TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair passenger numbers near 140m but Lufthy still leads Europe



Cuascrone , Iveragh, Co Kerry, new year’s day 2019


Things to know about travel this week

  • Low cost carried 31pc of passengers worldwide in 2018
  • Lufthansa still Europe’s largest airline group as Ryanair reach 139.2m
  • Brussels Airlines lose patience with CityJet’s Sukhoi
  • Finalists compete in Blue Insurances car draw 
  • Farewell Herb, inspiration for Ryanair
  • Travel agents say sales are 15pc ahead of last year

Video Watch.

Emirates’ Airbus A380 – which flies to 50 cities – is seen landing in its new destinations in 2018.

A video shared on Reddit and on Shawn Kathleen’s Passenger Shaming Instagram account showed an unidentified Australian encouraging a child to draw on a tray table onboard a flight. Watch here.

Angry Australians posted pictures showing how Queensland’s Nine Mile Beach has become a dumping ground for “lazy grubs”. Watch here.

Dozens of suspected militants were killed in raids by Egyptian forces, after four tourists died following a bomb blast in Cairo.

Watch here our new year video fly-past of the most influential people in Ireland’s travel industry 


Behind the Headlines

Ryanair has been emailing customers to say that, for non-priority customers, the €25 gate bag fee will be charged in full from Tuesday, Jan 8th. For non-priority customers, the €25 gate bag fee was reduced to €0 in November and  reduced to €10 from Tues, Dec 4th to Mon, Jan 7th. The controversial measure to allow only laptop size bags for non priority customers was announced last August.

Irish-American businessman Herb Kelleher, who co-founded US low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines and inspired Ryanair’s success, passed away at the age of 87. Ryanair paid tribute to its spiritual godfather, whose ancestors hailed from West Cork, who advised  chief executive Michael O’Leary to turn the airline into a low-cost carrier in the late 1980s. “RIP and thank you, Herb Kelleher. Herb was the Grand Master Yoda of the low fare airlines. He was the leader, the visionary, and the teacher: without Herb there would be no Ryanair, and no low fare airlines anywhere.” Forbes relayed twenty reasons he made a difference.

Despite their impressive record 139.2m passengers in 2018, up 8pc, Ryanair will be a greater distance behind the Lufthansa group of four airlines than its closest ever 1.7m margin last year in the race to be Europe’s biggest airline. Lufthy had 132.42m passengers to end November. Willie Walsh-led IAG will roll in third ahead of Air France-KLM with EasyJet in fifth place and Turkish rumbling up in sixth. Ryanair carried 592k passengers in 1988, 4.6m in 1998, 57.5m in 2008 and 139.2m in 2018. 

The death of an Indian student at the Cliffs of Moher is the second recorded case of a selfie death in  Ireland. A Hungarian man in his 20s died after he fell to his death at the Cliffs of Moher while taking photos In June 2007. Agam Bansal of the India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhopal calculated that 259 tourists died taking selfies between Oct 2011 & Nov 2017, the majority of them in India.

The Department for Foreign Affairs is to hire 70 new staff at Cork’s Passport Office which has responsibility for processing passport applications from the north, Britain and Ireland’s network of embassies and consulates. As 822,000 Irish passports were issued in the past 12 months, up 43,000 from 2017, British citizens applications rose 22pc. A total of 4.4m British citizens. are entitled to hold dual citizenship.

Travel Trade

David Kinsella from eTravel is the December Finalist in the Blue Insurances Toyota Yaris competition, joining previous finalists Margaret Kilduff of Joe Walsh Tours, Toni Fennell of Abbey Travel, Karen Thornton of KT Travel Dundalk, Theresa Davey from Mackin Travel Wexford, Sharon Fleming from Thomson Travel Lurgan, Elaine Harding of the Garda Holiday Club, Douglas Hastings of Travel Counsellors, Yvonne O’Donohue from O’Donohue Travel Gorey, Catherine O’Dwyer from Michael Bowe Travel, Lisa Sprake from Oasis Travel, Nicola Churchill from Best4travel and Alice Carrick of Tour America. The draw for the Toyota Yaris Hybrid takes place in Dublin on January 17.

Niall McDonnell’s Classic Collection Holidays launched its 196-page brochure features four and five star hotels in Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Balearic Island, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and Barbados and, new for 2019,  Sardinia and Morocco. Classic Collection Holidays on 01 5413000 or view an online copy here.

Travel agency January sales revved into action on Wednesday. The ITAA reported sales up 15pc after a very good start even in early December and right through the season, with airline flash sales selling strongly and in particular Cork’s new routes. Sunway reported a very positive start in all areas with Turkey leading the charge. TUI said “momentum has been building every day from the 26th, a positive start with both families and couples out in the market so enquiries and sales across TUI family and adult-only product is strong. With children back to school next week we are looking forward to a busy week.” Travel Counsellors said “while we are a day less this week versus last year, TCs reporting very busy with enquiries the minute Christmas was over led by long haul, honeymoons, cruise and  groups”. In Belfast Travel Solutions report their first week business is up 25pc

Topflight Italy roadshow will visit Limerick, Cork, Dundalk, Kilkenny, Portlaoise, Galway, Letterkenny and Belfast in February. For further details please get in touch with Shauna Kelly, or see Topflight’s Travel Agent Facebook page.

Jill Thompson is to head up the operations of First Class Holidays which will launch in Ireland this year. To celebrate the launch Irish agents can earn 50 Euro Love to Shop vouchers for every booking they make between 4th January – 31st January 2019. Love to Shop vouchers can be redeemed in store or online at 30 brands.  Dedicated brochures with Euro pricing will be available to download from the website with physical copies available soon. New trips for 2019 include a Canadian Canoe Route, 9-day self-drive tour from 2101 Euro per person.

Rhona (McCann) Winchester joins Travelport in Dublin having previously worked with FCM Travel Solutions, Travelcare and at Eugene Magee Travel in Bray.

Agents who book a Turkish Airlines flight before January 18 with departure before June 1 will be entered in a draw for two tickets to Boyzone’s Farewell tour on January 24 at the 3 Arena in Dublin, with access to the 1878 Lounge. Enter here.

Listen here to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry speaking on RTE Morning Ireland on the places to look for holidays in 2019.

Strange world

Sydney always puts on a big New Year’s Eve fireworks show – but its sign welcomed in 2018 by mistake this year.

India’s aviation regulator is probing what’s been dubbed a mile-high dance party onboard a flight.

A pair of giant pelicans that escaped Fota Wildlife Park in Cork during the summer have returned. The pelicans, which can reach a length of up to six feet, flew off in June despite having clipped wings to keep them grounded.

Former Manchester travel agent David Blicharz was jailed for four months after swearing at children on a Jet2 Flight from Turkey to Manchester.


Human waste and rubbish have piled up at US national parks – including Yosemite – due to the US federal government shutdown.

Soccer fans might not fret if Ireland does not qualify for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has introduced a 100pc tax on alcohol meaning 24 cans of beer now cost €92.

  • Thousands of tourists were left stranded on Thailand’s southern gulf coast as Tropical Storm Pabuk made landfall on Friday.
  • Eike Schmidt, the German director of the Uffizi Galleries, requested the return of a painting stolen by Nazi Wehrmacht in 1943 and now in the hands of an unidentified German family.
  • Sections of the Berlin Wall are expected to fetch up to €20,000 at auction in England as the 30th anniversary of its fall approaches.
  • Danish police identified the eight victims killed in a train crash on the Great Belt Bridge earlier this week.
  • Day-trippers will soon be charged up to €10 for entering Venice to fund the clean-up of litter left by tourists.
  • China is to introduce the world’s first driverless high-speed trains to run at up to 350kph on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou line.
  • The Louvre is now the world’s most popular museum of fine arts – attracting a record 10.2m visitors last year.

Food & Beverage

Dublin’s famous Copper Face Jacks nightclub recorded €4.1m in pre-tax profits in 2017, down €1m, Breanagh Catering.

Pre-tax profits at the group that operates Temple Bar’s tourist-filled Oliver St John Gogarty pub and Blooms Hotel doubled to €13.4m in the 12 months to February 28, 2018.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard added his voice to those saying time spent  on smartphones in pubs and restaurants is killing the art of conversation and damaging Ireland’s hospitality culture.

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland said a no-deal Brexit would risk immediate tariffs on cream, barley, malt, glass bottles, apples and finished cider as well as custom checks at the border causing delays and costs.


Dalata completed the acquisition of the 212-room Clayton Hotel City of London to open later this month.

Operating profits at the Hodson Bay hotel group  – which owns Hodson Bay Hotel and Sheraton in Athlone plus the Galway Bay hotel – rose 5pc to €3.1m during the 12 months to the end of February, 2018.

Irish homes advertised for short-term letting on Airbnb rose by 1,000 in the last year.

Marriott believes 383m guests were affected by their recent reservations database security breach, lower than the 500m first feared and says 5.25m unencrypted passport numbers were included in the breach data

Guests were evacuated after a fire engulfed the upmarket Gili Lankanfushi resort in the Maldives.


The London CAA granted Ryanair an operating certificate for London-Scotland flights in advance of the Breat-imeacht/Brexit debacle.

Croatia Airlines is to turn its A319 seasonal service Zagreb-Dublin into a year-round operation, effective April 9.

Knock airport reported passenger numbers up 3pc to a record 771,619 in 2018. 

ICAO said air travel grew 6.1pc ins 2018 with low cost carriers handling 1.3bn passengers, 31pc world-wide, 36pc in Europe, 35pc in Latin America/ Caribbean, 30pc in  N America and 29pc in Asia Pacific.

Shares of US airlines tumbled last week – American down 7pc, Delta down 9pc and United down 5pc – after Delta Air Lines forecast slightly lower revenue growth.

Brussels airlines has modified operation for its tech-prone SuperJet SSJ100 aircraft leased from CityJet, with the last flight accelerated to the first week of January 19, instead of late March 19. Brussels – Billund.

Ireland West Airport recorded its highest ever passenger numbers – 7770,000 – last year.

Gatwick and Heathrow say they are investing in military-grade anti-drone equipment, after Gatwick’s drone incident affected 1,000 flights and 140,000 people.

Under new European laws, Irish owners of drones that weigh more than 250g will have to register them. Previously it was only drones over 1kg that had to be registered. IAA say there are 11,000 drones registered in Ireland – up from more than 8,500 in December 2017.

Kerry Airport’s Gateway Bar and Restaurant is close from January 12 for four weeks for a refurbishment. A Coffee Dock will be available within the Departures Area for the period.

America’s newly-formed California Pacific Airlines airline temporarily grounded all its flights, blaming a shortage of pilots.

Cathay Pacific suffered a pricing glitch that allowed passengers to get first class tickets that sell for €14,000 for €592.

Wizz passenger numbers for 2018 are up 19.6pc to 33,814,122.

Galway Airport stakeholders including Galway Chamber lobbied government representatives for a permanent Park and Ride service at Galway Airport that was “vital” to the future of the aerodrome.

A reminder of pre-Ryanair days, when most of us were forced to take the boat train to London, with live tweeting of his journey by London Independent Europe correspondent Jon Stone.

Four years after the Government said it was disposing of airstrips at Cleggan and Inishbofin, it continues to pay private company, Bainistíocht Aerfort Teoranta to manage the facilities, along with three aerodromes on the Aran Islands.

Belfast International Airport passengers complained of continued long queues despite changing security firm from ICTS to Wilson James in November. Twitter posters said security queues on January 3 reached 80 minutes.

Shannon CEO Matthew Thomas told Clare County Council that a million people from Galway fly out of Dublin instead of Shannon Airport each year because that is their habit and there are 25 daily buses Galway-Dublin.

Aviation Safety Network say that compared to the five-year average of 14 accidents and 480 fatalities, last year was worse on both accounts.

State papers show that during 1988, Taoiseach Charles Haughey tried without success to persuade Francois Mitterand to allow Ryanair fly to Paris Orly after Ryanair had been refused permission to use Beauvais airport because it was not in the Ireland/France air agreement. State papers also show Government officials and Farranfore airport’s board of directors lobbied to use the name Killarney International Airport.


Verona Murphy from the Irish Road Hauliers Association claimed Tourism Minister Shane Ross is not doing enough to get a replacement ferry service for Rosslare.

Carnival is to end full free room service – restricting it to continental breakfast only – from this month.

America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded just 10 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships in 2018 – the second lowest level since 2001.

Princess Cruises announced a new wine list across its fleet of 17 ships.


The Rose of Tralee celebrates its 60th anniversary next August 23-27. Pictured launching the search for the 2019 Rose (apply here) were Sinéad Boyle (1989, Dublin Rose); Cathy Murphy (1969, Dublin Rose);  Marita Marron (1979, Belfast Rose); 2018 Rose of Tralee winner Kirsten Mate Maher; Alice O’Sullivan (1959, Dublin); Geraldine O’Grady (1999, Cork Rose); and Charmaine Kenny (2009, London Rose)

To mark the launch of the programme for TradFest 2019 from 23 – 27 January in Dublin, Sibéal Ní Chasaide, Paddy Casey, Sive and Eleanor McEvoy sit by Patrick Kavanagh’s statue before singing a rendition of On Raglan Road which is based on his poem.

An Bord Pleanála upheld the decision of Cork County Council to allow Blarney castle owner Charles Colthurst to expand the retail space of the building, which contains a visitor centre.

Picture shows pianist Finghin Collins rehearsing for his concerts in Music for Galway’s Midwinter Festival Swansong, running from January 18-20 at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre

Irish Rail launched a search for 100 new train drivers – starting salary €45,000.

Visitor numbers at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2018 were 775,491, making it likely Ireland’s eighth most visited attraction.

The North’s Department for Infrastructure has rejected a plan for a £25m tourist resort in Co Fermanagh. 

Deal Watch

Sunway offers: Dublin to Asia for ’Best of Vietnam’ escorted tour, includes flights, 20kg baggage per person, internal flights, taxes, 11 nights twin share in  4 & 5* Hotels,  scheduled airport transfer, some meals and tours as per itinerary. Price includes 10% early payment discount, tour must be booked and paid by 28/2/19  Subject to availability and change, from €3029pp, depart May 3. Dublin to Europe for 5* Tulip Time River Cruise, includes flight ex Dublin, return port transfers, 7 nights twin sharing outside stateroom with fixed window, unlimited wine/beers at meals, sip and sail daily cocktail hour & daily complimentary excursions. Not included gratuities and port charges of €150pp. Subject to availability and change, from €1915pp, depart March 25. Dublin to Portugal, 7 nights all inclusive 4T Club Med Da Balaia, from €1209pp, depart May 16. Dublin to Thailand for Wellness Tour to Thailand from Bangkok to Ko Samui Tokyo, includes flight ex Dublin, internal flights, 8 nights’ accommodation on twin share basis, some meals, Yoga classes, Thai Massage Course and tours as per itinerary.  Subject to availability and change, from €2559pp, depart July 7. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self catering 2*+ Oasis Apartments from €329pp, depart January 12. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights B&B 4* Beatriz Costa Hotel from €449pp, depart January 12. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self catering 4* Sands Beach Resort from €449pp, depart January 12. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self catering 2* Cura Marina 2  Apartments from €429pp, depart January 12. Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self catering 3* Oasis Dunas  Apartments, from €329pp, depart January 12. Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self catering 3* Broncemar Beach Aparthotel, from €439pp, depart January 12. Dublin to Orlando + 3 Park Ticket, 7 nights 3* Avanti Palms, from €695pp, depart May 2019. Dublin to Florida for St Patricks Day Antigua & Barbados Fly Cruise, includes 1 night pre cruise stay in Fort Lauderdale and 10-night cruise from €1336pp, depart March 16. Dublin to Barcelona for Western Mediterranean Fly Cruise onboard Norwegian Epic, premium all inclusive included from €1325pp, depart September 15. Dublin to Barcelona for Spain & Italy Fly Cruise, 7 nights on Oasis of the Seas, deluxe drinks package included, from €1669pp, depart September 8.

Topflight offers: Save up to €250 per person in January sale. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 3* Ferienhotel Fuchs, Soll, was €849 now €619pps, depart January 12. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self catering 3* Casa Antoinetta, Livigno, was €579 now €429pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 12. Dublin to  France, 7 nights self catering 4* Le Hameau de Pierre Blanche, Chamonix Valley,  was €618 now €498pps (Based on 6 share), depart January 19. Dublin to  Austria, 7 nights half board 4* plus Hotel Norica, Bad Hofgastein, was €1266 now €1056pps, depart January 19. Dublin to  Andorra, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Himalaia Soldeu, Soldeu, was €876 now €667pps, depart January 20. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Olympic Palace, Pinzolo, was €799 now €719pps, depart January 26. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 2* Pension Niedermuhlbichler, Soll, was €699 now €569pps, depart February 9. /, call 01 240 1700/ 028 9752 1168 or visit your travel agent.

TUI offers: Dublin  to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self catering 2*+ Los Girasoles, Playa Del Ingles, from €449pps, depart January 10. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self catering 3* Oasis Mango, Los Cristianos, from €389pps, depart January 11. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Apartments the Morromar, Matagorda, from €489pps, depart January 13. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Ifa Interclub Atlantic, San Augustin, from €469pps, depart January 17. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €489pps, depart February 8. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights all inclusive 4* TUI Family Life Orquidea, Bahia Feliz, from €679pps, depart February 7. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, from €1,519pps. (Saving of €300pp), depart June 10. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 5* Ocean Coral & Turquesa by H10, Riviera Maya, from €1,719pps (saving of €230pp). Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 4* RIU Cancun, Cancun, from €1,929pps (saving of €190pp), depart June 10. Dublin to Paphos, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Louis Phaethon Beach Club, Paphos, from €929pps (save €170pp), depart May 29. Dublin to Dalaman, 7 nights all inclusive 4* TUI Family Life Tropical, Sarigerme, from €2,419 (2+1 – includes free child place), depart July 29., call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store/travel agent.


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