Tuesday December 16, 2014
|Iceland Bookings Best in easyJet Network|
The latest direct air service from the Province already looks like a sure-fire winner.
Easyjet Head of Ireland Ali Gayward revealed that advance bookings for the airline's new service to Reykjavik from Belfast International which started last Friday, were the best of any of the airline's new routes in the UK and Europe.
"We are really excited to have launched Ireland's first direct connection from Belfast International Airport to Reykjavik. This new year-round service will bring the number of easyJet flights to Iceland up to 26 a week and we will carry in excess of 200,000 passengers per year to and from Reykjavik across all of these flights. Over 30,000 of these are expected to originate from Belfast.
"It is a particularly exciting addition to our base at Belfast International due to the eclectic mix of activities and scenery on offer and we are confident that it will provide a popular addition to easyJet's network.
"We remain committed to expanding our network from Belfast and last month announced that we would be adding services to Split commencing from June 2015."
Easyjet are also looking at starting other new routes from Belfast - these are thought to include a German destination and Copenhagen.
|No Compensation for Travellers Affected by NATS Failure|
There is unlikely to be compensation for air passengers hit by the air trafffic control glitch that closed London air space on Friday and had knock-on affects around the country.
The Civil Aviation Authority has launched an independent inquiry into the problem which was because of a technical issue at NATS Swanwick control centre.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said that airlines had a duty to look after passengers while they were in the terminal but they would not have to make a financial payment because 'it's something the airlines can't do anything about'.
The CAA says it will appoint an independent chair of the panel which will consist of NATS technical experts, a board member from the CAA and independent experts on information technology, air traffic management and operational resilience.
|Ireland Head to Leave Falcon Holidays|
Carol Anne O'Neill will leave her position with Falcon Holidays and Thomson part of the TUI Group at the end of January 2015. Carol Anne, who has worked for the company for over 15 years most recently as Head of Ireland, is leaving to further her career in a different sector within the travel industry.
Speaking about the announcement, Carol Anne said: "I have spent over 15 years working with Falcon Holidays. It has been a fantastic journey and a great learning experience. During my time I have worked alongside wonderful people and I leave behind a great team.
"Tour Operating has been a big part of my career to date. I have been given the opportunity to work in a different sector of the travel industry and I feel now is the right time for me personally to take on a new challenge. I wish Falcon and Thomson continued success for the future."
Carol Anne O'Neill joined the Falcon Holidays team in 1995 and held the role of Operations Director up until 2005, following which she returned to the business and assumed the role of General Manager in May 2012. Over the last year Carol Anne has been responsible for leading and managing the Falcon and Thomson business in Ireland through her position as Head of Ireland.
Details of Carol Anne's successor will be announced in due course.
|New Celebrity Sales Team for Ireland|
Leading cruise line Celebrity Cruises has announced a new sales team for Ireland. Strategic Account Manager Andrew Bolton has been appointed to manage the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Andrew will report to Claire Stirrup in her new role as Head of Sales and Work alongside the 15-strong dedicated sales team operating across the UK and Ireland.
In addition Lorraine Quinn will continue to work with Celebrity Cruises as Business Development Manager for Ireland and Nicki Tempest-Mitchell will oversee the Ireland team as Director of Sales.
Andrew Bolton has worked with Celebrity Cruises in a number of account management roles and both Bolton and Quinn bring over 25 years of experience between them to the market.
2014 is the first year Celebrity Cruises has operated with a dedicated team and over the last year the leading luxury cruise line has invested in a number of consumer and trade campaigns to raise the profile of the brand and drive sales. In October the company launched Celebrity Rewards, a new loyalty and incentive scheme for agents which allows them the opportunity to accrue points for every cruise they sell, in addition to extra benefits for staying up to date with their training.
Said Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, Director of Sales UK & Ireland Celebrity Cruises said: "2014 has been a hugely successful year for us in Ireland. We are fully committed to the Irish market and Andrew's wealth of experience will support and develop opportunities with our agent partners working alongside Lorraine and the wider sales team."
|December Specials from Ferry Operator
With Christmas just around the corner, P&O Ferries is celebrating by giving passengers, travelling between Northern Ireland and Scotland an extra special gift this December.
The UK's largest ferry operator is offering a new lead in fare from just £69 each way for a car and driver on sailings until the end of December between Larne Cairnryan.
Commenting on the Christmas offer, Neal Mernock, Sector Director, Irish Sea at P&O Ferries said: "We are delighted to give customers this reduced lead in fare on our sailings this December.
"At P&O Ferries, we operate the shortest, fastest and most frequent crossings between Larne and Cairnryan, so this offer is a great opportunity for us to provide passengers with the chance to soak up the festive atmosphere in Scotland and perhaps do some last minute Christmas shopping or see friends and family!"
Helping P&O Ferries announce their new, lower lead in fare is Isabella Muchova, aged four, from Newtownabbey.
|Turkish Delight for Belfast International|
There was a hint of Turkish Delight in the air when Belfast International Airport and Turkish Airlines hosted the local Travel Trade Christmas lunch in the Merchant Hotel. Also present was the recently appointed Turkish Consul in Northern Ireland, David Campbell.
Both Graham Keddie of Belfast International Airport and Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines expressed the hope that the airline which serves most destinations in the world would add Belfast to its list in the next two years. Currently Turkish Airlines operates a highly successful and growing service from Dublin which will increase to a full double daily service next spring.
The most likely date for the start of a Belfast International-Istanbul service would be 2016, but it could begin next summer if everything comes together and Turkish Airlines route destination department give the service the green light.
Turkish Consul David Campbell also strongly supported the link to Istanbul - and the world - from Belfast, and, wearing his other hat a First World War historian, said that the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles would be of considerable interest to people from both parts of Ireland. Three thousand soldiers from the island of Ireland are buried in military cemeteries at Gallipoli.
|Etihad Lunch in New Belfast Restaurant|
There was a good turnout of local travel agents for the annual Christmas lunch held by Etihad Airways.
The lunch was held in one of Belfast's newest and successful restaurants, Saphyre on Belfast's Lisburn Road. It claims to offer fine dining in luxurious surroundings and has been attracting rave reviews from the critics.
The picture, right, shows Sandra Corkin, Oasis Travel, David Taylor, World Travel Centre and Liza Hammond, Etihad Airways.
|STM Thanks Staff for a Record Year|
SS Nomadic in Belfast's Titanic Quarter was the unusual location for an evening of celebration recently as Belfast-headquartered Selective Travel Management marked a record year of achievement.
Selective, the biggest corporate travel company in Northern Ireland manage travel for some of the largest SME's in NI, not to mention a number of clients in GB.
The company's 70 employees who usually spend their time looking after customers across Ireland and the UK were themselves given the VIP treatment as Managing Director Mukesh Sharma thanked them for a year of exceptional success, celebrated in first class style.
"2014 was a highly significant year for our business, with substantial investment in premises, state of the art technology and intensive training for all our staff. Now, as we reap the rewards of that investment in excellence, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to say 'thank you' to the people who underpin our business and who recently clinched the 'Best Sales Support' accolade in the Northern Ireland Travel & Tourism Awards.
"Our employees at Selective Travel Management combine a remarkably high level of professionalism with hard work and commitment, providing our customers with unrivalled service delivery which is the cornerstone of our success. They also manage to bring great good humour to their work, reinforcing our dynamic, 'can' do ethos - and, of course that good humour has helped to make our celebration all the more enjoyable!"
Pictured above right are David Taylor, Mukesh Sharma and Kim Adair.
|Trade e-shot Takes a Break|
This is the last Northern Ireland Travel News Trade e-shot before Christmas and New Year holidays. The next Trade e-shot will be on Tuesday, January 6.
The staff at Northern Ireland Travel News wishes everyone in the Northern Ireland Travel Trade a Happy Christmas and a Successful New Year.