TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement September 6 2015: Bright Lights Big City, Big Ryanair, Bright Cityjet, Airlines Look to the Sky


westjet aug 30



Minister Paschal Donohoe and Pat Byrne at the Cityjet rebrand in Dublin Airport

Minister Paschal Donohoe and Pat Byrne at the Cityjet rebrand in Dublin Airport


The headlines this week:

  • Four daily to Amsterdam
  • Sukhoi for Cityjet?
  • Easier for Ryanair Passengers to opt out of insurance
  • Guinness Storehouse wins European title
  • Dublin airport food hall to reopen Sept 15
  • The K Club gets its own West Wing

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week Sept 6Video of the week: The next accessory you need for that fishing holiday. Farmer Derek Klingenberg from Peabody in Kansas attached a hook, line and float to his quadcopter, and flew it out over a lake near his home (watch here).

  • Peter O’Hanlon of Travelfinders did not win the main prize at the TIGS golf outing to Carlow. But that did not deter him, giving as fine an example of stand-up comedy as the industry has seen in a five minute speech. If you think that’s funny, try playing 18 holes with him. Watch here.
  • While diving off the Scilly Isles, Gary Grayson encountered a friendly Atlantic grey seal that loves belly rubsWatch here.
  • “Globalistas” Jeremy and Christine visit Dublin with Emirates as part of the Be There campaign. Watch here.
  • See the promo for Aer Lingus’s 2016 cadet pilot training programme. Watch here.
  • See Discover NI’s showcase of The Gobbins Cliff Path. Watch here.
  • Meet the designer: See 25-year-old Emma Collopy, who graduated last year from Griffith College, introduce Ryanair’s new uniformsWatch here.
  • See Visit Dublin’s promo for festival season. Watch here.
  • Another proposal at 30,000ftWatch here.
  • Here is thrill seeker PaschaBumchik riding on top of a metro train. Watch here.


Paul Carty Guinness storehouse 002My goodness, my Guinness. The Storehousewas a winner in the tourist attraction category at the European Gala of the 22nd World Travel Awards hosted by the Forte Village Resortin Southern Sardinia last night. The grand final takes place on December 12 in El Jadida, Morocco. Picture shows Paul Carty in the Gravity Bar. The storehouse is heading for a record 1.4m visitors in 2015.

minister pat byrne_6161The first Sukhoi Superjet 100 to be used by an Irish airline is an intriguing prospect as Cityjet finalises its fleet acquisition programme. As the airline unveiled what founder and returned chair Pat Byrne called new image and new standards, and a prelude to the new fleet. Byrne said he will order for 15 aircraft in the just-under-100-seat category in the coming weeks (not months, he stressed, listen here), under US style contract purchase agreements. The range of the aircraft would open up Greek and Turkish destinations and could reach Moscow if required (listen here). He said it will NOT be a turboprop, and Embraer and Superjet are contenders: “Mistubishi’s not there yet, Bombardier with the C-series has not arrived yet and is too long term for us” (listen here). Earlier this year Hans Rudolf Wöhrl of Cityjet’s parent Intro Aviation said Sukhoi had not yet provided evidence of suitability for London City. “The just under 100” passenger requirement falls midway between the Embraer E-175 and E-190.

cityjet tv adA new TV Ad featuring cabin crew members Cheryl Downes, Ciara Burke and Elodie Montaque will air to drive Cityjet’s quest to look beyond its traditional business market (slogan: Fly like a star whoever you are). At the launch event in the RDS, Pat Byrne claimed in a podium interview with Newstalk’s Vincent Wall (listen here) that passenger numbers are up 40pc, load factor has increased from 54pc to 74pc and 90pc on some routes this summer. Listen here to Pat Byrne’s speech at the launch. A rebrand event organised by Martina McDermott (pictured with Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel) cost €60,000, a steal compared with most aviation launches and the €90,000 it costs to repaint an aircraft (listen here).

cityjet crew_3151Watch here Pat Byrne explaining the inside-out rebrand for Travel Extra TV, in which he says that the livery was signed in-house, as were the new uniforms to be introduced at year-end. Picture shows Cityjet crew at the rebrand of the airline in Dublin: Garvin Coughlan, Maria Christian, David Barlow, Wendy Cassidy, Amy Byrne and Glenda CullenSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1ryanair summer sched 001Ryanair have handed back five Amsterdamslots that had been destined for Stanstedand will instead tulip their way more gently into Schiphol on October 27 with four daily flights to/from Dublin. David O’Brien told Travel Extra In the margins of the launch event in the Gibson Hotel for Ryanair’s 2016 summer schedule: Amsterdam is unashamedly designed to serve the KLM network. We have no fear of going against KLM on price but we want to be sure that, if we are going in to one of the most expensive airports in Europe, we don’t go in with our eyes closed. Schiphol is reportedly a reluctant suitor for Ryanair and O’Brien felt the airport might be tempted to “mess them around”. Amsterdam will be Ryanair’s second major European hub airport after Madrid and the airline does not expect ANY Ryanair customers to connect into the AF/KLM network, as O’Brien said in reply to a question from Travel Extra at the press conference (listen here). Aer Lingus serves Amsterdam five times a day so expect the much-anticipated winter war to be fought on this route. David O’Brien anticipated more competition, not just in Ireland but across Europe to keep fares down (listen here).  Picture shows David O’Brien of Ryanair, Minister Paschal Donohoe and Kenny Jacobs of at the summer 2016 schedule in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ryanair will launch their new website and app on October 15 and will move their controversial opt out travel insurance option, from ‘don’t insure me’ cunningly located between Denmark and Estonia in a drop-down list of countries, to a more conspicuous location at top of the menu. But it will still require customers to opt out.

Ryanair new interior sept 2015The extra services for summer 2016 when Ryanair’s less garish interiors (pictured) will be fitted on aircraft as they are serviced, are: Alicante 2 daily, Amsterdam 4 daily, Barcelona3 daily, Berlin 2 daily, Birmingham 6 daily, Brussels 3 daily, Budapest 9 weekly, East Midlands 2 daily, Liverpool 4 daily, London Gatwick 6 daily, Madrid 3 daily, Malaga 3 daily, Manchester 6 daily, Venice 5w and Warsaw 1 daily. O’Brien said that one in three of all European short haul passengers will be flying Ryanair (listen here). Ryanair will increase seat capacity for summer 2016 by 15pc and increase winter capacity further. David O’Brien says Ryanair winter seats used to run at 66pc of their summer levels at Dublin, in winter 2015-6 that will be up to 80pc.

ryanair new uniforms Sept 3 2015New crew uniforms (pictured) will follow in December, designed with the help of the staff. New aircraft interiors will be introduced from December and “are going from a lot of yellow to a little less yellow and a little more blue.” Paschal Donohoe welcomed the expansion (listen here). It was all a far cry from a similar conference four years ago when Michael O’Leary called for the department of Transport to be closed down. Two national newspapers picked up Paschal Donohoe’s comments on the need for a parallel runway at Dublin Airport (listen here) and on the proposed rail link to the airport (listen here), both of which decisions will be made BEFORE the next election, according to the minister. David O’Brien was also asked to comment on the parallel runway (listen here) and Ryanair’s opposition to the rail ink (listen here).

eoghan corry new lightweight seats_2934A cascade of new announcements include a hold the fare option to come in October with the new website, defibrillators in November (the new uniforms and interiors are due in December), on top of already-announced car hire partnership with Cartrawler, native app, new open-source passenger blogs, reduced sports fees, US website and their third GDS partner, Kenny Jacobs stressed that fares were at the core of the Ryanair mission. We set up as the good guys (listen hereand we are still the good guys. Picture shows Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, trying out the new lightweight seats which are to be introduced in December. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

daa platinum club teamGrainne Morrison of the Platinum Service Lounge and Maura Moloney of Dublin Airport visitor services hosted agents in the newly reopened airport VIP section (listen here), closed for three months by an unseemly row with SIPTU. The lounge costs €160 for a personalised VIP service. Guests enter  through a private area, pass through their own private security check and are driven to the aircraft ramp in a BMW. DAA are interested in increasing the number of agents who currently sell the service, commissionable at 10pc, form the current 25. Damian Flynn of DAA retail told Travel Extra that September 15 is the date for the opening for the food hall at Dublin airport (listen here). There had been an impressive welcome to the new, more airy, Loop shopping area at the airport over the summer (listen here),  Picture shows the DAA platinum club team Maura Moloney, Kate Flood, Janine Davidson and Grainne Morrison.See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

oliver dunne_2837The agents were then treated to a cruise out of Howth on Eugene Garrihy’s Dublin Bay Cruises (website) and a cookery demonstration by Oliver Dunne at Bon Appetit in Malahide (website). What we learned? Turn the extraction fan on twenty minutes before you start cooking (listen here), remember to put the salt UNDER the steak, not on top as the TV chefs do (listen here) and old spice not a great idea (listen here) unless you hanker after those 1970s aftershave ads. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

tigs winners carlow sept 3 2015The Travel Industry Golf Society returned to its roots for Pat Dawson’s Captain’s Day on Thursday, revisiting for the first time the Carlow Golf Club where the society was originally conceived as the result of a conversation between Frank Tully and Paddy Scott. Winners were Paul Dawson (listen here) and Ann Marie Dalton (ilsten here) who said she had an unfair advantage in that she knew every hole of the course and Andy Gilberts, her first coach, was the pro at the club. She also, apparently, had the offer of a kiss  from Peter O’Hanlon if she made two putts.

gillian lowry audrey headonPeter O’Hanlon gave (again) the speech of the night (watch here or listen here). Also take a look at Con Horgan’s tribute to Frank Tully, a veteran of the travel industry who is 92 years of age and still going strong. Pat Dawson gave the captain’s speech (listen here) and Sinead Reilly spoke on behalf of event sponsors Travelport (listen here). Next TIGS outing is at the Castle on October 22 and is sponsored by Travel Extra. Picture shows Gillian Lowry and Audrey Headon before tee off. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. 

Travel Trade

aidan hopkins arrestedMembers of the travel trade bade farewell to Adrian Hopkins, larger than life owner of Bray Travel, first famed for the bachanallian parties he hosted in Bray during the 1970s and 1980s and then for other, more serious matters. He grew his company rapidly to a turnover of £7m, holding 20pc of the Irish holiday business and 35pc of the Canaries business. Too rapidly, it turned out. Bray Travel collapsed just before Christmas 1980, stranding 1,000 holiday makers in the Canaries and leaving thousands more who had prepaid their holiday, some of them hours before the collapse, high and dry. More than £340,000 in cash and cheques went missing and as a result of the furore a voluntary bonding system was introduced by the Irish travel trade, evolving to an official regulatory scheme that meant Ireland became one of the first countries to bond tour operators and offered the best security to consumers. Adrian went on to become the captain of vessels that smuggled five shiploads of arms from Libya to Ireland. Travel writer Frank Khan has reason to remember the Eksund gun running episode: when Khan attempted to interview Hopkins in Brest he was hauled in for questioning by French police. Obituaries in The Irish Times and Sunday Independent.

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson and President Martin Skelly.The programme for the ITAA Conference in JerezOct 1-3 has been finalised: 1030 Stephen McKenna (technology), 1055 Juan Cullen (validating your next idea), 1145 Sheila O’Malley (work life balance), 1330 Aer Lingus,1345 Liam Lonergan and 1430 Alan O’Neill (succession management). Agents will travel by private charter to Jerez on October 1, returning on October 4. Entertainment will include the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre (Equestrian School) and Horse Show Como Bailan los Caballos Andaluces. Dinner will be at the Carriage Museum – located in an early 19th century winery. Excursion options include the El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz, karting at the Formula 1 Circuit. The gala dinner takes place among the Cloisters of Santo Domingo, Two post-fam options take in Baelo Claudia, Bolonia, Chipiona lighthouse, Conil de la Frontera, Doñana National Park, Rota town, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Tarifa, whale watching in the Straights of Gibraltar and Vejer de la Frontera.

martina mcdermott graham aldrenSpeaking at the Cityjet rebrand event in Dublin Airport, Graham Aldren (pictured with Martina McDermott) said the trade can expect continued support from Cityjet and would be remain important to the airline (listen here).

Hertz is giving agents the chance to win one of two weekly €50 prepaid MasterCards, September to November. To enter, make a booking with Hertz for the USA and email the booking reference to

gerry anne_2488Picture show Travel Extra founder Gerry O’Hare and Anne Cadwallader at their 25th wedding anniversary dinner in Stix’n’Stones restaurant in Belfast.

Travel Professionals Skillnet training: Outlook level 1 at Strand Street Great, Dublin 1, September 15, 9.15am-5pm, cost €110, book here.

Skal’s next lunch takes place in The National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on September 8, 12.30pm. Member price €30 and €35pp for guests.

simon daly karen keogh 003Picture shows Simon Daly and Karen Keoghat their wedding in Kenmare, where a great gathering of the travel trade celebrated the happy day. Travel Extra wishes Simon and Karen all he best in their shared future. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travelport signed a multi-year agreement with agency Travelgenio.


michael davern liffey wing_6167The K Club filled 140 bedrooms last Saturday night for the first time in its history, having completed the 70-bedroom €20m Liffey Wing to the west side of the hotel with a range of 410 sq ft to 800 sq ft bedrooms. Ground floor rooms enjoy direct access to a private terrace and all rooms offer views to Liffey or the gardens with lofty ceilings, air conditioning, huge windows, mini bars, Nespresso coffee machines and spacious hand painted bathrooms with twin sinks, extra deep baths and separate power showers with traditional and rain water heads.  The former swimming pool is now the conference centre under a separate development. Michael Davern said he had received a positive response from tour operators at the Virtuoso high end trade show in Las Vegas. “At 70 bedrooms we were too small for conference events. The new development moves us into a position to compete for business that would not otherwise come to Ireland, as a Ryder Cup venue, something similar to the offering of Gleneagles in Scotland.” Michael is pictured outside the new Liffey Wing.

PREM Group Announce €30m Funding PackagePREM Group has announced a funding package worth €30m with Proventus Capital Partners. The Group ’manages and operates 42 hotels and serviced apartments sin Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and England, with 3,000 guest rooms and 1,500 employees. Picture shows Jim Murphy, CEO of PREM Group

Rory O’Sullivan of the five star Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway says each of the 50 bedrooms and suites have been completely transformed under a two year €2m re-development of the main house and bedrooms of Glenlo Abbey Hotel.

Aiden Murphy smallAiden Murphy of Crowe Horwath said legislation around the Examinership process make it a more likely option for hotels in 2016. He said 40 of the 811 hotels in Ireland (17pc) have been placed in receivership since 2008, and only 15 (2pc) went into examinership. There are many regional hotels who have survived the recession and where profits are improving but which still need to repair their over indebted balance sheet. The examinership process may now offer a viable solution and one we believe will be a key trend in the next 18 months.

pat mccannPat McCann of Dalata was non-committal about the €36m expansion of Clayton Hotel in Dublin from 367 to 466 bedrooms, to become second largest in the country after 492-bedroom Citywest, pointing out that the plans were lodged by the previous owners. “We have received the permission and will be assessing its potential as to what extent we may proceed with the plan.”

Westbury Hotel representatives told Dublin City Council planners that they did not believe a five-storey hotel on the site of three-storey Chatham House next door is “appropriate for the location.”

Gleneany4The disused Gleneany House hotel in Letterkenny has been refurbished and reopened to offer student accommodation from just €40-a-week.

Denis O’Brien has acquired a hotel near his PGA Catalunya golf resort outside Barcelona.

Hazel HotelLong disused Hazel Hotel in Monasterevan, reopened in 2012 and famed as the media centre during the 1976 Herrema siege, is to be first stop for 500 Syrian refufgees.

An Irish man was found dead in the swimming pol of the Pine Sun Park resort in Praia da Falésia, Albufeira.

The High Court ruled on a jurisdiction dispute over the Radisson Blu Hotel in southern France, against AIB bank’s threat to take over their shares.

hotel said the average room rate for their Irish stock rose to €116 per night in the first half of 2015., which represents just 10pc of Irish hotel inventory, said its prices rose by 15pc in H1 to an average room rate of €116pn. Dublin saw the biggest increase to €128pn, up 19pc. Cork was up 9pc to €99, Galway up 10pc to €110 and Sligo up 18pc to €95.

intercontinental gmInterContinental Dublin confirmed that Clement Gaffney, former director of Lough Rynn and Kilronan Hotels, will take up his position as GM this month. The hotel is undergoing a €5m refurbishment.

  • Hilton Worldwide announced new parental leave policies beginning January 1 2016: New parents, including fathers and adoptive parents, will receive two weeks fully paid parental leave, and new mothers will receive an additional eight weeks maternity leave, a total of 10 weeks.
  • Radisson Blu will open two resorts in Mauritius, the Radisson Blu Azuri Resort & Spa and the Radisson Blue Poste Lafayette Resort & Spa.
  • Grand Hyatt Seoul launched a lifestyle app, offering information on hotel rooms, restaurants, events and places of interest.
  • Mandarin Oriental confirmed a security breach at ten of its hotels reported earlier this year.
  • hilton uberHilton HHonors members can earn double or triple points on stays from now until Dec 31.
  • Hilton is partnering with Uber to allow HHonors members access to Uber’s data on 20 US cities, but no HHonors points will be earned.
  • Rosewood is to open a a 147-room hotel in Edinburgh.
  • GLH is to open a Amba Hotel Marble Arch, formerly the Thistle Marble Arch, with 692 guestrooms and studio apartments.
  • The Mandarin Oriental credit card system was hacked obtaining names and credit card numbers of guests who used cards at ten hotels, including in London, New York and Hong Kong.
  • Starwood is to open Europe’s first Tribute hotel.
  • Great Northern Hotel St Pancras is to become part of the Tribute Portfolio Collection.


cubaCuba bookings from Ireland for summer 2015 were more than double previous years and advance bookings for 2016 are also running at three times last year’s rate, despite price hikes caused by the anticipated US tourism boom on the island. Cuba’s hotel and ground handling contracts will move to the dollar on November 1 as a result of the new rapprochement with the USA but travel trade are not forced to take a risk on currency because they are not able to buy forward dollars.

Ian Benjafield thomas cookThomas Cook have overhauled their communications following a major backlash and widespread criticism over the way it handled the deaths of two young children in Corfu. Following a review, a new team will be led by Ian Benjafield (pictured), who has been a PR consultant to Thomas Cook since April 2013 and previously worked for TUI and Disneyland Paris. Thomas Cook has also signed up Lotus PR to provide additional PR support. The Thomas Cook London communications team who briefed media during the 2008 Grafton Street sit-in were surprised to be told that Dublin was not subject to English Law and Ireland was in the eurozone.

ICE-3-frankfurtVoyages SNCF‘s website now provides access to the whole rail network in Germany, including high-speed ICE services, under a new partnership with Deutsche Bahn. ICE services also connect German cities with destinations in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Thomas Lucas was sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison this week for moscowa scheme that swindled US$20m million from people whom he convinced to buy land in north Texas, based on a false claim that Disney was building a theme park there.

The world’s unfriendliest cities according to Travel+Leisure magazine in New York: 1 Moscow, 2 Atlantic City, 3 St Petersburg, 4 Marseille, 5 Los Angeles, 6 New York, 7 Philadelphia, 8 Baltimore, 9 Las Vegas, 10 Cannes.

boy on beach 003 copyShould holiday makers worry? One of the most powerful images from Europe’s refugee crisis emerged from Ali Hoca Point Beach, between Turgutreis and Akyarlar 30km west of Bodrum on the Turquoise coast. The London Independent asked: If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will? The beach is not frequented by tourists, contrary to some media claims, although nearby Palamut Beach is. It is not listed among the peninsula’s 17 beaches. It is, however, near embarkation points for Kos. Maybe three year old Ailan Al-Kurdi from Kobane, who died fleeing Syria with his five year old brother Galeb and his mother, Rehan, will achieve in death what he failed to do in life and bring some humanity and sanity to the immigration chaos that is disrupting Eastern Europe’s transportation networks and open doors and minds to refugees.

  • Visit Florida signed rapper Pitbull as a state tourism ambassador.
  • keith bellowsFormer editor of National Geographic Traveler Keith Bellows died last week.
  • Sofitel Wanda Beijing launched a photo exhibition by Olivier Widmaier Picasso, grandson of Pablo, on display until September 20.
  • Airbnb announced an app for the Apple Watch featuring a messaging service.
  • ETC and ETOA announced a joint conference at the Barbican Centre, London on October 29.
  • The Toto toilet museum opened in Kitakyushu.
  • A retrospective of Hello Kitty will be on displat at EMP Museum, Seattle, from November 14.
  • Police are investigating claims that a camera was found hidden in a room at Oxford Wheatley Travelodge.

Food and Wine

whiskeyThe Boann Distillery and Visitor Centre will open in the Boyne Valley. It will include a craft brewery and taproom, 120-seat restaurant, whiskey bar and private function space.

Three food festivals take place next weekend: Waterford Harvest FestivalGIY Grow and the Airfield Estate Food Festival.


o ceidigh cockpitChris Shiel’s Executive Helicopters will use a Dauphin to service the Aran Islands route it is to take over from the controversial Pádraig Ó Céidigh’s Aer Arann Islands if the contract is completed as planned. The move is currently subject of intense lobbying by Ó Céidigh. The decision is under the Department of Arts and the Gaeltacht and not, as other PSO routes, the Department of Transport.

Turkish Airlines VP for Europe and America Mustafa Dogan was in Ireland this week to meet the team and join the festivities at the Turkish-sponsored MELA multi cultural festival in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Roisín Ó Hea PR has won the Turkish Airlines contract. Turkish plans to increase services above its current two flights daily to Istanbul are still in place. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ryanairRyanair’s 26 based aircraft in Dublin for summer 2016, four more than 2015, reflects an investment of €2.6bn in Dublin, according to David O’Brien.

Ryanair passenger numbers reached a record 10.4m in August, up 10pc and past the 10m mark for the second time in its history. Aer Lingus also had a record month with 1.4m passengers up 7.3pc on August last year.

Aerlingus.a320-214.ei-cva.750pixAer Lingus will be delisted from the Dublin and London stock exchanges on September 17, almost nine years to the day since the airline’s flotation. Aer Lingus launched their new cadetship programme.

Thomson Airways is planning over 20 new routes for summer 2016 including the airline’s first long-haul flights from Dublin to Cancunand Montego Bay. Thomson Airways carried 10.4m passengers in 2014.

The_Cranberries_en_Barcelona_11Singer Dolores O’Riordan is receiving medical care as she awaits trial for an alleged air rage incident, after being arrested at Shannon on November 10 last year after flying in from New York.

Turkish Airlines will offer daily direct Istanbul-Cape Town and Istanbul-Johannesburg flights from October 26 using A330-300 aircraft, doubling capacity on the South African route.

Media reports of a potential direct Cathay Pacific flights from Dublin to-Hong Kong are premature: the negotiations are depended on aircraft availability and Dublin initiatives such as increasing length of runway. Cathay Pacific launched a B777-300ER Dusseldorf service.

SAS launch their new hand-luggage only Go Light fare structure on Tuesday next on routes between Ireland and Scandinavia, offering tickets sas airlinesaround €14 cheaper than SAS Go. Tickets can be re-booked within 24 hours, seats can be selected 22 hours before departure and there is complimentary tea and coffee on board. 

SAS Go Light passengers have the option to pay for access to SAS airport lounges and to take extra luggage for €25. Silver, Gold and Diamond members will be able to check in luggage at no additional cost.

Goodbody Stockbrokers claimed that the IAG takeover will lift Aer Lingus from 9.8m passengers to 15m by 2020 and long-haul services are expected to account for 59pc of total revenues at the airline by 2020, compared to the current 38pc. They say Aer Lingus will need seven A320 short-haul aircraft between 2017 and 2020 to cope with growth.

Milan MalpensaIt sounds a bit like that Abbott and Costello comedy routine (some prefer The Simpsons’version) but who is Milan Malpensa Ryanair’s 73rd base as the airline claimed when it said it would base one aircraft there and launch four new routes. Last March Ryanair claimed Berlin Schönefeld was the airline’s 73rd base. And then Gothenburg was base #74. Since then it has closed bases in Billund and Copenhagen, so what should have been #75 is actually base #73. Milan traffic still well below the 2007 peak of almost 40m.

A German woman was arrested after being found on an easyJet plane at Gatwick without a passport or boarding pass.

aircraft toiletA survey by Travelmath claimed toilets on aircraft are cleaner that tray tables, which were found to carry eight times as much bacteria as the toilet flush buttons.

SkyGreece Airlines has filed for creditor protection in after halting operations and stranding hundreds of passengers.

Tony Tyler is retiring as director of the International Air Transport Association after the IATA conference in Dublin on June 1-3 2016.

Bank of Ireland Premier customers can now access Shannon Airport Executive Lounges with their black Premier Visa Debit Card.

  • Etihad is looking to raise $500m for fleet expansion.
  • Lufthansa oktoberfestTo mark the airline’s 60th year in operation, Lufthansa cabin crew will don traditional Munich folk costume for Oktoberfest.
  • FLY Leasing acquired a B737-800.
  • Avolon delivered an A320-200 to VinaAerobus.
  • Acumen Aviation launched a mobile app, SWiPe, for users of ADEPT records management platform.
  • BA will open a Galleries lounge in Dubai International Airport.
  • Etihad appointed Sajida Ismail as VP of service and hospitality.
  • Qatar Airways launched the FC Barcelona Fan Club for Privilege Club members. 
  • British Airways Executive Club members can earn one Avios for each £1 spent with the Hailo taxi-sharing app on London journeys
  • United is to fly B787-9 between Heathrow and Los Angeles in April next year.
  • Air Berlin unveiled its ‘XL’ economy seating with an extra 15 cms of legroom on each aircraft in the carrier’s A330 long-haul fleet
  • Emirates received four wide-body aircraft in one day, two B777-300ERs, one B777 freighter and one A380, taking its A380 fleet to 66.
  • Norwegian corporate loyalty rewards is offering loyalty reward points on long-haul flights and the amount of Cash Points that firms can earn has increased.
  • Ryanair’s summer 2016 schedule at London airports includes new routes to Milan Malpensa, Sofia, Verona and Vilnius.
  • Singapore Airlines have delayed the launch of their premium economy roll-out.
  • British Airways are to fly a B787-8 to Newark on daily flights BA188/189 from the start of the winter season on October 25 until December 4.
  • Ryanair’s 2016 flying programme will see 37 aircraft based at Stansted running 126 routes, including extra flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Berlin and Cologne.
  • British Airways is to increase its daily Heathrow-Las Vegas service from daily to ten-times weekly and add a 12th weekly flight to Seattle in summer 2016,
  • Christophe Mueller’s Malaysia Airlines became Malaysia Airlines Berhad on Tuesday.
  • Aeroflot is set to buy a 75 per cent controlling stake in Transaero, its privately-owned competitor.


Stretches of the Danube and the Elbe are still experiencing low water levels. The Sept 3 cruises aboard Viking Fontane and Viking Schumann and the Sept 5 cruises on Viking Beyla and Viking Astrild will not sail and all tours will be done by bus.

IMG_4067The big rush of cruise ships to Dublin, which peaked at 13,000 passengers in one day in July, is officially at an end but they continue to come. Marco Polo called by on Thursday, Prinsendam is due on tomorrow Monday, Silver Whisper of Friday, Black Watch on Sunday next and Astor and Norwegian Star before the end of the month. Fred Olsen are responsible for four of the five cruise ship visits to Dublin port from October to year end, some are afternoon visits but the cruise line remains Dublin’s biggest supporter.

The newly refurbished MSC Lirica will homeport in Shanghai from May 1, 2016, initially for two years, Rebecca Kelly told guests on board MSC Splendida last week.

sandra corkin 004Celebrity Silhouette’s butler Anton Ilichov helps Sandra Corkin, MD of Oasis Travel launch the all-free Cruise Fair in a new home at Titanic Belfast on Saturday September 19 from 9.30am to 5pm. See more info or call 028 9260 4455. 

Crystal Esprit, the first ship in the Crystal Yacht Cruises fleet, will feature cuisine that focuses on local ingredients from the Seychelles Islands and Mediterranean coast, as well as signature dishes from sister company Crystal Cruises.

Deal Watch

HV_GEN_13_F035Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Lanzasur Splashworld Resort, Lanzarote from €639pp, depart Shannon September 7. 7 nights all inclusive Sur Palace, Rhodes from €669pp, depart September 16. 7 nights all inclusive Blue Lagoon Resort, Kos Town from €739pp, depart September 12. 7 nights self catering Sea Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €579pp, depart September 17. 7 nights self catering Mayflower, Marmari, Kos from €669 for two adults and one child or from €859 for two adults and two children, depart October 3. 7 nights self catering Bitacora, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €289pp, depart December 6. 7 nights self catering Izaro Club, Puerto Del Carmen from €399pps, depart December 6. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

Insight Vacations is offering a 14-day tour of Croatia from €2,685pps incl. flights, transfers and 13 nights accommodation, depart September 28. See or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days on board the River Princess from €1,742pps incl. flights, transfers, meals, beverages, shore excursions and visits to two countries, depart December 15. See or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki is offering an 8-day Revolutionary Road tour from €2,546pps incl. flights, transfers, 9 meals and accommodation, depart July 29 2016. See or call 01 775 3803.

AlbufeiraTravel Department Christmas and New Year offers: 7 nights half board 4* Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa, Albufeira, the Algarve from €699pp incl. flights, transfers, excursions and Christmas lunch, depart December 21. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Antequera Golf, Andalucia from €799pp incl. flights, transfers, excursions and Christmas lunch, depart December 22. 5 nights half board 4* Hotel Larchenhof, Austria from €999pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 22. 7 nights 4* Grand Hotel Liberty, Riva Del Garda, Lake Garda from €799pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 21. 7 nights half board 4* Grand Hotel Plaza & Locanda Maggiore, Montecatini from €869pp incl. flights, transfers, excursions and Christmas lunch, depart December 22. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Les Palmeres, Calella, Costa Brava from €799pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 21. Christmas in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai from €2,199pp incl. flights, accommodation, transfers and excursions, depart December 22. 7 nights 4* Hotel Antequera Golf, Andalusia from €829pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 29. 7 nights half board 4* Grand Hotel Plaza & Locanda Maggiore, Montecatini from €969pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 29. 7 nights half board 4* Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa, Albufeira from €699pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 28. 7 nights 4* Grand Hotel Liberty, Riva Del Garda, Lake Garda from €799pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart December 28. See

Grandior Hotel PragueClick and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 5* Grandior Hotel Prague from €229pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in November. 3 nights 3* Pavia Hotel, Rome from €290pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in September. 7 nights half board 3* Praia Sol Hotel, Algarve from €299pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, wine with evening meal, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in November. 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguise & Spa Hotel, Lanzarote from €449pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart November 24. 7 nights B&B 4* Costa Barcelona from €489pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in September. 7 nights transatlantic Cunard Cruise from €999pps incl. meals and daily afternoon tea, 1 night pre or post cruise in NYC, 20kg bag, taxes and charges, depart November 24. See

Thomson Deal WatchThomson offers: 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Sun, Lanzarote from €499pp, depart Cork September 17. 7 nights half board Palazzo del Mare, Marmari, Kos from €689pp, depart September 19. 7 nights all inclusive Jaz Mirabel Beach, Sharm El Sheikh from €699pp, depart September 24. 7 nights half board Los Gigantes, Playa De Arena, Tenerife from €419pp, depart September 18. 7 nights full board Sensatori cruise from €1,499pp, depart May 20 2016. 7 nights all inclusive Sensatori cruise from €1,499pp, depart June 19 2016. 7 nights all inclusive Majorca cruise from €849pp, depart September 29. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

Sunway is offering a 1 night, 2-day Santa Sleepover in Lapland from €859 per adult and €759 per child incl. return flights ex Cork, meals, snowmobile ride, sleigh ride, husky ride, gingerbread activities, meet Santa and visit Santa’s post office and village. See

MarrakechSunway offers: 7 nights self catering 3* apartment, Morocco from €299pp, travel in October. 7 nights B&B 4* hotel, Morocco from €449pp, travel in October. 7 nights B&B 5* hotel, Morocco from €569pp, travel in October. 7 nights 3* hotel, Agadir and Marrakech from €649pp, depart December 19. 7 nights B&B 4* hotel, Agadir and Marrakech from €799pp, depart December 19. Prices include flights, transfers, rep service and 20kg baggage. 2016 honeymoon offers: 4 nights 3* Excelsior Hotel New York and 4 nights 3* Luxor Hotel Las Vegas from €1,185pp, travel February 2016. 8 days fly drive LA to San Francisco from €1,419pp incl. visits to Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo, Carmel and Monterey, accommodation in 3* hotels and standard car hire. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Occidental Grand Xcaret, Cancun, Mexico from €1,349pp incl. transfer, travel May 2016. 7 nights B&B 3* Old Phuket Karon, Thailand from €925pp, travel May 2016. 7 nights all inclusive 4* VIK Arena Blanca, Dominican Republic from €1,159pp incl. transfers, travel May 2016. 7 nights B&B 4* Bali Mandira Resort from €1,139pp incl. transfers, travel February 2016. 7 nights B&B 4* Reethi Beach Resort, Maldives from €1,370pp incl. seaplane transfer, travel May 2016. See

Northern-Lights-6Project Travel is offering a 5 night Northern Lights photography tour with Tom O’Donoghue from €1,450pps incl. return flights, 4* B&B hotel in Tromsø and private coach tour. Single supplement €275. Book by September 25, depart November 12. See or call 01 210 8391.

Lowcostbeds offers to Greece, based on 7 nights, 2 sharing: 4* Lomeniz Hotel, Rhodes from €24pppn half board, stay September 15. 3* Lefkoniko Beach Hotel, Crete from €15pppn half Concordia Hotel, Romeboard, stay October 15. 3* Hotel Kalithea Sun & Sky, Rhodes from €20pppn all inclusive, stay September 15. 3* Theoni Apartments Malia, Crete from €15pppn, stay September 15. See

ITAA offers: 3 nights B&B 3* Concordia Hotel, Romefrom €213pp incl. tour and return flights, depart November 22. 9-night cruise on the River Princess from Budapest to Nuremberg from €1,821pps incl. 2 nights accommodation in Prague, excursions, meals and beverages, depart November 4. 7 nights all inclusive Maritim Resort and Spa, Mauritius from €2,119pp incl. unlimited green fees in the Maritime Golf Club, waters sports, return flights and transfers, travel in June 2016.

Tourism NI deal watchTourism NI offers: 2 nights B&B Causeway Hotel, Bushmills from £125pps incl. one evening meal, one day’s entry to Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and a tour for two in the Bushmills Distillery, available until December 13, call 028 2073 1226, quote promo code Autumn Leaves when booking. 2 nights B&B Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, Bangor from £89pps, available until December 13, call 028 9185 2500, quote promo code Autumn Leaves when booking. 2 nights self catering Corralea Activity Centre & Cottages, Belcoo, Enniskillen from £105pps incl. half day caving experience with instructor, available util October 18, call 028 6638 6123.


Bus Éireann CEO Martin Nolan said the document Public Transport: Where Can It Take Us? plans to double passenger numbers on the Irish public transport system over the next 10 years. Public transport use outside the capital is among the lowest in Europe but as the economy recovers, it is essential that regional development and investment remains high on the agenda.

michael herbst judith blummelPicture shows Michael Herbst of Polo Wicklow with Judith Bluemel from Dresden at the Polo Wicklow facility near Wicklow Town, where Travel Extra paid for a visit and a polo lesson this week. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Loop Head Lighthouse saw a record 23,000 visitors from April 3 to August 31, a 13pc increase on all of last year.

Dingle Food Festiva#1D6403ADon McMonigle’s picture shows Dearbhala Hutchinson at Dun Caoin Pier helping launch Dingle Food Festival from October 2-4.

The following categories can renew their Fáilte Ireland Quality Assurance for 2016: Irish home B&Bs, historic houses with accommodation, individual self catering cottages/apartments (seven units or less). Complete the online renewal form by September 11. If you have any difficulties, call 1890 697000 or email

Minister Jim Deenihan said he was enthusiastic over Star Wars shoot on Skellig MichaelKerry’s Eye said pre production shooting had already taken place on the island.

Center Parcs claimed 99.9pc of locals backed its plan to open in Longford.

Vagabrothers Experience the Wild Atlantic WayTravel videographers Mark and Alex Ayling, the Vagabrothers, are visiting Ireland on a 10-day tour of the Wild Atlantic Way as guests of Tourism Ireland. Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, includes surfing in Standhill, Sligo, a visit to the Jameson Distillery in Cork and fishing in Kinsale. Picture shows. Picture shows Mark and Alex Ayling  with Neil Walton of VOYA and Noelle Cawley of Fáilte Ireland.

The BurrenThe Burren and Cliffs of Moher retained its Geopark status after a reassessment by Global Geopark Network.

Application for the National Festivals and Participative Events Programme 2016 opens tomorrow (September 7) util 12pm, October 12. For more information, email or see


Journalists travelled to Cyprus Avenue, Belfast to cover Van Morrison’s 70th birthday concert. Picture shows a group of journalists with Lucia King of Tourism NI at the Clayton Hotel.

Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Festival Seasonstarts tomorrow (September 7) with the opening of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. Throughout September and October, 220 venues around the city will host events, including Dublin Fashion Festival, Hard Working Class Heroes and Culture Night. Bram Stoker 2015 (3)There are two additions to this year’s festivals line up: Lingo Spoken Word Festival, now in its second year, and the inaugural Dublin Gallery Weekend.

Bram Stoker Festival 2015 launched this week. The event takes place October 23 to 26 with family events, talks, parties and all-important macabre thrills.

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