TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A sad end to the high speed dream



Boarding the Stena Superfast X in Gdynia

Boarding the Stena Superfast X in Gdynia

The headlines this week:

  • Superfast X: the first pictures
  • End to the high speed dream and Dun Laoghaire’s Irish Sea service
  • How IAG can encircle island-vision Enda
  • ConCATination brings Travel Centres Conference to Kilkenny at late date

Travel Extra TV

Video of week Feb 8Our video of the week shows the Stena team and Travel Extra inspecting the Stena Superfast X by basket ahead of its launch on the Dublin-Holyhead route on March 11. Watch here.

  • EasyJet uploaded a video showcasing its new livery. Watch here.
  • See Aer Lingus Regional‘s Fastest way to the USA promo from Bristol Airport. Watch here.
  • Captain van Dorst of KLM explains how autopilot works on a flight from Amsterdam to London. Watch here.
  • Martin Corr of Sound Moves shows his support for Heathrow expansion. Watch here.
  • Dramatic footage of the TransAsia ATR 71-600 jet crashing into a bridge in Taiwan received lots of media attention this week. 40 people were killed in the crash. Watch here.
  • Watch here Bloomberg’s contention that the Ryanair charm offensive is working.


IMG_0095 copyThree weeks to go to Stena’s launch of Stena Superfast X on March 11 and the ship was undergoing its final stages of refurbishment, in Gdynia, in the midst of transformation from the DFDS Calais to Dover vessel to the latest fleet flagship for Stena on the Dublin-Holyhead route. The key changes: decks eight and nine and most of ten are devoted to passenger facilities instead of the confined single deck facilities on Stena Nordica, which currently serves Dublin-Holyhead. It will have four times the passenger facilities, 1,200 instead of 300 and two kilometres of lane space. The new ship includes a signature spa but will not be open for the summer season until a specialist spa operation is established, similar to the spas on sister ships Stena Superfast VII and VIII which currently serve on Belfast routes.

IMG_0061 copyStena’s team called by Gdynia (is it just us at Travel Extra or does that sound like a Conal Gallen song?) this week to check on progress and found the passenger service areas in the final stages of preparation. Travel Extra was there to experience the delight of a transfer to the ship by basket. People fly to Orlando for lesser experiences.

She previously plied Hanko-Rostock, Rosyth-Zeebrugge, Patras-Corfu and Dover-Dunkerque. We look forward to her naming ceremony in Dublin on March 11.Picture shows  Orla Noonan of Stena, Kerry Prentice of Prentice PR, Diane Poole of Stena and Siobhan Jacobs of Yellow Door. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Stena HSSHigh speed ferry services started with the 425 passenger, 88 car Stena Sea Lynx in summer 1993. During her first six months in service on the Dun Laoghaire crossing the total market grew by over 200,000 passengers and 40,000 cars. Nineteen years ago this week Travel Extra’s editor was among a team of journalists who visited Lysekil to see the ice bound future of ferry travel: the Stena Explorer HSS (High Speed Service): like a giant frozen paper airplane, looming from the fog in a harbour of floating broken ice, it could have been a prop from a Sci-fi film, swans and geese waddled along the ice and waiting for the sun to rise or the ice to melt. Stena president Bo Lerenius was looking nostalgic. This little port was one of the first used by Stena ferries thirty years ago. captain Andy Humphries from Holyhead showed how he was able to dock the ship without looking out the window. The craft was set to cut the journey time to Holyhead from 210 to 99 minutes and was the largest of the new generation of fast craft. She was preceded by Sea Containers Ferries Scotland SeaCat (which operated Dublin to Liverpool 2001-4) and was joined by Stena Voyager and the still operating Irish Ferries vessel Jonathan Swift. Slow ferries were passé, left to their own freight (apologies to bad pun police).

Stena HSS 004When fuel prices rose HSS proved thirsty, too thirsty for the fuel prices of recent years and the running costs turned Stena’s central corridor from a profit point to a break even situation. It was hoped that with falling fuel prices it would have returned for this year. It did not help that there were no senior personnel in Dublin in a position to argue the case after a restructuring over the past two years. The bean counters in Sweden could take the decision on a pure monetary basis. Internet speculation suggests the sale of Stena Explorer is unlikely due to her unique berthing requirements and it is likely she will be sent to be scrapped by Stena Recycling like her sister ship Stena Voyager.

dun laoghaire ferryportDun Laoghaire Harbour say expressions of interest are being sought from suitable providers to operate a seasonal ferry service on the Holyhead route. Local politicians carry much blame for all that went wrong. When the HSS first arrived the councillors put a limit of no more than 12 trucks per sailing through the port. This forced the company to look at Dublin Port for their freight and discovered that port dues were way cheaper than they were being charged in Dun Laoghaire, which led to the gradual transfer of all ships into Dublin Port. When Dun Laoghaire eventually changed their rates, it was too little too late.

On RTÉ television on Wednesday  Dun Laoghaire’s Harbour spokesman stated that they wanted the harbour designated as the cruise port. Dun Laoghaire delegates travel to Cruise shipping Miami every March but its problem is that none of the normal sized cruise ships can get into the port and taking people in by tender can lead to complications. 1822 Kingstown opens Apr 25 copy

A lengthy era comes to an end. How lengthy? Dun Laoghaire’s scheduled sailings with that commenced with the first sailing of the St Patrick under Captain JP Phillips on May 1 1822 (notice pictured). Dun Laoghaire was initially used for the Liverpool mail boats which were too large to enter Howth harbour and after 1824 the post office’s steam packets, the Aladdin, Harlequin and Cinderella moved their base to Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead (eight hour journey, 12 berths in the men’s quarters, eight in the ladies). The Howth service ended on Jan 22 1834.

15836704533_9e848bdab8_nEthiopian Airlines, to launch Dublin-Addis and Dublin-LAX on June 19, will bring their Dreamliner to Dublin on March 20. To celebrate the new route Ethiopian ambassador Lela-alem Gebreyohannes Tedla hosted Irish travel media at the ambassadorial residence in Dublin this week. Picture shows Teehaye Gebrekiden Mekonnen, ambassador Lela-alem Gebreyohannes Tedla, Michael Yohannes of Ethiopian Airlines and Hailu Neri Beza. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

willie walsh_9312It was a highly confusing week for anyone attempting to follow the slanty shamrock-shenanigans of the IAG-Lingus bid. IAG is keeping its cards close to its chest but may be moving towards a position where they would be content to buy holdings other than the government’s 25pc, leaving it with de facto control of the airline (despite some suggestions to the contrary last week). It makes sense for Ryanair to sell their 30pc holding to IAG to keep predators such as EasyJet at bay and make back the money they spent. Drury was engaged by IAG to help with their efforts to acquire Aer Lingus. Briefings will emphasis the IAG plan maintain connectivity from Ireland and deliver significant growth for customers (and cargo traffic), benefiting tourism and trade. The first meeting took place between IAG and the coalition advisors.

In public, portents are not promising. Bloomberg declared it an Irish Rebuff. Michael O’Leary said that the Government should adopt a more intelligent approach to the  sale of Aer Lingus stake. The F-word even entered the debate when the entire exercise was declared a fiasco in an editorial in the Irish Independent (who stringently oppose the bid). They editorialised that the debate signalled a return to populist politics as usual. Enda Kenny‘s interview on RTE’s This Week kicked for touch (listen here)

If IAG might have expected a more positive reaction to their guarantee not to sell Heathrow slots and not to cease using them on Irish services within five years (a better guarantee than slot-sensitive souls enjoy at present), they were wrong. This was not enough for most of the cacophony of protest. One North Dublin newspaper went all Kelvin McKenzie with their front page protest.eve o'driscoll michael keaveney

British Irish Chamber of Commerce voiced its support for the bid. Eve O’Driscoll and Michael Keaveney  joined Gina Quin as some of the few alternative voices  in the debate.

Pat Byrne, back as CityJet chairman (pictured speaking at the ITAA conference in 2006), said Ireland would be nuts not to accept the IAG offer for Aer Lingus, it would lead to job expansion and Enda Kenny is currently engaged in a strategy of protectionism which is harming Ireland’s business reputation and the contribution last Sunday suggested that the Taoiseach has an island mentality.pat byrne

Travel Extra pointed out (again) that Heathrow slots are yesterday’s news (listen here to Eoghan Corry on Morning Ireland) and that the government is in danger of being trapped into seeking guarantees that do not represent the interest of Irish consumers and tourism.

No representatives of the travel trade have been heard by the Transport committee nor any consumer groups — instead we saw more trade unions trotting out alarmist analysis and business groups some of whose analysis of aviation comes from the last century. Interestingly IAG’s statement was phrased to include Chambers of Commerce.

And the best quote of all? Back to Michael O’Leary. The country has much more things to discuss that the future of a small regional peripheral airline.

Elisabeta 'Lizzy' Cutka from Vienna in Sportgastein ski resort, Dec 16 2014The sun made an appearance this week across the Alps and the heavy snow finally let up giving some fantastic skiing conditions. In the last 48 hours we have seen at least 60cm of new snow across the Alps and French resorts enjoying a retour d’est. Snow is still falling in the Pyrenees, with the French, Spanish and Andorran resorts all reporting yet more snowfall. Norway and Sweden resorts have been enjoying sunny skies and good snow. Fresh snow is reported across the USA. Lis Cutka reports from Bad Hofgastein that Topflight’s Today FM trip was great: Really good fun with the Irish, they are partying sooo hard. The Coronas were brilliant really great band. By Thursday after the coronas there were not many people in the lessons, all in all we had a great week with great people.

Travel TradeIMG_2049

Travel Centres conference will take place in Lyragh, Co Kilkenny on Dec 3-5, a late date than has traditionally been the case.

  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand road show will visit Belfast on Feb 24, Cork on Feb 25, and Limerick on Feb 26. Three travel agents will each win fam trip places to Thailand.
  • Egle Godliauskais is to become Sales & Events Co-Ordinator and Holly Mason for The Travel Corporation team. Egle studied Tourism Marketing at DIT. Holly Advertising and Marketing Communications at ITT Dublin and since worked with The Irish Hotels Federation, Credit Union Ireland and DSPCA.
  • Hurtigruten appointed Cecilia Abert as Director for Ireland and Britain.
  • Thai Airways introduced their A380-800 on the London route.
  • Padraic Keogh from Padraic Keogh Travel is the fourth and final winner of Lowcostbeds’ ‘High 5’ trade promotion.
  • Air transport IT specialist, SITA named Murray Smyth VP Sales for Northern Europe, based in London.
  • JacTravel is planning to open an office in Dublin .
  • The Young Skål Symposium 2015 takes place in Rome March 11-14.
  • Air France KLM is recruiting for an Account Manager based in Dublin.
  • Ryanair is recruiting a Head of Corporates & Groups.
  • Lowcostbeds is recruiting an Ireland-based Purchasing Manager.stephen davitt missing
  • Stephen Davitt of Emirates has now been missing for two weeks. Laytown Gardai +35341 9827074. Here’s hoping.
  • Travelport and Abercrombie & Kent agreed a new long-term partnership.
  • Funway Holidays’ Valentines Day competition continues until Feb 14, winner announced Feb 16. To enter, agents must tweet why they love Funway using the hashtag #tweetheart.
  • Lowcostbeds are giving away five €100 vouchers. All bookings made between now and Feb 10 will be automatically entered into the draw. Winners announced this Wednesday, Feb 11.

Deal Watch

  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: 8 day all inclusive Bordeaux river cruise along the Garonne, the Dordogne and the Gironde from €1,629 incl. flights, transfers and taxes, depart March 29. 8 day all inclusive river cruise along the Danube, starting in Budapest, ending in Passau from €1,999 incl. flights, taxes and transfers, depart April 12.
  • Sunway offers: 4 nights Excalibur Hotel & Casino Las Vegas from €1,129pp incl flights ex Dublin, depart July 8. 3 nights B&B Fairfield Inn and Suites St Johns, Newfoundland from €699pp incl. flights ex Dublin, travel May 2015. 7 nights half board Ocean Paradise Resort honeymoon in Zanzibar from €1,259pp incl. transfers, flights ex Dublin, travel June 2015. 7 nights half board Sarova Whitesands, Mombasa Beach, Kenya from €1,099pp incl. transfers, flights ex Dublin and taxes.
  • Sunway offers to Agadir, Morocco, depart May 2, 9 or 16: 7 nights self catering 3* Intouriste Apartments from €349pp. B&B 3* Argana Hotel from €454pp. B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €499pp. All Inclusive 4* Founty Beach Hotel from €699pp. B&B 5* Sofitel Agadir Royal from €999pp. All prices include flights, transfers, 7 nights accommodation, taxes, 20kg checked baggage and Sunway Reo service.
  • Sunway 7-night Junior Suite yoga surf and spa breaks to Paradis Plage, Morocco from €949pp incl. flights, transfers, taxes, 20kg checked baggage and Sunway Rep service.
  • Topflight 7-night ski specials: Austria — Niedarau from €339pps, Zell am See from €369pps, St Johann from €709pps. France — La Plagne from €835pps, Mérible from €569pps. Andora — Arinsal from €899pps. Prices include return flights, transfers, luggal allowance and rep service. To book, call 01 2401 700 or visit
  • Lowcostholidays Beach offers: 7 nights Rio Apts Algarve from €169pp, depart March 6. 7 nights THB Corbeta Lanzarote from €290pp, depart March 6. 7 nights Africamar Apts Majorca from €225pp, depart May 11. 7 nights Club la Costa World, Costa Del Sol from €225pp, depart May 11. 7 nights La Carabela Apts Tenerife from €289pp, depart May 11.
  • Lowcostholidays long haul offers: 7 nights Ramada Gateway Hotel from €689pp, depart March 8. 7 nights Hecienda de Castilla Cancun from €895pp, depart March  8. 7 nights Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong, Phuket from €878pp, depart May 9. 7 nights Harrison Hotel, Miami from €969pp, depart May 21. 7 nights Hotel Primaveral, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €922pp, depart May 8.
  • Lowcostholidays city break offers: 2 nights B&B Kavalir Hotel, Prague from €149pp, depart March 5. 2 nights B&B HUSA Pedralbes, Barcelona from €145pp, depart March 5. 2 nights B&B Hotel Amstel Botel, Amsterdam from €198pp, depart May 6. 4 nights Seton Hotel, New York from €829pp. 5 nights Arabian Park Hotel, Dubai from €589pp, depart May 6.
  • Topflight Tuscany options: 7 nights B&B Hotel Versilia Palace from €599pps incl. return flights, transfers, taxes and checked in bags. 7 nights Tuscan Countryside from €1,495 for two adults and one child incl. return flights, car rental, taxes and checked in bags. 7 nights Hotel Versilia Palace from €959pp incl. return flights, taxes, checked in bags, excursions with wine tasting, 3 course dinner on 3 of your nights. Call 01 2401 701 or visit to book.
  • Celebrity Cruises announced the 7-night Take Me Out to the High Seas 2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise, departing Miami January 9, 2016, with calls in San Juan, St Thomas and St Maarten aboard Celebrity Reflection.


Preferred Hotel Group launched a worldwide collection of exceptional villas, bungalows and condominiums.francis brennan john brennan

  • launched a new campaign promoting Thailand called Wai Thailand.
  • Wyndham Hotel Group bought Dolce Hotels and Resorts for $57m.
  • The 72-room Hen-na Hotel at Huis ten Bosch theme park near Nagasaki, Japan will open this summer. The hotel will be mostly staffed by robots. The uniformed robots — which will man the check in desk, clean rooms and serve meals — can speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English.
  • A hotelier is to be commemorated in an Irish ballad elevating the hospitable profession to the level of the patriots, lovers, sportsmen, and highwaymen. Or rather, two hoteliers. A song called the Brennan Brothers (listen here) will feature on the Corrigans’ new album called If your’re leaving walk out backwards so I’ll think you’re comin in. The lyrics? Now John and Francis Brennan/are two lads who know the game/the Park hotel in Kenmare/is where they made their name/they’ll go through every detail/on that there is no doubt/and when the boys are finished/you will find yourself booked out/ˇFrancis he will scour the place/and he will be frustrated/if your carpets are too shabby/or your curtains are outdated/it all about the little things/no detail is too small/you’ll be changin all the headboards/and paintin all the walls.


Irish visits to Spain were 1,291,434 in 2014, slightly up 1.7pc from 1,270,038 in 2013. The Canaries were again the most popular region with 32.7pc of total visits, 422, tourists to spain

  • Irish visits to Germany increased 21.1pc to November 2014.
  • Irish visitor numbers to Sri Lanka increased by 14.4pc to 5,163 last year, compared with 4,512 in 2013.
  • New York City was visited by a record 56.4m in 2014.
  • Las Vegas was visited by a record 41.1m in 2014, 1.4m more visitors than the previous high of 39.7m set in 2012. Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace is set to open its doors Thursday March 12.
  • Registration opened for the International Health and Wealth Conference on Oct 15 – 17, 2015 Portugal. Register here.
  • Tourism Malaysia predicts 30m arrivals in 2015.
  • Harbin city in China will construct a theme park dedicated to Russian culture. The Sino-Russian Friendship Park is expected to open in 2017.
  • Bloomberg reported that Google is considering launching a ride-hailing app to rival Uber.
  • Disney Parks and Resort promoted chairman Tom Staggs to chief operating officer.
  • Kirsten Dimond was appointed vice president of operations at Sands Expo Convention Centre in Singapore.
  • The Eiffel Tower is the top spot in the world for selfies. Analysing posts to Instagram, AttractionTix found that 219m selfies have been taken in front of the tower, that’s 1m a day.

Food and Wine

Miele has added chef Lucio Paduano of Manifesto restaurant to its line up of cooking demos in its show kitchen at Citywest. Paduano will be giving demos on Monday events, May 18 and 25. Other additions are Nora Cleere of the Journal of a French Foodie blog, Nikki Walsh; and Butler’s Pantry chef Niall Hill. See for the full programme.


Aer Lingus replaced Flybe on PSO routes between Dublin and Donegal and claimed they would increase passenger numbers on the route.

  • Ryanair reported Q3 profit of €49m,  raised its profit guidance to €840m-€850m, will pay a €512m dividend this month and announced a €400m share buy-back programme starting in February. Watch here. Q3 saw a 14pc increase in passengers and a 17pc increase in revenue.  Load factor was up 6 points to 88pc.
  • Dublin Airport numbers were up 14pc over last January. England grew by 10pc, mainland Europe was up 18pc, transatlantic was up 5pc, Middle East and North Africa was up 39pc and domestic up 29pc (to 69,000 passengers).
  • Aer Lingus reported what Merrion Capital called a mixed start to 2015. It confirmed a pattern of weak short haul and strong long haul. Aer Lingus carried 614,000 passengers in January, down 5.7pc compared to 2014. Load factor was up 2.4pc to 68.9pc, 2.4pc on long haul and 1.7pc on short haul. Long haul passenger numbers were up 22pc on January 2014
  • CityJet founder, Pat Byrne, is to rejoin the Board as Chairman.
  • Publicity coup of the week was WOW Air’s €149 flights to the US via Iceland. Skúli Mogensen appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland to publicise the fares to Boston and Washington on his 3w flights. They are not the lowest ever (lowest direct was €99 from Continental to Newark in February 2010, lowest indirect was a €79 Air India via London) or even the lowest trans-Atlantic for this year (€129 direct to St John’s from Westjet, a Dublin Holiday World Show promotion). They are only €80 lower than Aer Lingus’s cheapest promotional fares. But it landed on half a dozen radio shows including the regional station news feed and got lots of online publicity.
  • Airtaxback established to recover tax fees and charges from unused flights is being merged with the international refund chasers claiming refunds for delays or cancellations under EU Reg 261. Brian Whelan who has taken up the role of their country manager for Ireland and Britain says there is “a treasure trove being overlooked by Irish air passengers and to a certain extent the industry. Wouldn’t travel agents and tour operators rejoice if even half of the €52m in uncollected refunds was recycled into more holidays?
  • Dublin Airport and Aer Lingus launched a roadshow promoted Dublin as transfer hub in nine English and Scottish cities w over the next two months, highlighting connectivity offered by Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport and the ease of transferring through Dublin.
  • Shannon Aerospace Ltd was changed to Lufthansa Technik Shannon Ltd. The wholly-owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG has thus joined Hamburg, Berlin, Budapest, Malta and Sofia as one of the six European base maintenance facilities in name as well as in practice.
  • Passenger numbers at Europe’s airports grew by an average 5.4pc in 2014 according to the Airports Council International Europe,
  • The Aireon Alert Global Emergency Tracking Service Response Centre is to be located in Ballygirreen, Shannon, Co. Clare, The Aireon ALERT service, a global emergency tracking solution that will be provided as a public service to the aviation community, free-of-charge, will allow rescue agencies, air traffic control providers or airlines to request the location and last flight track of any 1090 MHz Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS–B) equipped aircraft in distress. It is expected that approximately 90 percent of the world’s commercial fleet will be ADS-B equipped in the near future.
  • Closing date for entries is Mar 19 for the second IAA Awards Ceremony will take place on May 28 at the Double Tree by Hilton on the Burlington Road (formerly the Burlington Hotel) in Dublin.
  • Aer Lingus reopened their voluntary redundancy scheme, which it expects to cut 150 jobs in its latest redundancy scheme.
  • SAS sold a Heathrow slot pair for $60m.
  • Flybe will add another daily flight from the airport to London City from next week. Newham Council greenlit an extended terminal at London City, a new taxi-way, an increase in the number of stands for aircraft from 18 to 25,an increase in take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000, an extension of the airport’s reach from destinations in western Europe to Russia and North Africa.
  • Iberia launched a free service that allows passengers to check in online as soon as they have purchased their tickets.
  • The DAA raised €210,000 for Special Olympics Ireland, Jack & Jill Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland in 2014.pr98505_[2]_Walkingballoonspic2
  • Swiss International Air Lines renamed its Swiss European Air Lines subsidiary as Swiss Global Air Lines.
  • Singapore Airline’s new Premium Economy Class went on sale on Tuesday.
  • EasyJet unveiled new livery more orange with a bigger logo, and the dot com has been dropped.
  • Etihad reported 14.8m passengers in 2014. The airline’s cargo fleet carried 568,648 tonnes of freight and mail, up 17pc. Etihad acquired a majority stake in alitalia’s millemiglia flyer programme. Etihad Guest introduced a new payment feature onto its membership card. walletplus, powered by Visa, allows members to load travel money onto their Etihad Guest card and convert it to 11 different foreign currencies to spend whenever they are travelling abroad. Etihad offered a peek inside their private apartment with butler, double bed and en-suite bathroom in the sky and also began 787-9 operations. Etihad has appointed Linda Celestino as the airline’s Vice President Guest Services, taking over from Dublin born Aubrey Tiedt who has moved to a new role as Chief Customer Officer at Alitalia. Etihad reported that inflight Wi-Fi usage was up 80pc last year. There was a 60pc increase in the use of Etihad’s mobile network, and 50,000 hours of Live TV were viewed every month. Etihad will introduce a new payment feature to its Guest membership card. Walletplus by Visa allows members to load money onto their Guest card and convert it to 11 different currencies.
  • Ryanair ground handling staff were caught acting the mickey after drawing a penis in the snow at Dublin Airport. Robin Kiely quickly reacted, saying: “While our ground crew excel at industry leading 25 minute turnarounds, art isn’t their forte, as they’ve clearly forgotten to draw wings on their snow airplane.”
  • Having postpone plans last June, Wizz Air said it intends to float on the London Stock Exchange this year and raise €150m in the first quarter.
  • There was further comment on Qatar Airways purchase of a 10pc stake in IAG, showing it wants a serious relationship.with the new IAG.
  • The first Eurowings Airbus A320 takes off today.
  • Swiss is expanding its Business Class culinary offering on long-haul routes alongside its convenient “quick meal” option. New lounges will be opened in Zurich towards the end of the year. Business class travellers on European services will soon be able to enjoy more privacy and comfort, while an exclusive bus transfer will be available at selected airports.
  • Emirates’ President Tim Clark hit back at an effort by the three US mainline carriers to lobby the US government to roll back open skies with some Gulf nations, calling the airlines’ allegations sweeping and unfounded. He said reversing open skies would be s shame.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation published the Quality of Service reports for Q4 (October to December) 2014.
  • Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac told Bloomberg that the entire European air transport industry is facing challenges of unprecedented magnitude.
  • Stockholm Arlanda is seeking US preclearance facilities.
  • Ryanair Pilots Group replied to Ryanair in an Open Letter. Danish unions threatened to drag Ryanair into labour court.
  • Ryanair and Aer Lingus won a court challenge against an EU state aid ruling on departure tax.
  • Ryanair reported strong passenger numbers carried in January set against declining fares. Ryanair reported record bookings on Brussels summer schedule. Ryanair’s summer bookings were up 12pc in Slovakia. Ryanair reported record bookings on Liverpool Summer 2015 schedule. Bucharest in April was the death knell for Tarom on the route. Ryanair conceded defeat in a planning row over the erection of a massive banner at its new HQ at Dublin airport. A London court will rule on Thursday on the Simon Polito direction to Ryanair to sel its stake in Aer Lingus. The decision is likely to be appealed further. Ryanair’s pan-European creative brief went to Dare. Travelution designed an infographic charting Ryanair’s online journey from take-off to cruising altitude.
  • Aer Lingus board is effectively down to 11 members from 13.
  • This will be the biggest March ever for the US travel Industry.
  • Saudia deployed an app for easy Wi-Fi access.
  • SITA unveiled new automated passport control kiosks at Abu Dhabi airport.
  • India said it plans to build a new airport in the India will build a new international airport in Dholera capable of handling A380 super jumbos, in the .western state of Gujarat as Modi targets Middle East traffic.
  • Bertie Ahern was appointed Non Executive Chairman of Seefin Aviation Ltd.
  • Pensioners mounted a challenge against Aer Lingus-DAA proposal
  • Ulster Aviation Society bought a Phantom jet to put on display
  • Former DAA PR executive (and previously business editor of the Irish Independent and RTÉ) Vincent Wall was announced as Newstalk business editor and presenter of Business Breakfast Show.
  • Michael McGrath raised questions about the future of Cork Airport (watch here).
  • The ERA opined that the new EU Juncker Commission lacks a vision for airline industry
  • Gulf banks are helping to underwrite region’s aviation boom.
  • An Aer Lingus flight landed safely at O’Hare after report of landing gear issue
  • French business-only airline La Compagnie launched with Ryanair as its role model.

Afloatsteel cutting

Construction on Royal Caribbean’s fourth Oasis-class ship officially began with a steel cutting at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.

  • Royal Caribbean will add a classic dynamic dining option to Anthem of the Seas when it launches in April, following criticism of its new Dynamic Dining concept. The new option will allow cruisers who prefer a set-time experience to have dinner with the same tablemates and waiters each night. Royal Caribbean are offering all inclusive experiences with a free Select Drinks Package (worth €35pp per day).
  • MSC Cruises launched a new wedding programme which allows couples to legally get married onboard the MSC Divina. Prices start at $1,600 for a shipboard event and $2,200 for a shoreside event. MSC released images of MSC Sinfonia in dry-dock (watch here).
  • The inaugural sailing for the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line was canceled due to a fault with the ship’s PA system.
  • Carnival Cruise Line will homeport Carnival Vista, its newest and largest cruise ship, in Miami.
  • A Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas cruise was cut short after 10pc of passengers were struck by norovirus.


Bus Eireann’s Expressway fleet launched with over €9.2m investment in 20 new coachesExpressway coaches luxury fleet launch -4 copy

  • The Restaurants Association said that government proposals for calories on menus in restaurants are impossible to implement.
  • The European Golf Tour has appointed Duffy Rafferty Communications to handle the all-Ireland PR contract for this year’s Irish Open golf tournament.
  • Four Canadian travel writers visited pic 1 - CANADIAN TRAVEL WRITERS AT GLENDALOUGHIreland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Air Canada Vacations. The group’s itinerary, which was prepared by Fáilte Ireland, included a walking tour of Dublin, a tour of Glasnevin Cemetery, Temple Bar Tradfest and visits to Glendalough and Powerscourt House and Gardens.
  • Three Belgian journalists visited Wicklow this weekend as guests of Tourism Ireland and PEN PALS – BELGIAN JOURNALISTS VISIT WICKLOWRyanair. The group’s itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included a visit to Powerscourt House and Gardens, a guided tour of Glendalough, a tour of the Sally Gap and lunch in Laragh village. Picture shows Elaine McPartlan of Tourism Ireland with the journalists at Powerscourt House and Gardens.
  • A group of Irish and French tourism companies travelled to Lyon to meet 25 French agents and operators based in Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region. The B2B event was organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Lyon Airport. The Irish Ambassador to France, Geraldine Byrne-Nason, and the Honorary Consul of Ireland in Lyon, Bruno Boccard, IRELAND SAYS ‘BONJOUR’ IN LYONattended the event. Picture shows Florence Plantier, Lyon Airport; Monica Ramchandani, Aer Lingus; Mylène Campalto, Abbey Tours; Anaïs Leboeuf, Quartier Libre; Gillian Beare, Finn Lough Resort, Enniskillen; Mairéad O’Reilly and Grégoire Hermann, both Tourism Ireland; Elisa Souchard, Atlas Travel Solutions; and Gilles Fourgeron, Premier Travel.
  • The February/March edition of National Geographic Traveler features a cover shot of Ross Castle in Killarney under the headline 9+ MILLION AMERICANS TO READ EXTENSIVE TRAVEL FEATURE ABOUT KERRY‘Return to Ireland — A Journey Home’. The magazine features an 11-page feature on Kerry with words and pictures by travel writer and Hollywood actor Andrew McCarthy.
  • Former World Number One Lee Westwood, reigning champion Mikko Ilonen, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Rickie Fowler confirmed that they will participate in this year’s Irish Open in Co Down, May 28-31.
  • The Literary Pub Crawl, Dublin features at number two on Lonely Planet’s top 10 literary walking tours of the world.

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