TRAVEL Extra Sunday Supplement: Ryanair's state of the union address



Tony Collins of Topflight who hosted travel wrtiters on a group visit to ski resorts in Austria,


Things to know about travel

  • Dublin airport opens €22m south gates
  • Ryanair’s union recognition blues
  • Aer LIngus increase trans-Atlantic capacity with two new A330s
  • Stobart to fly Dublin Carlisle
  • Minister Griffin: “We’ll squeeze every cent out of Star Wars”
  • Jedi director pays tribute to Ireland with special movie
  • Emirates celebrates 2m passengers on Dublin-Dubai 
  • DAA loses another leader as Chairman says he’s stepping down
  • Portugal cleans up at the World Travel Awards

Travel Extra TV.

Fresh from a slew of world travel awards (see full story below), Portugal has a new video promoting the country for 2018, watch here.
Smoking can seriously damage your reputation: A US passenger is accused of an air rage incident after being allegedly told to stub out a cigarette on a flight. Watch the drama here.

  • The Royal Caribbean CEO is looking to the future of cruising with high-tech onboard facilities. Richard Fain was speaking at an interview with Skift watch here. Airbus shows off its newly-delivered A380 to Singapore Airlines. Look inside the cabin here.
  • The view from the flight deck as a British Airways crew land an A380 in Johannesburg. Watch here.
  • Emirates celebrates Bahrain’s national day onboard a nighttime flight (watch here).
  • Gulf rival Etihad is not missing out either – watch its Bahrain tribute here.
  • KLM (watch here) shows off the hightlights of its year in the air and on the ground.
  • Former Miss Australia Erin Holland visits Dublin with Qatar Airways – but judging by the swanky Q Suite seat, she wasn’t flying direct from Doha to Ireland. Watch as she visits the sites of the city here.

Behind the Headlines

What changed Ryanair’s mind about recognising trade unions was a breakdown in the  airline’s pilot representative system for dealing with its employees. The drama began on Monday when Eddie Wilson said that the Ryanair employee representative committee had not responded to a letter from the airline. Peter Bellew’s arrival as COO was always going to herald change, but nobody expected change on this scale. What he  described  as an “evolution of the business model” with “aviation Professionals” recognised for the “contribution they make to the business” kick started a game of cat and mouse between airline and trade union representatives that means passengers are still uncertain whether their travel plans will be disrupted next Wednesday. IALPA announced Dublin-based Ryanair pilots voted in favour of industrial action.  The ballot covered only direct employees, mainly Captains, not the contracted pilots, with 79 out of 84 ballot papers issued returned marked in favour.  Ryanair has over 300 Dublin-based pilots.
Aer Lingus are likely to boost their trunk routes to North America with a long term leased A330-200 from Qatar Airways. It brings the long haul fleet to 13. Watch here Stephen Kavanagh speaking about trans Atlantic plans for 2018.
The reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are mixed, but Tourism Ireland sees no Dark Side to the sci-fi phenomenon and how it’s putting Skelling Michael – and Ireland – on the map in new markets. Self-confessed Star Wars geek, the Junior Minister for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, was looking forward to that night’s Irish premiere in the Savoy cinema as he joined Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons for an end-of-year report delivered to the media.

The Minister saw no shame in the idea “to squeeze every cent” out of the Disney franchise, with Gibbons claiming the movie is worth  €40m a year to Ireland in publicity and offered a sneak preview of a film made by Star Wars director Rian Johnson to pay tribute to Ireland for allowing the filmmakers onto Skellig Michael, off the coast of Kerry for two days. Other locations were in Kerry or Malin Head). In the film, released on December 27, Mark ‘Luke Skywalker’ Hamill seemed most taken by the beauty of the area; Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, a little less so, while robot R2D2 is seen being carried up hundreds of steps on the former monastic settlement. Watch here as Niall Gibbons talks about 2017 and hopes for the new year and watch here as Brendan Griffin sets out Ireland’s aims in the market and talks to the media watch here about his support for the 9pc VAT rate for hospitality and doesn’t see the Brexit rows as a threat. See the album here.

Travel Trade

Minister fBrendan Griffin  launched the 2018 Holiday World Show along with organiser Maureen Ledwith. Taking place at the RDS Simmonscourt from Friday 26th January to Sunday 28th January, it will feature the  show’s largest ever Home Holiday Pavilion. Holiday World Show 2018 will also include the largest ever ‘Visit USA Pavilion’, a new French Camping Pavilion, plus Let’s Talk Travel with Eoghan Corry
The Spanish Tourism Office hosted agents and media at the Spanish-owned Riu Plaza The Gresham.
Kathryn MacDonnell said Irish figures were at 1.8m up to October, with another good year predicted for 2018. Picture shows Laura Cordoba, Teresa Gancedo Nieto, Borja Bedoya and Kathryn MacDonnell, Spanish Tourism Office, with Gill O’Sullivan, King Travel. Connect to the album here, or on Facebook here.

The Portuguese Tourist Board hosting media at L’Ecrivain in Dublin, with the help of AE Consulting’s Aileen Eglington, with new Ambassador Miguel de Almeida e Sousa the guest of honour. The envoy, who took up the role here in October, was previously stationed in Rome and Tel Aviv. He said he will miss the friends he made in the Middle East,. The country was named the World’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards, with other awards for Madeira (World’s Leading Island Destination) and Lisbon (World’s Leading City Break Destination). Picture shows Ambassador Miguel de Almeida e Sousa, with Celina Tavares and Antonio Padeira, Portuguese National Tourist Office. Connect to the album here or on Facebook here.
 Enda Corneille of Emirates hosted travel agents in Cork on Tuesday night and media in Dublin the following afternoon. He revealed that the airline, which launched here in 2012 with the help of Lionel Richie, carried its two millionth passenger on the Dublin – Dubai route last week. The 1m passenger landmark was reached in December 2015. He also fuelled rumours that the double-daily service could expand in some form, but conceded to Travel Extra that Dublin Airport – which he says is busy with the Aer Lingus transatlantic boom – would not be ready to take the A380 “until 2019 at the earliest”. Picture shows Enda Corneille of Emirates with Megan VIrgo, Rachel Sherry, Sarah Tighe and Rochelle Flett, Grayling PR, at the Emirates brunch in the Dean Hotel, Dublin. Connect to the Cork trade night album here or on Facebook here. Connect to the Dublin brunch album here or on Facebook here.

Qatar Airways hosted travel agents and media in Doha to promote a free night’s stopover in Doha for all passengers, with an extra night available for €50, with desert tours and city sightseeing trips also available through Gulf Adventures. The group got to visit the Mondrian Doha, St Regis Doha and InterContinental Hotel, and met Mondrian hotel executive Daniel Kiely, a former Senior footballer with Round Towers Lusk, who’s now one of the main movers with Qatar’s GAA club. Pictured are Ana Demic, St Regis Doha; Katie Smith, Hillsbalfour PR; and Barbara Casanova Fernandes, Qatar Airways in Dublin, in the St Regis Doha Presidential Suite, December 10, 2017. Connect to the album here or on Facebook here.

Donna Kenny from Cassidy Travel is the latest finalitst in the Blue Insurance Toyota Yaris Hybrid Competition with thanks to Toyota Sandyford. Agents get one entry with every 5 policies sold.

  • Katrina Williamson from Tully’s Travel Carlow is the winner of the November draw for a place on the Classic Collection Holidays 5 Star trip next April. Four more places are up for grabs – see the Travel Partners Group or Classic Collection on Facebook to enter.
  • Travel Counsellors says it is putting ‘sustainable tourism firmly on the map’ after going into partnership with the Travel Foundation.
  • Bed bank Hotelbeds is planning to add an additional 10,000 directly contracted hotels to its platform over the next three years. The B2B provider said the exclusive deals would benefit its 60,000-plus travel intermediaries globally.
See also  Club Travel profits ahead, sales behind 2019

Strange world

Don’t you want me, baby? Human League singer Joanne Catherall was banned from the Qantas airport lounge in Melbourne during the week for wearing Ugg boots.

  • A flight from Moscow to Zurich was forced to land in Germany after a business class passenger who was denied more champagne became aggressive.
  • Alaska Airlines let passengers wearing ugly Christmas jumpers onboard flights 15 minutes early to celebrate Christmas sweater day on December 15.
  • A passenger was arrested after allegedly biting his travel companions and lashing out at other passengers on a flight to New York. The JetBlue flight from LA was forced to divert to Las Vegas.


Four children were killed and seven seriously injured after a train collided with a school bus, splitting it in two, outside the town of Perpignan in France.
The body of a skier who was swept away by an avalanche has been found in Switzerland. The 49-year-old Italian had been skiing off-piste when he was buried under nearly five feet of snow.
The Majorcan resort of Magaluf said families and adult couples now account for 70pc of all guests as it continues with its campaign to shed its lager lout reputation.

Food & Beverage

Kerrygold butter has knocked Tayto crisps off top spot as the ‘most missed’ food by Irish emigrants, according to the fifth annual ‘Diaspora Decides’ study for Checkout magazine. Other brands missed included Cadburys chocolate and Barry’s and Lyon’s tea.

  • Bobby Kerr founder and chairman of the Insomnia Coffee Company is to leave the business to focus on his broadcasting career with Newstalk.
  • Diageo fears losing tens of millions of euro under a hard Brexit, saying it moves 18,000 trucks a year over that border and can’t afford hold-ups.
  • Aoife Clarke has been appointed chair of the Irish Spirits Association (ISA), the first female chair in its 20-year history.
  • Dublin burger chain Wowburger is set to open its first restaurant in Cork this weekend at 4-5 South Main Street.


William Hastings, Hastings Hotels, outside the Europa

Hastings Hotels is in mourning following the death of patriarch William Hastings (89). The group said he passed away peacefully at home today following a short illness and was surrounded by his wife Joy and children Julie, Howard, Allyson and Aileen. Mr Hastings, who bought the Europa Hotel in Belfast in 1993, also served on the board of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and was also a publican in a varied career. “We cannot describe the huge void that he has left in our lives but we take comfort in the fact that he was an inspiration to so many people and has left a lasting legacy which we will remain dedicated in honouring, his family said.

Six Dublin hotels, including the Merrion, Shelbourne and Westbury, have appealed to An Bord Pleanála against plans to ban taxis from the proposed civic plaza at College Green. A public hearing on Dublin City Council’s proposal for a car-free plaza will by held in January.

As reported by Travel Extra earlier this year, a bid led by Swedish hotel group Pandox has confirmed its €910m acquisition of the Jurys Inn chain.

Melia Hotels International has rolled out a new online B2B portal, expanding the MeliaPro booking tool across a range of B2B segments. A new website,, has been launched and the company said travel agents will receive instant commissions via MeliaPro along with guaranteed best rates for clients.
Hoteliers and developers are planning 600 new bedrooms for Galway from 2020, according to Savills Ireland. reported that Galway hotel occupancy was over 74pc last year, up from 69pc in 2013. Over the same period, average room rates grew from €72 to €95. During the peak summer months of 2017, hotels had a vacancy rate of only 5pc.
An Bord Pleanála has green-lighted a €40m luxury hotel at Loreto Hall on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green despite security concerns from staff at the adjoining offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The High Court approved a scheme of survival for seven companies, including the five-star g Hotel and four-star Meyrick Hotel in Galway which will safeguard their future and staff jobs.
Hoteliers Brian and Sally McGill are to open a four-star hotel on Dublin’s Harcourt Street in the new year. The Iveagh Garden Hotel will be beside their Harcourt Hotel and Harrington Hall.
Plans are in the pipeline for the development of a €60m retirement village inside the grounds of the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co Kilkenny.

The five-star Lough Eske Castle hotel in Co Donegal last year recorded profits of €1.54m. Revenues at the  hotel, which is part of Pat Doherty’s Harcourt Developments, rose to €8.56m.

Fingal County Council is to upgrade road facilities around Dublin Airport after signing a €70m loan agreement with the European Investment Bank.

The new South Gates area

Dublin Airport opened a new €22m boarding gate area. The South Gates area will be used mainly by Aer Lingus for flights to Britain and continental Europe and has five boarding gates serving nine aircraft parking stands. The DAA said passengers will walk out to the aircraft, allowing airlines a fast turnaround time for their operation. A shuttle bus service from an existing lounge at Gate 335 will operate every two minutes on a continuous loop bringing passengers to and from the new boarding gate facility.
Stobart Air plans flights to Carlisle from Dublin and Belfast.
The Department of Transport will start looking soon for a new DAA Chairman after Pádraig Ó Ríordáin announced he will step down in mid-January 2018 when his current term ends. It’s the second high profile post to change, following the departure of DAA CEO Kevin Toland to food giant Aryzta in Zurich during the autumn. Mr Ó Ríordáin was appointed Chairman in January 2012 by then Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar. He was reappointed in February 2015 by Minister Paschal Donohoe and in July 2016 by Minister Shane Ross.
Cork Airport has been named the second happiest and friendliest airport in the world. It was ranked just behind Exeter in England in the “happy or not” survey of travellers of 160 airports across 36 countries.

Children from St. Stephen’s National School Navan welcoming passengers to Terminal 1

It’s getting Christmassy again at Dublin Airport. Almost 1000 performers from local schools and choirs will bring festive cheer to passengers. Passengers arriving at night will be greeted by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen Choir, Young European Strings, Cor Duibhlinne and Comhaltas Ceoltórí Eireann from Portmarnock, the Airport Police and Fire Service Band, Fingal Gospel Choir and the Dublin Gospel choir amongst others. Watch them entertain arriving passengers here.
Three new EasyJet routes from Belfast to Spain, Italy and the Isle of Man could create as many as 175 new jobs, Graham Keddie, MD of Belfast International Airport, said.

British airlines will lose all flying rights to the EU if there is no transition agreement after Brexit, the European Commission has warned. In a notice to all airlines, the EC said British carriers would no longer enjoy traffic rights under any air transport agreement to which the EU is a party, meaning they would no longer have the right to fly to the EU and between member states. They would also lose flying rights under agreements between the EU and third countries, such as the US-EU Open Skies agreement.

See also  Man arrested after stabbing incident outside Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport

 Etihad is looking at new ways to boost revenue in the economy cabin by offering business and first class perks at a price. While complimentary food and drink remain on the menu, the airline will sell premium coffee and Champagne on most routes. It will also offer Christian Lacroix male and female branded amenity kits, Christian Lacroix branded sleepwear and a snack box wity both sweet and healthy snacks.

British Airways is to expand its Irish services from just London Heathrow and London City Airport with flights from Dublin to Manchester next summer. Given BA’s lack of long haul connections from Manchester, the service will be mainly point-to-point, but will have a two-class service. Full story here.

Virgin Atlantic has launched what is the only direct link between London Heathrow and Barbados. The 2w service will operate for winter 2017 using an Airbus A330.

Norwegian is to launch flights from Amsterdam, Madrid and Milan to New York’s John F. Kennedy International and Los Angeles International airports next summer.
Dutch police shot and arrested a man who wielded a knife at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Some flights from Toronto’s Pearson Airport were delayed due to a ‘customs breach’ when arriving passengers were let out of the wrong door.


Riviera Travel has been sold by Phoenix Equity Partners to London-based private equity firm Silverfleet Capital for an undisclosed sum.
Tenor Andrea Bocelli and pop singer Ricky Martin, will help MSC Cruises welcome its newest cruise ship, MSC Seaside, to Miami during its official naming ceremony on December 21. Seaside is the line’s first ship custom-built for the North American market.
Celebrity Cruises celebrated the ceremonial keel-laying of Celebrity Flora, an expedition ship being custom-built for sailing around the Galapagos Islands. The ceremony took place at the shipyard in Tolkamer, the Netherlands.
MSC Meraviglia won the award for “Best New Ship” at the London editor’s awards. Seabourn Cruise Line won “Best Luxury Cruise Line” for the second year in a row, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection again took the prize for “Best River Cruise Line”. Full list here.


Cork was  highly rated by The New York Times ’36 Hours in’ report which hghlighted the curry chips on offer in the city.

  • The Convention Centre Dublin won the award for ‘World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre’ at the 24th annual World Travel Awards in Vietnam.
  • John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI, said the body will focus more on attracting visitors from the Republic. He said the North’s tourism industry could generate £140m of revenue from the Republic by 2025. Full comment piece here.
  • Game of Thrones fans are flouting new rules which ban cars from the picturesque Dark Hedges in north Antrim. Damage to the road caused by coaches and cars prompted a traffic ban between the trees.
  • Waterford Greenway reported ratings of excellent or good by 94pc of visitors for its 46km of off-road cycling and walking trail from Waterford City to Dungarvan. Since opening last March, 247,545 visitors have used the trail.
    Barclays bank arranged a €165m financing facility for the new Center Parcs Longford Forest resort which is being constructed near Ballymahon, Co Longford.
  • Titanic Belfast profits jumped 45pc to £2m in the last 12 months, new figures show. It welcomed almost 440,000 between April and August – up from 360,000 over the same period in 2016. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said the centre witnessed a surge in visitors from countries such as China.
See also  Susan Kiernan 1939-2023 a tribute

Deal Watch

Insight Vacations offers: Best of Germany, 10, including flights, transfers and 9 nights’ accommodation in the best locations, from €2129pp, departing April 13. To avail of 10pc early payment discount, book and pay in full by January 26, 2018. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. See or call 01 775 3803.
ITAA offers:  Dublin to Seattle, including return direct flights, 10kg hand luggage per person, 5 Nights in a Deluxe Room in 3*+ MarQueen Hotel in downtown Seattle on a Bed & Breakfast basis and free scenic cruise around Seattle’s harbour, from €990pp with, depart May 25. Dublin to Bora Bora & Tahiti, 10 nights with flights from Dublin, 9 nights B&B in 5* Le Meridian Bora Bora on B&B in a beach villa & 1 night in 5* Le Meridian Tahiti and boat transfers , from €5999pp with Classic Resorts. Dublin to Norway, with return flights, all hotel transfers, 7 nights in four-star accommodation, including all local taxes, with breakfast and three dinners including one at a local restaurant, services of experienced tour manager and day tours, from €1609 with Riviera Travel, depart June & September 2018.
Sunway offers: Highlights of St Petersburg and Moscow escorted tour, includes flight ex Dublin, 8 nights twin share 3* / 4* hotels, meals and tours as per itinerary, from €1489pp, depart May 12.  Dublin to Europe, 5* Rhine & Moselle Spendours River Cruise, includes flight ex Dublin,  1 x 15kg bag pp, port transfers, Category D outside stateroom with fixed window on  twin share basis for 7 nights, full board basis with unlimited wine/beers at meals & daily complimentary excursions.  Not included gratuities, pre /post nights and port charges of €135pp, from €1519pp, depart May 31. Dublin to France, 7 nights all inclusive Club Med Ski, 3T Aime La Plagne, with tuition and lift pass, adults from €1249pp and children from €1039pp, depart January 14. Dublin to South America for Inca Discovery 8 days Lima to Cusco, from €2659pp, depart March 11. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Monte Verde Apts, from €369pp, depart December 22. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights half board 4* Vik San Antonio Hotel, from €699pp, depart December 23. Dublin to Algarve, 7 nights self-catering 3*+ Turim Estrela Do Vau, from €440pp, depart May 12. Dublin to Dominican Republic, 7 nights all Inclusive 3* RIU Naioba, from €875pp. Western Mediterranean Fly Cruise 7 nights onboard Norwegian Epic, rrom €1290pp,  depart October 14. Montenegro & Greece Fly Cruise, 7 nights onboard Norwegian Star premium all inclusive & $100 Onboard credit per cabin, from €1380pp, depart September 30. Arctic Highlights Voyage, 5 nights onboard MS Nordkapp, plus two-night hotel stay, from €1151pp, departs February 23.
Ski brochuresTopflight offers: Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 3* Gasthaus Bichler, Soll was €679 now €499pps, depart March 3. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Sonnalp, Hinterglemm was €1210 now €1130pps, depart January 6. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 3* Pension Hochwimmer, Zell am See was €879 now €709pps, depart December 30. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 3* Landhaus Roscher, B&B, Mayrhofen was €729 now €609pps. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Elisabethpark, Bad Gastein was €1429 now €1159pps. Dublin to Italy 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Teola, H/B, Livigno was €829 now €649pps, depart January 6. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self-catering 3* Casa Antonietta/Pozzi, Livigno was €582 now €419pps (Based on 5 share), depart January 13. Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Sant Gothard, Arinsal was €732 now €652pps, depart January 7. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 4* Le Hameau de Pierre Blanche, Chamonix Valley was €569 now €449pps (Based on 6 share), depart January 6. Dublin to France, 7 nights catered chalet 4* Chalet Fleur de Neige, Plan Peisey, Les Arcs was €1019 now €899, depart January 20. Call 01 240 1700, visit or contact your local travel agent. Also keep an eye out for Topflight’s 12 days of Christmas promotion.
TUI offers:  Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Punta Del Rey, Puerto Rico, from €439pps, depart January 4. Dublin to Gran Canaria,7 nights all inclusive 3*  IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Agustin, from €479pps, depart January 11. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 3* El Trebol, Costa Teguise, from €589pps, depart January 14. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €389pps, depart February 2.  Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Tamanaco Apartments, Puerto Rico, from €369pps, depart February 15.  Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Servatur Waikiki, Playa Del Ingles, from €599pps, depart February 1. Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights half board 4* SBH Hotel Club Paraiso Playa, Esquinzo, from €959pps, depart December 19. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €1,299pps, depart December 26. Cork to Gran Canaria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Riu Don Migue, Playa Del Ingles, from €1,229pps, depart December 22. Cork to Tenerife, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Barcelo Santiago, Puerto De Santiago, from €1,439pps, depart December 24. Cork to Majorca, 7 nights self-catering 3* More Hotel, Alcudia, from €549pps, depart May 8. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 3* El Trebol, Costa Teguise, from €669pps, depart May 21. Ireland West Airport to Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* California Apartments, Salou, from €499pps, depart July 10., Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store /travel agent.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise offers:  Delightful Danube 8 Days – visiting Austria, Czech Republic, Germany & Hungary, from  €2729pps, including flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 8 nights in a Category 5 stateroom on board the River Empres, depart July 11. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Book before December 31, 2017. Log onto or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned.

Depite having only 10pc of Britain’s population, more Irish than Brits walked the Camino in Spain last year.




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