in Bodö/Norway.
  • Sunway is offering 5-day Northern Lights cruises on Hurtigruten’s MS Finnmarken from €969pp, incl. flights from Dublin, all taxes & transfers, 3 nights B&B & dinner onboard and 1 night Hotel B&B.
  • Ocean Endeavour offers no single supplement to single travellers.

Ireland

IRELAND SAYS ‘BONJOUR’ AT LOISIR EXPO IN PARISTourism Ireland was joined by Flavour of Tyrone and Manor House & Irish Country Hotels at the three-day Loisir Expo trade fair in Paris this week. Picture shows Caroline Phelan of Tourism Ireland, Mary Noone of Manor House & Irish Country Hotels, and Gemma Conway of Flavour of Tyrone.

Upcoming culture events supported by NITB: Red Bull Music Academy Weekender, Sept 25-28; Belfast Restaurant Week, Oct 4-11; Belfast International Comedy Festival, Sept 25-Oct 5; The MAC international art exhibition, Oct 30-Jan 1; Ulster Bank Arts Festival at Queen’s, Oct 16-Nov 1; Sounds of Belfast, Nov 12-16; Derry International Choral Festival, Oct 22-16 and Aspects Literary Festival in Bangor, Sept 25-28.

Belfast culture nightSome 900 venues in 36 regions, towns and cities took part in the ninth annual Culture Night on Friday. Punters had a choice of 1,400 free events around the country with 100 taking place in the capital. 40 venues were added to this year’s line-up including Áras and Uachtaráin and Airfield Farm in Dundrum. Despite the poor weather, turn out was good.

Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland hosted their first ‘Destination Ireland’ event, the Canadian Expo Workshop, in Clontarf Castle Hotel on Wednesday. The next workshop in the series is the British Coach & Group Tour Operators Workshop on Monday, September 22.

?????????????????????????????A group of ten reps from American business tourism companies and two specialist journalists visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Irish Horizons. The group’s itinerary included visits to the Convention Centre Dublin, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin Castle, The Shelbourne, Westin Hotel, Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, Kilbeggan Distillery, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. Picture shows the group with Marie McKown of Tourism Ireland and Maeve O’Connor of Irish Horizons at the Wineport Lodge in Athlone.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was treated to a business breakfast at Shannon Airport as part of his visit to Ireland. More than 125 people from the business community attended. Watch here.

‘DRIVE’ TO WOO BRITISH TOURISTSSix tourism companies from Ireland joined Tourism Ireland at this year’s Goodwood Revival vintage car festival in Chichester, England. Picture shows Carmel Flynn of Parknasilla Resort & Spa, David Cleary of Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels, and Ronnie Counihan of Renvyle House Hotel at the event.

Lusty Beg is offering a wedding package from €4,950 from Jan-Mar and Oct-Dec 2015. Package includes:  Complimentary use of the Island for your Civil Ceremony; hair and make up for the bride and two bridesmaids; prosecco for the bride and groom on arrival;  refreshments for all guests on arrival; 4 course meal with choice of main course;  half bottle of wine per person; chair covers and choice of coloured bow/sash; floral table decorations; personalised table plans & menus; accommodation for bride and groom & 4 guests; and preferential room rates for the night of the wedding.

  • Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will host three group games and a round of 16 fixtures at Euro 2020, with London the venue for the semi-finals and final.
  • Canadian visitors are estimated to have grown 28pc over the period 2011-3, 125,000 Canadians visited Ireland in 2013, spending about €91m. Access is up further 70pc for summer 2014 and up 100pc for the shoulder and winter seasons.
  • CEO of Waterways Ireland Dawn Livingstone has said her organisation would be “delighted” to work in partnership with Clare County Council to develop improved public access to Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg.
  • Tourism Ireland wants the number of Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland grow 47pc to 184,000 by the end of 2016, delivering revenue of €134m up 47pc.
  • Polar Express 2Picture shows William Hastings of Hastings Hotels with Rachael McCreery, Lucy Hunniford and Tilly Hunniford at the launch Santa’s Polar Express at Slieve Donard, which opens from December 17-22.
  • Visitor numbers at the White Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing Point at Mountshannon Pier, Co Clare are expected to reach 10,000 before the end of the month.
  • The Ebony and Irony Fringe Festival was announced as an addendum to this year’s New Ross Piano Festival, which takes place from Sept 25-28. The fringe line-up includes piano duals, singalongs and comedy. More info.
  • National Geographic posted the top ten things to do in Ireland in autumn.

Email editor@travelextra.ie to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

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