TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Action Packed Show at Simmonscourt & Ryanair Pushes up Pax Target to 100m

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Martin Skelly of the ITAA, Minister Michael Ring and Maureen Ledwith opening the Home Holiday Pavillion at Holiday World Show Dublin

Martin Skelly of the ITAA, Minister Michael Ring and Maureen Ledwith opening the Home Holiday Pavillion at Holiday World Show Dublin

The headlines this week:

*Ryanair plan to carry 100m passengers for the first time

*Fuel’s Gold causes leasing industry to think again

*Louise wins Travel Agent of the Year

*Ethiopian Airlines may use pre-clearance after all

*A busy Holiday World show in Dublin

 

Travel Extra TV

video-of-week-jan-25Our video of the week comes from YouTube personality Louis Cole, who takes his selfie stick extreme zorbing in Christchurch, New Zealand. Watch here.

  • Huntley Film Archives uploaded stock shots from the 1970s of an Aer Lingus B747 jet at Shannon Airport. Footage includes good aerial shots of take-off and landing, as well as taxiing and an area shot of the Irish countryside. Watch here.
  • John Coughlan Catering provided the food for Aer Lingus’s Business Class Service Launch. Watch here.
  • Video of the week: To promote its wedding packages, Hotel Doolin commissioned filmmaker James Skerritt to put together a five-part drama based on a relationship that blossoms at the hotel. The first episode of Say I DOolin was uploaded on Monday. Watch here.
  • HBO’s Game of Thrones – which was filmed in Belfast, Sandy Brae, Castle Ward, Saintfield Estates, Tollymore Forest, Cairncastle, Magheramorne and Shane’s Castle – will be the first TV series to be screened in IMAX Cinemas. Watch here.
  • Inside the Aer Lingus IT graduate programme. Watch here.
  • Camino Ways launched irelandways.com at the Holiday World Show: Watch here.
  • Anoop Kapitan from Yorkshire is reunited with his brother in Melbourne after 44 years in this video by Qatar Airways and Manchester Airport. Watch here.

Headlines

US AmbassadorVisitor numbers on the first two days of the Holiday World Show at RDS Simmonscourt were up on last year. The action continues all day today with the third day of the show. The aisles were awash with ambassadors, including American ambassador Kevin O’Malley who hosted the trade at a reception on Friday and then took time to call by the Mayo stand to check out his ancestral home. Minister Michael Ring paid tribute to the energy of the home holiday sector when he gave a rousing speech when he opened the Ireland pavilion. Picture shows Kevin O’Malley, Maureen Ledwith, Lothar Mushketat and Alaska the bald headed eagle at the opening of the US Exhibits at the Holiday World Show. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

16169735719_db8c8b4e72_nThe last leg of Eoghan Corry’s expert travel clinics at the Holiday World Show Dublin kicks off at 12pm today. Today’s line up:

  • 12pm Visas & Passports – what you need to know with Fiona Penollar from Department of Foreign Affairs, US Consular Office
  • 12.45pm Golf holidays with John Spollen of John Cassidy Travel and Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines
  • 1.30pm The new Ryanair Q&A session with Robin Kiely of Ryanair
  • 2.15pm Flying West
  • 3pm Home holidays with Paul Carty of ITIC
  • 3.45pm Solo travel with Sharon Jordan of Insight Vacations/Uniworld River Cruise/ Contiki Holidays and Jenny Rafter of Royal Caribbean

The annual conference of the Irish Travel Agents Association will take place in Jerez on October 1-4. Andalucia Tourism’s Antonio Martin, recipient at an award in the Industry Awards for his services to irish tourism, previously hosted the ITAA at conferences in Malaga, Grenada and Seville.

15724547863_5878b254b1_nRyanair have raised their passenger target from 97.5m to 102.2m for 2015. Michael O’Leary said that the finalised 2015 summer schedule and the makings of the winter schedule should give us over 100m, there will be more capacity growth next winter as we take delivery of 40 of Boeing’s finest 737 NGs which give us more capacity again to increase frequencies and fill out more of our business schedule during the winter (listen here).

16157006188_481323f443_nRTÉ’s Operation Transformation attended the Irish Travel Industry Awards as part of their series documenting Louise Brennan Ormsby of Club Travel, who won the travel agent of the year award. Rebecca Kelly of MSC (pictured) won the prestigious supplier of the year award. Club Travel and Navan Travel won the travel agency of the year awards. The prize draw raised €13,800 for the Shane Grogan fund at the awards. The party spilled out of the Oak Room in Mansion House and on to Sands where the last stragglers were still standing at 5am. The full list of award winners were:

Corporate Travel Professional: Catherine Monaghan of FCm Travel Solutions; Leisure Travel Professional: Louise Brennan Ormsby of Club Travel; Most Innovative Marketing Campaign: Tour America; Corporate Travel Agency: Atlas Travel Group; Travel Agency of The Year Under 10 Employees: Navan Travel; ITravel Agency of The Year Over 10 Employees: Club Travel;; Airline To Europe: Aer Lingus; Business Class Airline To Europe: British Airways; Airline To North America: Aer Lingus; Long Haul Airline: Etihad Airways; European Sun Tour Operator: Sunway; Escorted Tour Operator: Insight Vacations; Specialist Tour Operator: Sunway; Ski Tour Operator: Crystal Holidays; Long Haul Tour Operator: Sunway; General Cruise Company: Royal Caribbean; Ultra Luxury Cruise Company: Celebrity Cruises; Specialist Cruise Company: Uniworld; Ferry Company: Irish Ferries; Technology Provider: Amadeus; Car Hire Company: Hertz; Travel Insurance Provider: Blue Insurances; Tourist Board: Spanish Tourist Board; Supplier Support Team: MSC Cruises; Accommodation Only Provider: Lowcostbeds; Supplier Representative: Rebecca Kelly; Worldwide City Destination: New York; European City Destination: Barcelona; Ski Destination: Austria; Summer Sun Destination: Spain; Winter Sun Destination: Lanzarote; Worldwide Theme Park: Universal Orlando; Worldwide Hotel Chain: Marriott. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

If you were looking for a parking bay for your private jet at Dublin airport this week you were in bad luck. Two aviation leasing conferences were in town. The Global Aviation Finance Conference in Dublin Conference centre brought some high rollers and high fliers to town, 1500 delegates from 268 cities. The smaller Growth Frontiers conference took place in the Shelbourne Hotel. The message was that the pendulum activated by Tony Ryan and Steven Udvar-Hazy continues to swing Ireland’s way and the towards leasing rather than traditional airline ownership.

More than half the aircraft in the sky will be owned by leasing companies in five years, up from 40pc today, Thomas Cahill of Morgan Stanley told delegates. John Wojick of Boeing suggested that this was down to the way aircraft are financed (listen here). Adam Pilarski explained why fuel prices fell (listen here) leading to windfall profits for the airlines. Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap argued that lower fuel prices have made older aircraft useful again and he was leasing older 767s, A340s and 747s again. It was argued that the approximate $10m differential between an A320ceo and an A320neo cannot be justified at current fuel prices. Elsewhere the conference was told that at least four non-US airlines are planning to do a EETC in 2015 Warwick: I think Boeing would admit they’re struggling to keep the 747 program running at an economic rate. European carriers have the highest break-even load factor at 64.7pc. Richard Owen Walker of Airbus declared “India is a frustration for everyone, including India. Bureaucracy and regulation is stopping growth.” Wizz Air CFO Mike Powell called for more consolidation among EU flag carriers. Nirmal Govinda Das of Emirates said there is no other choice than diversify funding base because of the large aircraft fleet.

The legendary Bill Franke of Indigo Partners predicted there will be mergers among American low cost carriers, similar to the consolidation which has left just four major legacy carriers in the USA.  It was a frenetic week, with Bombardier hosting the best of the many parties across the city on Tuesday evening for the Global Aviation delegates.

At Growth Frontiers 2015 in the Shelbourne Hotel Paul Horsnell of Standard Chartered said the tactic of OPEC is to keep the oil price down until around Q2 this year, then to let it climb gradually to what would be $80-100.

Two impromptu press conferences arose out of the conference. Ethiopian Airlines. Tewolde Gebremariam said a decision had not been made on whether to use US pre-clearance at Dublin airport when Ethiopian’s 787 Dreamliner service stops over on its Addis-Dublin-Los Angeles route starting June 19, and the key factor was whether it would delay the stopover. Tewolde Gebremariam explains how the Dublin route came about (listen here).

16344474895_da8774503d_nMichael O’Leary, gregarious and generous as ever, declared the conference a bull-shitter’s ball when he hosted a press conference with Boeing’s John Wojic at Swords. For a man who declared he was not going to talk about Ryanair’s Aer Lingus shares he managed to generate a lot of publicity about Aer Lingus, saying it would be broken up “no matter who owns it.” Michael O’Leary outlined the impact the aircraft deliveries would have on Ryanair’s growth strategy (listen here). John Wojick gave a sales presentation on the advantages of the craft (listen here). One of the slides featuring a bright and airy 2-2 configuration which Michael O’Leary was quick to point out would not be available in the Ryanair version.  Michael O’Leary said that Ryanair paid a premium for their NG craft (listen here) and conceded that the list prices we all use in the headlines when reporting these orders are meaningless (listen here). The new craft can use shorter runways such as Derry without blocking off seats (listen here). john Wojick of Boeing said most of the savings in the new NG are down to operating cost (listen here).  Ryanair declined having extra seats because it would mean a shorter seat pitch (listen here). Picture shows Michael O’Leary presenting John Wojick with an Irish rugby jersey. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Most headlines were generated by his comments on the Aer Lingus takeover bid and the suggestion that Ryanair’s trans-Atlantic brother airline could offer transatlantic at under €100 (listen here), Michael O’Leary discussed the airline’s changing business model and goal to become the Amazon dot com of travel (listen here), about how he was Inspired by Lidl and Aldi move to mid market (listen here), how customers can no longer be forced to drive up ancillaries (listen here), about how there was no need to be discourteous if price and cost advantage is maintained (listen here), the challenge of maintaining that advantage (listen here), how Ryanair’s average fare is down from €52 to €46 (listen here) and, in response to a question, what might halt Ryanair growth (listen here). He depicted the future of ancillaries (listen here) is by personalising the customer experience (listen here). He said the airline will interact with customers (listen here) in real time (listen here) and respond more quickly to complaints (listen here).

He reminisced on the dividends that came straight out of Tony Ryan’s pocket (listen here) and into the black hole of the old unprofitable Ryanair and how he told Tony Ryan to shut the airline down (listen here) but said he was not, despite appearances, particularly loyal to Boeing (listen here). Asked about Cork he said the challenge to the airport is the cost base (listen here) and the erosion of their hinterland by improved road connections. He justified his decision to continue to pursue screen scrapers (listen here).

He reiterated that Ryanair will be one of the big five European airlines as a result of consolidation in European aviation (listen here) and listed some places Ryanair would like to fly with the new craft (listen here).

15716687733_88f13be4fe_nIndian Ambassador Radhika Lokesh revealed the inbound tourism had increased by 40pc since the launch of the e-visa facility on November 27. “We were surprised and delighted when our Prime Minister Narendra Mod announced the e-visa on his visit to Washington in Surprised and that it was introduced a few weeks later.” At a function where Incredible India hosted the travel trade at Ananda Restaurant in Dundrum, ambassador Lokesh said she expected the 12,000 annual visas granted to visitors from Ireland to India to increase as a result of the scheme. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

wendy wu John Warr and the new Ireland manager of Wendy Wu Tours John Booty (pictured) revealed two brochures dedicated to the Irish market at the launch of its Irish programme in Dublin.  Wendy Wu are offering €200 off bookings until May and if you travel through London with Air China the return leg of your flight will be in business class.  John Warr gave an introduction to the Wendy Wu product, revealing that Wendy Wu is a real person (listen here).

travel extra awards winnersPól Ó Conghaile of the Irish Independent won the Travel Extra Travel Writer of the Year award for the fifth time at a ceremony sponsored by the Spanish Tourist Board on Friday night. The event was compered by Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry and speakers were Spanish ambassador Javier Gariguez, ITAA President Martin Skelly, Maria Targa of Salou Tourist Board, Oriol Garcia of Portaventura and Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Category winners were:

  • Broadcasting: Mary Fanning of Nationwide (sponsored by TTC)
  • Digital: Winner – Pól Ó Conghaile of independent.ie (sponsored by Clickandgo)
  • Home market: Madeleine Keane of the Sunday Independent (sponsored by Fáilte Ireland)
  • Long haul: Winner Deirdre Mullins for rte.ie (sponsored by Sunway)
  • Newcomer/Young Journalist: Deirdre Conroy of the Sunday Independent (sponsored by Turkish Airlines)
  • Northern Ireland: Ros Drinkwater of Sunday Business Post (sponsored by Northern Ireland Tourist Board)
  • Short break: Conor Power of Sunday Independent (sponsored by Cassidy Travel)
  • Skiing: Isabel Conway of Metro Herald (sponsored by Topflight)
  • Spain: Winner – NIamh McSweeney of Business and Finance (sponsored by Spanish Tourist Board)
  • Sun holiday: Ros Drinkwater of the Sunday Business Post “(sponsored by Falcon Holidays):
  • Travel Book: Mark Graham for A Year of Festivals in Ireland published by New Island (sponsored by Lowcostholidays).

16323050591_be25428222_nKildare Fáilte launched their food tourism strategy in Newbridge. Phil Donnelly (pictured) introduced the food tourism strategy (listen here) and updated delegates on the workings of Kildare Fáilte (listen here)

Michael Osborne said 10pc of the jobs in Kildare now come from tourism (listen here) Helen McDaid spoke about Failte Ireland’s food tourism toolkit (listen here) Tina O’Dwyer spoke about the first three years of the Burren Food Trail (listen here) warning tourism interests embarking on similar projects to “get the objects clear and measure those objectives, don’t set an objective midway through the campaign.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

  • paul rickardETOA appointed Paul Rickard (pictured) as a research consultant.
  • Sunway is to operate a charter from Shannon to Izmir this summer.
  • Brand USA, American Airlines and British Airways will host the USA MegaFam on May 14-21, 2015.
  • Carole Smith of SynNeo is hosting two webinars in February covering how to use Blogging and Twitter to grow a travel business.
  • Dublin-based Travelleaders is seeking a corporate travel consultant with fluent French.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Paris trip winners were Alice Swords of Sunway, and Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays.
  • TravelCube January incentive winners were Alan O’Doherty of Independent Travel Consultants, Eva Jancichova of John Cassidy Travel and Kathryn McCarthy of Abbey Travel.
  • Travelport Ireland has moved to Building 2, Swift Square, Northwood Demense, Santry, Dublin 9. Telephone numbers remain the same.
  • The ITAA’s January survey found that 66pc of agents reported that Spain was their most popular destination in 2014.
  • RCL Cruises announced a new reservation system, Espresso, for travel agents selling Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. The new system will launch in March.
  • The Skal Kerry Club’s president’s dinner takes place Jan 31 in the Malton Hotel, Killarney. Drinks reception at 7.30pm, followed by dinner at 8.15pm. Tickets €65pp. The Malton is offering single B&B for €70, or €100 for twin/double B&B. Booking to made direct with the hotel.
  • 240 travel reps visited Prague for GTA’s first annual European Sourcing Sales and Operations conference.
  • MC If Only JoinLuxury operator If Only… joined the MoneyCard travel agent loyalty scheme. Picture shows MoneyCard partners Nick Wilkinson, Norwegian Cruise Line; Stephen Rhodes, MD Funway Holidays; Peter Traynor, Collette; Brendan Maguire, If Only…; and Graham Sadler, Norwegian Cruise Line.
  • Funway Holidays is running a competition with agents from Feb 2 to Feb 14: Tweet Funway a message why you love Funway using the hashtag #tweetheart. The winner will be announced on Feb 16 and will receive a bouquet of flowers or chocolates.

Deal Watch

Stena Line 1Stena Line’s January Sale runs from now until January 28 for travel until June 15. Hotel breaks to England start from €119pps for 2 nights incl. ferry travel by car. Picture shows Neil Fingleton, Europes tallest man (at 7’ 7” ¾) launching the Stena Line sale in Ireland.

  • Falcon is offering 7 nights self catering Dublin to Revoli Playa Apartments, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €1,229 for two adults and one child or from €1,749 for two adults and two children. To book, visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Ferrycarrig Hotel Valentine’s Weekend offer: 2 nights B&B from €165pps incl. one evening meal at Reed’s Restaurant with complimentary glass of Prosecco each, available Feb 13-15.
  • Thomson couples offer: 7 nights half board Dublin to Timanfaya Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €749pps, depart May 25. To book, visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Riviera Travel is offering 4 nights/5 days B&B Dublin to Iceland from €1,039pp incl. tours and transfers. To book, call 01 9056 300.
  • Sunway offers: 7  nights self catering in Bella Italia, Lake Garda from €2,146 for two adults and two children, travel in June. 7 nights self catering in Roc Lago Park Apts, Menorca from €1,699 for two adults and two children incl. water park tickets, depart May 30. 7 nights B&B in Florisol Dorosol Hotel, Madeira from €539pp, travel May and Sept. 7 nights in La Manga Club, Los Lomas Village, La Manga from €2,999 for two adults and two children, depart June 27. To book, visit sunway.ie or call 01 2311 800.
  • NITB Valentine’s weekend offers: 2 nights in Ballymultimber Cottages, The Garden, Limavady, Co Derry from £125 per unit incl. complimentary logs for the fire, champagne and chocolates, available Feb 13-15, call (07734) 154 835 to book. 1 night in Windsor Townhouse, Belfast from £180 for two people incl. logs for the open fire, bottle of Prosecco and chocolates, available until Dec 30, call 078 9104  1899 to book. 2 night in Lough Erne, Dulrush House, Leggs, Co Fermanagh from £129pps incl. boat trip on Lough Erne and complimentary picnic basket, available Feb 13-15, call 028 6865 8942 to book. 1 night B&B in Hilton Templepatrick, Ballyclare, Co Antrim from £69.50pps incl. Chef’s Valentine’s Menu, available Feb 13-15, call 028 9443 5500 to book.
  • Hastings Hotels is offering couples retreat at The Spa, Slieve Donard from £60pp for a private spa room incl. smoothies on arrival and a fresh fruit platter, additional £15pp to upgrade to a glass of Prosecco and nibbles. To book, call 048 4372 1066 or visit hastingshotels.com.
  • Natural Retreats Castlemartyr offers of the week: 3 nights’ accommodation for a group of 6 from Feb 13 in a 3 bed mews from €25pppn or 2 nights from Sat 14 from €38pppn. 3 nights’ accommodation for a group from Feb 13 in a 2 bed lodge from€35pppn or 2 nights from €41.50pppn.

Hotels

hpi trivagoAverage hotel price in Ireland in January was €88, according to Trivago’s Hotel Price Index. Kinsale was the most expensive location at €106. Kenmare was second most expensive at €101, followed by Dublin at €96. The cheapest locations were Waterford (€73), Limerick (€78) and Wexford (€80). The usual suspects top the European index: London (€179), Paris (€158) and Munich (€139). And the bottom: Prague (€83), Lisbon (€87) and Berlin (€87).

Harvey’s Point was the winner once again in TripAdvisor’s top 10 Irish hotels: 1 Harvey’s Point, Donegal; 2 The Merrion, Dublin; 3 Hayfield Manor, Cork; 4 The Killarney Park Hotel, Co Kerry; 5 Ballygarry House Hotel & Spa, Tralee; 6 Adare Manor, Co Limerick; 7 The Dunloe, Beaufort, Co Kerry; 8 River Lee Hotel, Cork; 9 Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo; 10 International Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry.

Top 10 international: 1 Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives; 2 Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, Costa Rica; 3 Shinta Mani Club Siem Reap, Cambodia; 4 Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest, Hungary; 5 Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco, Peru; 6 Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives; 7 Hotel Alpin Spa Tuxerhof, Austria; 8 Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai; 9 Hotel Estalagem St Hubertus, Brazil; 10 Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Peru

  • HPO003Hilton Paris Opera (pictured) officially re-opened this week, following a $50m renovation.
  • Proper Hospitality announced the launch of new brand Proper Hotels. The first Proper Hotel, opening later this year, will be a 135-room boutique property in San Francisco’s Mid-Market area.
  • Hilton Worldwide launched Meet with Purpose, a MICE programme aimed at promoting healthy habits and sustainable options for events.
  • Marriott International forecasts 1m rooms open or under development by the end of 2015.
  • A new Hard Rock Hotel will open in Cancun in 2017.

International

  • Today FM’s Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show will be broadcast live from Bad Hofgastein Austria 7am to 9am every day this week.
  • Keith Whyte, a 33-year-old father of two from Ennis, won the Antarctic marathon in 9 hours, 26 minutes and two seconds. Another Irishman, Kevin McGeene was second.
  • TripAdvisor signed a content deal with CNN to feature its content and price comparison search on CNNTravel.com.
  • Forte dei Marmi resort in Tuscany hopes to use drones to assist lifeguards this summer.
  • Europcar acquired a majority stake in French car-sharing start-up Ubeeqo.
  • The Italian National Tourist Board published a calendar of upcoming carnivals in Italy.
  • Tasmania released a draft plan to put remote areas like Centurion near Hobart, where the tallest flowering tree was discovered in 2008.
  • Flights to and from Keflavik International Airport in Iceland were cancelled on Monday because of high winds and rain.
  • 12,000 passengers were affected by delays to Eurostar services after a truck fire caused the Chunnel to close.
  • Google added the Palacade of Pena, Sintra, Queluz and Monserrate to its Indoors Maps function.
  • We Are Golf announced the 8th National Golf Day will take place in Washington DC on April 15.
  • Haven launched its first TV and cinema ad campaign in England, targeting families.
  • North Korea launched a new volunteer programme at Pyongyang Tourism College looking for qualified English speakers to teach English language skills and tourism studies to North Korean students. The scheme is organised by Juche Travel Services and costs €1,000 for each volunteer, which includes accommodation, travel expenses and excursions.
  • Upcoming events in Israel: Eilat Chamber Music Festival marks its 10th anniversary from Feb 2 to 7. The Sounds of the Old City Festival takes place in Jerusalem from March 9 to 12.
  • Bloomberg TV presenter Owen Thomas posted a 30 second clip showing the poor condition his British Airways First Class cabin was in. The footage received over 1.2m views on YouTube. Watch here.
  • Dollywood will host a new Christian music festival, Rock the Smokies, on Sept 5.
  • A new anti-jet lag drug is being developed by McGill University and Douglas Mental Health University in Canada. The tablets synchronise blood cells to “trick” the body into thinking night is day and vice versa. It was tested successfully on 16 volunteers.
  • Pacific Crest Trail Association credits a surge in walking holidays on the Pacific Crest Trail following the release of the film Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon.
  • Archers were called in to get rid of a deer on the runway of Sandpoint airport in Idaho.

Food and Wine

Restaurant Forty One is offering a New World Wines v Old World Wines menu on Tuesday, prepared by chef Graham Neville and sommelier Victor Nedelea, for €85. Call 01 662 0000 to book.

Aviation

As the IAG-Lingus soap opera continues, Sky News and the Financial Times initially reported that the board of IAG had authorised an improved all-cash offer of €2.50 a share. However the share price fell from €2.48 to €2.35 and the Irish Times reported that confidence in a third approach for Aer Lingus by IAG seemed to be waningMichael O’Leary told Bloomberg that the regulatory authorities will fall over themselves to encourage an IAG takeover. The IAG bid demonstrates that Aer Lingus has no viable independent future, the only question is, which partner? Our stake has been for sale for about an 18-month period. We’ve gone to most of the leading airlines in Europe, including IAG, all of whom turned us down. Clare TD Timmy Dooley said: “IAG’s pursuit of Aer Lingus is becoming more aggressive with every passing week, and I am gravely concerned by the Minister Paschal Donohoe’s silence on the issue.” Michael O’Leary claimed that the IAG bid suggests that Aer Lingus does not have a long term future (listen here) and that Heathrow connectivity was over stated (listen here). Michael speculated on a fourth bid for Aer Lingus (listen here) and said the Ryanair board will decide what to do with the Aer LIngus shares (listen here). He suggested Ryanair would be interested in the Heathrow slots that may have to be sold off (listen here)

  • In response to a question from Travel Extra, Michael O’Leary said that Munich would not be in the immediate plans of Ryanair as they planned to grow from 8m passengers to 30m passengers in Germany in the next five years (listen here).
  • A group of 12 recruits will begin the Aer Lingus cadet pilot training programme at the end of the month with FTEJerez in Spain. 3,000 applicants applied for the 14-month course, the third Aer Lingus pilot cadetship programme since 2011.
  • Thomas Cook Airlines is adding another three flights to Florida for Summer 15 direct from Belfast International Airport on June 26, July 3 and Sept 4 in addition to the existing flights from Belfast to Orlando on June 30 and July 7.
  • FlyBe is increasing its Belfast City to Liverpool route to 4 daily from March 30.
  • Emirates Ireland manager Enda Corneille was asked about the prospects of the airline bringing the A380 to Dublin during Eoghan Corry’s travel advice clinics at Holiday World. Listen here to his reply.
  • Murat Balandi, Ireland manager of Turkish Airlines told the advice clinics that “the Irish were global before globalisation.”
  • Silvano Cassano of Alitalia and James Hogan of Etihad have announced a new three-hub strategy for Alitalia: long haul services will be based in Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa, while Milan Linate will serve partner airline hubs.
  • American Airlines reported December 2014’s total revenue passenger miles was down 0.4pc to 18.1bn. Total capacity was up 3.7pc to 22.5bn available seat miles. Load factor was down 3.4pc to 80.4pc.
  • The former Korean Air executive who caused a flight to be delayed because she was served nots in a bag instead of a dish appeared in court in Seoul on Monday. She pleaded not guilty to violating aviation security law.
  • A major runway collision was averted at JFK Airport last Saturday after a JetBlue aircraft had to abort its take off suddenly after a Caribbean Airways jet crossed the runway.
  • American Airlines will operate a daily service from Dallas to Beijing Capital International Airport from May 7.
  • Iverness Airport was closed on Monday after a jet carrying 47 passengers and two crew members came off the runway.
  • Avolon had a fleet of 137 aircraft at the end of 2014, a 26pc YOY increase.
  • Belfast International Airport runway was used for a hare headcount.
  • David Houlihan was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer of DAE Capital.
  • Dublin airport celebrated its 75th birthday on Monday. There was musical entertainment from the 1940s and 50s in both terminals, and an exhibition charting the airport’s history was installed in T1. The John Murray Show met some of the airport personalities (listen here go to 9 minutes 50 seconds).
  • The impact of the fuel price fall was reflected in Delta Air Lines record $4.5bn profit, $3.7bn in free cash flow, $1.35bn returned to shareholders through stock repurchases and dividends, and a 20.7pc return on invested capital.
  • Ryanair received delivery of five 737-800s, the first of i180 737-800 NG aircraft on order.

Afloat

Norwegian Escape will feature a series of branded dining and entertainment experiences: two new speciality restaurants from chef Jose Garces; the Food Republic emporium from The Pubbelly Restaurant Group; the District Brew House; The Cellars Michael Mondavi Family wine bar; new Supper Club; two Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals; and the musical Million Dollar Quartet.

  • Copenhagen will become the first airport in Europe to let cruise ship passengers check bags for their flights before leaving the ship from March.
  • The 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista will feature the first IMAX at sea when it launches May 1, 2016
  • Regent Seven Seas held its keel-laying ceremony for Seven Seas Explorer which it claims is the “most luxurious ship in the world.”
  • Avalon Waterways announced launch dates for two suite ships, Avalon Imagery II and Avalon Passion, to its fleet next spring. AmaWaterways will offer passengers interconnecting rooms and larger suites, as well as a heated swimming pool on two 158-passenger ships AmaViola and AmaStella next spring.

Ireland

FORGING CELTIC CONNECTIONS FOR DONEGAL IN GLASGOW31 members of the Irish trade travelled to Glasgow to take part in a B2B networking event organised by Tourism Ireland ahead of the Celtic Connections festival, which kicked off on Jan 15 and continues until Feb 1. Picture shows Michael Naughton, Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny; Siobhán Barrett-Doherty, Station House Hotel, Letterkenny; Linda Duncan, Tourism Ireland; and Philip McGlynn, Great Northern Hotel & Leisure Centre, Bundoran, at the event.

  • Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh officially launched the Clare Festivals and Events Guide 2015 in Glór Ennis. More than 150 events feature in the new guide, produced by the Clare Tourism Forum with support from Shannon Airport. The new guide will visitor attractions, accommodation providers, tourist offices, libraries and Council Area offices. Some upcoming events include of the event and festival highlights during the coming weeks include the 3rd annual Concertina Cruinniu in Miltown Malbay,Feb 13-15; Bunratty Chess Festival, Feb 19-22; Corofin Traditional, March 2-8; 54th West Clare Drama Festival in Doonbeg, March 7-16, Killaloe/Ballina St Patrick’s Festival March 16-17; and the Doolin Writers Weekend, 27-29 March 27-29.
  • GMAC SWINGS INTO ACTION FOR IRISH TOURISMGolfer Graeme McDowell visited the Ireland stand at the PGA Golf Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida this week to support Tourism Ireland’s 2015 promo drive. 40,000 golf professionals and fans are expected to attend this year’s show, as well as 1,000 golf journalists. Picture shows Graeme McDowell with Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland and golf tourism partners.
  • The programme for the Ennis Book Club Festival 2015 was published on Tuesday. Line up includes: Joe O’Connor, Niall Williams, Des O’Malley, Mary Costello, Val McDermid, Paul Carson and Colin Barrett. See the programme here. The festival takes place March 6-8, tickets are on sale at Glór in Ennis from January 26. Book on 065 6843103 or glor.ie. Picture shows Liz Kelly  and Mary Donnelly of the Ennis Book Club Festival pictured with Cllr James Breen, Deputy Mayor of Ennis, at the launch of the Festival programme in glór, Ennis, Co. Clare.
  • IRELAND BITTE! GERMANS TARGETED AT HOLIDAY FAIR IN STUTTGARTTourism Ireland in Germany and a group of Irish travel professionals attended the Caravan, Motor & Tourism Fair in Stuttgart this week. 240,000 visitors are expected to attend the nine-day travel fair. Picture shows Thomas Ryan, Irish Greyhound Board; Siobhán Corridan, Lake Hotel Killarney; and Michelle Tigue, Irish Greyhound Board, on the Tourism Ireland stand.

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

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