The headlines this week:
- IAG get green light to buy 59pc of Aer Lingus
- AerCap gives sneak peek of A350 before buying 122 of them
- California Dreaming in Dublin
- Cork is first to launch a 2016 route
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week is heart in mouth stuff. It shows an ABCargo B747-8F landing at Schiphol Airport, banking to the left before the pilot corrects it on the runway. Watch here.
- Live like a local — see the Great Barrier Reef from a turtle’s perspective. Watch here.
- Sink your teeth into this terrifying footage of a white shark gnawing on a diving cage. Watch here.
- The Ukulele Tuesday collective perform Talking Head’s hit ‘Psycho Killer’ in the Stag’s Head. Watch here.
- Discover Ireland’s Facebook page reached 100,000 likes this week so they uploaded a video to celebrate. Watch here.
- Daniel Boria is facing charges under the US Aeronautics Act for flying over Calgary using 110 helium balloons attached to a garden chair. Watch here.
- There were lots of terrifying videos capturing the tornado storm in northern Italy. None more scary than this close encounter. Watch here.
- Katherine Jenkins performed Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at BA’s garden party in Shanghai. Watch here.
- The Hello Kitty theme park opened in China. Watch here.
Done and dusted. The big sigh of relief you could hear from the clouds above Europe this week circles happened when, as expected (and long predicted by Travel Extra) Ryanair’s board approved the sale of their shares to IAG. Having paid €407m buying up shares between 2006 and 2007 (Ryanair bought in at an average of €2.56) they barely got out of jail, the sale will bring in €410m. Ryan’s shares reached a record high after the announcement. As part of a carefully choreographed agenda, Minister Paschal Donohoe appeared on the steps of his offices to issue a statement welcoming the sale. IAG now has commitments for 55pc plus the 4pc owned by Etihad. The EU is set to give approval to the takeover. IAG previously offered a guarantee on sensitive prorate deals (through which Aer Lingus feeds IAG’s rivals out of London and other cities) but was reportedly forced to offer further concessions, including giving up some Heathrow slots, after the European Commission said these were not sufficient.
While we face another manic Sunday with the Greek currency crisis it is business as usual for the country’s tourist industry. Bookings are unaffected by the crisis and the price shows no sign of falling. While ATM’s appear well stocked (cash is due to run out around July 20) credit cards are being refused by many merchants. As the travel industry reeled form the result of last weeks referendum on Greece’s bailout terms, the national tourist board promised a statement on Monday but eventually delivered on Tuesday with a series of testimonials from tour operators and unmanned tourists. The Minister for Economy Giorgos-Stathakis (pictured) reported that supplies were secure in a statement on Thursday. Some insurance companies have increased the amount of money covered by insurance polices, Ciaran Muliigan’s Blue Insurances and Multitrip.ie announced it would be doubling the cash cover on policies for the month of July.
Aengus Kelly’s AerCap brought an A350 to Dublin on Wednesday to mark the transfer of the majority of AerCap’s activities from Los Angeles to Dublin (listen here to Aengus Kelly). AerCap are now the largest owner of aircraft in the world (listen here) and has 122 A350’s on order. Stephen Kavanagh said that the economy and luxury attracted Aer Lingus to the aircraft. He gave no indication of the eight additional aircraft due under the IAG takeover proposals. Aer Lingus currently has nine A350s on order to replace the A330 fleet, three each in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Chris Buckley of Airbus said AerCap was Airbus’s largest customer (listen here). The manufacturers have 781 orders by 40 different airlines and it was “hugely frustrating” do not have aircraft to sell until 2021 (listen here). Five are currently in service. Aengus Kelly talked about the virtues of the Irish aviation industry (listen here), while Ministers Richard Bruton (listen here) and Paschal Donohoe (listen here) paid tribute to AerCap and the aviation leasing industry and AerCap’s growth. The guests were brought on an hour long flight around the island. Picture shows Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap and Stephen Kavanagh CEO of Aer Lingus on board the Airbus A350 test flight. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Dublin Airport’s 22nd new route of the summer launched Thursday. Jean-François Dominiak said Europe Airpost may consider extending their 10-rotation season from Dublin to Halifax in Nova Scotia. Speaking at the launch of the route on Thursday (listen here), he said while the service is really a niche leisure market, Europe Airpost may increase frequency if they get non leisure business. They also considered a service from Belfast because of the strong links between the north and Canada (listen here). The advantages? A day flight means no jetlag (listen here), €314 one way, and “the service, the food and wine are French style.” Westjet’s west-bound sales for their St John’s route in their first season were negligible. ON Thursday’s evidence Europe Airpost, handled by ATTS in Ireland are doing better and Dominiak said “there are a lot of last minute bookings.” Picture shows Catherine Grennell Whyte of ATTS and Europe Airpost, CEO Jean-François Dominiak at the gate event for the inaugural Europe Airpost flight. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Cork had the first launch of the 2016 schedule: Aer Lingus 2w to Dusseldorf will commence in May 2016 on Wednesdays and Sundays. Picture shows Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh speaking at the launch, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
It is that time of the year again. Four revellers were gored and five others suffered cuts and bruises on the fifth day of the San Fermin running of the bulls in Pamplona. The Spanish Tourist Board organised a marginally less dangerous celebration of San Fermin in Dublin’s Morgan Hotel where Gonzalo Ceballos director of the Spanish Tourist Board in Dublin said travel to Spain was growing at 7.4pc in 2015 (listen here) Spain amounted to 24pc of nights abroad by Irish residents last year (listen here). Gonzalo also protested that running of the bulls was NOT a central part of the festival (listen here). Martin Skelly paid tribute to the efforts of the Spanish Tourist board in Ireland (listen here). Picture shows Brendan and Ann Colleary, brother and sister of Gordon, at the Gordon Colleary commemorative dinner in the Unicorn Restaurant. Picture shows The Spanish Tourist Board team, Sara Rivero, Kathryn McDonnell, Inma Bernabeu, Gonzalo Ceballos, Sara Milla and Elma Barreiro. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Brand USA and Visit California treated travel trade and media to brunch in Drury Buildings this week. It is a big year for California with a new 3w flight from Dublin to Los Angeles with Ethiopian and Aer Lingus upgrading their San Francisco service to daily, with an anticipated but unconfirmed AX 3w service to follow in 2016. San Francisco anticipates a significant SFMOMA expansion, Universal Hollywood Studios in LA is to get the Harry Potter mini-theme park already initialled in Orlando while SeaWorld San Diego opened Explorer’s Reef plans a The evening finished in Fade St social. Picture shows Holly Best of Virgin, Colleen Butler of Bookabed and Angela Jackson of Napa Valley at the Visit California event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
While AerCap were showcasing their aircraft-buying prowess, Avolon have donated an extra €500,000 towards an aviation visitor centre at Baldonnell, bringing the budget of the project to €4m. The leasing group released a lavish illustrated book edited by Mark Quinn designed by Bold Communications, Pioneers and Aviators.
Ryanair celebrated 30 years after their inaugural fifteen-seater Bandeirante aircraft took off from Waterford for Gatwick airport in 1985. They have installed a De Lorean in Dublin remember for those too young to remember the 1980s. Robin Kiely is pictured giving it the thumbs up.
Derva O’Neill, formerly of the ITAA, has taken on the task of marketing the visitor experience in the GHQ building at the IFSC in Dublin’s north side, Epic Ireland, funded by the Downpatrick born former Coca Cola CEO Neville Isdell. The centre has a goal of 400,000 visitors and a top ten position among Ireland’s visitor attractions within three years. Work on the 21 galleries is underway in the basement area under the CHQ building and the experience will open in May 2016. Picture shows Dervla at the location before a briefing meeting with Travel Extra.
Two weeks after the shootings that killed 38 holiday makers from five countries, including three Irish, Ireland an d Britain both updated their Travel Advisory advising all but essential; travel to Tunisia (the semantic is important for travel insurance purposes). It was a blow for Tunisia’s battered tourist lobby and their supporters, one of whom launched a clever: support Tunisia land of peace campaign (would you travel to New York?). Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE Morning Ireland talking about the reaction of the travel trade to events in Tunisia.
The family of USIT founder Gordon Colleary, his wife Maureen, Barry, Kate, Conor, Sarah and Emma and Vincent Browne hosted friends and colleagues at a commemorate anniversary dinner in the Unicorn restaurant Gordon founded USIT and in effect, as Maureen put it, invented the J1 visa for thousands of Irish travellers. Listen here to Maureen Colleary speaking at the event and listen here to Vincent Browne, including his story of a trip to Auckland with Gordon to the last congress of the International Student Conference in 1965, before it was revealed as a CIA fit-up. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Air France have launched their new Best & Beyond cabins on flights from Paris CDG to Los Angeles and Washington, the first Boeing 777 equipped with its new long-haul cabin classes. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Agents are invited to meet Amadeus, BLUE Insurance, lowcostbeds, MSC Cruises and ITAA Skillet at their next roadshow event in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk this Tuesday, July 14, at 6pm. RSVP email@example.com. Picture shows Olwen McKinney speaking at the Sligo event last Wednesday.
Etihad Airways is offering agents the chance to win tickets to see Ed Sheeran in concert in the corporate suite at Croke Park on July 24. Enter PNR, departure date, ticket number and destination for bookings in a spreadsheet and sent it to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 20.
Nicky Logue said there will be free parking at Skal’s annual BBQ in the Gibson Hotel, July 14. Tickets €30 for members, €35 for guests.
Travel Department added Ethiopia to its portfolio. See Deal Watch for more.
Registration is open for the 2015 Skål World Congress, which takes place in Torremolinos, Spain from October 28 to November 2015.
IHG sold the InterContinental Hong Kong for $938m.
Sabre launched a beta test for a digital marketing programme on Google to help boost traffic to hotels. Tnooz reported that Google users can now book hotel rooms without having to leave the search engine: Google’s hotel finder has not been officially launched.
Jury Inn’s annual fundraiser raised €700,000 for homeless charity Depaul and other charities.
Radisson Resort Hosur in Tamil Nadu will open in 2018.
The Marker Hotel, Dublin featured on Trivago’s eight futuristic hotels listicle.
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas open its first European resort in Douro Valley on July 15.
A survey by Trivago found that Apple device users spend 24pc more on hotels than Android users.
Delta Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio went live on marriott.com.
Flora Al Barsha Hotel opened in Dubai.
Lotte Hotel Moscow appointed Olympic champion Viktor Ahn as brand ambassador.
Delray Beach hotel is waiving its pet fee for dogs in August. Dogs will also receive a pet amenity on check in as well as 10pc off the doggy menu at Boston’s on the Beach.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is opening nine Aloft hotels in Texas over the next three years.
According to Trivago, hotel searches to London were down 9pc this week during the scheduled tube strike.
David Horsey’s picture shows his friend Mickey McCaldin coming face to face with a cheetah that jumped into the seat next to him while on safari in Massai Mara, Kenya.
Travelport acquired Mobile Travel Technologies.
Google is launching a car-pooling service called RideWith. The service is being trialled in Israel through the Waze app.
Four hundred news stories were generated by the Russian police’s selfie safety campaign. Russian authorities claimed 100 peopled were injured and dozens killed this year while taking selfies, so they put together a guide for keeping safe, with bizarre advice like: don’t take a selfie while scaling a pylon and don’t take a selfie while hanging off a roof.
Food & Wine
Taste of Cavan takes place August 8-9 in Cavan Equestrian Centre. The event is expected to attract 35,000 visitors. There will be a medieval village complete with knights on horseback and demonstrations from weapons expert Boyd Rankin, who worked on Game of Thrones. Cavan chefs Neven Maguire and Gearóid Lynch will be hosting cooking demos with Kevin Dundon and Rachel Allen.
Bookings on the first day of the Ryanair sale for the €19.85 priced seats rose beyond 400,000, as traffic to the Ryanair.com website doubled as consumers availed of discounted flights. Ryanair got lots of publicity for their announcement of 2w services from Eilat Ovda Airport to Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow. A 3w Edinburgh-Copenhagen service commences November 6.
The Irish Air Crops, Naval Service and coastguard will conduct their annual search and rescue training exercise at the opening of the Foynes Air Show, July 26.
Newrest won the five-year contract to provide inflight catering and retail services to Flybe.
Talk about layer player, boyband singer James McElvar collapsed with heat exhaustion on an Easyjet flight from London to Glasgow while wearing 12 layers of clothes to avoid excess luggage fees.
Ryanair launched a Keep Greece Flying PR campaign, offering flights on its Athens routes from €4.99 and 30pc discounts on international routes to and from Greece.
Serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman was arrested twice in two days, for causing a disturbance on a flight and for attempting to fly without a ticket. She has tried to board a flight without a ticket 12 times. Last year, she made it from San Jose to LA without a ticket.
Ryanair joined Facebook.
United Airlines introduced new amenity kits, available on long haul flights from August 1.
Thousands of United Airlines flights were grounded because of a technical glitch.
Jet2holidays is running a competition where one passenger flying from Belfast International Airport between now and the end of September will be given a free family trip in 2016. Other passengers will be given a £60 voucher when they return to Belfast.
Avolon agreed the sale and leaseback for 14 aircraft in Q2.
AWAS signed a 10-year financing agreement with Ethiopian Airlines for a B737-800.
The Insiders featured Ryanair this week (watch here), contributors included Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry.
Cruise ships will have facilities to berth and turn around at the East Link bridge under Dublin Port Company’s €230m project to extend capacity has said it hopes to start construction “within months” on a following the go-ahead from An Bord Pleanála. Piling and dredging of the Liffey and the demolition of part of the North Wall extension will be part of a five year plan to open up the port to larger cruise ships and increased container traffic. The new plan will allow with the depth of the river increased from seven to 10 metres. At present the bigger cruise ships have to reverse up the Liffey and access is restricted by tides.
Royal Caribbean’s oldest ship, Majesty of the Seas is not to transfer to Pullmantur in 2016 as expected, instead it will continue sailing with Royal Caribbean following an extensive makeover.
Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo will appear as a guest judge on the August 20 broadcast of Project Runway. Celebrity will award the winning designer of the season with a cruise anywhere in the world.
Seabourn partnered with Geoff Steven and UNESCO to photograph World Heritage Sites at destinations where Seabourn ships visit.
Luxury river cruise company Strand Cruise will start operations in January 2016 with cruises on the Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar.
Silversea Cruises is taking reservations for its 116-day world cruise from San Francisco to Monte Carlo on board Silver Whisper. The voyage will encompass 62 destinations in 25 countries.
- Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Atlantica Thlassa, Kos from €2,609 for two adults and two children, depart August 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro, Algarve from €449pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €459pp, depart August 27. 7 nights all inclusive Blue Lagoon resort, Kos from €2,259 for two adults and two children, depart August 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro, Algarve from €499pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €499pp, depart August 27. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 43 35 45.
- Sunway offers: 10 nights Las Vegas and Cancun from €1,485pp, travel November. 10 nights New York and Cancun from €1,759pp travel November. 10 nights western Mediterranean cruise on board Norwegian Epic from €599pp, depart November. 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments, Bodrum from €399pp, depart August 30. 7 days Trafalgar escorted tour from €1,799pp, no single supplement, depart August 28. 7 night cruise on the River Seine fro €2,059pp, depart November 12. 7 nights B&B 4* Pestana Village Hotel, Madeira from €799pp, travel in August. 3 nights 5* Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Dubai from €685pp, travel September. See sunway.ie.
- Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive Riu Helios, Bay Obzor, Bulgaria from €579pp, depart September 20. 7 nights half board Coronas Playa, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart September 21. 7 nights B&B Roda Oasis, Corfu from €419pp, depart September 25. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Helios, Bay Obzor, Bulgaria from €579pp, depart September 20. See thomsonholidays.ie.
- Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 4* Union Praha, Prague from €199pp incl. return flights, travel in August. 7 nights self catering 4* Estrela do Vau Aparthotel, Praia do Vau, Algarve from €479pp incl. return flights and transfers, travel in August. 7 nights self catering 3* Veramar I Aparthotel, Costa del Sol from €459pp incl. return flights and transfers, travel in August. 3 nights 4* Wyndham Berlin Excelsior Hotel, Berlin from €349pp incl. return flights, travel in July. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Fantasia De Luxe Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey from €565pp incl. return flights, travel in October. See clickandgo.com.
- Wendy Wu Tours is offering an upgrade to business class on tours of Asia from €160, book by July 26.
- Travel Department is offering 11 nights full board highlights of northern Ethiopia tour from €2,599pp incl. taxes, transfers, flights and accommodation, depart February 14 2016. Call 01 637 1600.
- Stena Line is offering day trips to Oakwood Theme Park from €50pp return by car or €59pp by coach. Offer available Wednesdays only in July and Wednesdays and Saturdays in August. Call 01 907 5555.
- Topflight’s 5 day Italian sale stars today: 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €369pps, depart September 26. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Bellariva, Riva Del Garda from €569pps, depart August 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Senior, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart August 29. 7 nights B&B 4* Esperidi Resort, Sorrento from €599pps, depart September 27. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Villa Lina, Sicily from €549pps, depart July 26. See topflight.ie or call 01 2401 700.
- British Airway’s rest of world fare sale continues until July 14.
- Lowcostbeds Barcelo Hotels & Resorts offers, based on 7 nights, two share: 3* Barcelo Varadero, Tenerife half board from €41pppn, depart Sept 1-Oct 31. 3* Barcelo Potent Playa, Majorca half board from €24pppb, depart Sept 1-Oct 31. 4* Barcelo Cala Vinas, Majorca all inclusive from €41pppn, depart Oct 1-12. 4* Barcelo Margaritas, Gran Canaria all inclusive from €45pppn, depart Sept 1-30. See lowcostbeds.com for more.
- Insight Vacations is offering an 8 day escorted tour of Puglia and the Neapolitan Riviera from €1,899pps incl. flights, transfers and selection of meals. Book by July 31. Depart August 23. See insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.
- Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8 day all inclusive river cruise on Paris and Normandy from €2,139pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by July 31. Depart July 26. See uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.
- Contiki is offering 8 day tour of Italy, the Swiss Alps and Paris from €1,309pps incl. selection of meals, flights, accommodation and visits to six World Heritage Sites. Depart August 2. Visit contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.
- Tourism NI offers: 7 nights self catering in 4* Westering holiday home, Portaferry from £495, four bedrooms, sleeps eight, available until August 31, call 07743 378 818. 2 nights B&B Hilton Belfast from £150pps incl. 3 course dinner in Sonoma Restaurant, Game of Thrones Tour/Giant’s Causeway Tour, available until December 31, call (028) 9027 7000. 1 night B&B Roe Park Resort, Limavady from £70pps incl. one evening meal and access to health club, available until December 31, call 028) 7772 2222. 2 nights B&B Manor House Country Hotel, Irvinestown, Enniskillen from £125pps incl. dinner in Belleek Restaurant, dinner cruise on board Lade of the Lake cruiser and access to leisure club, available until September 9, call (028) 6862 2200.
- Stena Line is offering €6pp return day trips to Wales, depart from Dublin on Tuesdays at 8.20pm and return from Holyhead on the 1.50pm or 8.30pm ferry. Book here.
Visitor attraction figures which appeared in Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement last January finally wound their way into the official documents this week, with, Guinness Storehouse the number one fee-charging attraction in Ireland in 2014 with 1.27m visitors, up 4.6pc. With visitors up 5.9pc to 1.08m, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience pushingd Dublin Zoo off the number two spot down to third place, despite a 2.4pc increase in visitors, with the exception of Rock of Cashel, which shouldered its way up to the number ten spot with 372,503 visitors, up 18.7pc.
2014 visitors numbers were down 4pc to 593,183, but The National Gallery managed to retain its title as the number one free attraction, followed again by National Botanic Gardens, down slightly by 0.7pc. Doneraile Wildlife Park came in at number three with 460,000 visitors, followed by National Museum of Archaeology (447,137, up 5pc) and the Science Gallery (406,982, up 9pc).
Ann Donaghy of the Ramada Portrush and Alexandra Mehaffy of Giant’s Causeway led a group of 13 tourism companies on a sales mission to China, visiting Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing. Picture shows the group with Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland.
Tourism Ireland and Superbreak invited a group of agents from Scotland and England to visit Derry. The group visited a number of hotels and also went on a walking tour of the city. Picture shows Karen Henderson of Visit Derry and Chris Hagan of Superbreak the agents on Peace Bridge.
The Ireland Rugby World Cup store opened at The Loop this week, selling a host of IRFU branded merch.
Limerick Marketing Company launched the Experience Limerick Tours brochure, promoting four tours of the city and county. See the brochure here.
Darragh Ó Sé launched Bus Éireann’s updated Kerry services. Picture shows Marian Flynn, regional manager of Bus Éireann, Theresa Collins form Ballylongford, Darragh Ó’Sé, Maureen Dillon Asdee and Blathin McElligott, services manager of Bus Éireann Tralee.
Eleven Chinese tour operators visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Finnair. The group’s itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included visits to Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Brown Thomas and Kildare Village. Picture shows the group at King John’s Castle in Limerick.
A delegation from the US House of Representatives, led by John Boehner, visited the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience on July 4. Picture shows Adam Whelan, Jenny Oliver and Niall Leyde at the opening.
In light of South Carolina’s flag removal, Newbridge Silverware replaced the confederate flag on the display Dukes of Hazard car with the star-spangled banner.