TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement May 24 2016: Cancun & Jamaica next up for Falcon





Thomson Dreamliner will serve six rotations direct from Dublin to Montego Bay beginning June 12, 2016, and Cancun direct beginning June 13

Thomson Dreamliner will serve six rotations direct from Dublin to cdontego Bay beginning June 12, 2016, and Cancun direct beginning June 13

The headlines this week:

  • Big news: Cancun direct, Jamaica direct
  • Aer Lingus serves up Orlando year-round
  • Ryanair responds with more frequencies
  • Revival for Aer Lingus J-class arrivals
  • Willie happy with the waiting game
  • Thailand hosts two fam trips in successive weeks
  • Delta & Air France thank the trade

Travel Extra TV

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 19.47.49Delta Air Line’s inflight safety video is our video of the week. Featuring a host of famous internet memes, the YouTube video has received over 2.7m views and appeared on The Manchester Guardian’s viral video chart. Watch here.

  • Tourism Ireland invites LGBT holidaymakers to Ireland following the marriage referendum victory. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Aer Lingus’s US pre-clearance promo, targeting customers flying Birmingham to the US via Dublin. Watch here.
  • Shannon Airport uploaded a video of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arriving for a two-day visit. Watch here.
  • Discover Northern Ireland uploaded a countdown of the top 18 golfing holes in the north. Watch here.
  • Here’s Aer Lingus‘s Smart Flies promo with Chris O’Dowd. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s guide to Belfast with KLM and iFly Magazine. Watch here.
  • A look at the A320neo and its LEAP-1A engines. Watch here.


Dublin is to get direct flights to Cancun and Montego Bay in the summer of 2016, thanks toFalcon holidays. This will be the second Dreamliner route from Dublin after Ethiopian’s Addis-Dublin-LAX service to commence June 15. Services on the Thomson Airways Boeing 787 to Montego Bay will operate six weekly rotations on Sundays to Montego Bay from June 12, 2016 and on Mondays to Cancun from June 13. Thomson Airways is to take delivery of up to four more 787-9 Dreamliners. Boeing has delivered 240 Dreamliners and created 49 new markets.

The new Aer Lingus "Revival lounge" at Dublin Airport: The refreshment area and seating from the entrance corridor

Aer Lingus’s new revival lounge at Dublin airport went live on Monday. The lounge is situated in the baggage hall after Immigration control in Terminal 2. It is on the right hand side of the hall. The lounge is for the use of Business Class passengers arriving on transatlantic flights. It is not for use by members of the Aer Lingus Gold circle club, but is restricted to those passengers travelling in the “J” cabin up front. See here for pictures from Travel Extra’s Michael Kelly or connect with the album on Facebook.

Aer Lingus winterAer Lingus Winter 2015/2016 will introduce two new routes, increased frequencies on sun and ski routes and improved timings on high frequency business routes. Aer Lingus returns to Dublin-Liverpool with a difference: a new 16w daily service starts October 23 to feed Liverpudlians into Aer Lingus’s expanding transatlantic services. Liverpool ‘s Evening Echo reported the development as “re-establishing it’s air link with North America with a new service seamlessly connecting passengers” Transatlantic capacity routes is up13pc with additional Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, mid-term and Easter frequencies. The extra 275,000 seats represents its biggest growth in capacity in the past 10 years.

  • As first reported by Travel Extra, Dublin to Washington 4w seasonal service has been extended until January 4
  • Winter services to Orlando for the first time (4w until January 4 using a Boeing 752)
  • An increase in frequency on the Dublin to New York route from January through to March with 5pc growth versus last winter
  • A double daily operation in November, December and March from Dublin to Boston with 19pc capacity increase
  • Chicago is up to 10w from daily, up 18pc on winter last year, with a new 05.30 arrival time up until January 4 using an A330 and B752
  • Additional frequencies on flights from Dublin to San Francisco and Orlando over Christmas, mid term (Feb 14) and Easter (April 5)
  • Flights between Dublin and Toronto will continue throughout the winter with up to four weekly flights
  • Flights between Shannon and Boston will operate throughout the winter while flights between Shannon and New York will be suspended from early January to mid-March, recommencing in-time for demand over St Patrick’s Day
  • Enhanced connecting flows between Europe and North America meaning customers can choose from over 100 onward connections across the USA and Canada with partner airlines
  • Aer Lingus’ offering between Ireland and Britain now covers 19 airports in England, Scotland and Wales and a total of 32 routes
  • 10pc more seats on Aer Lingus from Dublin to Manchester 34w with up to six flights daily
  • 14pc more seats on Aer Lingus from Dublin to Birmingham 28w with up to six flights daily, serving peak business traffic
  • 15pc growth on Dublin to Paris route with an additional prime evening business flight
  • 5pc growth on Dublin to Amsterdam service with up to five flights daily
  • Three flights daily between Dublin and Brussels with improved evening times to facilitate day return business customers
  • Additional flights to Zurich and Geneva with 10pc extra seats, to cover demand during ski season
  • Up to 26 flights per week to the Canary Islands and Morocco, catering for demand over Christmas, mid-term and Easter

Aer Lingus team pictured at the Aer Lingus winter schedule launch in Dublin, Mike Rutter, Dervila McGarry, Paula Donaghy, Orla Ni Cochrán and Eoin McGirl, May 21 2015

Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike Ruttersaid in response to a question from Travel Extra that 30pc of Aer Lingus passengers come from “behind” Dublin on the Irish side, and 20pc beyond the gateway destinations on the American side. There are 5pc more seats Dublin to
JFK between January and March, Boston is up 19pc, Toronto and San Francisco will have additional flights at Christmas, mid term (Feb 14) and Easter (April 5). There are additional frequencies to Zurich, Geneva, Birmingham, Manchester and Amsterdam. The schedule featured an increase in Shannon to Heathrow capacity. Aer Lingus serves seven transatlantic destinations compared with 13 for Icelandair and five each for SAS and Norwegian. Picture shows the Aer Lingus team at the launch, Mike Rutter, Dervila McGarry, Paula Donaghy, Orla Ni Cochrán and Eoin McGirl. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ryanairRyanair responded by announcing increases on Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester. Ryanair is to increase frequencies on 12 routes from Dublin for winter 2015/6 from October 26, Gatwick and Manchester up from five to six daily, Birmingham up from four to six daily, Liverpool up from three to four daily, Barcelona up from two to three daily, daily to Faro and Malaga, Madrid from 12w to 18w, Warsaw Modlin 8w, Alicante 6w, Tenerife South 5w, previously announced services to Copenhagen and Lublin and Venice Treviso extended to a year-round service.

willie walsh_2664 copyGlasnevin’s own Willie Walsh came to Dublin to talk to the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society Luncheon, and was chaperoned to make sure he did not say anything about the imminent IAG bid for Aer Lingus. His revealing talk outlined IAG’s strategy not to be tied by national identity, as Air France-KLM was when they chose their merged name, and “we chose a deliberately boring name.” Outside the room he answered questions from Travel Extraand others when he stressed that he was taking a patient approach to the bid, relaxed said Reutersin no rush said the Irish Independent. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Elsewhere trade union opposition was ramped up with Matt Staunton and Evan Cullen of Impact describing IAG assurances on Aer Lingus as “worthless” and Evan Cullen claiming that takeover would mean that Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic services would be diverted through London. Impact’s shopping list for the proposed takeover is:

  • No compulsory redundancies
  • Pre-agreed staff redeployment
  • Collective agreements underpinned in a legally binding agreement
  • All existing collective agreements to be extended to new and existing staff
  • Agreed pay rates, terms and conditions to be protected
  • No outsourcing, direct employment to be the norm
  • No off shoring of cabin crew or pilot bases unless by agreement
  • A protocol that staff of any IAG group cannot be called upon to take on Aer Lingus work in event of a dispute
  • An Irish/Aer Lingus presence on the IAG board
  • A worker representative on any newly composed Aer Lingus board within the IAG group

itaa and ITOF meet Minister copyMinisterial meetings tend to offer more hope of change than ever gets delivered, but representatives of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Irish Tour Operators Federationwho met Minister Paschal Donohoe on Monday emerged satisfied with the level of engagement and at how well briefed the minister was. Much of the discussion related to the absence of a collective bond in the event of agency or tour operator failure. Asked what they wanted the travel reps replied a level playing field, where airlines are subject to a small surcharge as well as travel agents. At present only about 15pc of holidaymakers have any protection in the event of a company failure. A separate meeting with credit card companies on the double bonding of credit card bookings, with a lean on payments imposed on the trade, also saw some progress but no outcome to this problem is in sight: credit card companies are seeking letters of comfort which may only be facilitated by resolving the collective bond problem. A third issue: will the licensing issue be changed at European level? And is the future of the Commission of Aviation regulation up for examination, in the face of growing criticism from the industry. Recently the regulator achieved the unlikely scenario of Dublin Airport, Aer Lingus, and Ryanair reaching agreement on one issue: regulation is not working. Picture shows the travel delegation with the minister: Martin Skelly President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Minister Paschal Donohoe, Philip Airey past president of Irish Tour Operators Federation, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and John Galligan of the ITAA.

Niall McDonnell Ireland country manager of Red Sea Holidays, the Egyptian ambassador Ms Soha Gendi and Jason Hilton Britain country manager of Red Sea Holidays at the launch of Red Sea Holidays Irish brochure, May 19 2015

Red Sea Holidays will be hosting 100 (yes, one hundred) Irish travel agents on press fams to its properties over the coming months. According to Jason Hillton of Red Sea resorts hosting agents has proven the most effective marketing device for the group in the past. The group is headed up in Ireland by Niall McDonnell who first dealt with the group’s properties through the Mytravel group and was recruited to head up the Irish operation by Andy Grant. The group reported brisk bookings over the past fortnight despite delivering their Sharm el Sheikh hotel-owned tour operator product late to the market place for the 2015 booking season. Picture shows Niall McDonnell Ireland country manager of Red Sea Holidays, the Egyptian ambassador Soha Gendi and Jason Hilton Britain country manager of Red Sea Holidays at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

siobhan scanlonThe Air France family of Delta, KLM and Air France hosted the trade at Dublin’s Harbourmaster. Pictures shows Siobhan Scanlon, Vicky Pascual and Deirdre Sheridan of Air France/Delta/KLM and Enzo Miccardi of Alitalia.. Siobhan Scanlon thanked the trade and told guests that Air France continues to invest in products, she highlighted Air Frances new Vancouver route, KLM’s route to Edmonton and Monday’s launch of Belfast to Amsterdam direct, something that will have far reaching consequences for connectivity from the north. Delta’s new business class continues to be rolled out on long haul and on short and medium haul the new economy flex product is enhancing the choice for business customers with Sky priority fast track and lounge access. 11377266_10152859688252727_2035626652491605500_nDelta’s seasonal Shannon to New York service has resumed launch which combined with the Dublin Atlanta service means Delta have three daily flights off the island. Enzo Miccardi of Alitalia was at the event, and highlighted Alitalia’s new long haul routes to Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul. Air France’s frequent flyer programme Flying Blue won a string of awards recently including best programme. Delta have upgraded the winter Dublin to JFK service to an A333 from B764. Picture shows Michelle McCabe, Stacey Brien, Rebecca Curley, Elaine McManus, Margaret Dolan, Sabrina Vonsowski and Louise Brennan of ClubTravel/Budget Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

TIGSThe winners of the Travel Industry Golf Society outing to Fota island were Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel and Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines. The event was sponsored by The Travel Corporation. Picture shows Peter O’Hanlon of Travel Finders at the event.See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Next week’s IPW in Orlando will likely be the second biggest in the 47-year history of the event: just behind the record set at Las Vegas in 2013 of 6,400 buyers and 479 media. Delegate numbers are tracking 26pc higher than when Orlando last hosted in 2010 while international participation by buyers and media is tracking 15pc higher than in 2010. China Buyers are up to 109 (22 MICE buyers) from 17 in 2010, England up to 170 from 123 in 2010, France up to 34 (14 MICE buyers) from 18 In 2010. This will be the seventh time that Orlando has hosted IPW, more than any other city. Future IPWs will be hosted by New Orelans (2016), Washington DC (2017), Denver (2018), Anaheim (2019) and Las Vegas (2020).

pat dawson 300ITAA CEO Pat Dawson was appointed to the board of ECTAA, which represents the national associations of travel agents and tour operators of 27 EU Member States, two EU accession countries as well Switzerland and Norway.

Picture shows travel professionals who were invited by Delta Air Linesto see their 767 400 aircraft at Dublin Airport, to check out their lie flat product, new to the Irish markets at first-hand – Delta One, Delta Comfort and Main Cabin.Travel professionals who were invited by Delta Air Lines r to see their 767 400 aircraft at Dublin Airport, to check out their lie flat product, new to the Irish markets at first-hand - Delta One, Delta Comfort and Main Cabin. Back row: Vivienne Hackett of Club Travel, Claire Rochford of FCM, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta and Sylvia Mazon of Atlas Travel. Front row: Debbie O'Brien of CWT and Gintare Gedeikaite of BCD. Back row: Vivienne Hackett of Club Travel, Claire Rochford of FCM, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta and Sylvia Mazon of Atlas Travel. Front row: Debbie O’Brien of CWT and Gintare Gedeikaite of BCD. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

sunway group

Thailand hosted fam trips from two different tour operators on successive weeks. a group of travel agents from Sunway last week, accompanied by Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, with Barry Hammond and Jeanette Taylor of Sunway. Picture shows Fidelma Burke of Grogan travel in Tuam, Annette Hynes of One Stop Travel in Galway, Adelle Durcan of Mackin travel, Jacinta McGlynn of Travel Biz, Barry Hammond of Sunway, Nuasara of Dheva Mantra Resort, Margaret McGaughey of Liberty travel in Letterkenny, Onur Gull of Turkish airlines, Anne Rupert Nolan of just split in Limerick, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Amanda Neeson of O’Hanrahan travel in Monaghan.

Leah ParmeshwarNext week Thailand hosts another group accompanied by Leah Parmeshwar (pictured) of Topflight and Clareanna Phillips of Emirates. Participants include Caroline McDermott of O’Hanrahan’s Travel, Denise Winters of Garda Holiday Club, Jennifer Litchfield of O’Callaghan Travel, Maria Finnerty of Gail Ennis Travel, Delia Aston of Clubworld Travel and Gillian Purser of Marble City Travel.

Topflight are hosting travel agent training sessions in Belfast this coming Tuesday May 26 at Belfast City Airport. The training sessions will focus on Italy and in particular the Belfast to Verona route. There will also be presentations on the Topflight worldwide product. To take part in the informative training sessions, e-mail Tricia, or call +4428 97521168.

Irish travel media and their hosts on a press trip to Madeira: Barbara Scully of The Examiner, Rita Azevedo of Blandy's Wine Lodge, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, and Marta Henriques of Madeira Promotion Bureau.

Picture shows Irish travel media and their hosts on a press trip to Madeira: Barbara Scully of The Examiner, Rita Azevedo of Blandy’s Wine Lodge, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, and Marta Henriques of Madeira Promotion Bureau. Madeira flights resume this summer from Dublin after a two year hiatus with a Europe Airpost charter direct from Dublin to Funchal every Thursday from May 7 until Sept 17. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ian Tian of China Direct was the overall winner of the recent Air France KLM Asia Booking Incentive. Picture shows Teresa Murphy, Account Manager Air France KLM, presenting Jian with an iPad.

  • Jian Tian of China Direct was the overall winner of the recent Air France KLM Asia Booking Incentive. Picture shows Teresa Murphy, Account Manager Air France KLM, presenting Jian with an iPad.
  • Aviareps has acquired the separate English-based Aviareps plc and merged its subsidiary, Aviacircle under the corporate brand of Aviareps.
  • Travel Parking Group’s airport parking application now available through Travelport Smartpoint.
  • ciara mooneyCiara Mooney’s Freedom Travel is finalising plans for a booth to be opened at Tesco in Monread, Naas, the second largest Tesco in the country. It follows Best4travel’s move to supermarket booths: Jeff Collins opened his fifth shopping centre booth in Athlone last September and plans three more over the next two years.
  • Motoring solutions specialists, easytrip announced a partnership with Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurance.
  • Simon Cook has been appointed as two country manager for Ireland and Britain for Oman Air. Simon was previously with Arik, Aer Arann, Luxair and Finnair.
  • Travelport’s Travel Parking Group airport parking application, Looking4app, launched to travel agencies through Travelport Smartpoint.
  • Peter Friedrich hosted five agents who had won tickets to the Take That concert at the 3 Arena in Dublin, Cathal Teague of Trailfinders; Joanna Corrigan and Jade Christie of Abbey Travel; Paula McMahon of Reliable Travel Belfast; and Maureen Eason of Clubworld Travel Newry..
  • Sunway’s Dublin-Algarve service will operate on Fridays, from June 19 to August 21. Seat only from €299pp.
  • Aoife Finneran travel editor of the Irish Sun, May 19 2015
  • Aoife Finneran (pictured) has taken charge of the travel pages of the Irish Sun, two pages on Saturdays and two pages on Sundays. Contact here.
  • Lowcosttravelgroup achieved EBITDA of €2.9m in the 2013/14 financial year. The group claimed a rise in total transaction value to €643m for Majorca-based lowcostholidays and Swiss-based trade bedbank lowcostbeds. 

Travel professionals hosted by Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Account Manager at Paris CDG to see the newly completed satellite S4, the new boarding area at terminal 2E. This new area allows Air France to group its operations to the east of the hub and to offer its passengers shorter and more fluid connecting channels. Back row : Marvin Castellon of Club Travel, Lucy Stanley of Atlas Travel, Erika Gogorova of Travel Broker and Xue Gu of Destination Store. Front row: Aisling O'Donovan of Club Travel, Louisa Ercolino of Club Travel, Sonya O'Brien of Eimer Hannon Travel and Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta.


Pictures shows Travel professionals hosted by Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Account Manager at Paris CDG to see the newly completed satellite S4, the new boarding area at terminal 2E. This new area allows Air France to group its operations to the east of the hub and to offer its passengers shorter and more fluid connecting channels. Back row : Marvin Castellon of Club Travel, Lucy Stanley of Atlas Travel, Erika Gogorova of Travel Broker and Xue Gu of Destination Store. Front row: Aisling O’Donovan of Club Travel, Louisa Ercolino of Club Travel, Sonya O’Brien of Eimer Hannon Travel and Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta.

  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is holding a fire warden training sessions in the ITAA Office on Westmoreland Street, Wed May 27, 9.30am-5.30pm for €120. More info/book here. Finance for Non Finance Professionals, Professional Development Training Centre, Blanchardstown, May 21-22, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost €299. More info/book here. Excel Early Bird Special: Excel Level 1 and 2 for €150, March 25. Book before March 23. Book here. SEO and Google Algorithm updates, Hampton Hotel, Dublin, May 26, 9.30am-1pm, Cost €60. More info/book here.
  • Ireland’s companies act 2014 will commence on June 1 2015, and will replace the Companies Acts 1963-2013.


Mary Fennin of the Clanard Court hotel and staff at the hotel's tenth birthday celebrations, May 19 2015

The Clanard Court hotel celebrated its tenth anniversary. Speaking at the event John Osborne chair of Kildare Failte noted that he learned from Patrick Kavanagh that Athy’s best known export was mythologies. Picture shows Mary and the team. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Salthill Hotel in Galway was awarded 4 star status.

Matthew Gale Massage copyAlaskan masseuse Matthew Gale will remain in residence at the 5* Monart Destination Spa in Wexford from June 5 to 25.

Blue Haven Hotel Kinsale was awarded the Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence for the fifth year in a row.

Accor announced the sale and franchise-back of seven hotels (708 rooms) for €32.6 million, including Ibis Dublin West hotel.

Nelson Mandela’s retirement residence on the Shambala Private Game Reserve around 160 miles north of Johannesburg reopened as a luxury retreat centre.

Marriott added the 228-room JW Marriott Hotel Zhejiang Anji to its portfolio in China. Marriott also announced the opening of its first rainforest resort in Asia Pacific, Mulu Marriott and Spa in Sarawak, Malaysia.

  • Singita Ebony Lodge will reopen this summer after renovations.
  • Lifestyle hotel brand Zoku will debut in Amsterdam in autumn. Bookings available from July.
  • Pousada de Lisboa opens June 1.
  • Corinthia Hotels launched a Meetings app for even organisers and their delegates.
  • Mandarin Oriental acquired the Hotel Ritz in Madrid for €130m.
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts launched a loyalty programme for SMEs.



Florida Governor Rick Scott reported a record 28.4m visitors came to the state in Q1, up 6.2pc over the first quarter in 2014.

  • Disney says it has opened its first store in China, calling its new Shanghai location the largest Disney Store in the world. Disney is considering rolling out its MyMagic+ programme — which allows guests to make in-resort purchases and book ride times with a wristband embedded with a microchip — to other theme parks.
  • The Eiffel Tower was closed to the public for most of Friday as workers protested against a rise in pickpockets.
  • Georgia man who posed as an airline employee to make cut-rate reservations then resold the tickets for thousands of dollars has been sentenced in Los Angeles to six months in prison
  • Gane and Marshall launched a tour to Wilderness Safaris’ new Linkwasha Camp, Hwange National Park
  • 150 exhibitors from 19 countries will attend EUROAL 2015, Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Torremolinos-Costa del Sol, June 3-5.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.03.30This could be the world’s first elfie: Christian Le Blanc captured this amazing selfie with an elephant.

  • Bioculture, a guide for walkers and bikers touring Le Marche, Italy, is now available.
  • Next month, Hertz will increase car rental prices up to $5 a day or $20 a week.
  • SeaWorld increased single day tickets by $2 to $97 at the gate and reduced advance-purchase weekday tickets by $5 to $70.
  • Zimbabwe Tourism authority expects annual earnings to increase to $1.5bn.

Food & Wine

Cornish john doryPicture shows Cornish John Dory as served in Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall Restaurantlast weekend while Travel Extra was on a fam trip with Aer Lingus Regional to their new Newquay service. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

There will be 60 exhibitors in the Artisan Food Market at next week’s Bloom in Phoenix Park, May 28 to June 1.

The inaugural Wild Atlantic Seaweed Festival takes place in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, June 5-7.



ba a380 aviva stadium copy

Willie Walsh revealed his favourite photograph at the Shelbourne Hotel on Wednesday: the BA A380 with the Aviva stadium in the background, icon of BA and icon of his native city in the same frame.

The back-story to all those feel good social media photographs of the returning voters for Friday’s gay marriage referendum in Ireland is the extent to which voters were shaken down by the aviation industry as revealed by Newstalk. Some sample one way fares using prices on Tuesday: Gatwick-Dublin €412, Heathrow-Dublin €473 and €487, London City-Dublin €544, Stansted-Shannon €261, Heathrow-Cork €509, Stansted and Luton to Kerry €263, Stansted and Luton to knock €263, Gatwick-Knock €366. This compares with fares from €15 on June 2. This is also a bank holiday weekend in England.

News from the winter schedule announcement is that Aer Lingus will move from Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) to Berlin Tegel (TXL) from the end of October, Aer Lingus will move its flight services to Berlin Tegel airport, growing flight frequencies to 10w, up 18pc. Ryanair will operate 9w to Berlin Schönefeld.

Portugal’s government received three binding offers for TAP and expects to announce a buyerfor the airline by the end of June, its second attempt to offload the state-owned airline in three years. Avianca’s Germán Efromovich proposed 12 new aircraft, Gateway’s David Neelman proposes replacing its fleet with 53 new aircraft.

washington press club ceos copyThe three big US airline CEOs, Doug Parker, Richard Anderson and Jeff Smisek continued their campaign against Middle East carriers, telling the USA Today editorial board that Europe should have acted to keep the expansion of the three big Gulf carriers in check. “I don’t think they knew what we now know, that indeed there was subsidisation going on” Parker said when asked about why European regulators hadn’t already acted on the claims now being made by the Americans. CEO of United Jeff Smisek listed Ireland among the obscure jurisdictions that Gulf carriers’ finances were uncovered from, alongside Singapore, Australia, India, Belgium, Ireland, Malta and England.

  • Ryanair upgraded their mobile app allows customers to store payment and passport details
  • Avolon delivered its first B787-800 to Avianca.
  • United extended their second Dublin to Newark flight by four weeks to September 24, it was originally scheduled to finish on August 18.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s Dublin to Doncaster route does not appear in the winter schedules.
  • KLM relaunched services from Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam.
  • Avolon delivered an A320-200 to Pegasus Airlines, its sixth aircraft on lease to the carrier.
  • Cityjet will cut its Cardiff-Edinburgh and Cardiff-Paris services from June 30 after Cardiff Airport backed another airline to fly the routes in competition with the Swords-based carrier. 
  • Airbus’s first A320neo fitted with Leap-1A engine performed its maiden flight.
  • Air France will resume services to Sierra Leone from next month.
  • Jet2 pilot accidentally triggered a hijack alarm in Majorca, causing police to surround the aircraft.
  • Scotland will play Qatar in the Qatar Airways Cup in Edinburgh on June 5, eight days before Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Ireland.
  • Air Canada will start tagging all cabin luggage tomorrow (May 25). Staff will be stationed at check-in and security points to check that bags conform to size and weight limits.
  • TUI Group will rebrand its five airlines under a single TUI brand.
  • Wizz Air launched an updated brand and livery.
  • Emirates launched an app for Android devices.
  • Mahe International Airport is now offering free Wi-Fi.
  • Alitalia will cease its partnership agreements with Air France-KLM from 2017.
  • Embraer and Tianjin Airlines signed an agreement for the sale of 22 aircraft.
  • Auckland International Airport is awarding $100,000 to businesses that create innovative ways to attract Asian tourists to New Zealand during the off-peak season.
  • Etihad Airways appointed aviation IT company SITA to provide baggage tracking services.
  • Etihad will add a fourth daily service from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok from July 1.
  • Flybe opened a base at Bournemouth Airport.
  • The “nut rage” Korean Air executive, “Heather” Cho Hyuna-ash and old friend of Travel Extra, was freed from prison after an appeals court suspended her jail sentence:  She caused a flight to be delayed to offload an attendant, here is a valuable backgrounder on the culture of gabjil”, high-handedness by the rich and powerful,
  • A US Airways passenger stripped naked in protest after his flight from North Carolina to Jamaica was overbooked. 
  • Etihad Airways added a fourth daily Bangkok service.
  • Radka Lynn’s Balkan Holidays have scheduled twice weekly flights to Bourgas from Belfast at 11:20 on Mondays and 08:35 on Fridays
  • The Sydney Morning Herald asked why, in an era of historically low oil prices, Qantas still charge Aus $570 in fuel surcharges on a return economy ticket from Australia to London and $1080 for business class. It noted Emirates and Singapore Airlines also retained fuel surcharges.
  • Norwegian plans to move Boeing 787s from Irish to Norwegian registration “due to Regulatory reasons.” The airline Norwegian is still waiting on a foreign air carrier permit for its Irish-registered company, which was created as a vehicle for its 787 operations.
  • The Irish Times featured Aer Lingus €2m journey to modernise its brand.
  • AerCap completed the purchase of ILFC from AIG.
  • Shannon Airport objected to the development of the twin office units at the north-eastern corner of the existing West Park centre, citing safety fears.
  • Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler signed a partnership with Swiss International Airlines.
  • Antonis Simigdalas’s Elix Aviation Capital acquired 25 aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital, an IFSC based regional aircraft leasing company that focuses on turboprops,
  • Thai Airways returned to profitability as the airline group benefited from the recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector and the reduction in fuel prices.
  • Airports are the gateways to Europe’s tourism markets, but most are also loss-making. Is this inevitable, or are there better ways?” is title of the address by Michael Cawley at ACI EUROPE in Prague alongside EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.07.57Copenhagen’s mayor took on Ryanair banning city employees from using the airline. Predictably, Ryanair struck back.

Dave Scully of Weston Airport in Celbridge reported a second year of business aviation growth:

  • The Irish Aviation Authority and Shannon’s IASC partnerred to launch a new Irish “EJ” corporate aircraft register:
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines became the first major non-EU airline to be fined under EU emissions controls.
  • Kerry Airport is to host 450 delegates at the Connect Aviation Conference, on June 3rd – 5th.
  • Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano said his airline will sever many of its passenger agreements with Air France-KLM from 2017. These agreements are no longer beneficial, either commercially or strategically, to the new Alitalia and its ambitious turnaround plan. They were negotiated when Alitalia was in a very different position, with the result that the agreements in their current forms favour the other party. They are undermining our ability to restructure our network and the airline effectively to achieve the long term sustainability of our business. The new Alitalia is in a new position. Our business needs agreements which deliver equitable value to each party.
  • Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that Air Malta is considering some form of strategic partnership with another airline including Turkish Airlines about a strategic partnership which could include privatisation.
  • Belfast City airport called for an end to the seats cap.
  • Dublin Airport’s app won the Ovum OTR ‘Innovation in Cloud Services’ award for delivering “a compelling mobile application.’
  • Lufthansa said there would be no further industrial action until the end of July. Air France threatened to close regional hubs in Toulouse, Marseille and Nice in negotiations with pilots unions. Cathay Pacific flight attendants camped inside Hong Kong’s airport on Tuesday after union members voted to protest new job contracts offered by the airline.anne sammon

Anne Sammon operated her last flight after 44 years flying with Aer Lingus. Travel Extra wishes her al the best in the future.

  • The Clare Herald recalled the day the first aircraft landed at Shannon in May 1939.
  • Flying in Ireland cast its eye over the increased traffic, new services, new image and infrastructural improvements at Dublin Airport and how merged American and US Airways were delivering increased Irish services this summer
  • Siobhan McCarthy, founder of the Save Cork Airport Facebook page confirmed that she had shut it down because the page had turned nasty.
  • And check out the Journal’s 14 most Dublin airport things that have ever happened.


Christina Hannon of Cunard, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel President of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Dawn Conway of Sunway in Dun Laoghaire for the visit of the Cunard Queen Mary 2, May 20 2015

The joys of tendering were revealed this week when Cunard’s Queen Mary came to Dún Laoghaire but coaches, tour guides, taxi drivers and visiting guests were left waiting as the wind rendered tenders untenable (we always wanted to write that). Picture shows Christina Hannon of Cunard, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel President of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Dawn Conway of Sunway. A total of 17 ships will dock in the bay this summer and passengers are due to be tendered off. Dublin is to get 86 cruise ship calls this year with three further calls to Dún Laoghaire. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

national_coach_tourism_awardsIrish Ferries has been voted best Cross-Sea Carrier at the 10th annual National Coach Tourism Awards ceremony in London. Pictured receiving the award are Irish Ferries’ Marie McCarthy and Ann Pye with Stuart Render of Coach Monthly and Jason Edwards of Edwards Coaches.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seasemerged from an 18-day dry dock with the main dining room sliced into four separate dining venues familiar from Quantum class: Chic, Silk, American Icon and The Grande, and two new restaurants, the Mexican themed Sabor Taqueria and Coastal Kitchen for suite passengers. Allure has ten new suites: two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites. New shops include Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors and Coach. Allure will be based in Barcelona this summer and returns to Fort Lauderdale in November 2015. Flexible “dynamic” dining has been put on hold for the ship.

Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen with Bergen mayor Trude DrevlandIn Bergen, 20,000 people attended the birth of a new cruise line, the first in over a decade. Viking Ocean Cruises officially launched its 930-passenger Viking Star on Sunday in Bergen, Norway and revealed plans to create at least nine other nearly identical ships. The ceremony was timed to coincide with Norway’s National Constitution Day, its most important national holiday, the launch featured performances by Norwegian soprano Sissel, actor Bjarte Hjelmeland, singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche, acclaimed violinist Charlie Siem and comedy duo Ylvis. Godmother Trude Drevland, Bergen’s mayor, offered a lovely blessing of good fortune, along with a successful smashing of a Jeroboam-sized bottle of Veuve Cliquot. Festive fireworks followed.

Star Clippers Cruise Line is to build the world’s biggest sailing ship to carry 300 passengers to launch in the second half of 2017. Construction has started at the Brodosplit shipyard in Split, Croatia. Owner Mikael Krafft wants to recreate France II, the second largest commercial merchant sailing ship ever built. Features include three pools including one that funnels sunlight through the ship’s atrium into the dining room below, 34 suites with balconies and four luxurious owner’s suites.

  • The Cruise Lines International Association appointed Thomas Ostebo as president and chief executive officer.
  • A 10-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool onboard Norwegian Gem as the ship was en route from New York to Florida.
  • Norwegian Dawn ran aground on a reef near Bermuda Tuesday evening and departed for Boston on Wednesday after repairs were made to its steering system.
  • Celebrity Cruises’ Bistro on Five raised its price from $7 to $10. Open from 11 a.m. to midnight, Bistro on Five serves sandwiches, salads, soups, and daily specials such as braised short ribs, lamb chops and Sunday roast. Milkshakes and floats have also been added.
  • Seabourn added guided kayak shore excursions, part of a for-fee programme known as Ventures by Seabourn. The programme will be extended to other vessels in the fleet, including those that sail to Antarctica, over time.
  • SeaDream Yacht Club will 112-guest yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II, in the Caribbean this December.
  • Celebrity Cruises is adding more overnight stays in the Caribbean.
  • Costa Cruises will base its 2,826-passenger Costa Deliziosa in Fort Lauderdale as cruise ship homeport for December, 2015
  • Princess Cruises launched its own booking portal,

Deal Watch

  • Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Montechoro Hotel, Algarve from €549pp, depart June 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Clube Praia Da Oura, Algarve from €629pp, depart June 26. Dublin-Algarve flight only from €299pp, depart June 19. 7 nights B&B 3* Montechoro Hotel, Algarve from €519pp, depart June 19. Dublin-Madeira flight only from €329pp, depart May 28. 7 nights B&B 3* Dorsal Florasol Hotel from €399pp, depart May 28. 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments, Bodrum from €399pp, depart June 14. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach, Bodrum from €779pp, depart June 14. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel, Bodrum from €449p, depart June 14. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel, Bodrum from €599pp, depart June 14.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Saturno, Alcudia, Majorca from €1,919 for two adults and one child, and from €2,469 for two adults and two children, depart Dublin August 25. 7 nights self catering 3* Hyde Park Lane, Playa de la Pocillos, Lanzarote from €429pp, depart Shannon June 8. 8 nights self catering 2* Bitacora, Puerto Del Carmen from €429pp, depart Cork June 8. 
  • Stena Line is offering 7 nights self catering to a Pontins Holiday Park from €459 per family. Price includes return ferry travel from Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare-Fishguard, Belfast-Liverpool or Belfast-Cairnryan and accommodation in Pontins Prestatyn or Pontins Southport. Book by May 31. See for more or call 01 907 5399.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Haiti, C’an Picafort, Majorca from €539pp, depart Dublin June 9. 7 nights half board 3* Costa Dorada, Belvedere, Salou from €529pp, depart Shannon June 12. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Morromar, Puerto Carmen, Lanzarote from €539pp, depart Cork June 18.
  • Click and Go offers: 7 nights B&B 5* Real Minra Hotel & Spa, Olhoa, Algarve from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 2 nights 4* Mercure Dusseldorf Hafen Hotel from €229pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart May 30. 7 nights B&B 4* Windsor Hotel, Funchal, Madeira from €529pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Blue Sea Puerto Resort Hotel, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife from €499pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. For more info, visit or call 01 637 1699.
  • Travel Department offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Hotel Piscis, Majorca from €499pp incl. taxes, return flights ex Dublin and Palma City Tour. Majorca seat only from €199pp. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Arenal, Ibiza from €409pp incl. taxes, transfers, flights ex Dublin, depart June 20 or 23. For more info, see or call 01 637 1600.
  • Tour America offers: 5 nights the Linq Hotel, Las Vegas from €1,829pps incl. return flights and UFC 192 fight tickets, depart July 8. 7 nights the Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €649pp, depart September 16. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York City from €799pp, depart November 26. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun Hotel, Cancun from €1,359pp incl. return flights, depart September 16.
  • Sunway is offering 14 nights full board Queen Mary 2 transatlantic sailing Southampton-New York from €1,645pp, depart June 14. See for more.
  • Lowcostbeds offers, based on 2 share 7 nights, depart September 5: 3* B&B Hotel Londra, Sorrento, Italy, from €37pppn. 4* B&B Sorento Hotel Albatross, Italy from €35pppn. 3* B&B Villa Royal Hotel, Cavtat, Dubrovnik from €33pppn. 4* B&B Hotel Croatia, Cavtat, Dubrovnik from €70pppn. 4* B&B Pestana Cascais Ocean Hotel, Cascais, Lisbon from €50pppn. 4* B&B Hotel Vile Gale, Cascais, Lisbon fro €65pppn.
  • Topflight Madeira offers, based on June 11: 7 nights B&B 3* Dorisol Florasol, Funchal from €563pps. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Alto Lido, Funchal from €649pps. 7 nights 4* Hotel Baia Azul, Funchal from €669pps. Prices include return flights ex Dublin, resort transfers, luggage allowance, rep service and online discount.
  • ITAA Spain offers of the week: 7 nights B&B 5* Ritz Cartlton Abama Resort, Tenerife from €1,399pps incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, book by June 15, travel in September. 8 nights half board 4* Sol Principe Hotel, Torremolinos from €549pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers and wine, depart September 28. 7 nights 3* Marco Polo Hotel, Ibiza from €399pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart June 23. 7 nights 3* Pins Platja Apartments, Cambrils from €1,845 for two adults and two children incl. 3 day park passes to PortAventura, depart August 25.
  • BA’s luxury sale fares in Club World: Beijing from €1,542. Mumbai from €1,225. Nairobi from €1,293. Dubai from €1,097. North America business class specials: New York from €911. Boston from €906. Toronto from €1,125. Vancouver from €1,295. For travel between June 18  2015 and April 10 2016. Book before June 9. See GDS for full details.


Paschal Donohoe told the Dublin Chambers on transport strategy for Dublin that Ireland is investing in transport at a level well below what we normally do, Historically, Ireland has invested just over 1.1pc of GDP annually on average in land transport. Between 1999 and 2011 the average level grew to 1.4pc of GDP as significant improvements were made to the network, most notably the construction of our motorway networkBy 2012, however, this had fallen to 0.7% and has fallen further since.

  • Irish Tourism Industry Confederation chairman Paul Gallagher said that the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus would boost tourism. The Confederation is seeking a new chief executive.
  • There will be a brain storming meeting for Skal members in Limerick (venue TBC) this Tuesday, May 26.
  • Porsche Club Ireland teamed up with Fáilte Ireland to send more than 50 Porsches along the Wild Atlantic Way, visiting 15 Signature Discovery Points.
  • Irish Rail launched a 6.15am Cork-Dublin non-stop train service arriving in Dublin at 8.30am
  • Doolin Tourism hosted a networking evening at the Micho Russell Community Centre on Thursday.
  • Wild Atlantic Way featured in Celtic Life International magazine in North America.
  • Tickets for the Irish Open sold out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but tickets are still available for Thursday. 80,000 spectators are expected to attend the event.

Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Cllr. John Crowe being received by Gao Shuxun, Vice Governor of Yunnan Province at Zhenzhaung Hall, Kunming Yunnan in South East China prior to the formal signing of Agreements between Clare County Council and the Province of Yunnan. NO REPRO FEE Local Government and Government officials from County Clare and the Chinese Province of Yunnan today signed an agreement aimed at developing closer industrial, tourism, farming, educational and cultural ties between the regions. A delegation comprising officials and members of Clare County Council travelled to the southwest of China to officially mark the County/Province relationship as well as establish a formal link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark (Shilin Geopark) in Yunnan. Yunnan, which has a population of more than 46 million, is located in the far southwest of China and borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma.

A delegation from Clare County Council travelled to the Yunnan province in southwest China to establish a link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark. Picture shows Cathaoirleach of Clare Co Co Cllr John Crowe being received by Gao Shuxun,  Vice Governor of Yunnan Province at Zhenzhaung Hall.

  • The annual Tolkien Festival takes place in Co Clare, June 26-28. The event is organised by the Burren Tolkien Society and supported by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and Clare
  • Pictured helping to announce a brand new Kite Flying and Baloon Festival in Wexford is sister and brother Rachel (age 10) and James Reburn age 8; the festival which features lots of old-fashioned family fun takes place in Duncannon during the June bank-holiday weekend. See – Photograph Patrick Browne.
  • County Library. The festival will feature lectures, writing workshops, archery demonstrations and evening feasts.
  • The Kite Flying and Balloon Festival takes place in Duncannon, Co Wexford during the June bank holiday weekend.
  • Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 30.

The Little Museum of Dublin, Copper Faced Jack’s and Chapter One featured in Buzzfeed’s listicle on hidden gems around the capital.


Pictures show travel agents and tour operators from Australia and New Zealand who toured Newgrange, Donegal Castle, Sliabh League, Yeats’ grave, Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast, Strokestown Park, Kilbeggan Distillery and the Guinness Storehouse as guests of Tourism Ireland and Emirates, with Fiona Clelland of Tourism Ireland and tour guide Conor Ellard.

Fógra eile (with apologies once more to the late Con Houlihan)

Tim Pat Coogan, Gerry O'Hare and Carol Flynn at the Irish Press 20 years reunion, May 22 2015

Irish Press personnel gathered on Friday night to commemorate 20 years since the closure, an event which was tragic for Irish journalism but which led to the foundation of Ireland’s leading travel publication Travel Extra. Picture shows Tim Pat Coogan, Gerry O’Hare of Travel Extra and Carol Flynn at the reunion. Watch and listen for mention of Travel Extra personnel in an Irish Times video using Pat Cashman’s footage from the time recalled the occupation of the newspaper offices on Burgh Quay in Dublin after the closure (watch here) and Today with Sean O’Rourke which gathered five ex-Press personnel, including Sean O’Rourke himself and ex Sunday Press editor, now Irish Tourism Industry Confederation front man Michael Keane, to discuss the legacy of the newspaper (listen here). For more presstalgia read here Declan Lynch’s review of a forthcoming book on Muligan’s public house in Poolbeg Street.

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