TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Keeping up with the droneses

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WestJet ad August 16

Aviation Authority drones event in Weston

Aviation Authority drones event in Weston

The headlines this week:

  • Etihad back to single daily for Jan-June 2016
  • Keeping up with the Droneses
  • Aviation policy: Cork independence day set for 2019
  • Aviation policy: CAR to be closed down?
  • Aviation policy: Parallel runway cleared for takeoff
  • Rose of Tralee’s next step: international tourism
  • Travel Trade fun day raises €57,000
  • Dublin 42nd most liveable city in the world
  • The politics of finishing 103rd in a Lonely Planet list
  • AG now in charge of Aer Lingus
  • Where to find out what’s new in bedbanks & GDS, Travel Extra, that’s where

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week August 23Our video of the week shows a Delta B737 being struck by lightning while waiting in a takeoff queue at Atlanta Airport. Watch here.

  • See Kev Smith’s film on Ireland’s big wave surfer Ollie O’Flaherty filmed in Lahinch. Watch here.
  • Youth hostelling with Chris Eubank. Watch here.
  • Once again, comedian Rob Brydon stars in the new P&O Cruises TV ad. Watch here.
  • What happens to your checked luggage? Watch here.
  • How to steer a 5,000 ton tanker into the Port of Galway. Watch here.
  • See Aer Lingus’ emotional promo with the Irish rugby team. Watch here.

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The September print edition of Travel Extra will be delivered to agencies in the coming week and is available online here. This month we focus on bedbanks and technology, a fast changing sector which is increasingly being dominated within Ireland by two big players in both cases after a period of uncertainly and indeed bedbank failures (1800hotels, Chase and IHG). Travel Extra gives a comprehensive updated guide to the main players in the sector, what has happened in the last year and their plans for the year ahead. We look at the long term implications for Greece of the recent currency chaos, Dublin port’s 100 ship agenda, Holiday World’s new home in Belfast, the subtleties of the summer hotel price changes across Europe, the emergence of the A350 as aircraft of choice for Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus’ new Eurobusiness class, London’s 15-minute airport, the implications of accelerated passenger growth at Dublin airport, the war over Lufthansa’s GDS fee and the Irish Travel Industry business trade show’s move to Dublin city centre, Keith Chuter of British Airways selects his favourite holiday spot. Travel Extra’s team are already trawling the world to prepare the next edition.

beatrice Cosgorve on board a330_8872Availability of aircraft is behind Etihad’s decision to drop from double daily to single daily, January to June 2015, a daily B777 will be used instead of double daily A330. Available business class available go down from 44 to 40 and economy seats down by 120. It is likely that Etihad’s double daily will be restored when more aircraft become available. Picture shows Beatrice Cosgrove Ireland manager for Etihad.

Julie Garland, Chairperson of the Unmanned Aircraft Association of Ireland and Ralph James, Director of Safety Regulation, Irish Aviation Authority holding a Phantom 3 drone at the Irish Aviation Authority drones event in Weston, August 21 2015

Ireland to become a test site for drones? Wouldn’t that be great? Gearóid Ó Brian was speaking at the Irish Aviation Authority drones event at Weston, where he outlined the opportunities for the sector drawing on Ireland’s aviation tradition. Paschal Donohoe delivered the keynote speech (listen here) at an event which teased out the implications of increased use of drones, while barrister said there were 4,000 drones in Ireland insurers at the event said the real figure is closer to 6,000. Ralph James talked about the modern aviators and quoted NASA director on Ireland’s prospects to be a world leader in drone technology (listen here). Although videos of drones being shot out of the sky look very exciting (watch here) as are the consequences (watch here), meet the drones was an appropriate name for the event and not all of them could fly, as a succession of speakers went through health and safety and legal issues. Julie Garland, Chairperson of the Unmanned Aircraft Association of Ireland, said they would encourage “prosecution of people who post footage on YouTube which has been gathered in breach of regulations.” There were a few surprises: registration of a device as an aircraft kicks in at 20kg, which is two Ryanair carry-on bags, and drones operating close to an airport may be subject to air traffic control. The height limit is 400 feet before drones start breaching regulations. Watch here Will Goodbody;s report from the event. Picture shows Julie Garland and Ralph James, Director of Safety Regulation, Irish Aviation Authority holding a Phantom 3 drone at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

wilie walsh michael o'leary copyWillie Walsh got his parking space and his Aer Lingus staff card and car back (although at €1bn they might be a tad pricey) after the 29pc Ryanair roadblock on the IAG takeover of Aer Lingus was belatedly cleared last Tuesday. The IAG offer is open for remaining 4.23pc of shareholders until Sept 1. IAG management have already arrived at the newly acquired airline, with the new regime’s first moves most likely on catering (one daily delivery other than two and ultimately, the unions fear, outsourcing) and baggage handlers (12 hours shifts and 3×6 hours). Interestingly, it has been the bet summer for baggage hall overtime for many years with the increased US flights. Shareholders will receive payment over the next two weeks, IAG will move to delist Aer Lingus from both the Dublin and London stock exchanges by September 17 and the board of Aer Lingus must resign. An féidir leat rún a choimeád? Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Raidió na Gaeltachta on what lies in store next for Aer oIngus and n=how it is good news for passengers in terms of choice.

Paschal Donohoe pressThere were no surprises from Paschal Donohoe when he launched Ireland’s first National Aviation Strategy on Thursday (read here), a 96-page document that offers lots of familiar aspirations but few commitments. Travel Extra asked the minister about some of them (listen here). Some hints: The red flag of independence (or revolution) is not yet flying over Cork but they have been given a date when the rebel county can achieve this: 2019. The Commission of Aviation regulation is still in place but the regulatory process is up for grabs with an independent review of airport charges regulation will be completed by end-2015 (Eamonn Brennan’s IAA is already in place and wiling to regulate the commercial operations currently regulated by the currently leaderless CAR). The parallel runway in DAA got what seems to be the go-ahead from the minister. Paschal Donohoe said the “new national aviation policy will see aviation as a cause, not just an effect, of economic growth.”

man taseredA genuinely shocking message from Easyjet not to bring that second bag on board. English police tasered a Belfast man on an Easyjet flight from Gatwick because he got tetchy about his bag, which seems like an over-reaction on the part of everyone involved. EasyJet’s statement: police boarded flight EZY831 from London Gatwick to Belfast on August 20 due to a passenger behaving disruptively.

dismalandA family theme park which is unsuitable for small children. That’s is what opened in Weston Super Mar in Somerset southern England on Thursday. Dismaland features works by 58 handpicked artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer have been installed across the 2.5-acre site by English counter-culture graffiti artist Robin Banks (Banksy). Inspired by Banksy, Waterford city has its own graffiti art event this weekend (watch here).

aircraft stepsHoliday makers had to land in Dublin rather than Cork this week because Cork did not have landing steps tall enough. A chartered Boeing 737, who were due to fly passengers from Cork to Reus, were found to be out of hours after landing in Bulgaria. The only replacement available was a widebody Boeing 767 in Dublin but Cork Airport’s ground handling operation, Swissport, didn’t have an aircraft stairs tall enough so passengers landed at 1.15am and were bused to Cork.

Dick Henggeler and Eibhlín Henggeler (nee Moriarty) new owner of the Fels Point hotel in Tralee during the Rose of Tralee Festival, August 15 2015

In ten years time it would be nice not to have to explain to anyone internationally what the Rose of Tralee is,” said Dick Henggeler as he surveyed the events of the Rose of Tralee festival last weekend (listen here) and launched a campaign to establish it on the international tourism calendar. Dick and Eibhlín (nee Moriarty, from Killarney, pictured) are the parents of Dorothy Dott Henggeler, the 2011 Rose who became well known throughout the travel industry through her role on the New York team of Tourism Ireland before succumbing to cancer in 2013 (watch tribute here). “I couldn’t just stay crying, although I did a lot of that,” Eibhlín said (listen here). Their vision for the festival: a rebranded Rose Hotel, a permanent dome to serve as a conference centre to be completed in 2018 (listen here). The journey begins in 2016, as explained by Dick Henggeler and festival co-ordinator Simon Cronley (listen here), when 67 different Roses will be brought to Tralee to participate in the parade and ball before the 32 finalists are chosen for the TV event (listen here), which attracted a peak of 760,300 viewers. As Dick says: “there has to be something beyond August” (listen here). He promised the next step would bring a new wave of wow (listen here).

Boston Rose, Sarah Hogan, Louth rose Jenny Hanlon, and Perth Rose Denise Lynch take a selfie during the parade at the Rose of Tralee festival, August 15 2015

The speech of the weekend (and perhaps the entire 56 year history of the event) was, appropriately, delivered by outgoing Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh (listen here), where she talked about the festival’s role in the empowerment of women. Dick Henggeler also spoke about the enablement of women (listen here), and how the festival has moved beyond gowns and high heels (listen here) to become a showcase for modern female role models (listen here). He also stressed the festival’s original role in the enablement of the diaspora (listen here) and the growing phenomenon that is the fashion show (listen here), It is all a far cry from the Lovely Girls competition parodied by Graham Lenehan and Arthur Matthews’ Father Ted back in 1996 (watch here), an unfair satire that may have contributed to the loss of sponsorship and near-crash of the entire festival in 2004 before it was salvaged by Anthony O’Gara and John McCarthy. Picture shows Boston Rose, Sarah Hogan, Louth rose Jenny Hanlon, and Perth Rose Denise Lynch take a selfie during the parade. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Suwnay, winners of the Travel Industy Fun Day competition, August 16 2015:Dermot Byrne, Shelly Osborne, Barry Hammond, Niall Sweeny. Front row: James Kenny, Holly Heffernan. Missing: James Fleming.

Temperatures reached a Majorcic 20 degrees at the Travel Fun Day 2015, the first year with complimentary access, Ice Cream and a BBQ for the 800 people who turned up on the day. Sharon Jordan 2015 Chair of the Travel Funday committee said the decision to make the day as inclusive as possible was a success. Throughout Sunday we were delighted to raise almost €7,000 in raffle ticket sales and prior to that up to €50,000 was gathered in sponsorship. We hope to have final figures n the coming weeks. All we know is that the Travel Trade gave generously and the charities of the Laura Lynn Foundation, Dogs Aid, Saving Dylan, Irish Autism Ireland, Enable Ireland and Our Ladies Hospice, Harold’s Cross will be receiving substantial donations from the Travel industry. We would like to thank the sponsors of the event and everyone who attended on the day. Picture shows Sunway, soccer team, runners-up in the competition::Dermot Byrne, Shelly Osborne, Barry Hammond, Niall Sweeny.Front row: James Kenny, Holly Heffernan. Missing: James Fleming. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Tom Hall angkor wat compositeTrinity College is the surprise inclusion in Tom Hall‘s list of top 500 tourist “must-see sights of all time” for Lonely Planet: 1 Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 2 Great Barrier Reef, 3 Machu Picchu, Peru, 4 Great Wall of China, 5 Taj Mahal, India, 6 Grand Canyon, USA, 7 Colosseum, Rome, 8 Iguazu Falls, Brazil-Argentina, 9 Alhambra, Granada, 10 Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. Hall included six Irish sites: 103 Giant’s Causeway, 224 Newgrange, 378 Cliffs of Moher, 424 Titanic Centre, Belfast, 468 Trinity College, Dublin and 497 Rock of Cashel. Where were Sceilig Mhichíli, the Céide Fields and Sliabh Liag? Over to you Tom.

compositeHow bankable is a 1.2pc share of a top 500 list or a top finish of 103rd place? While Fáilte Ireland celebrated the performance and RTÉ declared that Ireland was punching above its weight as an international tourism destination (watch here), We at Travel Extra’ are more circumspect. Eoghan Corry (listen here) said on RnaG: Point-of-view lists are only important in that you need to be getting your honeypot attractions onto them regularly and in a good position. To be taken seriously as a tourist destination we need to be in the top ten, or at east the top twenty. Not to make the top 100 is a very poor performance indeed. These lists serve as click-bait for the product and feed other lists and destination websites who all tend to feed off each other. If we can’t make the top 100 in London in New York, where the Ireland brand is strong, we will have a lot more trouble making the lists in new tourism markets such s Beijing and Delhi.

jonOver at the Economist Intelligence Unit, Jon Copestake’s annual Global Liveability Index placed Dublin in 42nd place out of the 140 cities, up five places from 47th last year. Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city for the fifth consecutive year in ahead of Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Adelaide and Calgary. Vancouver was ranked first 2002 to 2011 but slipped after a highway closure on Vancouver Island. The five least livable were: 140 Damascus Syria, 139 Dhaka Bangladesh, 138 Port Moresby PNG, 137 Lagos Nigeria, 136 Tripoli Libya.

Travel Trade

John Cassidy Travel begins its 30th anniversary festivities with an event on board MSC Splendida next week.

on board celebrity aug 15 2015 copyCelebrity cruise lines hosted the trade on board Silhouette last weekend. Picture shows Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises, Tanya Airey of Sunway, Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway, Marissa Rushe of Aer Lingus, Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus, Claire Dunne of Travel Broker, Raymond Dunne of Travel Broker, Aisling Butler of Trailfinders, David Hayeems of Trailfinders and Richard Bolton of Celebrity Cruises.

john grehanJeff Collins Best4Travel has appointed John Grehan as General Manager taking on responsibility for the management and growth of the retail outlets and developing product for the group’s websites. Best4Travel currently operates 6 retail outlets alongside online divisions and employs 40 people.

Clem Walshe-headed Lowcostholidays Ireland reported a successful effort to grow their social media channels to 183,000 Facebook with a 13pc increase in engaged daily page users on Facebook and a 3pc increase in conversion rate, an increased following on Twitter by 482% with engagements up 382pc.

Travel Agent Sally Black gives 15 reasons for using a Travel Agent in the Huffington Post, “I have the best, most misunderstood job in the world.” She argues that travel agents are NOT pushy, they protect consumers, save them time, do not cost more, can match online prices and rates that consumers can not, they have contacts and understand the fine print, offer specialised expertise and priceless advice, prevent hassles, babysit reservations, offer affordable payment plans and work as troubleshooters. And they are all inclusive.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation is drafting a language scheme in accordance with the Official Languages Act 2003.

Hotels & Beds

Serge DuriavigNight swapping, founded by Serge Duriavig (pictured) has now reached: 110,000 members in 160 countries, and says it is currently gaining momentum at the moment in Ireland with hosts in Bray, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Lisburn, Monaghan and Wexford. Members host other NightSwappers at their place, and earn ‘Nights’ to be used as a virtual currency and allow them to then be hosted for free by other members on the platform worldwide. If you can’t host, then you can buy nights from NightSwapping from €7 – €49. Kate Pringle of Nightswapping says: It’s different to Airbnb because there is no exchange of money between members, and more secure than couch surfing because you know what you’re getting thanks to a way of rating each accommodation on the website from 1-7. The travelling experience is a lot more culturally rich thanks to the ‘exchange’ concept at the core of NightSwapping so people often share meals and activities.

jean o'connellWork is to begin immediately on the refurb and rebrand of the Rose Hotel in Tralee where Travel Extra heard Jean O’Connell (pictured) outline plans for what is currently known as Fels Point Hotel (listen here), Owner Dick Henggeler said the hotel would be four star plus rather than five star (listen here) and he was looking at Killarney (listen here), developing the hotel as if it was in Killarney (listen here). Dick told Travel Extra why he got involved (listen here), how he was blown away when he came to the festival with his daughter Dott (listen here), and noted that Europe and hotels are both in vogue for investors (listen here),

  • Starwood launched the Sheraton Grand brand to be added to 100 Sheraton hotels, both existing and new builds, by early 2017
  • Design Hotels welcomed eight new members.
  • The 7,351 room First World Hotel Malaysia is back on top as the Guinness World Record holder for the World’s Largest Hotel following a renovation. The three-star property hed the title with 6,118 guestrooms between 2006 and 2013, but lost to the 7,117 Venetian and Palazzo in Vegas, followed by the 6,852 room MGM Grand also in Vegas. The Abraj Kudai Mecca will be the largest hotel in the world when it opens in 2017. Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower with 1542rooms is sometimes counted as ghe largest by area.
  • IHG’s lifestyle brand hotel Even is getting ready to open in Manhattan and Brooklyn by the end of the year.
  • Marriott is to open a Courtyard Belgrade City Centre in Republic Square.
  • Airbnb on WheelsStarwood is to open a new W Amsterdam next month. The W Los Angeles Downtown is lated to open in early 2019.
  • Airbnb is renting out converted vans — dubbed “taxi hotels” — for $22 a night.
  • Mrbnb has launched for the gay male community in France and intends expanding to USA.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton opened a new property in Reserva del Higuero, Costa del Sol.
  • Hawaii’s Aqua Hospitality and Aston Hotels & Resorts will merge under the Aqua-Aston Hospitality banner.

International

bangkok bombForward bookings to Thailand have been unaffected by events on Monday. John Spollen of John Cassidy travel said normally there is a halt in bookings after an event like this but this time that did not happen. Bookings have not slowed down. Sunway said that there were no calls in relation to bookings already made and still continue to receive enquiries so we are experiencing little impact. Joanna Cooke of the Thailand Tourist Board reports very few cancellations, a few itinerary changes and many tour operators reporting new bookings for August, rest of 2015 and 2016. Tourism Authority of Thailand said tours in Bangkok are continuing as normal and that the Erawan shrine was not promoted to Irish tourists. The DFA issued no fresh warnings to holiday makers from Ireland other than to exercise extreme caution and continued to advise Irish citizens in Thailand to register on their citizens abroad database.

  • The designation for “casual business travellers” in the new India e-visa, available to Irish travelling public since last week, has been casing some confusion.
  • US republican party presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for an end to the J1 visa programme.
  • Disney unveiled plans to build Star Wars theme parks at Disneyland, California and Walt Disney World, Florida. Construction begins in 2017.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says women posing nearly naked for photos in Times Square are breaking the law and undermining efforts to keep the tourist area family friendly. Things may be about to get worse for the Gov. The women’s organisation GoTopless will launch its first Nipple Pride Parade in New York City today, the 8th annual GoTopless Day
  • Baggage checks are set to be enforced on the high-speed Thalys rail line after Friday’s foiled apparent militant action.
  • Florida has set a new record with 54.1m visitors in the first half of 2015. A hand grenade was hurled and shots were fired at officers guarding Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace
  • In a SeaWorld shakeup, Peter J Crage was appointed chief financial officer and Anthony Esparza was appointed chief creative officer.
  • Russia proposed visa-free travel amongst the BRIC nations in a bid to boost the country’s tourist industry, which has been hit by the falling ruble and travel restrictions for Russian officials.

Food & Wine

Mark Murphy and Muireann NicGiolla Ruaidh, Dingle Cookery SchoolThe Restaurants Association say that food festivals, gourmet trails, farmers’ markets and dining experiences will mark out the winner of its food town award, which has been separated from the Irish Restaurant Awards “due to its success in 2014.” TJudges will look at local producer/supplier networks utilised and promoted by local businesses. plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level , education, training, development and employment. Dingle was top foodie town in Ireland in 2014. Enrty forms availabe on foodietowns.ie. Picture shows Mark Murphy of Dingle Cookery School and guests including tour guide Fiona Lane.

lolitaSoolnua’s Ice Cream index leaderboard closes this week: 1 Lolita, Ljubljana, Slovenia (pictured), 2 Giggi Gelateria, Bournemouth, England, 3 Valdís, Reykjavík, Iceland, 4 Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream, St Louis, USA, 5 Grand Union Café, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 6 Nicecream Factory, Virginia, USA, 7 Gelateria NIVA, Cannes, France, 8 The Cooking Ape’s Dream Creamery Frankfurt, Germany, 9 Dvor Jezeršek, Zgornji Brnik, Slovenia, 10 Coolhaus LA, USA.

English trade union Unite is waging a campaign to get the 430-strong Pizza Express restaurant chain to drop the 8pc administration fee it takes from staff tips paid on a credit card.

The 39th annual Kinsale Gourmet Festival takes place October 9-11. This year’s event includes Mad Hatters (tickets are nearly sold out), a five-course Taste of West Cork dinner and the Fruits de Mer Luncheon, which includes the Ireland v France rugby match. Buy tickets here.

Aviation

ryanairRyanair’s three daily to Barcelona and Madrid in winter may be the first shots in the much anticipated winter war at Dublin airport.

Ryanair has until Wednesday to confirm its Amsterdam slots for four flights to Dublin and five to Stansted.

Martina McDermott of CityJet

CityJet has appointed Martina McDermott Hurley, Head of Marketing and Communications to the Executive Management Board. She will oversee a major rebrand of the airline to be revealed on September 4th.

Aer Lingus ground handling is losing Etihad to Swissport in October but is likely to gain prospective Oneworld partners American Airlines.

shannon award 2014Both Cork and Shannon airport (last year’s winners) were shortlisted for the global marketing award for airports under 4m passengers at this year’s World Routes Marketing Awards ceremony on September 21st in Durban. Picture shows Shannon airport’s Declan Power receiving last year’s award at Routes in Las Vegas.

The losing streak in oil prices, the worst since 1986, looks set to continue, meaning good news for unhedged airlines like Cityjet and American Airlines.

Ros Wynne from Dublin who works with Atlantic Aviation Group in Shannon won the Gold Medal in Aircraft Maintenance at the 43rd WorldSkills competition in São Paulo, Brazil

Ryanair is to appeal the court case it lost in Manchester which extended its liability to pay compensation to delayed passengers who experienced delays from two to six years. The lawyers who brought the case say Ryanair could be liable for £500m, while Ryanair says it will appeal the case and even if it loses liability will be no more than €5m.

30names_Aug20Ryanair attracted a record 250,000 Facebook followers in six weeks to its ‘30 Names 30 Planes’ competition.

England’s Civil Aviation Authority is enforcing legislation to make Aer Lingus, Wizz Air and Jet2 change their compensation policies to pay compensation for flights disrupted by “ordinary technical faults.”

The Air Baltic co-pilot breathalysed in Oslo was sentenced to six months in jail, the same as a former BA flying officer in Oslo in 2003, after showing a reading of 1.4. The cabin crew both showed 10, and the captain 0.4. The legal limit for flying is 0.2, most country’s limit for driving is 0.8 (on a lighter note this is from an earlier era).

Qantas has ordered eight B787-9s to replace five of its ageing B747s on international routes,

Emirates Cabin crew profile 1 copyEmirates are to hold a cabin Crew Open Day on Saturday, August 29th at the Hilton Hotel Charlemont Place, Dublin.

Fraport AG is to take over 14 airports in a deal worth €1.23bn under the Greek bailout.

Etihad Airways will introduce a new fares structure and baggage allowance policy from September 14 with eight fare types: economy breaking deals, economy saver, economy value and economy freedom; business breaking deals, business saver and business freedom and baggage reduced to 45 x 72 x 90cm. On flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, the allowance for passengers flying in economy will be two bags weighing up to 23kg, business and first are allowedtwo bags up to 32 kg each.

British Airways’ B787-9 to offer an economy seat that is wider by half an inch.

A retired social worker was prevented from boarding a flight in Canada because an all-female security crew refused to frisk him.

Fore: a small panel door from an American Airlines A321 landed on a North Carolina golf course.

Virgin Australia launched a new business class seat it claims is “the world’s longest and widest fully lie-flat bed in domestic business class.”

The latest consumer report from the US Department of Transportation, says airline complaints are up 20pc in the first half of the year.

SAS launched a hand baggage-only fare to commence September 8.

Etihad Airlines Production At Gino Bertuccio's Home In Coral GablesThe three-room suites in The Residence on Etihad’s A380 superjumbo aircraft from New York to Abu Dhabi have been selling well at $32,000 before it comes into service on December 1. Gino Bertuccio (pictured) was the first customer to book.

Miracle on the Hudson‘ pilot Chesley Sully Sullenberger has criticized the proposed $4 billion revamp of LaGuardia airport as it does not extend the length of the airport’s short runways.

Qatar Airways is increasing flights from Doha to Asmara to 5w from September 7. From December 9, flights from Doha to Dhaka increase to double daily.

CityJet extended its partnership with UTV Radio Solutions by sponsoring Call Coony with Aidan Cooney on Dublin’s Q102.

TCS World Travel private jet operator partnered with Four Seasons to offer Secret Escapes packages in 2016, which includes visits to the Great Barrier Reef, Bora Bora, Udaipur, India and the Serengeti Plain.

congo ariways websiteThere were protests when one of the two A320s owned by new DR Congolese national airline La Société Congo Airlines was grounded in Dublin where it is being serviced by Eirtech by the High Court, because US mining company Miminco LLC claimed it was owed $11m by the Kabila government. The original Miminco judgement was controversial as it was given in a US court even though the DRC had not been served with the petition to confirm the award. Ownership of the airline is divided between the DR Congo Government and local investors, foreign shareholders and the airline’s employees, with US$35m in initial capital. DR Congo has been without a national airline since Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises (LAC), which went bankrupt in 2003 and the backers are bidding to be removed from an EU blacklist which applied to all Congolese airlines.

Home truths from Juan Jose Carlos in the Economist: This writer has many times vowed never to travel on Ryanair again after a bad flight, only to return to the fold, seduced by cheap airfares. It seems that, when booking a flight, convenience and price remain the two main considerations. Passengers want a direct flight on a date and time that suits them and they want it as cheaply as possible. The quality of service may have an impact on their journey but not their decision-making.

The 15pc growth rate means Dublin Airport will be 3m over capacity at the end of 2018, analysis by Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry in the Irish Independent.

Afloat

norwegian escapeNorwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship the 4,200 passenger Norwegian Escape, floated out of the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany in advance of its inaugurals in Hamburg on October 22 and Miami on November 14.

EIB agreed a €100m loan to upgrade Dublin Port.

Water levels rose on Europe’s cruise rivers leading to an end to weather-related cancellations on the Rhine and Danube although Viking River Cruises continued to cancel sailings on the Elbe this week.

A-Rosa’s 202-passenger Aqua collided with a freight barge on the Rhine River in Düsseldorf, Germany, injuring 11 passengers.

Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s third Oasis-class cruise ship, will be the first vessel in the fleet to feature the Splashaway Bay aqua park for kids.

Viking Ocean Cruises is removing and refitting shower glass on its new ship, Viking Star after incidents in which they shattered without provocation.

Disney have imposed a limit of two bottles of unopened wine or six beers for boarding passengers and increased corkage fee to $25 from $20 from Sept 30. 2015.

MSC Cruises plans to make its first sailing to China when newly-renovated MSC Lirica calls in Shanghai on May 1, 2016.

CPP_8596_lowHurtigruten have named Lewis Pugh, UN appointed Patron of the Oceans, as first ambassador of ‘The Hurtigruten Foundation’ to raise awareness of challenges in the Arctic, Antarctica and Norwegian coast

Holland America is to relax its formal night dress code.

Costa Cruises cancelled stopovers in Turkey for the 2015 season.

Deluxe Stateroom and Penthouse passengers on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will be provided one free hour per guest, per day

Royal Caribbean is to group its 2,800-plus shore excursions into seven special interest categories: Active Adventures, Family Connections, Royal Tour Challenge, Culture and Sights, Culinary Delights, Caring Discoveries and the Royal Premium Tour Collection.

Crystal Cruises will expand WiFi to all luxury guests from August 30.

Deal Watch

lanzaroteSunway Lanzarote offers, depart Dublin, September 26: Flight only from €399pp. 11 nights self catering 2* Los Pueblos Apartments from €499pp. 11 nights self catering 3* Hyde Park Lane Apartments from €549pp. 11 nights all inclusive 3* HL Paradise Island Apart-hotel from €919pp. 11 nights B&B 4* Los Fariones Hotel from €919pp. 11 nights B&B 5* Volcan Lanzarote Hotel from €1,089pp. Menorca offers, 7 nights, depart August 29: 2* Hi Binimar Apartments, Cala’n Forcat from €599pp self catering. 3* Los Naranjos Apartments, S’Algar from €849pp self catering. Other offers: 14-night Israel and Mediterranean cruise on board the Celebrity Silhouette from €1,399pp, depart October 3. 8-day tour of Christmas markets in Austria, Germany and Switzerland from €1,499pp, depart November 29. 7-nights Luxury AmaWaterways river cruise on the River Seine from €1,679pp, depart September 10. 7 nights B&B 4* Bali Mandira Resort, Bali from €1,119pp, travel February 2016. 3 nights 3* Circus Circus Resort Hotel, Las Vegas from €655pp, travel February 2016. See sunway.ie.

Lowcostbeds Croatia offers, based on 7 nights 2 sharing: 3* Hotel Odisej, Mljet from €22pppn half board, depart Sept 5. 4* Hote Lapad, Dubrovnik City from €39pppn B&B, stay in Oct. 5* Admiral Grand Hotel, Slano from €50pppn half board, depart Aug 25 or Sept 25. 4* Hotel Kompas, Dubrovnik City from €74pppn B&B, depart September 1. See lowcostbeds.com.

ITAA offers: 7 nights 4* Club Marthas, Cala D’Or, Majorca from €1,102 incl. return flights ex Dublin. 7 nights Bitacora Apartments, Lanzarote from €299pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart November 15. 1 night B&B 3* Imperial Hotel/3* President Hotel on Russell Square, Holborn from €299pp incl. match ticket to Arsenal v Newcastle, depart December 5.

Marine Court Hotel, BangorTourism NI offers: 3 nights B&B Maryville House Tearooms & Boutique from £270 incl. afternoon tea, available Sundays-Thursdays until September 30, call 028 9068 1510. 1 night B&B Ramada Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry from £89pps incl. 3 course evening meal for two, bottle of wine or a walking tour of Derry city, available until Dec 31, call 028 7127 9111 or visit davincishotel.com. 1 night B&B Marine Court Hotel, Bangor from £99.99 per room incl. lunch and dinner with wine, available Sunday-Thursday until Aug 31, call (028) 9145 1100.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* HRC Hotel, Madrid from €239pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, travel in September. 3 nights 3* AB Viladomat Hotel, Barcelona from €239pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, travel in September. 7 nights B&B 5* Real Marina Hotel & Spa, Olhao, Algarve from €299pp incl. return fights, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in November. 4 nights Express by Holiday Inn Dubai Jumeirah hotel from €599pp incl. return flights, taxes, charges and airport transfers, travel in November. See clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.

Topflight 5* all inclusive Cancun offers: 7 nights Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort from €1,799pps incl. $1,500 resort credit, return flights, baggage and resort transfers, travel August 23 to October 15. 7 nights Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa resort from €2,099pps incl. return flights, baggage and resort transfers, travel August 22 to September 4. 7 nights Secrets The Vine from €2,056pps incl. return flights, baggage, resort transfers, depart October 1-31. See topflight.ie or call 01 2401 700.

EGY_SES_78124Thomson offers: 14 nights half board 4* Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €589pp, depart Dublin September 7. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Belvedere, Salou from €609pp, depart Shannon August 28. 7 nights full board on board Thomson Spirit Black Sea Explorer, Dalaman, from €849pp incl. visits to Turkey, Greece, Ukraine and Bulgaria, depart Dublin September 7. 7 nights all inclusive 4* H10 Timanfaya, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €639pp, depart Dublin November 22. See thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Falcon offers: Flights from Dublin to Majorca from €59pp one way. 7 nights self catering 1* Bellino, Hersonissos, Crete from €459pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering 3* Golden Gate, Kusadasi, Turkey from €509pp, depart September 5. 7 nights half board Sol House Mallorca, Majorca from €579pp, depart September 3. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Ialyssos, Trianda, Rhodes from €689pp, depart September 2. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Holiday Village, Marmari, Kos from €1,849 for two adult and one child or from €2,529 for two adults and two children, depart September 5. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Travel Department is offering a 7-nights tour of Malta and Gozo for €899pp incl. B&B accommodation at San Antonio Hotel & Spa, no single room supplement, taxes, transfer on arrival and flights ex Dublin. Depart October 29. See traveldepartment.ie or call 01 637 1600.

lasvegas1Tour America offers: 4 nights 4* Linq Hotel, Las Vegas from €719pp incl. return flights, depart December 11. 7 nights Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €629pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart November 19. 3 nights Beacon Hotel, New York from €789pp incl. return flights, depart November 12. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Caribe Hotel, Cancun from €1,339pp incl. return flights, depart October 14. See touramerica.ie.

Ireland

FINNISH TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS GIVE NORTHERN IRELAND A BIG THUMBS UP!

A group from Finnish travel agency Kon-Tiki Tours visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI. Picture shows the group in Ballygalley, Co Antrim, with Maarit Kärkkäinen of Tourism Ireland.

Heritage week events began yesterday and will take place throughout the 26 counties this week celebrating the theme of industrial heritage, see calendar here. PDF event guides are available for each county. Tourism Ireland produced a video showcasing events in Kilkenny (watch here). Manor House Hotels is the official accommodation partner of the annual week-long celebration of the country’s past. Heritage open days in the six counties take place on September 12-13.

TARGETING THE DIASPORA IN MILWAUKEEPicture shows Minister Joe McHugh,with Marie McKown (left) and Louise Cooney of Tourism Ireland, at this year’s four-day Milwaukee Irish Fest, which claims to be the largest celebration of Irish culture and heritage in the United States with an audience of 150,000 visitors.

The Irish Craft Beer Festival returns to the RDS in Dublin from August 27 to 29.

Lighthouse 2Picture shows Limerick Radio Club members Harry O’Loughlin and Simon Kenny at the base of Loop Head lighthouse where ham radio operators made 923 contacts with counterparts in 49 other countries as part of the International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend.

US travel and adventure show The Road Less Travelled, presented by explorer Jonathan Legg Explores the Wild Atlantic WayJonathan Legg, visited Ireland this week. Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included visits to Dingle Cookery School, cooking with Rachel Allen, Jameson distillery, Tullamore Dew and the Dingle Distillery.

Postcards from the Edge: Read here South African travel writer Graham Howe’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael Ring hosted the first meeting of the new Tourism Leadership Group.

Dublin was voted second most friendly city by Condé Nast readers.

And finally

Conor mcmahonPicture shows Travel Extra‘s Conor McMahon on assignment at the European Forum Alpbach in Austria. The Forum celebrates it 70th year and brings together some of Europe’s best thinkers.

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

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