TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A321 production line delay ruins Aer Lingus’s summer



The five most powerful airlines in Europe share a platform, Thomas Reynaert of A4E, Willie Walsh CEO of IAG, Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair, Johann Lundgren CEO of Easyjet, Pieter Eibers CEO of KLM and Carsten Spohr CEO of Lufthansa, Airlines 4 Europe aviation summit, Concert Noble, Brussels, March 6 2019


Things to know about travel this week

  • A321 delay: Montreal dropped from Aer Lingus schedule 
  • Package travel directive: Ireland to be taken to EU court
  • Europe’s 5 big airlines bring complaints to Brussels
  • Aer Lingus drops skirt requirement for female cabin crew
  • Syria and Venezuela promote tourism at ITB Berlin
  • Etihad send Team Ireland on their way to Abu Dhabi
  • Hotelier despondency reaches six year low

Video Watch.

British Airways’ BEA A319 arrive at Heathrow Airport after its repainting in retro colours at Shannon Airport. Watch here.

The home of Mardi Gras, New Orleans, parties like its 2019 ahead of Lent. Watch here.

  • KLM reveals what it’s like to train as an airline pilot. Watch here.
  • Qatar Airways showcases its next generation economy seats. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Montreal has been dropped from Aer Lingus summer plans because of A321LR delivery delays. The airline still expects the first two aircraft to be ready for commercial operation in late summer, with the other two scheduled to arrive later in 2019. Revised operations:

  • Dublin-Hartford A321LR replaces B757 August 2 not July 1
  • Dublin-Montreal deferred from August 8 2019 to summer 2020.
  • Dublin-Hartford reduced from daily to 6w
  • Dublin-Minneapolis/St. Paul from daily to 5w
  • Dublin-Philadelphia from daily to 5w
  • Shannon-JFK from 6w to 4w

A new twist to Department of Transport delay in implementing the EU Package Holiday directive. Spain has signed, leaving Ireland the only one of the 28 EU members not to sign, despite assurances by Shane Ross at Dublin Holiday World that it was within weeks of being finalised (watch here).  EU Consumer Commissioner Věra Jourová said she had sent Ireland a warning letter last March, still has not been notified that the rules have been implemented. and is referring Ireland to the European Court to enforce a financial penalty of as much as €1.1m. The Department has also been advised the taxpayer could face compensation claims from consumers under the Package Holiday rights should the delay continue.

The World Travel and Tourism Council hosted Travel Extra’s Mark Evans with English and Scottish travel writers on a fam trip to Seville, ahead of the organisation’s global summit in the city, which will feature former US President Barack Obama as headline speaker. Pictured are Lisa Minot, Travel Editor of The Sun in London; Jamie Wortley, from the World Travel and Tourism Council; Raj Gill, freelance, Scotland; Jonathan Bird, Sunday People; Mark Evans; Laura Paterson, Press Association; Hadley Middleton, New Magazine; Simon Heptinstall, Daily Mail; and Robin Murray, Bristol Post, in Seville.

Thirty years after the wall came down the 2019 ITB Berlin offered a preview of its commemoration at the joint Berlin-Brandenburg stand The gargantuan trade fair (10,000 exhibiting companies from 181 countries) saw the launch of Nepal Tourism’s 2020 campaign, Qatar Airways enhanced Economy Class product (and seven new upcoming destinations) while 400 speakers discussed issues facing the industry, led by Mark Okerstrom, the new CEO of Expedia, Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb, a discussion on overtourism with Mato Franković, and a new Hospitality Tech Forum.  Another international event will shortly join the global family brand of ITB: ITB India, which will be launching in April 15-17 2020.  Saudi Arabia were there for the first time.  Australia, Dubai, Egypt, Malaysia and Namibia increased the size of their stand and Fujairah completed the UAE sextet. First-time exhibitors from the Caribbeans included Curacao, Barbados, Belize and El Salvador and Grenada celebrated it’s first appearance since 2015 Curiosities included Venezuela, which doubled the size of its stand despite domestic strife, and Syriana Travel & Tourism, in hall 2.2 promoting tourism to (wait for it) Syria. For a glimpse at what Syria has to offer the  tourist, see here and here. For the fifth year, Ireland was represented twice, on the official Tourism Ireland stand and Fáilte Ireland’s stand in the Leisure, Adventure & Youth Travel section. Picture shows Mark Henry of Tourism Ireland, Bridgette Brew of Galway 2020, Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin; Finola O’Mahony head of Europe for Tourism Ireland and Michael Collins, Ireland Ambassador to Germany, on the Tourism Ireland  stand.

Skirts are no longer mandatory for Aer Lingus stewardesses, bringing 70 years of gender-specific dress code regulations in November when rebrand uniforms are issued (picture shows crew members Deborah McGuirk, Donna Murray, Anna Moore, Paula Lawlor, Muriel Cooke, Jane Curtain, Aisling Rendall, Anna Cole, Belfast-based Cabin Operations Supervisor Fiona Scullion, Chaoilfhionn Ginnity and Mark Tinney showcasing retro uniforms in 2011). Skirts are still mandatory for Ryanair stewardesses. BA ended mandatory skirts for mixed crew in 2016. Etihad’s uniform used to give staff the option of both trousers and skirts, but its new range also allows skirts only. Virgin made trousers optional this week, previously they allowed trousers on a case by case basis. Asiana and Cathay Pacific stewardesses took their airline to court for the right to wear pants (Korean air introduced them in 2005). French airline La Compagnie, offers the option of wearing culottes. More widely reported, oddly, in consumer media was the fact that make up is no longer mandatory: many airlines continue to requires stewardesses to wear lipstick and blusher “as a minimum”. Flight attendants have been around since 1930, when Boeing Air Transport hired eight nurses, complete with capes, to be present on airplanes to add a feeling of safety for concerned fliers. Has anyone told Phil Ní Sheaghdha of the INMO?

The Airlines4Europe summit in Brussels had not even commenced when Michael O’leary called it a rogue’s gallery: the five most powerful airlines in Europe and Thomas Reynaert of A4E hosted 150 select travel medias at Concert Noble in Brussels to update them on their concerns, Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair, Willie Walsh CEO of IAG, Carsten Spohr CEO of Lufthansa, Johann Lundgren CEO of Easyjet and Pieter Eibers CEO of KLM. Michael O’Leary provided the usual quote of soundbytes, with reference to the French air traffic control “recreational strikes” (watch here and watch here) and outlining five proposed solutions to the ATC strikes (for which read Marseille) and staff shortages (which read Karlsruhe) that are going to plague passengers again this summer: separate upper airspace to protect overflights, shorten training periods for ATC (it takes three years, longer than to train a captain), strengthen Eurocontrol, introduce competition, bring in an independent regulator of ATC providers, and charge EU261 to ATC providers when flights are delayed. Johann Lundgren commented on the Impact of ATC delays on sustainability (watch here), Carsten Spohr commented on airport charges (watch here and the future of the aviation sector after a series of failures in January that, he says, surprised him (watch here).  As well as giving the keynote address (watch here), Willie Walsh made most of the running on the impact of ATC delays (watch here), how IATA’s carbon emissions agreement CORSIO is part of the solution, not the whole solution, (watch here), and answered questions on Brexit (watch here) and Jetblue trans Atlantic plans (watch here).  Thomas Reynaert of A4E opened the session on Air Traffic Management (watch here) and spoke about concerns about airlines having to pay compensation for delays which are not of their own making under EU261 regulations (watch here), which discussion was joined by Pieter Eibers, Johann Lundgren  and Willie Walsh (watch here). Pieter Eibers spoke about the Dutch government’s recent joining of the debate about taxation of aviation (watch here) and took a question about the capacity crunch at Schiphol, where further growth is no longer possible (watch here). Three CEOs joined the discussion on biofuels (watch here), For CEO Forum full session watch here. It was noted by some of the international writers that, of the six men attending the aviators Eurocontrol lobbying meeting prior to the press conference with Eamonn Brennan, six were Irish. Picture shows Willie Walsh and Michael O’Leary at the event.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

There was a standing ovation for Caroline Casey,  at the Irish Hotels Federation conference in Killarney, a lively event stirred into life on Monday evening with workshops led by Sarah Duignan of STR, UL lecturer Jim Deegan and others. Will Day had a full house for his lively presentation on sustainability. Food critic Giles Coren was entertaining as always. Paul Kelly of Failte Ireland and Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland, Maria Melia of the Department of Tourism, Colm Hannon of Adare and Ann Doherty of Cork County Council were among the speakers. The President’s Award went to JP McManus, accepted by daughter Sue Anne. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The hit to Irish Ferries took as result of last summer’s double whammy of WB Yeats non-arrival and Ulysses turbine problems was lower than anticipated as it reported its annual results.  Revenue at the Irish Ferries division was down 7.5pc at €196.2m. Car carryings were down 7.4pc (2pc in the first half, 11.1pc in the second half). Profit fell 23pc to €46.3m, excluding profits on vessel sales. Irish Ferries estimate the overall car market between Britain and Ireland fell by 2.0pc in 2018 to 790,600 cars, and the all-island market fell 1.8pc. See WB Yeats Dublin official inauguration ceremony here.

Travel Trade

The Irish Travel Industry Trade Show is already shaping up to be Ireland’s biggest travel trade event. Endorsed by the ITAA it takes place on March 21 at RDS Hall 3, Main Hall Complex, Angelsea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin D04 AK83. The entrance gate is located on Anglesea Road opposite The Herbert Park Hotel.

  • Register here
  • See list of exhibitors here
  • See list of prizes here.

The timetable is: 12.30pm: Lunch for invited guests sponsored by the Spanish and Lanzarote Tourist Boards., 2.00pm: Opening of the Official Irish Travel Trade Show by ITAA President John Spollen., 7.00pm: After-Show BBQ & Networking Event in the historic RDS Concert Hall & Dining Room, Sponsored by Visit Portugal and TAP Air Portugal., 2.00pm – 7.00pm: Café and Social Hub Sponsored by Shannon Airport.

Liliana Rivera of Dallas and Caitriona Toner of American Airlines hosted 50 key travel trade at the North Star Hotel in Dublin. Aisling O’Hara from American Holidays won the prize of 2 business class tickets to Dallas with 2 nights accommodation in Fort Worth and cowboy experience and 2 nights in Dallas with tickets to a game. Picture shows Estela Martinez-Stuart of Visit Forthworth, Sara Ellis of Texas Tourism and Liliana Rivera of Visit Dallas. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Partners Group hosted 34 key travel trade from the south east at Dooleys Hotel Waterford. {picture shows Ian Manto of Harvey Travel, Olwen McKinney of Amadeus, Jacinta Manto of Harvey Travel, Alan Sparling of ASM, Thomas O’Donohue of Strand Travel, Front: Maria Molly and Lorraine Power of Harvey Travel, TPG Roadshow @Dooleys Hotel Waterford. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Counsellors Ireland has the highest percentage of gold members worldwide with 12pc. The nine Irish, Dublin-based Roger Barrett and Robert Kiernan; Cork’s Mary Foyle and Sarah McCarthy; Meath-based Mandy Walsh and Lorraine Lawless; Rosemary Chawke from Tipperary; Emer McDermott from Mayo and Susan Hegarty from Carlow, were among 120 hosted at Powerscourt at the gold conference last weekend.

Picture shows Karen Maloney and Shannon O’Dowd of Etihad with the team, Etihad send off for Irish Special Olympics team en route to Abu Dhabi for world games hosted by Etihad. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Liam and Suzanne O’Leary of O’Leary Travel outlined plans for their business at a travel show in  the Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford. An invitation only audience private consultation room is to open in Enniscorthy following the success of their room in Wexford and the six member staff showcased the extent of their travels and their expertise. “We wanted to bring home to our customers and would-be customers how knowledgeable and well travelled our agency staff are,” Liam O’Leary said. Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry was MC for the day. The company was joined by 15 suppliers. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Hasan Mutlu celebrating International women’s day, with Caroline Resch, Deniz Lahio, Abby Chung and Martyna Cich

Turkish airlines offered women roses at check-in for international women’s day. Picture shows Hasan Mutlu celebrating International women’s day, with Caroline Resch, Deniz Lahio, Abby Chung and Martyna Cich. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Navan Travel won a wild card place in Graham Hennessy’s competition on Do Something Different ’s Universal Orlando fam trip this October. Agents in Ireland and England were asked to send heir best roller coaster faces. See their entry here.

The armour that Henry VIII wore into battle and a night at the ballet, these were among the highlights when Leeds and Ryanair hosted travel media Travel Extra’s Aileen O’Reilly amongst them, in the city to promote the double daily service to the city. Picture shows Hilary Farmery of Visit Leeds, Aileen O’Reilly and Angela Mullin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Strange world

The Chinese practice of tossing coins into a plane’s engines to wish for a safe flight didn’t have quite the expect outcome for one passenger last week. He is being sued by the aptly named Lucky Air after the flight had to be grounded overnight.

  • Passengers and crew on a charter flight from Barbados to Gatwick were briefly put into quarantine because of widespread illness on board
  • The Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky reported  120,000 gallons of would-be bourbon spilled after a structural collapse.
  • An Amtrak train with 200 people aboard hit downed trees during a blizzard and got stranded in the Oregon mountains for a day and a half,


Cook Islands considered a name change to Avaiki Nui to reflect the true Polynesia nature of the islands.

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay kicked off its 60th anniversary month with new announcements, including an update on Tigris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster, and details of a new record-breaking hybrid coaster coming in 2020.
  • Venice city council approved a visitors’ tax on day-trippers, aimed at paying for essential services that are more costly to perform in the lagoon city, such as trash collection and the cleaning of public areas.
  • Nepal‘s Tourism Department said it expects more climbers than usual will apply for climbing permits during the spring climbing season that begins this week, after China said it would limit attempts from the northern side.
  • Which? magazine reported that around 3.5m current British passports will not comply with the validity rules for entry into the Schenghen zone after breatimeacht/Brexit.

Food & Beverage

Matt Scaife’s Dublin based Causeway capital acquired 96 Patisserie Valerie, and placed Steve Francis and Rhys iley in charge of reviving the flagging business.

The winners of the Irish Food Writers Guild Awards were announced in Dublin’s Glovers Alley Restaurant. Pictured are David Watson – Killahora Orchards, Andrew Workman – Dunany Flour Organic, Barry Walsh – Killahora Orchards, Charlie Cole – Broughgammon , Jean Baptiste Enjelvin – Hegartys Cheese, Peter Hannan – Hannan Meats, Dan Hegarty – Hegartys Cheese, Leonie Workman – Dunany Flour Organic


4-3-2019: Minister Brendan Griffin with finalists of the Employee Awards 2019 in The Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney. Included are in Maura Casey, Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Killarney, Michael Lennon, President, HF, Minister Brendan Griffin, Tim Fenn, CEO IHF and Beatrice O'Donoghue, Sandymount Hotel, Dublin. At back are from left, Tony Lenehan, Stacey Bland, Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise, Michelle Kilcoyne, Breaffy House Hotel, Mayo, Gordon Kavanagh, Talbot Hotel, Wexford, Sharon Heneghan, The Johnstown Estate Hotel, Enfield, County Meath, Donna Hennessy, Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, Cork, Monica Heavenor, Woodland's Hotel and Spa, Adare, County Limerick and Martin O'Donnell, The Twelve Hotel, Galway. Photo Don MacMonagle repro free photo

Stacey Bland, a conference and events executive with the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise, Co Laois, was  named the Irish Hotels Federation National Employee of the Year. Picture shows finalists and hosts: adjudicator Tony Lenehan, Stacey Bland, Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise, Michelle Kilcoyne of Breaffy House Hotel, Mayo, Gordon Kavanagh of Talbot Hotel, Wexford, Sharon Heneghan of Johnstown Estate Hotel Enfield, County Meath, Donna Hennessy of Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, Cork, Monica Heavenor of Woodlands Hotel Adare, County Limerick and Martin O’Donnell of The Twelve Hotel, Galway, Front: Maura Casey of Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Killarney, Michael Lennon, President, IHF, Minister Brendan Griffin, Tim Fenn, CEO IHF and Beatrice O’Donoghue of Sandymount Hotel, Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The annual hoteliers business sentiment survey, released for the IHF conference, showed 91pc concerned about breat-imeacht/Brexit, 66pc saying English business is down, and 75pc saying they are considering reinvestment because of the VAT hike. The business up/business down ratio was 48/39 (compared with 72/15 in 2018 and 68/18 in 2017). IHF CEO Tim Fenn says occupancy is 72pc down from 74pc, although Dublin was up one to 81pc. 

  • Hotel firm Carra Shore is seeking permission to develop a 195-bedroom hotel at the junction of Little Britain Street and Little Green Street in Dublin.
  • Airbnb is pushing further into the hotels business, buying booking app HotelTonight.
  • There are a record high 6,352 projects/1,172,591 rooms currently under construction worldwide, STR reported at ITB


Ryanair‘s rolling annual figures passed 140m for the first time as February passenger numbers grew 13pc to 9.6M, up 9pc to 9.3m with Ryanair plus 300,000 with Laudamotion.

Aer Lingus passenger numbers were up 8.0pc in January to 658,000 with load factor down 2.5 to  68.7pc. Cargo carried was up 36pc. IAG passengers were up 6.1pc.

Aer Lingus is to move to T4 in Madrid Barajas airport.

Ryanair is dropping flights from Belfast International Airport to Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw as well as flights to Malta and reducing frequencies to London Stansted and Manchester airports.  Ryanair’s Irish Winter 2019 schedule will total 119 routes. two new (Dublin to Milan daily Malpensa in addition to twice daily to Bergamo and Knock 1w to Tenerife), and ten new for winter: Dublin Bordeaux 2w, Bournemouth 4w, Gothenburg 2w, Kyiv 2w, Southend 2 daily, Pisa 2w, Cork 2w to Alicante, Budapest, Malta and Poznan.  Ryanair will grow 6pc in Ireland – Dublin 13.3m +6pc, Cork 2m  +17pc, Shannon 810,000 +3pc, Knock 615,000 +3pc and Kerry 310,000, unchanged. See further winter routes at routesonline. Watch kenny jacobs talking about winter schedule here.

Ryanair is drawing solace from Swords Dublin District Court’s ruling confirming that no EU261 compensation was due to customers whose flights were delayed/cancelled because of internal strike action in Ryanair last year, as such strikes are beyond the airline’s control. On the margins of the A4E conference in Brussels Michael O’Leary told Travel Extra that the TUIfly Eu261 precedent involved bad management that he expected would not be applied to Ryanair’s operations in higher courts. “If Eu261 applied to all strikes it would incentive the French unions to bankrupt Air France.”

Gus Kelly-led AerCap filed its annual report on Form 20-F with the US SEC. Year end filings report 1,058 owned or managed and 363 aircraft on order in its portfolio, 200 customers in 80 countries, 436 transactions in 2018, $8.9bn in equity and $6bn in funding raised in 2018. Aercap is headquartered in Dublin with offices in Shannon, Los Angeles, Singapore, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Seattle and Toulouse.

French and Dutch transport ministers agreed to put in place a working group which by June will deliver its conclusions on how to improve the Air France KLM alliance after the Dutch government purchase of a 12.68pc stake in AF-KL and intention to increase it to 14pc almost matching the 14.29pc held by the French government. led to a fall of about 10pc in the share price.  Asked in Brussels about his relationship with Air France CEO Ben Smith, KLM CDEO Pieter Eibers said “good” and invited the next question.

  • As Shannon Airport to Frankfurt Lufthansa service is to double capacity to a second weekly service, Antóin Daltún points out that Lufthansa previously operated scheduled transatlantic passenger services through Shannon 1955-59 and Germany-Shannon-US jet services in 1962.
  • Aerospace Engineering Solutions opened an engineering design office in Shannon having gained EASA Part 21 approval for its Irish base, introducing DOA AES Global, trading under Aerospace Engineering Solutions.
  • Le Soir reported that Belgium will join Netherlands in proposing to its EU partners to introduce a European taxation on commercial aviation, either a tax on aviation fuel, currently exempt from any tax, or VAT on airline tickets.
  • ASL Airlines Ireland B757 operations for Aer Lingus are among wet-lease arrangements that could be affected by the US DoT proposal to discontinue wet-leasing transatlantic by European airlines that have exceeded 14 months in duration, an attempt to force the EU Commission to allow long term wet leasing by US airlines. 
  • Niall MacCarthy told Cork Chamber that advances in aircraft technology meant Cork Airport’s runway length would no longer be prohibitive and he would have a direct flight to New York within three years.
  • JetBlue has called for a review of the slot situation at London Heathrow in response to Aer Lingus’ participation in the joint business agreement by American Airlines, BA, and others.

The fourth Irish Aviation Students Association symposium at the Helix in Dublin City University had 200 attendees on the day and 18 guest speakers and panelists. Picture shows Jack Caffrey (Student Engagement Officer,IASA), Simon Molony (Marketing Officer, IASA), Elizabeth Shields (Marketing Officer, IASA), Aaron Gilmartin (Head of Marketing, IASA), Loughlan O’Brien (Marketing Officer, IASA), Cian McHugh (Secretary, IASA), Jordan Myers (Treasurer, IASA), Gareth Lau (Chairperson, IASA), Mark Kenny (Student Engagement Coordinator), Caroline Nolan Finnegan (Student Engagement Officer, IASA), Dáire Mooney (IT Officer, IASA) and Justin Cooney (Student Engagement Officer)., IASA Symposium at the Helix, Dubin, February 27 2019. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • IAG is ordering 18 B777-9 aircraft, plus 24 options, for British Airways.  They will be used to replace 14 B747-400s and four B777-200s between 2022 and 2025. Each aircraft will be fitted with 325 seats in four cabins.  They will be powered by GE9X engines. The engine order includes a comprehensive maintenance package with GE. The B777-9 list price is approx US$442.2m.
  • Sean Doyle said the A321LRX would be capable of reaching some US west coast destinations.
  • Jet Airways India is currently operating just 70 of the 119 aircraft in its fleet having grounded more aircraft for failing to make payments to lessors. The airline has 13 aircraft leased from Boc, 10 from Gecas, three from Dae, two from Aercap and one each from Avolon and Fly.
  • In a shock move, Rolls-Royce pulled out of the contest to power Boeing’s proposed new midsize aircraft NMA, B797.
  • The US Department of Transportation issued an interim final rule that prohibits passenger airlines from carrying rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells or batteries as cargo, noting their potential of causing uncontrollable fire in cargo holds. The rule does not restrict passengers or crew from bringing on board personal electronic devices containing Li-ion batteries, or restrict cargo airlines from transporting batteries or cells exceeding 30pc of charge when packed or contained in devices.
  • Lufthansa Group appointed Black Diamond as retained agency in UK and Ireland.
  • FLY Leasing reported a year-end portfolio of 113 aircraft (55 A320 family and 44 B737, of which 12 available for sale), up from 85 at end 2017, having acquired a portfolio of 33 A320s from AirAsia. Fleet utilisation was 100pc at year end and six aircraft were sold during the year at a 17pc ($29m) premium on book value.  Average aircraft age was 7.2 years and remaining lease term 5.8 years.
  • Travelport launched a global campaign to encourage more support for airline passengers with intellectual disabilities.
  • According to Ralph Anker’s report, Wizz Air is planning to grow seat capacity by 17pc this summer, putting it ahead of growth plans by Ryanair (+6pc), Vueling (+6pc), easyJet (+5pc), Norwegian (-3pc) and Eurowings (-3pc).


Watch here the fun and frolics on MSC Bellissima with the Irish trade as new Ireland country sales manager Suzanne Rowe of MSC, who had never been on a cruise ship, and Alana Byrne hosted 350 key trade at the naming ceremony and aftermath. The majority joined on Sunday for a series of trade sessions. High winds meant that the naming ceremony with Sophia Loren was moved indoors to the plaza on the ship. Travel Extra was among those impressed by the upgraded family, accommodation and food offerings. The chocolaterie is going to be especially hard to pass. And, yes, Travel Extra was first in the pool again. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Irish Ferries brought a High Court challenge to the National Transport Authority’s decision that the company breached EU regulations concerning the rights of passengers travelling by sea and is liable to compensation for asking passengers to use land bridge and port alternatives. Irish Ferries says it has attempted to engage with the NTA by offering to enter into a mediation process without any preconditions. The NTA have not taken up this offer.

  • The more youth-oriented U by Uniworld has changed its name to U River Cruises – with Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge said is a move to further distinguish itself from parent company Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.
  • Princess Cruises announced the expansion of onboard WiFi.
  • CLIA Global Chair Adam Goldstein said the association is working hard behind the scenes with cities including Venice and Dubrovnik  and environmental bodies to ensure no blanket bans or severe limits on ship calls.
  • Former Irish Press sports journalist David Walsh, singer and comedian Des O’Connor and former Dallas actress Linda Gray are among this year’s line-up of onboard speakers announced by Princess Cruises for cruises out of Britain.
  • Hurtigruten‘s MS Finnmarken will undergo a keel-to-mast refurbishment to be completed by 2021 to turn it into a premium expedition cruise ship.


The Spring advertising campaign for Ireland’s Ancient East will highlight the region as the ideal place to take a short break in the leadup to St. Patrick’s Week and Easter holidays.

  • Tourism Ireland appointed Ciaran Doherty to the new position of Stakeholder Liaison Manager NI.
  • Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, County Down, opens to visitors daily for the first time in April 2019 after five years, and a £20m investment, 
  • The Convention Centre Dublin won the Gold Award for ‘Best Overseas Conference Centre’ at the M&IT Industry Awards 2019 on Friday 1 March at the Battersea Evolution, London.
  • JIm Deegan of Rail Tours Ireland’s Connemara Railway Project featured in MAR Railway Magazine, Britain’s bestselling magazine for railway enthusiasts.
  • Mullingar is to host Fleadh Cheol na hÉireann August 2-9 2020, and again in August 2021.

Six travel writers from Canada are pictured at Bunratty Castle with  Valerie Windsor, Air Canada Vacations (left); Jocelyn Black, Tourism Ireland; and tour guide Mary Phelan (third right on a Fáilte Ireland fam visit in conjunction with Air Canada. Photo: Eamon Ward.

Kildare Fáilte AGM under new chair David Mongey outlined plans to grow the county’s tourism into a top five product. Kildare currently receives 211,000 visitors a year. Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry was the keynote speaker. Picture shows Áine Mangan, CEO presenting at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Deal Watch

Insight Vacations offers: New England’s Fall Foliage escorted tour, was €3,067 per person sharing, now from  €2,949 per person sharing including flights, transfers, and 7 nights’ accommodation in central locations, 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners and 7 included experiences. Price includes 5% Early Payment Discount, departs September 15. Book and pay in full by 28 March 2019. To book or for more information call 1800 98 98 98 or visit

ITAA honeymoon offers: Dublin to Dubai, 5 nights half board in an Ocean Deluxe Room in the 5* Jumeriah Beach Hotel, private transfers and airport taxes, access to Widi Wadi waterpark and a private beach, from €1625pp, depart May with Wallace Travel Group on

Dublin to South Africa, meet and greet on arrival, nine days’ car hire, 4 nights in Cape Town, 2 nights in Winelands, 4 nights in Garden Route, 2 nights Eastern Cape Safari & game drives, from €1995pps, depart May/June with Grenham Travel on

Dublin to Thailand and Dubai, 7 nights in 5* Renaissance Phuket and three in 5* Rixos The Palm Hotel in Dubai, bags and transfers, hot air balloon flight in Dubai with breakfast safari, from €2325pps, depart May/June with on

Sunway Offers: Dublin to Canada for Essence of Canada escorted tour, from €1399pp, depart September 7. Dublin to Amsterdam for 5* River Cruise ’Tulip Time’,  includes flight ex Dublin, return port transfers, 7 nights twin sharing outside stateroom CAT D, unlimited wine/beers at meals, sip and sail daily cocktail hour and daily complimentary excursions. Not included gratuities and port charges of €150pp. Price includes
early booking saving of €755pp. Subject to availability and change, from €2099pps, depart March 25.
Dublin/Cork to France, 7 nights all inclusive 3T Club Med La Palmyre Atlantique, Adults from €1275pp and children from €879pp, depart June 7. Dublin to Bulgaria, 7 nights self catering 3* Elit Apartments, 2 Adults +1 child from €1669, depart July 6. Dublin to Bulgaria,  7 nights self catering 3* Elit Apartments, 2 Adults + 2 children from €2325, depart July 13. Dublin to Bulgaria,  7 nights self catering 3* Elit Apartments, 2 Adults +1 child from €1799, depart July 20. Dublin to Bulgaria, 7 nights self catering 3* Elit Apartments, 2 Adults +2 Children from €2375, depart July 20. Dublin to US, 3 nights New York and seven in Orlando, from €819pp based on 2 adults +2 Children U12 sharing, depart May 6, 2019. Dublin to Barcelona, 7-night cruise onboard MSC Bellissima, from €1239pp, depart July 12. Dublin to Venice, 7 nights premium all inclusive onboard Norwegian Star, from €1699pps, depart August 25. Dublin to Southampton, 14-night cruise onboard Sapphire Princess, from €1287pp, depart May 4.

Topflight offers: Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board superior 4* plus Hotel Villa Rosa, Desenzano, from €1399pps, depart May 18. Belfast  to Italy, 7 nights half board superior 4* plus Hotel Villa Rosa, Desenzano, from £1199pps, depart May 18. Cork to Italy, 7 nights half board superior 4* plus Hotel Villa Rosa, Desenzano, from €1529pps, depart September 21. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board with drinks at dinner 4* Splendid Palace, Limone, from €681pps, depart May 11. Belfast to Italy, 7 nights half board with drinks at dinner 4* Splendid Palace, Limone, from £529pps, depart May 11. Cork to Italy, 7 nights half board with drinks at dinner 4* Splendid Palace, Limone, from €808pps, depart June 1. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia Bungalows, Peschiera, from €474pp (4 share), depart April 27. Belfast to Italy, 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia Bungalows, Peschiera, from £419pp (4 share), depart May 4. Cork to Italy, 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia Bungalows, Peschiera, from €671pp, depart May 25. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self catering 4* Garda Village, Sirmione, from €429pp (4 share), depart May 25. Cork to Italy, 7 nights self catering 4* Garda Village, Sirmione, from €679pp (4 share), depart June 1. Belfast to Italy, 7 nights self catering 4* Garda Village, Sirmione, from £494pp (4 share), depart May 25. /, call 01 240 1700 /  028 9752 1168 or visit your local travel agent 

Tour America Offers: Dublin to Orlando, 7 nights at the Rosen Inn International, from €469pp, based on  2+2 sharing, depart May 14. Dublin to New York, 4 nights at the Westgate New York, based on 4 sharing from €529pp, depart July 18. Dublin to Las Vegas, 6 nights at the Excalibur Hotel, from €529pp, depart September 17. Dublin to Mexico, 7 nights all inclusive with transfers at Riu Caribe in Cancun from €1039pp, depart May 13. Dublin to Copenhagen for 7-night Northern Europe cruise onboard MSC Meraviglia with premium drinks, from €1189pp, depart May 19. Dublin to rome for 7 night Greek isle cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, from €1499pp, depart July 21. Dublin to Rome for 10-night French Riviera and Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Constellation, from €1699pp, depart June 9. Dublin to US, 3-night Las Vegas stay and 7-night Caribbean cruise from €1799pp, Includes flights to Las Vegas, 3-night stay on the Las Vegas Strip, fly to Miami for a 7 night Caribbean cruise with premium drinks package onboard Norwegian Breakaway based on 2 adults an interior cabin, depart September 11.

TUI offers: Save an extra €70 on holidays to Balearics, Canaries, Spain and Portugal using the code: BEACH70. Departures May-October 2019. Minimum spend €800. T&C’s apply. Lakes and Mountains: Save €100 using the code: LAKES100 on Summer 2019 holidays. Minimum spend €1,000. T&C’s apply. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, from €1,339pps, depart June 17. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 4* Catalonia Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya, from €1,489pps, depart June 17. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self catering 2* Las Piramides, Playa De Las Americas, from €359pps, depart March 29. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, from €359pps, depart April 4. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self catering 2*+ Lanzarote Paradise, Costa Teguise, from €419pps, depart March 31. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self catering 3* Punta Del Rey, Puerto Rico, from €479pps, depart April 11. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self catering 3*+ Catalonia Las Vegas, Puerto De Las Cruz, from €699pps, depart April 12. Dublin to Lanzarote, 14 nights self catering 3* Tabaiba Princess, Costa Teguise, from €649pps, depart April 21. Dublin to Rhodes, 7 nights self catering 2*+ Kassandra, Ialyssos, from €379pps, depart May 18. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self catering 3* The Harbour, Los Gigantes, from €389pps, depart May 24. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights self catering 3* Cinco Plazas, Puerto Del Carmen, from €439pps, depart May 16. Cork to Majorca, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Hotel Belvedere, San Augustin, from €519pps, depart May 18. Ireland West to Majorca, 7 nights half board 3* More Hotel Alcudia, from €549pps, depart June 27. Dublin to Tenerife for cruise on Marella Dream – Canarian Flavours, Outside Cabin, FB, 7 nights from €719pps, depart March 22., call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store / travel agent.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises: Enchanting Danube trip, was €3,188 per person sharing, now from €2,319 per person sharing* including flights, 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom onboard the S.S. Bon Voyage, airport transfers on arrival and departure days, all meals onboard, unlimited beverages onboard, onshore excursions, all gratuities and more. *Port charges excluded. Price includes 30% Our Best Offer Discount. Book and pay in full by 31 March 2019, depart July 28. Call 1800 98 98 98 or visit


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