TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Aer Lingus to bring back business class on European flights



Mark Clifford of O’Hanrahan Travel watches the sun rise over the French Alps on the Sunway and Club Med famil to Val Thorens


Things to know about travel this week

  • Aer Lingus brings back business class on European routes
  • Aer Lingus are leaders in aviation turbulence platform
  • Sunway showcase Club Med value for money skiing in Val Thorens
  • AWTE gets its hundredth member
  • IATA says it is time to revisit EU261
  • Emirates Christmas event focusses on Australia

Video Watch

Toulouse airport was closed after disabled protesters stormed the runway in electric wheelchairs as part of the gilets jaunes protest. Watch here.

  • Hang glider passenger Chris Gurksy originally from Lisle, Illinois who now lives in North Port, Florida, was not strapped on properly when he took off in Switzerland. Watch here.
  • An Aeromexico Boeing BBJ 777X was hit by a drone while landing at Tijuana airport. Follow ATC here.
  • An IndiGo Airlines Airbus A320neo cabin filled with smoke forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland‘s 2019 marketing plan. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Aer Lingus is to bring back business class on routes including London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona from autumn 2019 with eight of their 14 A321LRs to get a 16-170 configuration to maintain a “consistent through product for connecting passengers.”

The Eu-261 regulation should be revisited and clarified, IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac told aviation writers at the annual Global Media Day briefing in Geneva. He told Travel Extra that a multiplicity of contradictory court decisions in national courts and at European level on issues such as whether aillines subject to strike action were required to pay compensation was a concern to the international aviation group. De Juniac and his team briefed 111 invited aviation media at IATA’s European headquarters in Geneva on subjects such as Brexit, security, baggage and the new turbulence platform which IATA plans to introduce in 2020. Picture shows Alexandre de Juniac doing a walk around to tables during the gala dinner at Domaine de Plein-Vent in Geneva.

Aer Lingus is one of the first three airlines to agree to sharing information on turbulence for the platform. Picture shows Katya Vashchankova speaking about the new turbulence platform. Dubliner George Rooney was working at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Eoghan Corry spoke about the impact of Brexit on aviation on the RTE Marian Finucane show. Listen here.

Travel Trade

Tanya Airey, Philip Airey and Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway and Clarisse Chapolard of Club Med hosted key Irish travel trade and agents at Club Med Val Thorens. Clarisse Chapolard updated the guests on developments such as Les Arcs Panorama, to open this weekend, which has ski-in/ski-out access, 433 rooms (Suite, Deluxe and Club levels), and three restaurants – including a new family restaurant concept, Bread & Co, Club Med plans to open a new Alpine ski resort annually. Clarisse also pointed out that the all-inclusive offering can bring savings of €1,000 per person during a busy period. Ski pass is covered in the Club med all inclusive price but not ski rental, The company is giving the Club Med Resort App new capabilities to allow guests to access information about sports, dining, activities and events. picture shows Des Manning of Manning Travel, Mark Clifford of O’Hanrahan Travel, Tanya Airey of Sunway, Philip Airey of Sunway, Clarisse Chapolard of Club Med, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel. Watch here video diary of the trip. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Sharon Jordan, Brian Hynes, Adam Goddard, Chris Townson and Adam Goddard and Daniel Budberry of the Travel Corporation hosted 32 key trade at the Ivy rooms, Dublin. Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway, Maura Fahy of Corrib Travel, Ciara Foley of Platinum travel and George Barter of J Barter Travel were presented with the inaugural TTC awards on behalf of the group’s four brands. Watch herevideo of the event. Picture shows Adam Goddard, Chris Townson, Sharon Jordan, Brian Hynes (back), Adam Goddard (front) and Daniel Budberry of the Travel Corporation. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Association of Women Travel Executives hosted 65 at their Christmas event, including 11 men. The association now has 99 members in Ireland. Dympna Crowley joined the committee. See pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Emirates Country Manager Enda Corneille and his team hosted key travel trade and invited guests at House in Leeson St, Dublin, including Pippa O’Connor and Brian Ormond, rugby pundit Brent Pope, Ruth Scott of Radio Nova and RTE’s Stephen Byrne. The Australian-themed party featured Tim Tam Australian biscuits, marshmallows, BBQ style food, bubbly and sunshine cocktails and onboard items from Ireland including Keogh’s Crisps, Butlers Chocolate and Voya beauty products. Picture shows Jane Masterson, Enda Corneille and Anita Thomas. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Star Alliance annual event for the trade at the Shelbourne Hotel was sponsored by Dublin and Shannon Airports. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Diane Poole of Stena Line along with Michael Rafferty and Lawrence Duffy of Duffy/Rafferty Communications hosted key Irish travel writers in Ely Bar & Brasserie in George’s Dock and updated them on developments for 2019. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Emirates hosted key trade from Connacht and east Leinster at Taylors Lane in Galway. Picture shows Annette Hynes of Corrib Travel, Helena Sweeney of Emirates and Frances Grogan of Grogan Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Turkish Airlines is running a staff incentive for any agent that issues a ticket with Turkish Airlines before January 18. with a departure period from December 20 until june 1 2019, to win two tickets to the Boyzone Farewell tour at the 3 Arena January 24 with access to the 1878 Lounge. Enter the competition here. 

Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel attended the Travel South USA International Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee. She is pictured with James White of Tennessee Tourist Development and Richard Wimms of Vacations to America.

  • Wendy Wu announced six New Solo Tours. for 2019/20 from the north.
  • Agents who complete the eight modules on the Thailand Expert training course by December 31 can win a place on an agent fam trip to Phuket. see
  • As Travelport entered into an agreement to be acquired by affiliates Siris Capital Group and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp, Ireland manager Riona McGrath said it is very much business as usual as we continue to focus on our commitment and dedication to the market. As we move into 2019, there will be no immediate change in terms of our approach and execution, and of course, our commitment to you, our customers.
  • Topflight kicked off the 12 days of Christmas campaign, offering additional discounts, vouchers, offers on their exclusive group ski trips and even half price lift passes available during the 12 Days.
  • Fiona Foster has joined Cassidy Travel from Innstant Travel.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation sought permission to appoint a director of consumer protection in a workforce plan submitted to the department of transport.

Strange world

Customs officials at New York’s JFK International Airport found 70 live finches hidden inside hair rollers.

  • FR1883 en route to Lisbon from Stansted turned back when two men started fighting over a broken phone and was boarded by armed police.


Norway opened eight visa centres throughout China with the intent of reducing travel times and facilitating the visa application processes.

  • Sidetracks Irish bar, owned by Meath man, Bernard Reilly, was destroyed by fire in Queens, New York.

Food & Beverage

The first P.F. Chang’s restaurant in Ireland is to open at Dundrum Town Centre in the last quarter of 2019, joining 300 restaurants in 25 countries.

  • Meadow Farm in Downpatrick tea room and farm shop reopened following a £200k refurb.


Intercontinental Dublin is the ninth irish hotel to be accredited five stars by the AA, joining Aghadoe Heights in Killarney, Ashford Castle in Cong, Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus, The K Club in Straffan, Lough Erne Golf Resort in Enniskillen The Merrion hotel, Dublin, Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare and The Westbury hotel, Dublin. picture shows Nick Logue GM of the Intercontinental hotel.

Average hotel prices have risen in 2018 in just  20 of the major cities listed on the Trivago Hotel Price Index. dublin’s highest average was May with €171 and lowest was January at €116. Overall average in Dublin was up 1.36pc from €146 in 2017 to €148 in 2018. Amsterdam and Zurich were the most expensive cities in Europe.

Following the Starwood security breach, Marriott is offering affected guests the opportunity to enroll in a personal information monitoring service free of charge for one year provided by Experian.

Hotelbeds predicted that the trend for intermediaries growing their share of hotel sales Vs the direct channel will continue into 2019 and beyond. Last year everyone was still assuming that the alternative accommodation sector would just keep growing exponentially. But this year has seen a massive slowdown in growth and we expect that to continue.

Airbnb say the number of companies and business travellers using Airbnb for Work grow exponentially and today we’re revealing the fastest-growing locations for business travellers, which include cities in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and South Africa.

  • Fitzwilliam Read Estate said their proposed €55m 310-bedroom hotel at the junction of Liffey Street and Middle Abbey Street in Dublin 1, to open in mid-2020, will be operated by budget brand Motel One.
  • Dublin’s Marker Hotel are planning to add two more floors bringing it to nine storeys, planning permission for an additional floor with 30 rooms was granted last year, they have now applied for permission to add another storey.
  • Castleknock’s Beatrice O’Donoghue has been named the Irish Hotels Federation Dublin Employee of the Year.
  • The DAA has been advised that it can proceed unilaterally with Arora bout developing a 400-bedroom hotel at Dublin’s Airport’s Terminal 2 after front runners Tifco dropped out of the process.
  • Standing Stones Lodge  bed and breakfast and restaurant opened beside Divis Mountain outside Belfast following an investment of £1.75m. 
  • Profits at Key Collections which owns Dublin’s Gate, Handels, Camden and Kildare Street hotels, increased 33pc to €1.2m.
  • Dromoland Castle announced their second charity initiative with new charity partner, Novas.
  • Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa in Meath unveiled a €450,000 renovation .
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is to add three new hotels in Dubai
  • Conde Nast traveller named Ballyfin as best hotel in ireland.


Minister Shane Ross  published the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill, 2018 appointing Fingal County Council as the new independent noise regulator and clearing the last hurdle before construction of Dublin airport’s parallel runway. 

Aer Lingus advertised vacancies for 100 pilots, the largest ever direct entry Permanent First Officer recruitment programme. Criteria include EASA issued ATPL or frozen ATPL. Desirable criteria include Airbus rating, multi-crew commercial experience or 500 hours. Aer Lingus currently has 650 pilots. 

Aer Lingus are to increase Belfast City to Heathrow from 21w to 25w, switched from Cork, during June-August.

Ryanair received its 531st B737-800, of which 460 are in service with Ryanair or its Polish subsidiary Ryanair Sun.

Dublin Airport Christmas entertainment programme will feature 1,600 performers from 40 schools, choirs and musical groups. Picture shows Children from Gaelscoil Cholmcille, Coolock, Dublin performing at Dublin Airport last Christmas.

Ryanair has expanded its Ryanair Tickets service to include tickets for Spanish La Liga and Ligue 1 in France.  football and rugby matches will be available over the coming weeks.

Taking a leaf out of THAT Westjet video, Ryanair surprised passengers on their flight from Dublin to Barcelona with personalised Christmas gifts from its ‘Runway Retail’ inflight magazine

Dublin Airport installed a Schiller upright piano in the Arrivals Hall in Terminal 1 and have invited people of all ages and abilities to play. Dublin Airport is reminding passengers not to gift wrap Christmas presents if they are carrying them in hand luggage at the security screening area.

Wow will commence connecting Irish passengers from Dublin to Orlando, via Iceland on Tuesday next.

  • CSO Aviation Statistics showed overall growth rate of 5.8pc to september 2018. Dublin’s top three routes were to Heathrow, Gatwick and Schiphol, Cork’s top three routes were Heathrow, Stansted and Malaga, Shannon’s top was Heathrow, Knock’s Stansted and Kerry’s was London-Luton.
  • The Department of Transport announced operational grants of €3.7m to regional airports – Donegal €657,060, Ireland West Airport Knock €1,916,562 and Kerry €1,198,846, the highest level of funding since the Programme began in 2015.
  • Anne Rigail was appointed the first ever female CEO of Air France to replace acting CEO Ben Smith, who is CEO of the group Air France-KLM.
  • Avolon is not being offered for sale by HNA, a source close to the lessor told FlightGlobal, contradicting a report published late last month.
  • KLM opened the first part of its non-Schengen Crown Lounge at Schiphol 
  • Rolls-Royce is to shift design approval for large aero engines from Derby in England to Germany amid Brexit worries.
  • Cork airport will handle 149,000 passenger over Christmas
  • Russia’s Superjet 100 is no longer part of the Sukhoi product line after parent company United Aircraft Corp rearranged its structure to separate its commercial and military aircraft manufacturing assets.
  • The latest Irish Aviation Authority list of AOC holders does not include Hibernian Airlines.
  • Watch here the Embraer E190 E2 demonstration flight in Dublin. 
  • Watch here IATA customer survey key findings


The much-delayed Irish Ferries WB Yeats is expected to depart Flensburg for Dublin this weekend.  Dublin-Cherbourg is due to start on March 12.

Speaking to Travel Extra at the margins of the Celebrity Edge naming cruise, Andy Harmar of ClIA’s London office said that CLIA intends holding an event for the Irish trade to boost cruise business out of Ireland in early 2019 although the nature of the event has not yet been decided. Next years Rivercruise conference is likely to return to France, although it is not certain it will be Paris.

Jo Rzymowska says Celebrity Edge will be taken out of revenue service upon arrival in Southampton for two days of onboard activities showcasing the ship’s features., May 13-15, 2019 and will host the start of the CLIA conference on May 15, before repositioning to Barcelona for a 10-night cruise. Watch here video diary of the Celebrity Edge Naming Cruise. Watch here the Celebrity Edge Naming Ceremony. At the naming press conference Richard Fain talked of design features on Celebrity Edge to increase deck height and  headroom (watch here). Richard Fain talked about sustainability and how Celebrity Edge has the coolest garbage at sea  (watch here) and about the artwork on board (watch here). Lisa Lutoff Perlo spoke of the bid by Celebrity Cruises to increase ratio of women (watch here). Among the innovations Richard Fain outlined, Celebrity Edge has no keycard slot to activate power  (watch here). Richard Fain and Lisa Lutoff Perlo both spoke about Celebrity Edge and the younger market (watch here) and the impact of the new ship on the fleet and the concept of modern luxury  (watch here). Among those to speak were designers Scott Bulter (watch here), Jouin Manku (watch here), Tom Wright (watch here), Patricia Urquiola (watch here), and Kelly Hoppen (watch here). Richard Fain told of how he had gotten emotional about Celebrity Edge (watch here). Also Watch here Petite Chef on Celebrity Edge. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam unveiled the 530-passenger ship Roald Amundsen at Kleven shipyard near Alesund in Norway, the first in the world to harness electrical propulsion to help it cruise silently in sensitive seas.
  • Royal Caribbean is to end its partnership with DreamWorks from April 1.
  • Carnival Cruise Line promised the world’s first on board roller coaster on Carnival Mardi Gras, scheduled to launch in 2020.
  • P&O sailings to the Norwegian Fjords from 2019 will feature shore excursions led by Chef Marco Pierre White, patissier Eric Lanlard and wine expert Olly Smith
  • Silversea introduced new accessible shore excursions in nine destinations.
  • Brittany Ferries Cork to Santander route will continue through winter.


Monthly CSO figures show inbound tourism January to September are up 7pc, holiday visitors up 11pc, N America up 13.4pc (and 13.5pc in spend), Europe up 9pc, Britain up 1pc and spend down 1pc.

Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition will visit Belfast from April – September. Picture shows Judith Owens, Robin Stapley, John McGrillen and Jeff Peters of HBO.

Tourism Ireland fill your heart with Ireland marketing campaign for 2019 anticipates a 5pc air capacity increase and noted there were 90,000 Chinese arrivals via Stena to Giant’s Causeway in 2018

Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland said inbound tourism spend will be up 6pc in 2018 to6.5bn and visitor numbers of 11.67m. 

Belfast Rewards’ app is offering hundreds of prizes to shoppers in the city centre this Christmas, counteracting as drop in footfall as a result of the Bank Buildings fire. A temporary walkway reconnecting Royal Avenue to Donegall Place is now open in the city centre and over the weekend Primark opened on Castle Street as well as department store Guineys in the former BHS premises on Castle Place. Argento, Spar, DV8, Skechers and McDonald’s are also now open again.

  • The Joint Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht discussed the development of regional and local museums
  • A sunrise tour and food experience will take place at Hook Lighthouse on January 1st.  At 1 pm on New Year’ s day the Dunbrody archers take part in a traditional Arrow ceremony beside the 800 year lighthouse.
  • Bunratty Castle and Folk Park launched an annual pass, costing €95.
  • A new Ring of Cork Scenic Video Series was launched at the Oriel House Hotel in Ballincollig.
  • The board of CIÉ appointed Lorcan O’Connor as its new Chief Executive. 

Deal Watch

ITAA offers: Ireland to Cape Town, 4 nights in city, two nights in Winelands, four nights along the Garden Route, two nights full board at Eastern Cape Safari Addo Elephant National Park with game drives included, nine days’ car rental, from €1695pp, depart May/June 2019 with Dublin to Orlando, 14 nights in the 3* Avanti Resort, from €559pp, depart October 2019 with Cassidy Travel.

Sunway offers: Dublin to Japan for ‘Splendors of Japan’ escorted tour, includes flights ex Dublin, 20kg baggage per person, taxes, 8 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 paid by 28/2/19  Subject to availability and change, from €4190pp, depart March 17. Dublin to Europe for 5* Rhine and Moselle Splendors wine theme River Cruise, includes flight ex Dublin, return port transfers, 7 nights twin sharing outside stateroom with French balcony, 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 €2859pp, depart May 9. Dublin to Dominican Republic, 7 nights all inclusive  4T Club Med Punta Cana, from €1595pp, depart August 30. Cork to Cuba for Cuba Libre  adventure tour, includes five nights’ accommodation on twin share basis, some meals and tours as per itinerary. Price includes saving of €65pp promotion ends 31st December. Subject to availability and change, from €1945pp, depart May 13. Dublin to Bodrum, 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments, from €339pp, depart October 2019. Dublin to Bodrum, 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel, from €469pp, depart May 2019. Dublin to Bodrum, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach Hotel, from €469pp, depart May 2019. Dublin to New York, 3 nights ROW NYC Hotel, from €589pp – 2 for 1 Broadway Ticket Offer, depart January. Dublin to Norway cruise, 8 nights onboard Celebrity Reflection, from €990pp, depart May 26. Upgrade to an Oceanview Stateroom and receive a Classic Drinks Package for €525pp. Dublin to Copenhagen, one night in city, 11 onboard Regal Princess, from €1725pp, depart May 9. Dublin to Rome for Greece and Montenegro cruise, 7 nights onboard Jewel of the Seas €1 Flight Offer, from €1474pp, depart July 28. Dublin to Barcelona, 3 nights onboard Norwegian Epic and two in Rome, from €899pp, depart May 12. Dublin to Abu Dhabi, 8 nights onboard MSC Splendida in balcony cabin, from €949pp, depart February 9.

Topflight offers: The 12 Days of Christmas campaign, which started on December 12 includes additional discounts, vouchers, offers on exclusive group ski trips and even half price lift passes available during the 12 days. See

TUI offers: Dublin to Gran Canaria,7 nights all inclusive 3*  IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Augustin, from €489pps, depart January 31. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights  self catering 2*+ Lanzarote Paradise, Costa Tequise, from €339pps, depart January 27. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights  all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €389pps, depart January 25. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights  self catering 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from €339pps, depart January 24. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self catering 3* Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Puerto Rico, from €459pps, depart January 17. Dublin to Costa Del Sol, 7 nights half board 4* TUI SENSIMAR Riviera, Benalmadena, from €848pps, depart January 19. Dublin to Costa Del Sol, 4 nights half board 3* Nerja Club, Nerja, from €599pps, depart January 4. Cork to Costa Del Sol, 4 nights half board 3* Balmoral, Benalmadena, from €419, depart January 6. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 3* RIU Lupita, Playacar, from €1,519pps. (Saving of €300pp), depart June 17. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 5* Ocean Coral & Turquesa by H10, Riviera Maya, from €1,719pps (Saving of €230pp) , depart June 10. Dublin to Cancun, 14 nights all inclusive 4* RIU Cancun, Cancun, from €1,929pps (Saving of €180pp), depart January 3., call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store /travel agent.


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