Travel Extra May 2020

Page 1


Colombia’s Pacific Coast

Recession lessons



MAY 2020


Covid Calls

Surviving the crisis



Travel Extra Clownings, Straffan, Co Kildare (+3531) 2913707 Fax (+3531) 2957417 Editor: Eoghan Corry eoghan.corry@ Publisher:

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3 News Flights that remain 4 Postcards: News from the trade 7 25 Years of Travel Etxra

8 Surving the crisis Thoughts of key industry figures 23 Etihad dreamliner 24-25 Colombia: Pacific coast 26-27 Afloat: Cruises deferred

28-31 Flying: Lessons from the past 32 Global Village New ITAA presdient 34 Obituaries: 35 Pictures: Out and about 46 Window seat: Our columnists

The longest month


arch 2020 started with uncertainty and ended with the global travel industry facing an existential crisis. Here is how the story unfolded, day after day, blow after blow, devastation after devastation.


Ireland’s proposed China services with Cathay to Hong Kong, Hainan to Beijing and Shenzhen and Shanghai with Juneyao, via Helsinki are delayed.


As cases in Italy increase, Tom Jenkins of ETOA says European travel is facing its toughest challenge since the second world war.


Europe’s aviation leaders gathered in Brussels, including Michael O’Leary and Willie Walsh say bookings are down 20pc due to Coronavirus fears but hope for a recovery at Easter.


DFA advises against all but essential travel to Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna.


Aer Lingus waives change fee on new bookings, eventually extended to existing bookings.

6 7

Flybe closes, leaving Belfast City airport with just five services. Aer Lingus waiver of change fee extended to existing bookings.



Dublin airport arrivals area. Cover: Dublin airport departures area Italy imposes abrupt lockdown. Railway stations are closed but flights continue as scheduled amid uncertainty.

9 10

Aer Lingus suspends flights to Northern Italy.

Aer Lingus suspends flights to and from all of Italy. Ryanair continues repatriation flights until March 13.


Donald Trump bans travel from Europe’s Shenghen area to USA. Ireland bans all travel to Madrid and Basque Country/La Rioja border region.

12 13

James Malone’s Rathgar Travel issues notice of closure. DFA extends all but essential travel to all of Spain. Donald Trump bans travel from Ireland to USA and designates 13 airports for arrivals of returning Americans. Irish services continue, creating problems for passengers seeking refunds.

Poland closes its borders abruptly, leaving passengers stranded in Ireland and Poland.

Aer Lingus offer 100pc vouchers in lieu of refund to customers who have booked, including travel agency clients.



16 17


Leo Varadkar’s latest lockdown notice says all of Ireland 7,000 pubs and bars are to close. PJ Gannon’s East West Travel issues closure notice. Leo Varadkar announces partial lockdown including closure of hotels. DFA issues notice to avoid all non-essential travel abroad until March 29, later extended until April 19.


Dept of Transport says that refund rules still apply to travel agents even if suppliers have not returned money.

19 20

Aer Lingus says it will cut pay by 50pc. Ryanair says it is cutting pay by 50pc.

Turkish forced to end Dublin-Istanbul services and onwards to its network, but rebooks returning passengers on other carriers. Knock airport closes. Ryanair says that 90pc of its fleet is now grounded and it plans to keep a skeletal service within Ireland and Britain.


Emirates and Etihad forced to suspend services ahead of planned date when UAE government closes Abu Dhabi and Dubai to transit traffic. DFA intervenes to help 6,000 Irish in Australia get home.


Amid inbound tourism crisis Citywest Hotel and K Club offer services to Health authorities.


TUI decides to close retain outlets in Ireland. Final payment

on TUI holidays pushed back to four weeks before departure.


BA and Easyjet remove website options to reclaim refunds.


Board of Kinlay Group announces it is to close USIT Ireland.

28 29

Belfast International Airport closes.

Ryanair reduces services to 13 routes and Aer Lingus to 22 routes. Dublin down to 25 services a day, Belfast City, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Kerry and Shannon to one a day.


Easyjet grounds fleets, Aer Lingus offers refunds to vast majority of passengers after contact form the Commission of Aviation Regulation.


DFA says 1,000 Irish in 86 countries are still trying to get home.

MAY 2020 PAGE 3


Refund v voucher

Airlines buy time but throw travel agents under the bus


ouchers may be acceptable in place of refunds under existing consumer legislation, although the legality of this remains unclear. Agents fear they will be forced to pay out refunds to customers despite the fact that suppliers are not refunding their agencies. The ITAA say there have been multiple communications since 16 March with the Department of Transport, Commission for Aviation Regulation; Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation; and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

gus, KLM and Ryanair from Dublin.

BERLIN Aer Lingus from Dublin.

BIRMINGHAM Ryanair and Aer Lingus from Dublin. BOSTON


Aer Lingus from

BRUSSELS Aer Lingus and Ryanair from Dublin.

CHICAGO Aer Lingus from

has repatriated 350,000 people, 250,000 are still trying to get home. The Department of Foreign Affairs estimates there are 1,000 Irish citizens awaiting repatriation from 856 countries. Many are of small groups but there are larger groups in Australia and a couple of hundred in New Zealand. There are in ongoing contact with airlines and aviation companies and are exploring all the options. The situation is s not as simple as chartering flights. We need permission to enter airspace in regions on the way back to Ireland.

UNWTO says a fall of between 20-30pc Minister Shane Rioss with John Spollen, jean Maxwell and Pat Dawson


from Dublin..




GATWICK Ryanair from

NANTES Aer Lingus from NEW YORK JFK Aer


NICE Aer Lingus from Dublin.. PARIS Air France 4w from

Dublin.. Dublin.

Ryanair from

HAMBURG Aer Lingus


gus from Dublin, Belfast City, Cork and Shannon.

Lingus from Dublin.

MUNICH Aer Lingus from

GENEVA Aer Lingus from

from Dublin.

DOHA Qatar from Dublin.. DUSSELDORF Aer

MANCHESTER Ryanair and Aer Lingus from Dublin.

FRANKFURT: Aer Lingus and Lufthansa from Dublin.


COLOGNE Ryanair from

repatriated home, 4,000 on commercial flights, 400 are on repatriation flights with other countries two specially charter flights from Peru and Goa where there were clusters of Irish people. Foreign minister Simon Coveney says that have brought 900 people home from Australia via Doha with Qatar.”




DFA says 4,600 Irish people have been

HEATHROW 3w Aer Lin-

LISBON Aer Lingus and Ryanair from Dublin.

LYON Aer Lingus from Dublin.

Lingus from Dublin..



from Derry.


STANSTED Ryanair from Dublin and Cork.

ZURICH Aer Lingus and

Swiss from Dublin.

in world tourism could translate into a decline in international tourism receipts (exports) of between US$300-450bn, almost one third of the US$ 1.5 trillion generated in 2019. Taking into account past market trends, this would mean that between five and seven years’ worth of growth will be lost to COVID-19. Putting this into context, UNWTO notes that in 2009, on the back of the global economic crisis, international tourist arrivals declined by 4pc, SARS ed to a decline of t 0.4pc in 2003.

WTTC say 75 million travel & tourism

jobs are at risk globally, with at least 6.4 million losses across the EU,

SPAIN visitor numbers from Ireland even in advance of the crisis were down 4.8pc in January to 85,375


says consumers are now twice as likely not to plan travel in 2020 or 2021 compared to earlier in the month but the majority still plan or “wish” to travel later in the year and 2021, despite the situation.


has postponed their 76th AGM scheduled for 22-23 June in Amsterdam.

DALATA chief Pat McCann says that he does not see the sector recovering until 2022.

MAY 2020 PAGE 4



isbon based Claudio Santos returned to Dublin to host an appreciation night for the Irish travel trade and to introduce Matthew Lampey and Sean O’Kelly to the trade. The Co Clare based O’Kelly joined Amadeus from Sabre while Matthew Lampey replaced Siobhan Boskett as Amadeus point of contact in the north. Picture shows team Amadeus Claudio Santos, Olwen McKinney, Matthew


ravel Portland hosted the Irish travel trade to showcase the addition of year-round direct flights to the USA’s smallest international port of entry from next June. It offers a European one stop option en route to Portland. “This is an opportunity to get to know you and to talk about Portland,” said Travel Portland’s Senior International PR Manager Laura Guimond.


reland West airport handled 806,000 passengers used in 2019, an increase of 4.5pc on 2018. That makes 2019 the fourth consecutive year of growth at the airport and the first time they have exceeded 800,000 passengers in a year. At an event for key trade in Knockranney Hose in Westport Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry revisited the history of the airport and the great irony that

Lampey and Sean O’Kelly, Amadeus appreciation night for the trade at Peploe’s in Dublin. The GDS has been updating its technology and continuing its acquisitions of travel technology companies in recent years. Most recently, Amadeus acquired the airline network planning software business of Optym, a leader in network optimisation.

The evening event in The Woollen Mills on Dublin’s Ormond Quay featured a taste of Portland’s Westward craft whiskey along with the city’s annual visitors guide, the inaugural Michelin Getaway Guide, craft chocolate, samples of the region’s lip balm and a Pendleton Woollen Mills scarf. Picture shows Sophia Amos, left, Karen Viehoever, Laura Guimond, Bethan Smyth and Rachel Phillips,

Knock was supposed to be a major inbound airport for religious tourism but has only a handful of charters in 30 years. He showed some pictures from the event when last he spoke at the airport, on the brink of recession. Good job none of us are any older. Knock figures held up extraordinarily well alone of Ireland’s regional airports, all of whom are lagging behind peak figures.


ustrian ski slops have become a bit of a fixture in recent years with the latest offering a rock festival featuring Irish groups in the Hibernian favourite of Soll. Ski and Rock festival in Soll main square featured The Academic , which recently supported The Rolling Stones in Dublin’s Croke Park. the Blizzards, who, with lead singer Niall Breslin (Bressie), achieved multiple platinum


n the last travel event before lockdown, Travel Partners Group hosted travel trade form the south east at Dooley’s Hotel in Waterford. Picture shows Olwen McKinney of Amadeus, Lee Osborne of Bookabed, Alan Sparling of ASM, Maria Molloy of Harvey Travel who won the €1,000 prize for the charity of her choice, Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection and Ann Pye of Irish Ferries.


orldchoice will return to a full conference in 2020 having skipped a year to stage a networking event.. The group will hold their 2020 conference at the Galmont Hotel (Formerly Radisson Blu Hotel) in Galway on Saturday November 7 2020. Commenting on the announcement Carol Anne said “the decision to return to the Galmont Hotel in Galway where

record sales, local bands which perform in Soll all season long, and Gordon and the Bravehearts, who played on the first night. the event featured on 2FM with special DJ sets by JJ Hartigan. Other gigs took place on the mountain, reflecting Soll’s famous après-ski, with an intriguing Hexen Challenge. Picture shows Gabriel Eder of Soll Tourism, Niall Breslin musician, Aileen Eglington of AE consulting and JJ Hanrahan.

Roadshows were scheduled for Cork 23 Apr, Athlone 21 May, Dundalk 17 Sept, and Belfast 01 Oct before the schedule was disrupted. Niall McDonnell, Classic Collection Holidays, commented on behalf of TPG “We had huge support and great fun throughout 2019 at the various roadshows. We feel that offering €1000 towards a nominated charity gives someone a chance to make a difference.

we held our 2017 conference was based on the excellent conference facilities that the hotel has to offer. “We will have further details on the conference in the coming weeks, so we would ask all of our members, preferred trade partners and media; .Picture shows Carol Anne O’Neill of Worldchoice Ireland, John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the ITAA and Mary King of Worldchoice Ireland,

MAY 2020 PAGE 5



t was the most outstanding event organised in Dublin on the tourism circuit for a long time. ToursmNI hosted trade guests in the vaults of Christchurch cathedral, dining among tombstones followed by a performance in the cathedral itself. Stephen Rea, Lisa Hannigan and Tara Lynne O’Neill were among the performers as TourismNI promoted the Seamus Heaney homeland in Bellaghy.


outh African tourism hosted key Irish travel trade an media in Dublin to publicise extra airlift to the perennial favourite destination. While Irish visited South Africa last year, the vast majority were concentrated in the western cape province. In all, 85pc of Irish visitors find themselves in Cape Town and the associated wine route and garden route, visiting managed game reserves rather than the vast


rmed with tales of the breathtaking beauty of Yellowstone National Park, the stunning Rocky Mountains, the Oregon Trail and Montana’s famed Glacier National Park - an evening in Dublin’s famed Stag’s Head pub proved a rather fitting backdrop for the Great American West pioneering party to choose for their informal meet and greet on Wednesday November 20th.

finishing with voice of the Nobel Laureate himself, reading “Digging.” Little did the audience know that within weeks a quote from a 1972 newspaper interview would become a symbol of lockdown: “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere” Picture shows Martin Kearney chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Fiona Cunningham of TourismNI and John Kelly of RTE,, host for the evening.

national parks of Kruger or Hluhluwe Imfolozi. Durban has a direct service form London Heathrow while Emirates also offer a one stop option to Durban. South Africa’s latest campaign emphasises the uniqueness of the tour guides from local communities. Picture shows Lauren Hems and Steve Balderston of South Africa Tourism at the event,

After all they couldn’t possibly return home without sampling a pint or two of the black stuff. Picture shows Kim Birrell of Montana Tourism, Jenni Bridgeman of Great American West, Kim Birrell of Montana Tourism, Cole Irwin of South Dakota Tourism, James Scoon of Wyoming Tourism, Fred Walker of North Dakota Tourism and (front) Fatma Inál-Falls of Rocky Mountain International, Great American West


itur in Madrid is always the first major holiday event of the year and an ideal spot to get a flavour of how the internti8onal tourism industry is performing. The picture looked healthy. Fitur broke all previous participation records with 10,487 companies from 165 countries and regions, 142,642 trade visitors and 110,848 visitors from the general public.


pain’s tourist board retained the tourist board award at the recent Irish travel industry awards, reflecting the dominance of a country that gets 2m visits from Ireland.. Kathryn MacDonnell commented: Receiving the industry award for Best Tourist Office is our personal professional favourite. While it is an honour and matter of pride that our destinations receive awards this one recognises the


he Association of Women Travel Executives has seen steady growth since which saw 48 founding members join the AWTE, in Ireland in April 2017. The women’s only event is headed up in Ireland by an active committee including Lorraine Cunnigham and Yvonne Muldoon, offering seminars and development sessions, opportunities to deliver development sessions

The enormous South American stands, led by Colombia reflected the increased air services available from Latam and Iberia. The UNWTO event was filled with predictions of double digit growth. Who was to know what would happen next. Picture shows Isabel Oliver Secretary of State for Tourism in Spain and Ruben Lopez Director of the Spanish Tourist Board office in Dublin,

work we carry out in the market with the trade, the media and the public so it means an awful lot to our team and we certainly are not complacent about receiving it. Picture shows Sara Rivero, Virginia Matey, Kathryn McDonnell, Noemi Perez and Inma Bernabeau at an event in Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin, where the tourist board hosted key travel trade and media.

to, mentor women within the sector and weekly email updates. Sean Boland was the singer for the occasion and livened up the 120 members and guests with some Dean Martin. membership rates are €80 for individual membership and €200 for corporate Picture shows Bernie Burke watched by Sharon Jordan of The Travel Corporation and Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker

MAY 2020 PAGE 6



mirates celebrated the opening of The East Lounge at Dublin Airport and said they anticipate three flights a day in the not too distant future with continued hopes of the development of Pier 5 by DAA. Emirates are the only middle eastern airline to offer double daily services consistently year round, through their hub in Dubai.


ey members of the travel trade and media were hosted by The Travel Corporation’s team in Shanahan’s on the Green. A key supplier and supporter of the Irish travel trade for ten years now, Travel Corporation represent four major brands to the trade in Ireland, Insight Vacations, Uniworld River cruises, Contiki and Red Carnation Hotels. A feature of their ecologically minded


olorado’s four National Parks — Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison are home to some of the world’s most wondrous and diverse scenery. Key travel agents and media descended on The Grayson on Stephen’s Green to hear all about the diverse attractions and wonders that the western state has to offer the Irish tourist and

Recent events have put those plans on hold, but Emirates are expecting to continue their presence at Dublin airport with freighters carrying the freight business which is so important to their Irish operation. Picture shows country manager Enda Corneille, Jane Masterson and Anita Thomas at an event for bloggers and select media at Conor Sexton’s Night Market Thai restaurant in Ranelagh.

events is that the menu was printed on seeded paper which all guests were invited to bring home with instructions to plant and wait for a springtime surprise. Picture shows Sharon Jordan, Rachael Coffey and Brian Hynes of The Travel Corporation. Fiona Foster be joined the team as Country Manager (Maternity Cover) from February 2020 bringing her wealth of experience to the team.

holidaymaker. Colorado gets an average of 300 days of sunshine, has 41 state parks and 58 peaks of 14,000 feet or more, and is home to 26 ski resorts. Denver airport is being considered as a direct flight destination by Aer Lingus. Andrea Blankenship of the Colorado Tourism Office pictured with Mary Mostenboker of The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs


ow we know where the stolen missing piece of the Ghent altarpiece is (in the Belgian ambassador’s residence in Dublin). One of 12 panels of Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb has been missing since 1934. Picture shows Jacques Vanhoucke of Flanders Investment with Anita Rampall, Julie Rutgeerts and Andrew Daines of Visit Flanders and Pierre-Emmanuel


he USA’s largest airline, American, succesfully relocated their Dublin-JFK service to Dublin-Dallas last summer and offered new aircraft options on their five Irish routes. Dallas was Ireland’s first direct access route to Texas and the season was to be extended. To showcase that and other routes, American hosted key trade to set out plans for 2020 before those plans were


ne of the largest and most successful Irish tourism showcases came to Dublin to highlight Derry’s potential as a leisure, conference, golf and cruise destination Tourism partners form Derry city and county, hoteliers, tour guides, restaurants, and even the airport hosted representatives of inbound tour operators and key trade. It was followed by a presentation highlighting local attractions

De Bauw Ambassador of Belgium at the “Van Eyck was here” Ghent exhibition promotion at the Belgian ambassadorial residence, Ghent is the city where Van Eyck painted his world-famous masterpiece and where for the past six centuries, visitors have gathered from all over the world to admire the altarpiece. In 2020, Ghent is celebrating Van Eyck and the altarpiece with a year full of events.

overtaken by uncertainty. As things stand the Dublin- Chicago resumption of service moved to June 4, Dublin-Dallas to July 7, Dublin-Philadelphia to October 7. Sadly, Dublin to Charlotte will not operate in 2020. Tara Magee of BA with Caitriona Toner and Siobhan Boskett of American Airlines, Siobhan has joined the American team to work in partnership with the Irish travel trade.

and the new Unlocking the Walled City tour. It offers a chance to learn about the Ulster Plantation in the Tower Museum, and explore the Siege Museum with one of the present-day Apprentice Boys, As Finola Faller, tour guide says “coming through all the centuries of tumultuous history, we really have taken on the status of a mighty oak. ” Karen Henderson is pictured with Tourism Ireland CEI Niall Gibbons.

MAY 2020 PAGE 7

25 years of:


Maureen Ledwith, Kevin O’Connor and Ann Saunders

Tony Barry, Gerry O’Hare, Toddy O’Sullivan of the Shelbourne Hotel and John Callely, now of Irish Whiskey tours, then from Whiskey Corner which hosted the launch of Travel Extra in 1995


Paper of record for Irish travel

he Irish Press failed in May 1995. Travel correspondent Gerry O’Hare immediately set out plans to launch a travel newspapers which would serve as the paper of record for Ireland’s travel industry. He was facilitated by PR executive John Butterly and former

Evening Herald travel correspondent Tony Barry. Travel Extra was born. The paper proved popular immediately with tis lively and discursive subject matter, quirky destination reviews and ability to question the established values of the fast changing industry. In June 2002 O’Hare

sold the publication to Business Exhibitions, who run the annual Holiday World Show in Dublin and Belfast. O’Hare asked Eoghan Corry, who had been his travel (and also features and literary) editor at the Irish Press to edit Travel Extra. Travel Extra has a history of unrivalled cover-

age of events, reviews of all seven continents, and expansion on to other platforms that saw it acquire 6,500 Facebook followers, 7,200 Twitter followers, 5,200 Youtube subscribers and 3.2 million views on Youtube. In an eventful quarter century, the past month may have been the most eventful of all.

Liam Burke, Jacinta Maglynn and Eugene Corcoran

Members of Tony Barry’s family

Declan Mescall and Frank Byrne

John Browne, Liam Flynn and Paddy Tony Judge and Chris Kane Dignam

Maura McEldowney, Diarmuid MacDermott and Grainne Cryan

Liam Mackey, Gerry O’Hare and Cyril Byrne

Paddy Dignam, Freddie O’Neill, Gabriel Malone and Brendan Moran

MAY 2020 PAGE 8

An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘It’s difficult now, and so too will be the recovery’ — John Spollen T

he COVID 19 crisis has shown up the severe flaws in the Package Holiday Directive. There is a disproportionate level of responsibility around the PTD2 and it is now not fit for purpose This is a crucial issue for the ITAA since this all began. The Association is working closely with Government departments, the DTTAS, Consumer Protection and CAR, in lobbying to bring forward workable resolutions to the current issues we are all experiencing around PDT2 and EU 261. I believe by working together; we will protect business as well as the consumer.


must give praise to Pat Dawson CEO, the Board of the ITAA, our legal advisor Anne Dolan, Jean and Lorraine and our PR guru Kathryn Byrne, for the enormous amount of hard work, time and knowledge they have given and continue to provide since this crisis started back in late February., I am really very proud to be part of this team, and on behalf of the Irish Travel Industry, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them. For sure there are many key benefits of being a member of a trade association such as the ITAA, the ability to use the combined resources of members to lobby and possibly influence legislation that affects the travel industry. I believe with the increased level of regulation in our industry, being part of the Association is an absolute necessity for survival going forward.


ere are some of my top takeaways for surviving the crisis in the days, weeks, and months ahead

n It’s difficult now, and so too will be the recovery n Keep in communication with each other and your team, using WhatsApp, Zoom or one of the many conferencing software tools. n Write down your plans “ink it don’t think it” and keep revising n Resources, look at what you will need for the new normal, be prepared n Start training your team, use webinars, and conference calls, ask suppliers for help n Engage with suppliers, nationally and internationally building on relationships from before n Start networking from a business perspective, support local business n We also have to remember that while our industry, as with the broader tourism and hospitality industries, has been very severely impacted worldwide, other companies and industries have not. It is key for us as an industry – in Ireland – and worldwide – to work together – to ask people to make the right choices when they book – to secure real jobs – both here and abroad. n Finally, let’s be optimistic in our thoughts and actions.

Surviving the Crisis: A Travel Extra Cv-19 Special

MAY 2020 PAGE 17

An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Irish travel agents are proving their mettle’ ­— Valerie Metcalfe F

or FCM, we’ve come into the COVID crisis in a very strong position. Up to the end of February we were having an exceptional year with record growth and profit. However the very sudden impact of COVID for our industry required quick action, and ongoing planning and flexibility. We are sustaining high support levels for our clients, and ensuring long term recovery and return to growth. It is at times like this that travel management jumps to another level. Traveller tracking for corporate business has never been so important and it’s a critical time for working with our corporate customers to help them to meet their duty of care responsibilities to their own people. The FCM team is working tirelessly to support all of our clients, to bring everyone home and to reschedule trips for the future, provisionally rescheduling of course until we have a clearer view of how international travel may recover, and when. We are also managing a high volume of cancellations.


e have retained 100pv of our staff base, albeit on reduced hours, so that we can maintain support levels and protect jobs for the future. Everyone is home-working and we’re maintaining virtual communication, plus good old one

to one phone calls! Making sure that our people don’t feel isolated is vital. The biggest frustration has to be the increasing inability to secure refunds from airlines for our clients, as airlines struggle to deal with reduction and/or stoppage of air services. Legislation such as EU Regulation 261, and the Package Travel Directive for Leisure agents, are unworkable in the current unprecedented crisis and urgent action is needed in the appropriate forums (European Commission and local governments) to make temporary modifications to bring relief to airlines, agents and the consumer.


ats off to the Government for the COVID Wage Subsidy Scheme which is a lifeline for businesses, at least for the immediate

future. This is not the first time the travel industry has been massively impacted by far reaching events eg the Gulf Wars, 9/11, SARS, the global recession. As always, Irish travel agents are proving their mettle, their tenacity, and their value in a crisis, and the cohesion and mutual support among them, through organisations such as the ITAA, will help them to come through this. In the meantime, at FCM we remain strong and clearly focused on service continuity and a return to future growth.

Surviving the Crisis: A Travel Extra Cv-19 Special

MAY 2020 PAGE 18

An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘We should contact each other on a random basis’ — Cormac Meehan O

n Sunday afternoon, 15 March, I consulted with my staff and came to the decision that, with immediate effect, Meehan’s Travel Agency would operate behind closed doors due to the escalating Covid 19 pandemic. I communicated the decision that evening through trade and public social media channels. The response from his client base was positive, supportive and phenomenal within a few hours. Communication and the reassurance of staff and clients is vital and it is just as important that the general public see it as well, they are all potential clients. The staff of Meehan Travel, like all agencies, worked flat out immediately, focusing first on the repatriation cases and then moving to cancellations, enquiries about the fate of future travel plans and not an insignificant number of calls from travellers who had not booked with the agency. All cases were dealt with on a departure date basis.


ase loads are beginning to become more manageable but non revenue work is continuing with very little new business com-

ing in. Again in consultation with staff temporary lay offs have been agreed with staff voluntarily attending to telephone and email queries at specific

limited times. The agency has a WhatsApp group with helps with remote communications as necessary. This works very well in maintaining contact and moral. I welcome the Government supports which I feel will be very important for business continuity


want to compliment the flow of valuable and timely information from trade sources such as Travel Extra, my own consortium, Worldchoice, under the tireless direction of Carolanne O’Neill and the very important work of the ITAA Executive, Presidential Team and Board in supporting members and facilitating communications with IATA, CAR and relevant government departments. An element of support that I encourage is that principals should contact each other on a random basis I find that his network contact is very important, sometimes you get a call just at the right time when you need the support and it’s a two way thing. I am optimistic and extremely grateful to the team who are reassuring clients and, vitally, encourage them not to cancel but defer.

Surviving the Crisis: A Travel Extra Cv-19 Special

MAY 2020 PAGE 19

An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Share positive stories of how we help customers’ — Cathy Burke I

t is a short while now since the vast majority of our clients have been repatriated while for those who were due to travel outbound, holidays are now changed or amended to future dates. It hasn’t been without it’s stresses, yet we have seen the best of humanity over the past few weeks as everyone came together to support one another.


ll of our 80+ Travel Counsellors work from home anyway full time, so they were able to service their clients in a seamless way from the outset of this crisis. Our head office team in Cork are also used to working from home at least 1 day a week; we are also all set up with 2 screens and a proper office structure at home, so it was a simple matter of just diverting our landlines to our mobile phones to allow us carry on looking after our TC’s and their customers. We decided to shut up the office and for the team to work from home on Friday 13thMarch. We have always communicated globally via Skype for Business since its launch, so that’s nothing new for us. Three weeks later, I miss the

daily interactions that we share in the office although we have two sprint calls via Skype each day with the Cork office team, along with three times a week when our 80+ Travel Counsellors join a Skype call so that we can update them on what’s happening internally and with suppliers as this crisis unfolds.


e also share positive stories of how we helped customers and more recently how we are helping ourselves cope with the isolation and stress of what is happening to the industry that we all love. It is important to stay positive and look to the future when people start travelling again. We have the same challenges as many of our colleagues in the industry, where we are currently focussed on processing re-bookings and where necessary cancellations for bookings up to the end of April 2020, while we await news form the relevant authorities as to when the “travel ban” will be extended to.

Surviving the Crisis: A Travel Extra Cv-19 Special

MAY 2020 PAGE 20

An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘We need to reduce our overheads by 25 to 50pc’ — Joe Tully down there were not prepared to go until September at the earliest. They are going down to private apartments and villas and they are still not prepared to travel. What we have done for the coming year is we have transferred whatever groups we have to next year. Not six weeks or three months, to next year. Hopefully they have come in to next year for us. Business travel will come back faster than the leisure traffic. The cruise market will take the cruise market twelve months to recover to any level. That is just frightening. What are these people going to do if they don’t go cruising? They are actually a cruise client. That is what they do. I would say sales for the next twelve months will be down from the first of May , a reduction of 25pc to 40pc.



do not know whether people are going to appreciate the travel trade at the end of this or not. At least in the trade they have someone to talk to, and try to sort out where they are at. Do they appreciate that? Or are they just content with losing money and leave it at that? Will the trade do better out of this crisis or do worse out of it? With the ash cloud, we did better out of it because we looked after people when they could not look after themselves. I do not know on this one. I asked around during the last few weeks. Of the people who go to Spain regularly, none of them are prepared to say they will go this year. They will go next year, even those that have houses, and this is the one that really caught me, people who own property

ur business has been through a few crises over the decades. We ran into a very serious one in October 2000. We had 750 people heading to the Holy Land and about 200 them got out, the other 500 we had to refund. People had been saving up for two or three years. It was all cancelled within two weeks. That was October. In March 2001 we had foot and mouth. We had 1,700-2,000 going to Cheltenham. We nearly went under on that one because Ryanair did not refund and the hotels in Cheltenham did not refund and did not carry forward the credits either. Aer Lingus were forced to refund by the government, and the hotels in Stratford refunded. Then, in September 2001 we had nine-eleven. It was just a constant blow after the next. In 2003 we had SARS, because we had quite a few heading to China at that stage.. That was really tough going. There was major losses on it, but by giving them the opportunity to cancel out early, we were able to minimise paying the balances for the seats on the aircraft and stuff like

that. There was no racing in Cheltenham but quite a few of them actually travelled. They had holidays taken and they went over and played cards.


uring the turmoil, our bond agent sent out a questionnaire regarding turnover figures for the next twelve months. Most of the guys say: what do we put down for the sales for the year? What they do then is they take 50pc off the sales. What the bond company also asked, which is the important bit, what are you going to do with your overheads? The attitude of the trade is to ask, do I have a crystal ball? Should they take out the dice and roll some numbers? What do they think we are? How do we know what sales are going to be. We don’t. They don’t either. But they also want the guys to concentrate on how they are going to reduce their overheads by 25pc to 50pc. Quite a few missed that entirely. they were hung up on the sales aspect of it, the crystal ball gazing and “what do we put down for sales?”. What you really need to do is show them that you have a plan to reduce your overheads, such as trying to get your rent roll for twelve months down by 25pc to 50pc, reduce your staff, reduce your wages, three day weeks or something of that nature, and then what unnecessary expenses can be put off for twelve months, and how do you try to hold on to whatever cash you have.


midst all the cancellations of the past few weeks, I thought one thing was rather ironic. One of our programmes is to the passion play at Oberammergau, which was set up in 1634 to give thanks for the village escaping the plague, The 2020 performance has been postponed. But it has been moved out not one, but two years. Which I thought was rather strange. Do they know something we don’t?

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘This episode is pushing us all to be disciplined’ — Tom Britton A

s Elton John popped into a lyric “I’m still standing”. And for most of the trade this is the truth. And for many in sales, not all heroes wear capes. Remembering back to Disneyland Paris’s opening, and the Space Mountain roller coaster, it shot off, and in the dark you didn’t know if you were going right or left, you just screamed. As we all know, over the last month, we’ve mainly been silently screaming internally and trying to smile outwardly for that sneaky camera . I always knew we had a great team around us. However, like the health workers where the doctors picked up the praise, the nurses, the cleaners, and less visual people were missed. In our case, we’ve had superb advice from our accounting team, our solicitor and never before have our administrators been so vital. The term might be “living in their ears”. Watching every last cent has been a discipline in the company for the last number of years. Never so vital. And this whole episode is perhaps pushing us all to be disciplined.


s the punches have been thrown, the team have flexed, bobbed and weaved, without so much as a whimper. It has been a truly outstanding. 24 hour operations pretty much since day one of this saga for many agents. Some clients have noticed, many have not even thought about the fact, their agents were chatting to them at 4am. Yes indeed because office work/ retailing at 4am from your bed is just so ordinary. And how at 4am, I wasn’t charged by this person who was more concerned about my well being, and making sure I was home safe from Miami, Guatemala or Peru. Certainly from our team here, they have absolutely thought out every last inch of their clients best well being. Being fair is a two way street, and

always trying to do well by both your clients and team again is paramount. We all recognise this in each other. Whilst we are all being “work disciplined”, never before has it been so vital to be health disciplined. Personally I’ve reverted to going to bed around 20.30 so a decent night’s sleep is sought. A good night’s sleep means the following day appears brighter, and the mind is more rational. Rational in these times is good. Once I have had eight to nine hours sleep, it is easy crack on with an early start. Clearing some of the avalanche of paperwork. There are challenges such as insurance policies which are more challenging than usual, banking questions to be answered. And again, being calm and rational works here.


eing within Travel Centres has never been as vital to us. Dominic our ring leader, at times lately you can hear the fatigue in his voice. He has been on the end of emails, phone calls, texts, and always an insightful fountain of knowledge. Travel Centres through Dominic, Jocelyn and Bernie have maintained a daily crib sheet pertaining to each supplier. Along with listening to our many rants and raves, Dominic has communicated with suppliers, trade associations both in Ireland and Britain, and no doubt further afield. Multi tasking with the finesse of a mother minding 80 children. And then additionally we have an internal Facebook page where we can swap notes, offer heads up and recipes. So overall support is excellent. And again for mindfulness – as that advert used to say “it is good to talk”. As an industry, we’ve all got to take hold the oars, row together, and as the waves of regulation are fired at us, head down, and keep rowing. Best of luck all, keep safe, and come conference season, mine is a pint of Costelloes, the real Kilkenny beer.

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘There are cost savings to be made if you drill down’ – Alan Lynch A

s I write this on the 6th April, it is 28 years ago we opened the doors of Alan Lynch Travel, now Travel Escapes. Since then we have been through many great years of trading and like any firm, we’ve had business altering challenges. For us, these came in the form of 9/11, The Economic Crisis, The Volcanic Ash and The Arab Spring all of which have tested and impacted the business in some form or other. From each of these challenges, we gained experience and skills some we wish we never had to. But all of these have helped us cope with the current pandemic and our skills have been called upon, almost daily, in this crisis. It started quite early for us as we had a small group of individual clients due to join the Diamond Princess just as she went into quarantine in early February. Princess cruises were outstanding with their arrangements and helped us greatly in getting the clients home. Repatriating clients continued for us right through and into the latter part of March as borders closed and flights and cruises, both ocean and river, were cancelled. Some suppliers were superb in their organisation while others have been dreadful. There were some very stressful days as we negotiated new arrangements but I am happy to report that all our clients are home safe and well. As a stress buster, we started a small league table as to how each supplier is dealing with the crisis and we are quite surprised at the outcome. What it is showing us is companies that are well managed and can communicate clear and decisive messages, with the customer and the company at the centre of their decisions


n any crisis, managing costs is a priority and we have been able to take advantage of the various government schemes available to retain staff.

It is important to have staff that understand the situation and can be empathetic with clients and can communicate a clear message whether that’s good news or bad. We are fortunate with our amazing team as most have gone through more than one of the crisis already mentioned, my thanks to them all. Cost savings are micro-managed depending on whether they are essential or non-essential, and all suppliers that provide the likes of maintenance have all had a phone call from me to discuss options. The way to look at it is simple, there is no point in buying petrol if the car is up on blocks. Sadly another casualty was our cruise show which was meant to take place this weekend. We have almost stopped all advertising online and offline as no one currently has the appetite to travel. There are a lot of cost savings to be had if you drill down into it and these type of cost savings need constant supervision as most of our suppliers have been with us for years


alks with our banks have allowed us to secure a firm reliance on our cash reserves, if necessary, and like most of our fellow Travel Agents, we are balancing refunds and credit notes depending on what the various suppliers are offering. We have also found that keeping in touch with the ITAA has been invaluable and I know they are working hard on behalf of all travel agents, not only members, to highlight certain anomalies in the regulation that is not in anyone’s interest if they are enforced. I don’t believe we’ll get back to the way it was, I think there’ll be a new normal as each business and sector find it’s level. I am confident that the travelling public will see the merits in booking with a licensed and bonded Travel Agent. .

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

Protect your income like your life depends on it ­— Michael Doorley A


ttack the overheads. The biggest overhead is wages and salaries (approximately 60pc of overheads on average). Unfortunately this is the first overhead to be tackled and strong unpleasant action needs to be taken. The government’s quick action has somewhat lessened the pain of this. The difficulty may be who to keep on a 5 or 3 day week to best serve customers and who has the facility to work from home (make homeworking staff aware that they may be entitled to some tax set offs for work expenses incurred at home – every little bit helps ]; laptops and Wi-Fi dongles may be a necessary purchase. First action completed. Next is to cancel all direct debits and to communicate with the recipients. Revenue (ROS) should be the first, taking advantage of the Revenue’s period of grace. The rates department is next and hammer out a deal. Just tell them that you don’t have any income and they have to take less or wait in line. They won’t like it but if you haven’t any income you can’t pay them; next your landlord, if you have one, and look for 3 months free rent or at least a 50pc reduction. Keep in mind that if you yourself are a landlord the it is only right that you would allow a break for your tenants.

he travel industry has never seen a crisis like this before. The economic crash of 2009/2010 was challenging and difficult but at least sales were happening and some income was generated. In this crisis there is little or no income generation but rather income refunding. So what can you do ? The first realistic step is the recognition that you’re fighting for survival and so must have the resolve to take whatever action is necessary. Income is going through the floorboards but overheads are still on the table. First lift the phone and talk to your bank -communication with your bank is critical to looking for help going forward and it helps them to better help you if they understand your company’s situation from the offset; be open and honest with them.


ext look at your back office system and ask for a break on charges. Examine all the payments that you have made for services for the past year and don’t overlook those that are yearly and may become due soon. Examine your insurance policy and in particular look at the wording in the “business disruption section“ - the Central Bank are on the insurance case. While your staff are looking after repatriations and customers future bookings get your accounts person to look at refunds from airlines; it’s difficult because of lack of co-operation but it is a necessity; keep in touch with the ITAA, who have been very active in this area. Ask your accounts to keep a strict list of refunds due to client broken down in to refunds received and paid out; refunds received but not yet paid out; and then refunds applied for but not yet received.

All this information will help you when making a stab at cash flow, which your bank may request. You will also need this information for CAR, credit card providers and bonding companies


ll the while you are dealing with customers travel arrangements - mostly broken down in to air fares, packages/ cruises booked with principles and your own tailor made packages. The biggest exposure is with tailor made packages because of the European legislation whereby you are responsible to make a full refund to the client. Most agents are afraid of this but in effect shouldn’t be. Firstly look at the airfare content and the refund policy of the airline / cruise company; then look at accommodation commitments; most hotels are waiving cancellation charges in these unusual circumstances, as are transfer companies; when all of this comes together your exposure is nullified – at this stage it is up to you as to whether or not you charge a nominal administration fee; you are only demeaning yourself and your staff if you don’t charge a fee for all the work and extra work done. You still have to deal with bonding, CAR, credit card companies and IATA. You will have submitted new turnover projections for bonding and await their reply; the same situation for CAR; don’t make refunds to clients via the credit card providers - do refunds by cheque or electronic bank transfers; know who to communicate with in IATA and establish the refund procedure and keep a close eye on it.


o, in a nutshell it’s talk to your bank, slash your overheads and protect your income like your life depends on it, until borders reopen, airlines begin to fly and consumers begin to travel again. Ask for help and talk to colleagues in the trade – it’s always good to talk. This is the most stressing and difficult time ever for travel agents and hopefully we’ll all survive and re -emerge, most likely in a somewhat different shape and hopefully the value of our service will be appreciated more by consumers.

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

“Nothing until September and then little activity’ ­— Liam Lonergan E

ven that depends on whether there is anywhere to go. That is not down to us, it is down to destinations and what they are doing. Three quarters of the year is gone. There’s no point in pretending otherwise. The airlines, in fairness, are just limping along, two weeks at a time, and cancelling two weeks at a time. But that is not the reality. There is no doubt in my mind that there will not be a flight in the air for a while. Optimistically there will be a few flights in mid-June. That is only when it is going to start, maybe. People don’t like uncertainty. You go away on holidays to relax. You don’t go away on holidays thinking, will I have to wear a mask. That is the similarity with Chernobyl. When that cloud invaded most of Europe for a couple of months, people asked: who would want to go with that kind of environment? First of all the borders have to be opened, then there have to be aircraft, someone will have to take the gambit of putting the seats in the air and hoping they will come.


have been through four crises. One was of my own making, starting Club Air in 1988. Then 9/11, the global financial crisis, this now, and if you want to throw in half a crisis, you can throw in Chernobyl in 1986. This is bigger than any crisis that has gone before. There is no end in sight. We are like a cork on the ocean, and the tide is washing the cork in and out, thrown about by an invisible enemy which will not go away anytime soon. My own projection is there will be nothing until September and then maybe some activity between September and December The only business in the last quarter is corporate business, there is little or no leisure of any significance. I would not expect too much of that this year.


don’t have any commitments, so comparatively speaking I am in a very healthy position, but that is comparative. I wouldn’t like to be in the charter business. I would like it even less to be in the airline business.. I am not mad about my current position but at least all I have to worry about is getting money back from the airlines. Clearly the airlines have made decisions that they cannot afford to give all the money back in cash. It is self-preservation. Who am I to say if I was in that same position that I would not do the same? It puts travel agents in a very difficult position. It makes things very messy. It makes things very difficult. It is un expected, and close to unprecedented. It just shows how bad things are.

That puts us in a very difficult position because clients who paid cash to us expect to get cash back soon. They don’t want to wait twelve months. The expectation is there and the money is not there. I am delighted and ecstatic that I am not in the charter aircraft business, that all I have to do is bring this down to a manageable level and I do not have to deal with all the attendant risks of commitments in hotels and flights. We are in a different position. That does not say that I can last indefinitely. But we are in a strong position.


t is terrible when you look at those people that were stuck abroad or stuck on cruise ships, people prefer to be miserable at home than miserable abroad. I was at a conference in New Orleans in nine-eleven. All the flights were grounded. New Orleans is not the centre of the aviation universe. I hired a car and drove 700 miles to Atlanta and flew home from there. Ireland is not that bad a place to be really, when there is a problem. Believe me, when you are abroad and there is any problem, you would much prefer to be miserable at home. I remember going to Wexford once at Christmas. I am rarely here at Christmas. I remember going down to the Ferrycarrig Hotel. It was the middle of winter. The weather was shitty. I said, if I am going to be miserable, I would prefer to be miserable at home. For the trade in general, everybody is in a different situation. There are all sorts of travel agents. There are big and small, medium, guys with low overheads, no overheads, guys who won their own building, guys who are happy, and who can survive stuff like this. Always there are going to be some survivors. There will be some. I have my own to deal with, and it is quite complex and demanding. At the end of the day, it is business. And business can be unforgiving.

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Things can’t afford to go back to the way they were’ – Dominic Burke T

here is a book that you can buy online by an author called Claudia Hammond who, in addition to being a writer, is also a lecturer in psychology and indeed is the voice of psychology on BBC Radio 4 where she hosts regular slots called ‘All in the Mind’ and ‘Mind Changers’. Her book is called Time Warped in which she explores a phenomenon that we all experience regularly — the elasticity of time. Time’s elasticity has been stretched to breaking point over the course of the past month by anyone who has been caught up in the operational and logistical nightmares that have been caused by the novel virus called covid-19. Days have felt like weeks and weeks have seemed like months as travel agency staff fought to keep up with supplier policies that were literally changing by the hour. It felt as if reality itself was mutating as agency staff tried to deal with a tsunami of changes from cruise lines, airlines and tour operators — only to find the complex alternative travel arrangements that they hurriedly made on customers behalf quickly come to naught as they were superseded by subsequent and repeated changes from those same suppliers.


ur initial impressions that the whole epidemic in China was being greatly exaggerated soon changed to concern as it dawned on us that the whole thing was getting out of hand. Those concerns started to escalate when we realised that covid-19 represented an existential threat to all our livelihoods. Harold Wilson famously opined that ‘a week is a long time in politics.’ Not half as long, I can assure you, as that experienced by any travel agent who has had to contend with the continuing nightmare that is the corona virus, in which, in quick succession, they’ve had to deal with schedule changes; then wholesale cancellations, followed not only by threats to their livelihoods but also threats of litigation from customers when the realisation dawned on them that they weren’t able to get their money back.


iquidity quickly drained out of the travel ecosystem with ‘future credits’ becoming the new gold standard — particularly amongst airlines. In this topsy-turvy world where truth quickly eclipsed fiction for weirdness, the value of Ryanair’s stock rose amongst the retail travel fraternity whilst another familiar brand became a stock no one wanted to have in their portfolio, such was the disdain that greeted their treatment of the trade when things went awry. Not since WW2 have governments had to deal with an economic Armageddon as vast in scale and pervasive in consequence as that precipitated by the current pandemic. Not since then has so much work been done by so few for the benefit of so many — or for so little, if I can stretch the Churchillian reference, because travel agents have been working night and day without recompense to look after the best interests of their clients. I hope when all the dust has settled after this surreal moment in time, that the travel public will come to realise the valuable role travel agents play and the incomparable service they provide.


onversations are already taking place about how much society will be impacted — some of it for the better. The travel industry will also need to take time out and revaluate its own business model as things can’t afford to go back to the way they were. Once every agents’ clients have been sorted out with revised travel or refund arrangements we will need to start planning and preparing for what happens next and agents need to realise that they will have to review their respective business models, upskill their staff and up their game in terms of marketing, adoption of technology solutions and enhanced service delivery so that they can capitalise on opportunities when the inevitable rebound takes place. They say that every cloud has a silver lining — hopefully the chaos that has accompanied the spread of covid-19 will also accompany the renaissance of the greatly under-valued travel agent.

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Clear, concise & timely communication is the key’ — Carolanne O’Neill I

t is true to say 2020 will never be forgotten. This has been the most challenging and frustrating time for Worldchoice agents, worse than the ash cloud and 9/11. They are dealing with the unknown with no specific timelines. Not alone have they had to assist with repatriating and re-booking customers affected by Covid19, they are also having to constantly battle with certain suppliers to get their customers money refunded.


t is not a level playing field with some suppliers clearly breaking the law, and not communicating with agents in a timely or clear manner. The majority of agents have taken all the necessary decisions to cut their overhead costs including staff to manage their cash flow. Clear, concise and timely communication has

been key during this crisis. It is clear that laws like EU261 and the Package Travel Directive are not being enforced and it is questionable whether these laws are now still fit for purpose going forward.


ut of a negative situation there is always a positive. The resilience that Worldchoice members have shown has been amazing and also the willingness of people to help each other through this crisis. Frontline sales staff should be recognised for the part they have played. There is no doubt that people will travel again, when is still the unknown. The industry and our ways of working have changed as a result of this Covid-19 crisis, but we will bounce back.

Empty approach road to Dublin airport

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Share the stories where we took care of customers’ — Mary McKenna A

t Tour America and Cruise Holidays, we closed our offices on the 18th March 2020, Dublin, both Tour America and Cruise Holidays, our Cork office and Orlando. For the month of March, we have had zero bookings. We continue to pay about ½ our team who were working flat out dealing with customers, we had some staff who were home workers already, but we needed to hire laptops (as we couldn’t buy them – not available) and set them up fast from home, many of the staff had small children, so they couldn’t work, many had no broadband so they too couldn’t work, and many roles were no longer necessary in the current climate dealing with customers. President Trump stopped all travel to the USA on the 14th March, we had to work around the clock trying to get all our customers back to Ireland. This was a huge amount of stress and additional extra hours of work. For no pay…. The really strange thing is that we are dealing with bookings that we took in months ago, whereby we paid all the fixed costs of rent, salaries etc at that time. Now to be dealing with them again about refunds, whereby we are working once again with fixed costs but refunding them in total. So really that is a double loss to our bottom line, loss of fixed costs previously, loss of revenue, loss of commission, and once again loss of fixed cost in today’s actions, and we are still working now on them with zero revenue coming in.


or me, I think we have serviced our customers extremely well and have reached out to all clients traveling in the next few months, we have moved many to new dates, and many are waiting on refunds, which will be given, once we receive them back from the airlines, and cruise companies. It was frustrating at times dealing with some of the airlines, who made it very difficult. I am incredibly proud of the team, who have

worked so hard, feel really sorry for any of the team we had to put on temporary leave. These are definitely unprecedented times, and none of us saw this one coming. It has decimated our industry. I think we have stood well together as an industry and the ITAA and the board are doing a really great job holding airlines, cruise companies, Tour Operators etc to account, they are also lobby hard with the Aviation and government on all our behalf.


don’t know what the future will hold, or what travel will be like, but it is going to take a long long time to return to what we knew, and maybe travel will be very different in the future. Maybe there might be a better understanding of what a licensed and bonded travel company can offer to a customer. As most travel arrangements are done outside of travel agents, so when they book themselves with the airlines, and booking on line yourself, you are truly left to yourself to sort out any issues if anything goes wrong. I personally think, Ryanair (Michael O’Leary) did a great job with a statement, and also Richard Fain from RCCL doing his updates to his stakeholders. Showing outstanding leadership.


truly hope that many travel agents and tour operators will survive through this awful time, but I do think we will see some casualties from this terrible virus. There will of course be opportunities, and the world will never be the same again, and possible travel will be different in the future. What we need to do now as an industry is share the stories of where we took care of the customer beyond what was expected, and that we were the only part of travel that was actually financially protected under law.

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Essential to cut costs to hibernation levels’ — Martin Skelly A

s a travel agent I feel a bit like “Cannon Fodder” in the battle against COVID-19. I have a sense that the “Generals” give little thought to our worth or indeed our very existence. We, as a group, cannot not simply “go over the top” and take what’s fired at us and hope we will be one of the lucky ones and survive. We need to: 1. Harvest the strength in our own numbers so that we can prevent a united defence. 2. Regroup and prepare for the inevitable end of this Pandemic.


or the first point above the ITAA are engaging on our behalf and like our Health Service they have called in additional sup-

port. Pat Dawson and the team are proactively engaging constantly on our behalf with both government agencies and ECTAA as well as our suppliers. It is going to be difficult to make the “Generals” see everything from our point of view but at least some of them are listening to us. Some are acting like we are on opposing sides.

Listen to the advice of the ITAA and engage with the CAR and your bond providers. The benefits of Worldchoice are especially apparent as Carolanne O’Neill keeps us informed of supplier developments and chairs regular forums where we can share ideas.


he second challenge is redoing what we did after 9 11. Carve out your own niche. The first part of that is to stay in business so cost cutting to almost hibernation levels is essential. I know every fellow agent I have spoken to has already acted and our staff have been hugely cooperative. The state subsidies are essential for us. Managing cash flow will be crucial for all of us. Take some time to access what parts of the business are not profitable for us, and I suspect that many of us will have different thoughts on this. Be positive and be confident, it’s infectious. We, the travel industry, have huge talent and a very positive contribution to make to our customers.

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘Most customers are rebooking for future dates’ — Mary Denton O




ur business like everyone else’s fell off the side of a cliff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. While our bookings plunged , we also had to focus on the immediate challenges that our business was facing. Our customer service demands reached an all time high so it was a case of all hands on deck to rise to that challenge.

ight now we are still managing bookings that are due to travel in the next couple of weeks, but I am pleased to say that most customers are rebooking for future dates. We know agents are experiencing issues with collecting balances from their clients, so where possible we are pushing the dates out on balance collections. I would remind agents to log on and check their bookings on the agent portal and contact us if they have any issues

e are using this crisis as an opportunity to significantly improve our product for our customers and trade partners, so that when we come out of this crisis we come out with a much better supply base . We are expecting a couple of months of disruptions so surviving with a better product that’s really what we want. We will continue to invest in our technology as that is key to survival e have responded to the plunging demand in new business by trimming and managing our costs. We are pulling back in areas that we can with the support of our partners. Our staff are remote working which is very new to some of them but they are embracing it with video calls. Unfortunately, we did have to lay off some staff temporarily which is the awful thing about this situation. Our industry will come back from these extremely turbulent times

Atlantic Travel in Donegal

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An bearna baoil: Surviving the Crisis

‘We are all paying the price for false economy’ — Tony Brazil T

his is the worst event in my 50 years in the travel business. Irish people have a unique survival instinct as our Christian heritage serves us well. The tradition of meitheal is alive and well. If the travel trade is to survive it will need immediate state assistance to kick-start activity. A one year derogation from VAT would give trade an opportunity to get back into business with competitive prices. This would mean the State foregoing the VAT revenue for a limited time but without having to give out immediate financial help.


ost of the summer bookings on both outward and a inward business have now been lost. Government obsession with following EU rules must be relaxed. EU States have been given clearance to abandon State aid rules.

Pausing EU directive on travel is now possible, yet our Department has not acted. Many Travel Companies will have acute cash flow problems when business restarts. If the trade is to survive Banks, IATA, Commission for Aviation Regulation and Government must all a be aware of the fragility of the situation and act accordingly.


n the airline front Ryanair have been helpful on advice regarding refunds and cancellations but Aer Lingus most un co-operative on both. Having out-sourced these functions to the Far East we are all paying a hefty price for this false economy on Aer Lingus’ part. If everyone pulls together we will succeed.

Empty aircraft

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Just back from:


Business Class cabin on the Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Michelle Hanley and Niamh Ryan onboard the Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Dublin Airport

Business Class cabin on the Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Etihad’s B787-9 to Abu Dhabi


he first thing you notice is the humidity. The B787-9 Dreamliner air is less dry than we are used to on our long haul flights. Then there is the quieter hum, the lack of noise, the lower seats, the sense that going backward is not an issue, the

fact that windows can tint, the extra storage, the strong table, and the hook for a coat. The 1-2-1 configuration means there is aisle access to all business class seats Dinner menu was chicken in honey mustard sauce with potato mash, parsnip and green

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

beans, braised beef with bread dumplings, red cabbage and green peas and penne pasta with puttanesca sauce, olives and cheddar. Average flight time to Abu Dhabi is 7 hours and 50 minutes for the 5,948km. At Abu Dhabi the Dublin flights use Terminal 3 which is gener-

ally regarded by those who shop as better for duty free. The Dublin flight will occasionally fly from terminal 1. Etihad flies 11 times weekly to Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi midfield terminal, designed to serve 84m passengers a year, is set to open this summer.

Business Class cabin on the Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Steven Pierce and Karen Maloney of Etihad updating the media on Etihad in the economy class cabin

The economy cabin on the Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner

MAY 2020 PAGE 24



o wonder it takes a while to get the head around Colombia. It is a head of a country itself, atop South America, albeit a head in two minds. It faces both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. You have to go inland to find the capital Bogota, a heaving city of 10m with rambling suburbs, and Medellin where Irish aviators have based their new operation, low cost conquistadors of the sky. Our base was Cali, a hillside city with steep streets near mountains known as Farallones de Cali. Someone erected Cali’s own Christ the Redeemer statue on one of them, where tourists take endless Messianic selfies. There is, a series of cat sculptures, part of a regenerative effort on the banks of the hopelessly polluted Cauca River, and here we stopped to taste Sergio Flores’s magnificent sugar cane, crushed at his stall, and pouring out its heavenly juice. The houses were painted brightly, with murals of faces and flowers layered in blue and green and red. Outside, groups of men laughed as they played la duelo, the ubiquitous board game. The streets were so steep the bus driver cursed at the turns and junctions. Children

Birdsong & Salsa

Eoghan Corry on Colombia’s Pacific Coast Tropical swim in Uramba park, Colombia

smiled and waved. My hotel, Cali San Antonio, was unremarkable from the outside, as you entered a small latch-entrance beside the garage door for attendant vehicles, but a brisk skip up the steps brought you to a handsome faux-colonial courtyard. Even inside here the birdsong was sonorous and serene. Eggs for breakfast with an orchestra.


aybe the birds were on to something. Cali is one of those cities, like New Orleans or Hei-

delberg, that comes with a soundtrack. Salsa, haunting and vibrant, defines people’s lives here. Children grow up with the rhythm in their feet and elderly couples come to bars like Calle de la Escopeta to dance their afternoons away. Some of the young performers got to dance with Jennifer Lopez at half time during the Superbowl. New York claims to have invented salsa. Cali owns it. There are two salsa museums, paying homage to the Colombian, Venezuelan, Cuban,

Puerto Rican and other performers who all came to pay homage here. In the heart of the city is a splendid oversized trumpet artwork dedicated to Jairo Varela and his troupe, Grupo Niche. Their song, Cali Pachanguero, is the unofficial anthem of the city. Good dancers can compete, hone their skills

to impress the girls/boys in the string of nightclubs in the Menga district, and even earn a living. Tourists who came to dance, like Susanna Salo from Narva near Tampere in Finland, sometimes end up staying. She now runs her own dance tours, Operador Ritmos de Colombia, for the nimble-toed inbound.

We attended one of the city’s three breath taking salsa cabaret shows, Mulato cabaret. The evening started with a straightforward couple-up dance straight out of ballroom of romance, salsa set after salsa set, with the club’s lavishly overdressed professional dancers taking shy females to the floor. Then, the rumble of


n Colombia has six main natural regions, the Amazon Rainforest, the Pacific coast, the Andes Mountain range, the Caribbean coast, the Llanos, and the internal region. n It has the widest range of birdlife on earth. n it is second only to Brazil in biodiversity. n Approximately 10pc of the species found on earth can be found in Colombia. n There are 60 protected areas and national parks in Colombia.

Javier Quintero of Wounaan indiegenous community, Sergio Florez at his sugar cane stall, tropical swim by Cesar Gonzalez of Destinas Mundiales Ecuador, Monique Benoit of Travel & Culture USA, Rafael Avilarino of Flot Brazil, Rafael Goettems of Orion Operadora Brasil, Mateo Tofurt of Pacifico Tourism Colombia, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra Ireland, Lota Murgia of Vila Reizen Hollanda, Jennifer Vergara of Panama Travel NBS, Carlos Alonso of Titan Travel Espagna and Marco Guerra of Gestur Republicana Dominicana, Tres Marías Tour, view to the beach

MAY 2020 PAGE 25


samba, and the show. We watched guys in spangly clothes and broad hats toss their lady partners in the air with the nonchalance of a baton twirler, not a step out of place. On the way home we passed Piscinas Bernardo Hernando O’Byrne, after the swimming official who brought the sport to Colombia, his aquatic inclination honed, no doubt, by ancestors in Lough Dan. And the Pacific is only 100km to the east.


e went to see for ourselves, a party of 13 hosted tour operators from seven countries who were attending Colombia Travel Mart. Our transport meandered through the Western Cordillera, to the port city of Buenaventura on the Colombian Pacific coast. The pier is where we departed by boat to Ladrilleros, a peninsula rather than an island, but inaccessible by road. Smiling gentlemen hawked sunglasses and hats as we boarded, each over burdened suitcase threatening to topple the boat into the drink. And then, motor alight, we set off at full speed, past cliffs with terraces of seabirds competing for another half centimetre of webbed foot space. This is not your white

Salsa in Cali sand dream destination. Anything but. The beaches have brown sand and a ring of palm trees that are functional rather than decorative. Instead it offers something richer and more magnificent. It is brimming with chatter and authenticity and the backdrop filled with the birdsong for which Colombia is famous. For Irish of a certain generation, for whom “bird watching in Colombia” is a watchword for political intrigue, it is still surprising to learn that Colombia has more bird species than any other country on the planet. That deserves a chirrup. No other country of the 200 on the map has as many birds to watch as Colombia. Explains a lot.


he Hotel Reserva Aguamarina, our base, was reached by bumpy ride along a dirt road, with the plays and dramas of local life continuing as normal around us. The excursions from here were into Las Sierpes Waterfalls, the Tres Marías, the lapping Chucheros Beach, the indigenous community of Wounaan where Javier Quintero showed us the bowls fashioned by the indigenous community, and sumptuous sessions sampling native foods and drinks, borojo fruit and potent Viche. When Europeans arrived here five centuries ago they found Colombians have a richer and more varied diet than anything found at home.

n Eoghan Corry travelled to Colombia s a guest of Procolomobia/Colombia Tourism. He travelled with Lufthansa via Frankfurt to Bogota and on to Cali.

Rafael Avilarino of Flot Brazil takes a photograph on the Tres Marías Tour

As an Irish potato aficionado, it was not lost on me that the ancestor of our beloved crop came from near here, a bird flight to the south in Peru. And even today, you can find a kaleidoscope of tastes and flavours that turn tourism back into the adventure it should always be.


his being Colombia, the area comes with a whole new set of birdlife and birdsong, and its own music, Vallenato. John Janio Alvarez brought us on a walking tour of Uramba park, lush and green and muddy where the rain has splashed, as it does for 265 days a year. Here, almost under


irst-time visitor favourite in Colombia is the city of Cartagena, scene of one of the most magnificent sieges in history in 1741. The English arrived here with a huge army and specially manufactured ladders that were impressive, but ten feet too short, which meant that when they tried to scale the walls they were picked off like peces en barril by the bemused and outnumbered Spanish defenders. The scale of the defeat was catastrophic for the English. They lost 90pc

rescue an injured iguana, climb the cliff and release him back to where he came from. Nature is not a backdrop in Pacifico, it is the centre stage, and tourism is the backdrop. There are 65 different species of plants per hectare, Jose told us, by now bringing us on a clifftop path through dense greenery, the waves and ocean peeping through the forest intermittently as we navigated the gaps in the undergrowth he had fashioned with his machete.

the equator, where the Pacific winds make landfall, there is lots of water. Some countries have a rainy season. The Pacific region of Colombia has two, from March to May and from October to November. In between the rainy seasons, there is more rain.


ose Amuri Lopez brought us on a beach walk, where it rained like the special effects department were on call. He walked us along rocky ledges where the ocean splashed our toes, into caves with narrow gaps that tested whether our appetites had outstretched our waist lines, and stopped, casually, to

Walls of Cartagena of their troops and had spent two years entire treasury income on the campaign. The Americans they recruited to help, including George Washington’s brother, resented the incompetence and the fact that just 300 of


t the end of the Tres Marías Tour there are five freshwater natural pools that drop like weir stoppers until the last of them reaches the sea. Our cacophony of giddy tour operators slid through them on their bottoms, and finally reach the last, closest to the sea. Here is a small and deep hole, where you dive and exit, underwater, downwashed leaves and shafts of sunlight, the blue swirling around you until you emerge to the surface of the water, breathless and blink eyed. It merited a round of applause. From the birds. But they had seen it all before.

their party of 3,600 made it home. The quest for American freedom of 1776 was fashioned at Cartagena 34 years earlier. The walls are still there. No need to bring a ladder nowadays.

MAY 2020 PAGE 26

AFLOAT IRISH Ferries say they hope to maintain its schedule over the coming weeks for essential travel and freight. Customers with bookings up to 31 May can amend their booking to a later travel date anytime up to 18 December 2020 with no amendment fees. Fare difference will apply where applicable. Customers who wish to cancel their booking for travel up to May 31 can do so, and any applicable cancellation fee due will be refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference for use on a future booking for travel up to the end of 2021 on either the Ireland France or Irish Sea routes. n Ireland – France Route n Fare with Flexilibity Option Up to 42 days before travel - 100pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking 41 – 21 days before travel - 75pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking + 25pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference 20 – 4 days before travel - 25pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking + 75pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference 0 – 3 days before travel - 10pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking + 90pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference n Standard Fare Up to 42 days before travel -€100 deposit cancellation charge refunded as a credit to your Irish Ferries account. No outstanding balance due. 41 – 21 days before travel - 50pc refund to card used for booking + 50pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference. 20 – 0 days before travel - 100pc fare cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference n Ireland – Britain Routes n Fare with Flexilibity Option Up to 42 days before travel - 100pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking 41 – 21 days before travel - 75pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking + 25pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference 20 – 4 days before travel - 25pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking + 75pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference 0 – 3 days before travel - 10pc less flexibility option fee refunded to card used for booking + 90pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference n Standard Fare Up to 42 days before travel - 75pc refund to card used for booking + 25pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference 41 – 21 days before travel - 50pc refund to card used for booking + 50pc cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference 20 – 0 days before travel - 100pc fare cancellation charge refunded as a credit linked to the original booking reference

Dublin is to serve as homeport for Celebrity cruises in 2020

NOT ready to sail Cruise lines delay returns to sea as crisis deepens


ruise lines have delayed the resumption of sailings as border closures shut off access to ports around the world. Most cruise lines have changed their booking policies to allow changes and cancellations, Norwegian offer the longest windows, offering cancellations up to 48 hours before sailing is due to commence until Sept 30, Royal Caribbean until Sept 1, MSC until July 31 and Princess until May 31. The resumption dates as we go to press are: n A-ROSA: April 15 n AIDA: May 1 n Amadeus: April 15 n AmaWaterways: May 31 n Avalon : July 1


n Azamara: May 12 n Blue Lagoon: May 31 n Carnival: May 11 n Celebrity: May 12 n Celestyal: May 1 n Costa: May 1 n CroisiEurope: April 130 n CMV: May 24 n Crystal Rivercruises: April 11 n Crystal Ocean: May 3, n Cunard Line: May 15 n Disney Cruise Line: April 28 n Emerald :June 30 n Fred Olsen: May 23 n Hapag-Lloyd: May 9 n Holland America Line: April 14 n Hurtigruten Coastal April 19, n Hurtigruten Exped April 29 n Majestic Line: May 30 n Marella: April 17 n MSC: May 29 n Norwegian: May 11

n Oceania: May11 n P&O: May 15 n Paul Gauguin: May 7 n Ponant: May 8 n Poseidon: May 1 n Princess: May 10 n Regent Seven Seas: May 11 n Riviera Travel April 24 n Royal Caribbean: May 12 n Saga: May 1 n Scenic: June 30 n Seabourn: May 14 n Silversea: May 13 n Star Clippers: May 2 n Tauck: April 14 n Titan May 1 n TUI: May 2 n UnCruise Adventures: May 8 n Uniworld: April 23 n Viking: June 30 n Virgin Voyages: July 15 n Windstar: April 30


arnival Cruise Line is delaying the debut of Carnival Radiance until November 2020. The ship, which is in dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, is undergoing a $200m refurbishment, transforming Carnival Victory into Carnival Radiance. A Carnival spokesman

said in a statement: “Because of the lockdown in Spain, we have suspended the transformation of Carnival Victory to Carnival Radiance and will determine a new timeline at a later date.” The Radiance will be the third ship Carnival has completely revamped -- and renamed -- joining

Carnival Sunshine (formerly Carnival Conquest) and Carnival Sunrise (Carnival Triumph). When the ship emerges from the shipyard, it will have two waterslides, a ropes course, six new specialty restaurants and faster Wi-Fi. Shipyard delays have prompted several postponements of scheduled

refurbishments and newbuilds across the cruise industry. Royal Caribbean say that it was delaying scheduled refurbishments on two of its ships: Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas. Carniv

MAY 2020 PAGE 27


Stateroom on the Celebrity Apex

Virtual handover

Socially distanced Celebrity Apex on course for May


elebrity Cruises Executives accepted official command of Celebrity Apex, via video conference with officials from Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard. Celebrity Cruises CEO and parttime Cork resident Lisa Lutoff Perlo, said “while the circumstances are quite unique right now, it’s fitting that such an innovative ship as Celebrity Apex would have a digital-age delivery.” “I look forward to calmer waters when we can welcome guests aboard

the newest addition to our fleet. I have great anticipation for her first sailing out of Barcelona on May 20th.” Among Apex innovations will be a movable deck cantilevered off the side of the ship, known as “the Magic Carpet”; cabins with “infinite” balconies designed to blend indoors and outdoors with frosted bi-fold doors and retractable windows; and a Resort Deck, which features a large pool flanked by sculptural trees and two “Martini glass” Jacuzzis that overlook the deck below.

New menu items have been created for Raw on 5, Magic Carpet, Fine Cut Steakhouse, Rooftop Garden Grill, and the four Main Restaurants: Cosmopolitan, Cyprus, Normandie and Tuscan. As on Edge, the line has done away with a single main dining room and opted for the four MDRs, all serving broadly the same menu but with regional dishes. The quirky “Le Petit Chef”, which includes animation, also has a different menu, reflecting the seasons.



rincess Cruises has put its newest ship on sale. The 3,660-passenger Discovery Princess is scheduled to launch on November 3, 2021 sailing on a series of European voyages. She will be a sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess, Sky Princess (joining the fleet later this month) and Enchanted Princess (joining the fleet June 2020 and launching in Southampton). Her inaugural voyage is a seven-day Mediterranean and Aegean

cruise from Rome to Athens on November 3, 2021. It can be combined with the subsequent seven-day Athens to Barcelona voyage to form a 14-day Adriatic & Aegean Medley sailing. After a short season in the Mediterranean with departures from Barcelona, Rome and Athens, the ship will head to Fort Lauderdale for a series of roundtrip cruises to the Caribbean. This will be followed by several voyages around South America from Buenos Aires, Santiago and

Fort Lauderdale, as well as Mexico and the California coast from Los Angeles. The guest ship’s maiden season is available to book from October 8, 2019. Construction of the 143,700-tonne Discovery Princess will take place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The ship will feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s existing fleet and will be the third purpose-built ‘MedallionClass’ vessel to join the fleet.



&O’s Iona is to be delayed as a result of a slow down in construction of the 5,200 passenger vessel at the at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, where the final stages of the ship’s build is taking place. P&O’s Paul Ludlow said in a

statement: “In addition [to the extended pause in operations], the restrictions have forced the temporary slow down of work by Meyer Werft in Germany, where the final outfitting on new ship Iona is being completed. We are working with the team at the shipyard to see exactly

how this will impact upon Iona’s delivery. We are all so sorry for the disappointment this will cause to those guests who had booked Iona’s maiden voyage.” Iona’s maiden voyage was due to depart Southampton on May 14 on a nine-night Norwegian fjords cruise.

Line says it will continue to operate its UK and Ireland sailing schedules as normal,. Stephen Bryden of Stena Line says: “given the now daily changes in prevailing circumstances and Government advice, sailing schedules are naturally under constant review. In the last few weeks Stena Line’s European business has been impacted significantly by COVID-19, but despite crippling trading circumstances, the biggest ferry company in Europe remains resolute in its determination to keep services going in strict adherence to Government guidelines on travel, as well as the very latest medical advice on helping to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Stena Line is asking customers to adhere to Government travel guidelines and the firm has put a host of measures in place to keep its customers and employees safe when travelling on its vessels. To assist passengers, Stena Line has also committed to waiving amendment fees for all travel bookings, until 30th April 2020.”

BRITTANY Ferries is to cease its weekly rotation connecting Roscoff in France with Rosslare in Ireland. Kerry will however continue two rotations per week, carrying freight between Rosslare and Bilbao in Spain. From Brittany ferries: We are systematically contacting all affected customers by telephone, email and SMS but there is enormous pressure on our contact centre staff. The speed of response may not be up to its usual standard for which Brittany Ferries apologises in advance. Passengers are being asked not to contact us by telephone but to visit the website HAL Bookings have opened for Holland

America’s new Ryndam cruise ship, currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy to join the fleet in May 2021.

AMADEUS River Cruises will build a new riverboat set to debut in 2021 along the Danube and the Rhine in Europe.

MSC Cruises introduced custom, accessible shore excursions designed for passengers with all types of mobility in 20 destinations including 11 ports in the Caribbean and nine ports to come in the Mediterranean.

CELEBRITY Cruises cut steel on the third of its Edge-class ships at a ceremony in France with Celebrity’s president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s chairman and CEO Richard Fain CMV acquired Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria from P&O Cruises Australia.

CRYSTAL Cruises released a new selfnamed phone app giving passengers the opportunity to explore itineraries pre-cruise or check out onboard activities once on their ship. HAL Holland America Line laid the keel

for their next new cruise ship, Ryndam, at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Venice


Cruise Lines is to introduce dedicated whale-watching cruises.

AMSTERDAM’s decision to impose a tax just on cruise passengers led to a 40pc reduction in calls to the city in 2019.

MAY 2020 PAGE 28

THE FLYING COLUMN AI320 European regulators have approved

an interior modification for A320-family jets which enables seats to be converted into cargo-transport facilities, after an accelerated development effort in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The cargo seat-bag configuration has been developed by Baltic parts firm Colibri Aero and design specialist J&C Aero and is intended for commercial and humanitarian supply transport. It comprises a kit for a triple-seat block enabling up to 75 kg of cargo to be stored on the seat as well as another 9 kg beneath it more than 250kg for each block.

DUBLIN BUS cancelled 747 and 767 airport services. Other services are being reduced to about Saturday frequencies.

NORWEGIAN has re-registered a

second Boeing 737-8 MAX Aircraft stored at Dublin, EI-FYH Boeing 737-8 MAX MSN 64992 as SE-RYH. The aircraft was positioned from west apron parking area to Aer Lingus Hangar 6 for the re-registration.

Grounded aircraft

The grim reaper

EASTERN is planning a Dublin-Southampton route when Covid passes, to replace the Flybe service on the route.

AIR FRANCE is to get €4bn in loans guaranteed by French government and KLM €2bn guaranteed by Netherlands.

LAUDA has taken delivery of its 27th Airbus A320-200 MSN 3613 registered as OELMP and formerly operated by IndiGo Airlines as VT-WAH.

AIR BALTIC will be an all-Airbus A220 operator when it resumes operations, having made the decision to remove its De Havilland Canada Dash 8s and Boeing 737s from service early as a result of the crisis.

LOGANAIR Nicola Sturgeon has pledged that the Scottish Government will do all it can to support Loganair. AIRBUS is grappling with labour and

supply chain shortages and may only be able to restore aircraft production to some 10-20pc of normal levels f because of partial shutdowns.

AUSTRALIA The chairman of the

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has publicly lent his support to Virgin Australia, which is seeking a bailout to survive the coronavirus downturn. “We desperately need two full-service airlines when this is over. Whatever the government does is fine by me.” Qantas has hit back with a “well-placed source” telling the government that, if its rival were to be bailed out, the carrier would insist on a $4.2 bn loan to “level the playing field”.

QANTAS says pilots had voted in fa-

vour of a pay deal that would pave the way for non-stop commercial flights Sydney-London.

SINGAPORE Airlines is tapping existing investors for up to US$10.4 bn through the sale of shares and convertible bonds.

FRANCE’s tax deferrals for airlines won EU approval, the first state subsidies for carriers to be cleared under looser EU rules to help companies survive the coronavirus downturn.


IATA predicts demise of hundreds of airlines

ATA says heir most recent analysis shows that airlines may burn through $61 billion of their cash reserves during the second quarter ending 30 June 2020. This includes $35 billion in sold-but-unused tickets as a result of massive flight cancellations owing to government-imposed travel restrictions. The aviation body said just 30 airlines of 700 worldwide ere likely to survive if there was not significant government intervention, something that has already happened. The US Senate approved a €54 bailout for the US. aviation industry

on March 25, a day before Singapore Airlines received a €1.2bn lifeline. Lufthansa secured emergency funding with an 80pc state guarantee. n Air France is to get €4bn in loans guaranteed by French government and KLM €2bn guaranteed by Netherlands. n Alitalia was renationalised by the Italian government in a package worth €500m. n Norway gave a credit guarantee of €250m to Norwegian and €135m to SAS. n New Zealand gave a €451m loan guarantee to Air New Zealand.

n Finland gave a €600m loan to Finnair. n Iceland paid €663k to Icelandair. Global air passenger traffic for February showed that demand fell 14.pc from a year. Even before the March decline this was the steepest decline in traffic since 9/11 and reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, the worst outcome since the 2003 SARS outbreak and a reversal from the 2.6pc traffic increase recorded in January.



at Byrne, who founded CityJet in 1993 says that the regional jet is going to come into a golden period when aviation returns,. “When the industry gets going again, it’s highly likely that cost is going to be the key focus in the bigger airlines. “Why put on an Airbus A320 or a Boeing 737 when you could use a CRJ900 with a very low footprint and a very low fuel burn?” CityJet have laid off most of their 1,200 staff temporarily and say Deloitte has been providing business advice to the car-

rier as the pandemic cripples air traffic. CityJet operates a fleet of 34 aircraft, including 28 CRJ900 jets and eight Avro RJ85s. Rather than operate scheduled flights under its own name, it offers ACMI and wet lease services for such as Air France-KLM, SAS and Aer Lingus, providing aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance. Deloitte are just making sure that we have all of the information that we need, giving us a lot of advice and guiding us on negotiations. “We have been looking at all options, working with

stakeholders, our customers and our shareholder.” “We have had really good support from some of our key customers. They are suffering as well, but we have a common interest in each of us surviving. Our customers will need us to re-emerge.” “We have had to absolutely cut our costs to the bone. With huge sacrifice by staff, we’ve absolutely managed to minimise our costs in all areas.” “The potential will still exist post-crisis for CityJet’s business model. Our collaboration with our key customers is all about the fact that they will still need

a regional network for their operations and we’ve invested massively over the last number of years in building infrastructure, especially in Scandinavia. “It is a very complex network that we operate. I believe that our customers absolutely need us to re-emerge when things get going again. There will be huge advantages for the last man standing once the aviation sector gets moving again.” The airline is currently majority-owned by leasing specialist Falko, having been divested by Air France in May 2014.

MAY 2020 PAGE 29


Recession lesson P

What aviation can learn from previous crises

arallels between the current crisis and its predecessors have abounded in recent weeks. The last time international aviation came to a halt on this scale was the outbreak of the second world war, in 1931, 1937, 1939 or 1941, according to whichever history you read. Here is a recap of more recent events, and the aviation casualties that resulted:

1973 Aer Lingus was on the cusp of a take-off on trans-Atlantic in 1971 when the B747 came in, but they dipped in the following four years, from 296,000 down to 198,000. They had two 747s and were struggling to fill them then the price of fuel soared in October 1973, as a result of the Yom Kippur war and a Saudi-led oil blockade. The dilemma led to one of tis managers, Tony Ryan, arranging with Air Siam to take one of the 747s for the winter months, in what proved to be his first aviation leasing deal. Antóin Daltún recalls: “one result was that Aer Lingus changed the policy of fuel buying in that, instead of looking for the cheapest fuel, they now looked for the supplier who was most likely to be able to supply. “We sometimes took round trip fuel out of Dublin to places likes Leeds so we could make the return journey. The 737 proved its worth relative to the BAC-111, because the 1-11 had a landing restriction, which meant you could not take round trip fuel. There was a case where one aircraft, for whatever reason, did not have enough fuel to come back. They had to come to Dublin with very little reserve Mick Horgan, who is still alive, the flight operations manager at the time, was chosen to fly it home.” 1986: Ronald Reagan’s bombing of Libya caused a slump in international travel that forced airlines to cut costs. Fáilte Ireland’s Margaret Cahill launched a campaign to save Irish inbound tourism with the unofficial message: “an island off an island off Europe.”

CANADA The Commissioner of Com-

petition in Canada has determined that the proposed takeover of Transat by Air Canada is likely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the provision of air passenger services or vacation packages on 83 routes between Canada and Europe, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Florida and South America;


third of its employees, about 3,500, will be laid off in the coming months

JAPAN Airlines will reduce approximately 85pc of its international services

AUSTRALIA‘s government has offered US$616m aid package to regional airlines in light of the coronavirus.

AIR ASIA Group is weighing options for AirAsia X Malaysia including introducing a financial investor or integrating AirAsia X into the group. ALITALIA may now get US$770m in

Michael O’Leary’s aircraft order for 155 Boeing 7387-800s in 2001 was estimated at a third of list price RTÉ radio interview stating how 1991 The first Gulf war in grim the situation was, he was surJanuary and February decimated prised to listen to Michael O’Leary, trans-Atlantic bookings forcing the on the same programme the followclosure of Air Europe and the closing day, telling the nation that this est thing America had to a national was one of the biggest opportunities airline, Pan Am. in aviation. Aer Lingus responded by phasing O’Leary travelled to Seattle to out its fuel-guzzling 747s and using carried off the move that transthe Airbus 330 on trans-Atlantic formed his modest sized airline. from 1994, the first airline to do so. He ordered 155 B737-800 at an The previously loss-making new estimated third of the list price, to be delivered between 2002 and 2010. Ryanair phased out its BAC-111,’s to become a one aircraft fleet. Aer Lingus moved to match its unit costs and became an all Airbus fleet within four years. Irish airlines Skynet, Eujet and Eirjet failed in 2004, 2005 and 2006, having never recovered from the crisis. Tony Ryan: crisis of 1973 sparked off his instinct for aircraft leasing airline, Ryanair cut air fares on the London run to £69 return, carried 700,000 passengers and made its first profit.

2001 9/11 killed off demand for international aviation for a six month period and caused the closure of TWA, Sabena and Swissair. Six months earlier, Ireland had hit by another blow, the foot and mouth travel ban. Aer Lingus, under Willie Walsh, remodelled their business to become a low cost airline, facing off the trade unions to cut staff. Walsh recalls, having done an

state aid, as part of its nationalisation, which includes maintaining employment levels and absorbing the employees of other liquidated companies - like Air Italy.

UNITED Airlines says its revenue is

down by over US$100m a day as planes fly with around just 15pc of seats filled. Should aircraft be retired as a result, the B757s and B767s would be first to go, and some A320s.

JETBLUE is cutting its roughly 200

daily flights in the New York metropolitan area by 80pc to 40 a day.

FRONTIER Airlines is cutting more

than 90pc of flight capacity nationwide in Apr20. The carrier is hoping to gradually add back service starting in May.

AIR CANADA announced it will

slash capacity by 85-90pc and furlough 16,500 employees. This will include 15,200 of its unionised workforce moving to “Off Duty Status”, while another 1,300 managers will face a furlough.

Airlines, which is part 2008 the Global Financial Crisis BRUSSELS of Lufthansa Group, which is in talks with the

forced the closure of Flyglobespan, XL, Malev and tour operator Budget travel. Aer Lingus withdrew its long haul services to San Francisco, Los Angeles, BMI, Orlando and Dubai and consolidate short haul services. It was five years before they returned to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orlando. Ryanair cut capacity and parked up aircraft in the winter months and slashed access to and from Ireland in response to a government tax. The appetite for low cost travel and the closure of competitors enabled Ryanair to thrive through the recession mainly at the expense of legacy flag airlines, growing by 12pc, 11p, 5pc, 4pc and, 2pc, and 5pc during the years 2009-14.

government about support, may be renationalised to meet its urgent need of US$219m in liquid assets, which could increase to $318m under a necessary recapitalisation

LATAM will only operate 5pc of its regularly scheduled passenger flights in April 2020 AMERICAN Airlines plans to sunset a batch of 76 B737s it acquired between 1999 and 2001, nine A330-300s and 20 E190s, as it accelerates its retirements. QATAR Airways plans a temporary

reduction of 40pc of staff at Doha Airport. It is soon to ground 90pc of its fleet, up from the estimated 75pc, as demand continues to fall.

UKRAINE International Airlines president Yevhenii Dykhne said the carrier is asking for a concessional loan from a state bank.

MAY 2020 PAGE 30

THE FLYING COLUMN LOGANAIR Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles said any airline saying it could survive without government help “would probably be lying”.

EASYJET furlough arrangements for cabin crew mean that crew will be paid 80pc of their average pay through the Government job retention scheme”.

VIRGIN Atlantic’s quest for a state bailout from the Westminster government has been backed by Airbus and Rolls-Royce as well as Heathrow all lobbying the government. ITALY’s Supreme Court has accepted an

appeal by Last Minute owner LM Group that Ryanair cannot prevent it from displaying and intermediating its flights

GROUND HANDLERS Swissport, WFS, Dnata and Menzies, the four companies which manage most ground operations at English airports may not be able to continue operating for more than a few weeks, with some 25,000 jobs under threat have called for urgent assistance from Westminster. EU Commission launched an investigation

in 2013 into marketing schemes offered to airlines operating at Girona-Costa Brava and Reus airports, about 120km from Barcelona. Spanish public authorities subsequently offered the carriers additional marketing deals, which will be included in the ongoing investigation.

SAA South African Airways’ Board of Directors said the airline has adopted a resolution to place the company into “business rescue” at the earliest opportunity. A specialist practitioner will take control of the company and a disorderly collapse of the airline.

BRUSSELS Airlines named CFO

Dieter Vranckx as its next CEO, after Christina Foerster left to take up a management post.

DRONE delivery company Manna has raised $3m in a seed round that is expected to support the company’s commercial growth. The new funding brings its total to date to $5.2m in seed funding. The funding round was led by Dynamo VC, a logistics-focused fund. The firm will offer a delivery service via drones to restaurants and takeaways, and is planning to begin service in APRIL 2020

AMEDEO (Ireland), specialising in A380 leasing, appointed Gabriella Lapidus to EVP and Head of Sales

SILVERSTONE Air Kenya risks losing its DHC8 fleet, as lessor Elix Aviation Capital Ireland is keen on recovering the eight aircraft due to a contract breach. It is facing an eminent closure of its operations after it was grounded by the Kenyan CAA

Keeping aircraft and pilots certified will give Ryanair a first mover advantage when flying resumes

The 4 day rule

Ryanair keeps aircraft ready for return to the skies


yanair is keeping pilots and aircraft certified as they ready for a speedy return to the skies. With just 20 aircraft in service, Ryanair is flying aircraft every four days and ensuring pilots do three take offs and landing so that they will not have to retrain at simulators should the near-universal ban o travel be relaxed. S Profit for the year ended March 31 will come in as low as €950m, the bottom end of its previous estimate. “Given the continued uncertainty on the impact and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not possible to give FY21 guidance at this time,” The drop in fuel price could mean that hedging cost €300m in the fiscal year that just ended. Ryanair locked in purchases at prices before the free-fall in crude oil price. Speaking to Travel Extra Michael O’Leary said that he Michael O’Leary says he expects Ryanair end of year results to be down slightly due to Coronavirus, but a bigger hit in the first quarter of the next finan-

cial year. Ryanair makes its entire profit for the year in the first two financial quarters, April-June and July-September, often carrying a loss through the winter. O’Leary said “the second half of March was essentially grounded so there will be a hit of about five million passengers on our end of year results. We were expecting to carry about 12 million passengers in March and it looks like, because we cannot fly, we will carry between six and seven million. So there will be a small hit in March for the year end, and we don’t know what happens after that. “We are currently operating about 20 aircraft, a reduced service schedule between Ireland and Britain, Ireland and Belgium and Ireland and Portugal. It could be one and two flights per route per day. We are operating on the assumption that nothing will fly in April and May. “Italy is recording the smallest number of new infections because they clamped down early. Who knows here, but if you follow the

Chinese precedent Italy will probably sooner than the UK but nobody really knows. “We are doing our utmost to keep the aircraft and the crews current so that if we can go back flying with reasonable speed we are ready to go with some kind of truncated schedule. it depends on which countries will open up. “The Chinese experience suggests flights will start to open after a two to three month period. If we follow the Chinese experience, the airlines are back flying in China again but for the next two weeks it is about a fifty per cent schedule. “We are trying to operate some medical flights for the government at the moment to China. “We are also doing rescue flights for other governments but the number of rescue flights is nearly down to zero. The governments have most people back where they want to be. “We all have to hunker down and see what happens for the next two to four weeks and see what happens.”


Aviation Capital has completed the world’s first operating leases through the Global Aircraft Trading System - GATS. The leases were completed recently with Singapore based LCC, Scoot and Korean based airline, Air Busan. SMBC Aviation Capital expects to sign further GATS leases with additional airlines shortly.

Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair with Johan Lundgren CEO of Easyjet, Carsten Spohr CEO of Lufthansa, Willie Walsh CEO of IAG, Ben Smith CEO of Air France/KLM and Thomas Reynaert of A4E,

MAY 2020 PAGE 31

THE FLYING COLUMN NORWAY’s planned government US$574m credit guarantee for airlines operating under a Norwegian Air Operator Certificate received a green light by the EFTA Surveillance Authority Two Nordic banks have obtained credit committee approval to provide a guarantee for the required 10pc for the first tranche of NOK 300m state aid to Norwegian Air Shuttle. Norwegian will secure the necessary headroom to pursue further guarantees from the Norwegian Government. FLYBE administrators denied opening talks with the Westminster government about nationalising the failed airline. Accountancy firm EY said there are “no discussions” happening after it was reported that they had asked the government to contemplate buying the carrier out of insolvency to serve regional routes.

Aengus Kelly: 1,334 aircraft on Aercap’s books as leasing industry faces demands to reduce rents

A u97bn question C

Airlines seek reductions from Ireland’s lessors

SO published an analysis of Aircraft Leasing in Ireland which predates the crisis. According to the CSO figures, n Assets increased by €96.9 bn since 2009, standing at €140.1 bn in 2018; n China and the US are the two leading sources of aircraft leasing income accounting for 11.2pc and 9.1pc (respectively) of all operational leasing income over the 10-year period; n In 2018 the sector employed 1,971 people, 1,232 men and 739 women, in Ireland, with average earnings of over €207,000. Average earnings for women were €91,000, approx a third of the average for men of €277,000. n Aircraft leasing companies paid more than €2.2 bn in taxes over the 10-year period examined, with €589m the most paid in a single year (2018); n Employment increased by 174pc since 2009. The nature of the publication means that the information is already out of date before it was published. Half of global airlines are seek-

ing rent relief now, according to a note from JP Morgan Chase analysts Jamie Baker and Mark Streeter. They estimate as much as 15pc of revenue could disappear this year either with lessors’ blessings, or because airlines default.” JP Morgan said realisable values of aircraft could decline as much as 40pc due to the crisis, making valuing lessors both more complicated and complex. Avolon CEO, Dómhnal Slattery, announced he was reducing aircraft commitments in the 2020 to 2023 timeframe from 284 aircraft, as at year end, to 165 aircraft “thereby significantly reducing our near-term capital commitments.” “Our strategy has always been to operate our business with strong liquidity, low leverage, broad portfolio diversification and minimal nearterm debt maturities. This means we are well positioned to deal with the challenges presented by the current market environment; support our customers; ensure the

health and well-being of our employees; and protect the long-term interests of our investors and shareholders. Analysts say that Fly Leasing is regarded as most vulnerable of the Irish lessors as it has the oldest fleet and the shortest average lease term remaining. The company has several large clients in Southeast Asia, which are not close to receiving aid. Its fleet is older and the average lease term remaining is low, which is not good in a market with falling demand and focused on more efficient aircraft. AerCap and Air Lease seem better positioned than Fly Leasing to cope with the effects from the coronavirus. The US Airline Share index is about 44pc down on a month ago. The leasing industry has suffered more with AerCap down about 59pc, FLY down about 45pc and Air Lease Corporation (Hazy) down 51pc. Of the major Irish lessors GECAS has 1,700 aircraft, Aercap 1,334, Avolon 525 and Fly Leasing 89.



he Irish Aviation Authority expressed concern about plans by the telecoms regulator to provide extra radio spectrum to mobile telephone and broadband suppliers to cater for the huge increase in demand provoked by the crisis.

The IAA warned ComReg that its proposal for extra temporary spectrum to allow additional capacity on mobile networks poses a threat to their operations. It follows a joint request last month from all three mobile network operators

- Eir, Three and Vodafone - for ComReg to temporarily release extra radio spectrum on the 700MHz and 2.6GHz bands so that it can be used for 4G and other technologies rather than just 3G. The IAA has said it is “greatly concerned” at

the proposed use of the 2.6GHz band because of its proximity to the band used by radars that assist the work of air traffic controllers. The IAA said its radars were critical to the safe and efficient operation of Dublin Airport .

AEROMEXICO is to reduce Apr20 capacity by 60pc for international routes and 50pc for domestic routes. CONDOR is to be taken over by the

German government after an agreement by PGL Aviation Group (Poland) to acquire the carrier is likely to collapse.

AMERICAN Airlines will suspend 60pc of its capacity in Apr20 and is planning to suspend up to 80pc of its capacity in May. GERMAN leisure airline Thomas Cook Aviation filed for bankruptcy. The German airline operates 6 A320 family aircraft for its technical subsidiary Condor, which cancelled contracts that were valid until Dec 31 2021.

AMERICAN Airlines has launched

$16 flights between Miami and Los Angeles to entice travellers, meaning a round-trip of 2,340 miles, taking more than 11 hours, costs $32.

AIR CANADA filed international

service changes for the month of May with no services to Ireland

QATAR Airways will have to seek government support eventually. CEO Akbar alBaker warned that it could soon run out of the cash needed to continue flying. SOUTHWEST Airlines CEO Gary

Kelly said it would be “just impossible” for the carrier to continue operating “if the loads continue where they are today for 12 months. There’s no way we can do that”,

CITYJET’s prospective partner Air Nostrum (Spain) is to temporarily stop flying until further notice due to restrictions on domestic and international mobility a AIR EUROPA (Spain) parent

Globalia is seeking state aid and a loan of US$142m, while the purchase is likely to be delayed as IAG looks to preserve cash.

AIR CORSICA announced plans to

collaborate with Air France in order to maintain territorial connectivity between mainland France and Corsica

TAP Air Portugal announced the suspension of all flights and furloughed 90pc of workforce

EASYJET Switzerland sought state aid.

MAY 2020 PAGE 32


Inside the Travel Business

TRAVELPORT Riona McGrath has

reassured the trade that Travelport’s teams are still all on the ground ready to support where needed and are committed to supporting our customers as best we can. The supplier has launched a microsite offering; The site will include: n Airline Policy tracker: An ongoing update of each new policy by airline to save you having to find information from a number of different sources. n Agency Features: A guide on how to best utilize some of your existing capabilities during this time. n Industry Analysis: We have added new reports, including IATA’s analysis of the impact of previous disease outbreaks like SARS on aviation. Similar materials will be added on a regular basis in the days and weeks ahead. n Customer Service Updates: In order to support the most immediate customer and traveler needs, including servicing passengers traveling within the next 48 hours, the majority of our customer support has moved online. The microsite provides a link to MyTravelport, which will be continuously updated as the situation evolves.

COMMISSION of Aviation regulation has advised travel agents that they can contact them for guidance on bond renewals.

TURKISH Jennifer O’Brien of Travel Counsellors was the inner of the VIP tIckets to the Script with Turkish Airlines. TRAVELISTO An English

travel agency which allows its agents to sell holidays while travelling the world has launched amid the coronavirus crisis., which has joined homeworking group Travel-PA, says its ‘travel designers’ will be “hybrids between enthusiastic influencers and real travel experts”.


has launched a welfare fund as an extension of its existing benevolent fund to help business owners suffering financial stress, part of the TC Support Package to homeworkers, which also includes a dedicated coronavirus information hub, which has been live for over a month, to deliver ‘factual, verified and trusted information’ on the virus’ impact on travel and includes FAQs, the latest airline and cruise updates, supplier policies and booking guides, as well as direct links to the World Health Organisation and country updates.


Group (Germany) received the approval of the German government for a bridging loan of US$2.0 bn from KfW (Germany), which is to be used to increase TUI’s existing credit line with its banks amounting to $1.95bn.

IF ONLY is closing the phone lines of its after-sales and ticketing departments until April 2. IPW US Travel organisers of IPW say

“while IPW is scheduled to open in eight weeks, we advises against delegates taking further steps associated with participation

Former presidents of the ITAA: Con Horgan, Michael Doorley, Tony Brazil, Jim Vaughan, Con Neenan, Fergus Kilkelly. Front row: Clare Dunne, John Spollen, Pat Dawson and PJ Brennan , Below: Michael Doorley photographed in news report in 1983

Michael the 3rd

Third term for Michael Doorley as ITAA president


ichael Doorley, founder of Shandon Travel, will be elected President of the irish Travel Agents Association when the postponed AGM of the Association takes place in June. He has already begun to work with the existing ITAA Board. Emma McHugh of Atlantic Travel and Alan Lynch of Travel Escapes will also be joining the ITAA Board when the AGM is held. Both Emma and Alan have agreed to start their involvement on the board early. JJ ow JJow Tara Travel overstretche d overstretched _itself

The Irish Times (1874-Current File); Jan 11, 1983; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Irish Times (1859-2007) pg. 11

Mary McKenna of Tour America is helping the board and CEO in an advisory capacity during this current COVID-19 crisis. Doorley agreed to take the helm for the third time as the Association approached its fiftieth anniversary. Its was founded in 1970 with Michael Kelly as the first president, succeeding separate previous associates for the Dublin-based and the provincial travel agencies. He was born and reared on a farm outside Roscrea. First job in the Personnel Department of ESB in Fitzwilliam St.

His first travel job in Unitravel in Trinity St, with Harry Sydner as his boss in 1969, a co-operative Tour Operator formed by a group of travel agents. From there he moved to Cork and set up Shandon Travel in 1974, and acquired Don Cullinane’s Beacon Travel in 2007, changing the name back to West Cork Travel. Among 24 brands that he marketed were Sayit Travel to facilitate students as part of the operation and French Holiday Centre. He is the current chair of Worldchoice Ireland group of travel agents.


1970 Michael Kelly 1972 Louis Byrne 1974 Con Neenan 1978 Andrew McKenna 1980 Michael Kelly 1982 Michael Doorley 1984 Jim Loftus 1986 Con Horgan 1988 Eugene Magee 1990 Tony Brazil 1992 Jim Sharkey 1994 Gerry Benson 1996 PJ Brennan

1998 Gerry Benson 2000 Fergus Kilkelly 2002 Tony Brazil 2004 Michael Doorley 2006 James Malone 2008 Jim Vaughan 2010 Pat Dawson 2012 Clare Dunne 2014 Martin Skelly 2016 Cormac Meehan 2018 John Spollen 2020 Michael Doorley

MAY 2020 PAGE 33

Inside the Travel Business


Bond next hurdle


120 agency bonds up for renewal amidst crisis

he Commission of Aviation Regulation have asked for revised projections for the next twelve months, as another round of bonding arises for Irish travel agents. Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association says “we will see exactly what is on offer. You can trade okay, but the question is will you be able to get a license on May 1 and that applies to about 50pc of travel agents and tour operators.” “The good and the bad of this is that the bonds are going to be a lot less. Agents will be putting in a reduced projected turnover for the year ahead, 50pc to 60pc down on turnover in the next twelve months. We anticipate that this will be acceptable under the bonding round.” “if they have a strong balance sheet they may be okay. It will be company by company. You just don’t know what the terms and conditions are for a license until you go seeking it. It is very difficult.“ “There are three ways of bonding, insurance, bank or cash. You go with your business plan and ask if that will stand up t scrutiny. Some agents will need a cash injection. The banks are so cautious they will be a tough nut


Pat Dawson, Commissioner Cathy Mannion and John Spollen.

to crack; And there are issues with credit card companies on the chargeback.” These are big hurdles. April will be a big month in the travel industry. The ITAA have a collective bond with 38 or 39 members, but Dawson says “we are only a phone call away from that being in trouble.” “Even if the Department have listened to the ITAA and the ITAA are speaking on behalf of all agents and tour operators in the country. at the

same time.” `It is one battle after another. It is incredible what is going on. The problem is that it is so slow to get a result. You do not have a fixed goal of a date that this is over. Anyone can guess it but nobody bis sure. Uncertainty is the problem. In projecting turnover, it is like pick a number and hope that you will be lucky. I believe that the Department has listened to us and will go some way in appeasing us.

would give the companies “breathing space to rationalise their affairs and ensure everybody is treated fairly”. The USIT student travel group, employs 149 people. An immediate collapse of new bookings a nd cash flow crisis left USIT unable to pay their debts as they fall due

The directors, David Andrews, Harbour Road, Dalkey, Dublin, Niall McHugh, Wilfield Park, Sandymount, Dublin and Elaine Russell, Knocksinna Park, Foxrock, Dublin, had considered seeking examinership but concluded that was unviable.


n The ITAA suggest that the Government consider bridging loans, relief to business rates, and VAT and PAYE deadline extensions and reliefs. n As the Government has increased unemployment payment for individuals

Industry Golf Society calendar have been postponed. Other dates are now provisional .Postponed: n Thursday 9th April – Portmarnock Links (Dublin) n Thursday 7th May – The Heritage (Killenard) – Overnight Still pending on the programme: n Wednesday 17th Jun – Druids Glen (Wicklow) – Captain’s day n Friday 17th Jul – Castleknock Golf Club (Dublin) – BBQ n Thursday 10th Sep – Royal Dublin (Dublin) – President’s day n Thursday 22nd Oct – The Castle (Dublin)


Lorna O’Brien has been appointed new Business Development Executives joining the head office team in Cork. Lorna has 15 years of experience in the sales and travel industry, including 10 years in Tour America’s Cork branch as a travel consultant and sales team leader, Lorna’s new role will support the company’s growth through the management of new business opportunities.

EUROPCAR The Atlas Travel team

have won Europcar’s €500 One4All booking incentive. The trade campaign which has been running since the middle of January was a huge success with agents from all over the country booking great value car hire on their GDS or via Europcar’s user friendly booking system. Europcar and Worldchoice have signed off on a ‘Preferred Supplier Agreement’ that will give Worldchoice Ireland members access to great value Europcar Public Rates and the very popular new Europcar EP 15 product in over 140 countries worldwide.


USIT CEO Elaine Russell


he ITAA have issued a statement expressing concern that their members could be at risk of going out of business, and are looking for support from the Government during these turbulent times.

start of the crisis. USIT went into liquidation (reported on this page), the second coming of the original student travel body which was founded by Gordon Colleary. The Commission of Aviation Regulation received notice that PJ Gannon’s East West Travel Limited is unable to fulfil its obligations to its customers on March 16. James Malone’s Rathgar Travel had ceased trading at the stat of the month.

TIGS The first two date son the Travel


ven Mr Justice Mark Sanfey expressed nostalgia as he ordered the winding up of USIT Travel. He, like hundreds of thousands of Irish students, had availed of the services of USIT a long time ago. “It is sad it has come to this.” He said appointing provisional liquidators

3 AGENCIES have failed since the

unable to work in isolation, the ITAA are seeking to come to an agreement on a payment equivalent equal to weekly social welfare payments to be made to employers to help businesses to maintain salaries for 6 to 12 weeks.

n Reduction in Commercial Rents by 40pc until the end of the year, as well as a reduction in Commercial Rates by 40pc until year end. n Employers PRSI waiver should be extended until the end of the year.

2020 conference will be rescheduled for the Druids Glen Hotel, Co Wicklow, with a new date to be confirmed shortly, likely to be September. Travel Counsellors Ireland’s 2020 annual conference was due to take place on 26 and 27 March. Travel Counsellors say the postponement will ensure the 84 Travel Counsellors operating across the country can remain readily available for their customers during the Covid-19 public health situation over the coming weeks. The decision is also to assist Travel Counsellors’ supplier partners due to attend the company’s annual conference, enabling them to continue to focus on their work with Travel Counsellors, mutual customers, and their own clients.

WORLDCHOICE conference is

scheduled for November 7.

MAY 2019 PAGE 34


Matriarch of travel and tourism E

ILEEN O’Mara Walsh was at the heart of the action in inbound and outbound tourism over three decades. In the process she headed all the key tourism bodies, she chaired the State’s own hotel chain and was chosen by the Government to head up the first major development body for indigenous industry. Born Limerick to Power O’Mara, War of Independence exile, and English socialist Joan Follwell, her rich childhood was described in a memoir, the third daughter, published in 2015. It describes her family’s fall from middle-class comfort into genteel poverty among the literary, political and theatrical characters of 1950s and 60s Dublin, the reader is offered fascinating glimpses of Brendan Behan, Noel Browne, Micheál Mac Liammóir, Patrick Kavan-

agh, Sean O’Sullivan, Brian Bourke, Camille Souter, Aidan Higgins, Charles Haughey, Dessie O’Malley, Bertie Ahern and Conor Cruise O’Brien. She moved to Paris at 18, and after a return to Dublin, was a travel adviser to Bórd Fáilte in the stirring days of 1968 and was in the French capital when the barricades went up. She was also the Irish franchisee for Club Med. She became known in Ireland principally for the range of industry and government appointments she notched up over the years. She was chairperson of Great Southern Hotels; a director of Aer Lingus; she was at times the president of Incoming Tour Operators Association and headed the Irish end of the international association of travel agents. She founded the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, co-founded Heritage Island,

Eileen O’Mara Walsh with Eoghan O’Mara Walsh and Ruairi Quinn at the launch of the third daughter in 2015. was appointed to the Imple- head Forbairt and promote in- O’Mara Travel which she mentation Steering Group in digenous industry in 1994 and founded in 1978. It specialised relation to the Government’s led the agency for the remain- in France, held the GSA for tourism review in 2003. ing four years. Club Med and was one of the Her profile outside tourism Throughout all of this her first agencies in Ireland to sell grew when she as asked to main business interest was river cruises.

A Kingdom Storyteller of character sun and sky


incent Counihan, who ran a very successful travel agency for many years, was a larger than life personality, even by travel industry standards. Fun-loving, witty and engaging, he operated the business, with his wife Betty, from their premises on High Street. Organising annual pilgrimages to Lourdes was a specialty. The family business, initially run by Cornelius Counihan, was originally a shipping agency, public house and grocery store but it later became one of the main travel companies in the country. A master storyteller


Vincent Counihan with a piece of the Berlin Wall and performer, many will remember his wonderful on stage performance as the Sheik of Araby with the Woodlawn group in the final of Tops of the

Town in the 1970s. He was in Germany for the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and brought home a cherished piece of the rubble.

hose who knew her will miss her laugh. And the keen eye with which Marie Carberry found reasons to laugh in her own family life, most publicly in a column for the Evening Herald, was carried abroad in the years she was a regular contributor to Travel Extra Travel was in her genes. Her grandfather was one of Ireland’s first travel agents, working in Thomas Cook and keeping Michael Collins informed of the comings and goings of key enemy personnel during the War of Independence. Marie Carberry was

Travel Extra contributor Marie Carberry born and raised near Her novel, The ConNewcastle, Co Dublin version of Fergal Mcand came into journalism Fettors, describes the through travel writing, ruction of a young bout eventually securing an to a bereavement, an observational column in equally madcap story the Evening Herald. with a darker dimension.

MAY 2020 PAGE 35


Out and about with the Travel Trade

es of Maureen Ledwith.of Business Exhibitions, Ruben Andrew Lynch an eus and Sharon Menzi d Ciara Mooney of Tra Sean O’Kelly of Amad the Lopez of the SpanishTB and Teresa Murphy of ors, Irish Travel vel Advisfor ht nig appreciation Industry Awards Club Travel, Amadeus Air France/KLM, Limerick Holiday Show trade

Derek Keogh of GTI an d Centres, Poonel event Dominic Burke of Travel at the Iranian embassy

Lee Travel and Nicola Rosemary O’Connell of vel Industry Awards Tra h Iris lit, York of Justsp

John Grehan of G Adventures, Julie Hanna of Cassidy Travel, Carol Sammon of Cassidy Travel, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Brand USA, Chris L. CEO and President of Jenny Rafter Mccann of h Thompson, pictured wit USA event. nd Bra the at Aer Lingus

Tara Marie Grenham of Grenham Travel, Michael Kelly So Povey and Catherine Murphy, Ski and Ro ck ll, January 17 2019 of Keller Travel, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Pat Dawson CEO of the of Cassidy Travel Presid ITAA and John Spollen Scotland rugby match ent of the ITAA. Ireland v at Aviva Stadium

Olwen McKinney of Amadeus and prize winner Thomas O’Donohue of Strand Travel, Travel Partners Group roadshow in Waterford

Tynan of Magic VacaJohn barrett and Paula ry Awards tions, Irish Travel Indust

Goldsmith and Bláithín Sam Rai , Bernadette , Belfast Holliday World da O’Donnell of Air Cana

Natalia Bel of Salou Tourism, David Fond of Catalan tourism and Pere Granados Mayor of Salou, Salou food experience launch in Madrid

Clodagh Dooley, Niamh Thornton, Emirates eve Campbell and Fiona nt for media,

Barry Hammond of Su nw of Travelfinders, Limeri ay and Peter O’Hanlon ck Holiday Show

Brendan Barry of Discover Travel, Irish Travel Industry Awards

vel, Bel-

Maher of JMG Tra David Farren and Tom fast Holliday World

MAY 2020 PAGE 44


Calida, Katerina BomMary Menchon of Costa urism, Belfast Holliday To stein of Gran Canaria World

Niall McDonnell of Cla ssi Sparling of ASM, Travel c Collection and Alan Partners Group roadshow in Waterford

el n Services ireland, No Fia Moore of Destinatio Valerie Wilga of Mald Caffrey of CIE Tours an n showcase atio dron, Visit Derry destin

Maressa McWilliams of De McCormick of Beech Hil rry Airport and Aisling l Hotel, Visit Derry destin ation showcase -

sm or of Portuguese Touri Susana Cardoso Direct Guerreiro of Algarve tia Cá office in Dublin and ustry Awards Tourism, Irish Travel Ind

Colum Lynch of Derry Gu of HiEX and Paul Thom ild Hall, Aoife Thomas as of Millennium Forum Visit Derry destination , showcase

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Philip Airey of Sunway and Yvonne Muldoon of Aer Lingus, Irish Travel Industry Awards

John Spollen of Cassidy Travel President of the ITAA, Bryan Dobson of RTE and Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Julie Greenhill of Philad elphia CVB,, Mary Om of Hayes & Jarvis and an Kristin Skinner of Ameri Holidays, Limerick Ho can liday Show

tnzarote Tourism and Ka Arminda De Leon of La h Iris , sm uri To Canaria erina Bomstein of Gran s Travel Industry Award

Noeleen Lynch of Atlas Travel and Miriam Skelly John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the of Navan Travel, Amad eus appreciation night ITAA, Aidan Coughlan of WTC and Sean O’Kelly the for tra de of Amadeus, Amadeus appreciation night

Lee Osborne of Bookabed and Ken Masterson of Skytours, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Catherine Bowe and Michael Bowe of Michael Bowe Travel

Derek Keogh of GTI and Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Poonel event at the Iranian embassy

n of Vacations,Mary Dento John Barrett of Magic ham of Grenham Travel, en Sunway and Marie Gr ards Irish Travel Industry Aw

Keith Baldrick of Station Walled City Brewery De B&B and James Huey of rry, Visit Derry destinatio showcase n

Sunday Times and Conor McMahon of the event for media, Eoghan Corry, Emirates

MAY 2020 PAGE 45

Out and about with the Travel Trade


of Eliza and Simon Parzuchowski of Not Just Travel Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker an had and John Spollen Shannon O’Dowd of Eti t of the ITAA, Etihad up- with Niamh Crooks of Tour America, at the CLIA Rowe of MSC, at the CLIA Ireland d Suzanne conference en sid Ireland conference Pre vel Cassidy Tra date for the trade

Darran Allen of Etihad, Ma Travel and Barry Barke ureen Delmar of MD r of Dublin Airport, Etiha update for the trade d

Fiona Dobbyn of Classic Resorts pictured with Bran McCarthy of Island Marketing, Emirates industry update for the Irish travel trade

n O’Dowd and Karen Teresa Lambe, Shanno iation of Women Travel Michael English of Celebity Cruises, Darren soc Hutchinson of Strand Travel, Sean Healy of Lee As d, ha Maloney of Eti Travel and Valerie Murphy of Celebrity Cruises s tive ecu Ex

Celebrity Cruises’ Valer ie Tour America’s Mary Mc Murphy pictured with Cruises’ industry upda Kenna at Celebrity te.

n of appy and Mags Carso Peter Whittle of Cruise IA Ireland conference CL All About travel, at the

Teresa Lambe of Etiha d and Aidan Coughlan WTC, Etihad update of for the trade

away Travel and FinPamela Brownlee of Fly , at the CLIA Ireland vel milola Dada of Inteletra conference

Clare Dunne of The Tra vel Taylor of Sunway, Assoc Broker and Jeanette iation of Women Travel Executives

Con Horgan ex Abbey Travel, Gerry Keogh of Dublin Airport and Valerie Metcalfe of FCM at the annual ITAA conference in Cordoba

m Travel and PJ GanPauline Jordan of Platinu, at the Knock airport vel Tra st non of East We event

Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises and Ciara Corcoran of Celtic Horizons, Association of Women Travel Executives

Jo Rzymowska of Celeb Murphy and Michael En rity Cruises with Valerie glish, Celebrity’s Head Business Development of at The Ivy Dublin

Tara Magee of BA with Caitriona Toner and Siobhan Boskett of American Airlines, American Airlines Thanksgiving event

ghan Travel, Lynsey Maria Neary of O’Calla Elaine Sheridan of d Mackay of Topflight an Italy brochure launch t O’Callaghan’s, Topfligh

MAY 2020 PAGE 36


Beverleigh Fly , Lee Os Double award winners h Iris d, be oka Bo of tler borne and Colleen Bu s Travel Industry Award

Caroline Kelly of Travel Sparling of ASM, Travel Creations and Alan Partners Group roadshow in Waterford

of adeus and Polly Bond Claudio Santos of Am appreciation night for s Tour America, Amadeu the trade

Maureen Ledwith, Am eri Crawford, Bladhanna can ambassador Edward Ric ter at the Holiday World hardson and Jenny RafShow Dublin

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Declan Power and Isabel Harrison of Shannon Airport, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Peter Brazil of Limerick Travel, Simon Eaton of TUI and Andrea Holmes of Sunway , Irish Travel Industry Awards

Aoife McLoughlin of Shannon airport and Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus, Limerick Holiday Show

Matthew Lampey of Amadeus and Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances, Amadeus appreciation night for the trade

n of Llinos Roberts and Janette Cridland of Stena, talk and Jane Masterso Josh Crosbie of News Limerick Holiday Show , dia me for nt Emirates, Emirates eve

Fiona Cunningham of To Sweeney travel writer, urismNI and Tom Travel Extra Writer Aw ards

Rita Jasinskiene and Richard Nolan of Clann Hospitality, Limerick Holiday Show

Charlotte Brenner. of TU Cork Airport. Irish Tra I and Brian Gallagher of vel Industry Awards

r dy Travel, Andrea Powe Aime Grainger of Cassi of Princess Cruises. lly Ke of TUI and Rebecca ards Irish Travel Industry Aw

Aaron Wodin-Schwart z of Brand USA pictur ed with Martina Migliarina of Mark O’Malley of Brand United Airlines and USA

Townson of the Travel Brian Hynes and Chris Industry Awards vel Corporation, Irish Tra

Fergus Kilkelly of Robe rt and Joe Gilmore of Ire Kilkelly Travel Castlebar land West Airport, Iris h Travel Industry Award s

l Wood and Carlos Martin Penrose, Rache lidays, Belfast Holliday Nelmes of Emirates Ho World

MAY 2020 PAGE 37


Out and about with the Travel Trade

Ruben Lopez Director of the Spanish Tourist of the Spanish Tourist Ruben Lopez Director d Teresa Gancedo of the Board office in Dublin, John Cassidy of Cassidy an Travel and John Spollen of Cassidy Travel Board office in Dublin at Fitur in Madrid ard Bo st uri To ish Span

Darragh Keamy and JP mer travel editors of the Thompson new and forSunday World, Travel Extra Writer Awards

h Travel

West Airport, Iris Joe Gilmore of Ireland Industry Awards

Kevin Gleeson of Irish Ma chelle Jackson travel wri il on Sunday and Miter, Travel Extra Writer Awards

ana Bermudez of the Sp Paco Gutierrez and An on, Belfast Holliday nd ish Tourist Board in Lo rld Wo

Jim Gallagher, Rebecca phy, Travel Extra Writer Lee and Catherine MurAwards

Anita Thomas and Lorna Weightman, Emirates event for media,

Aime Grainger of Cassi dy Travel and Clodagh Connolly of Corrib Tra vel, Irish Travel Indust ry Awards

an yal Caribbean and Bri Jennifer Callister of Ro , Belfast Holliday World vel Gillespie of Oasis Tra

Deirdre Maher of Tour Ameri Janet Cahill of O’Leary Travel, Niall McDonnell of of Crystal Amadeus appre ca and Orla Markey Classic Collection and Maura Doran of O’Leary ciation night for the trade Travel, Travel Partners Group roadshow

Paul and Lorraine Doherty of Bogside History Tours, Visit Derry destination showcase

e Tourism and Antonio Rocio Naranjo of Sevill smat Fitur in Madrid uri To Martin of Andalusia

Bernie and Dominic Burke of Travel Centres with Sa ra Rivero of the Span Alan Sparling of ASM, Travel Partners Group Natalia Bel of Salou To ish Tourist Board and urism, Irish Travel Ind roadshow in Waterford ustry Awards

Philip Airey of Sunway, Edmund Hourican of Business Exhibitions and Irwin Gill travel counsultant, Poonel event at the Iranian embassy

ia Moncef Battikh of Tunis Jamie Airey of Sunway, ey of Acumen, Holiday ckl Tourism and Trevor Bu World Show

MAY 2020 PAGE 38


Out and about with the Travel Trade

Catherine Grennell Wh ogan Finola Cunningham of the US Embassy and yte of ATTS,Fiona Fitzge Gohop and Martina Co ald of ATTS, Sharon Stephen McKenna of s ard Aw Claire Doherty of The Travel Department with Bershadsky of Israel tou rry ust Ind vel Tra h Iris s, ism line rAir and Nir Evron of Goog of United Tony Lane of Visit USA at the Brand USA event le, El Al event

Celine Buckley of Abbe y Connell and Joanna O’S Group, with Ann McDerry destination showc ullivan of INTO, Visit ase

Dave Cole of Universal and Andrea Hunter of Aer bed and rpize winner LIngus, Irish Travel Industry Awards Lee Osborne of Booka er Travel, Travel Partcov Sinead Hearne of Dis Waterford in ners Group roadshow

e Insurances, Jackie Connie Georgiou and Amanda Middler of SilverCiaran Mulligan of Blu Carol Anne O’Neill of ia, sea, Irish Travel Industry Awards op vel Tra ht Herssons of nig tion cia adeus appre Worldchoice Ireland, Am

Svenja Burmeister of Ca nelly of Irish Golf Tours rr Golf and Ciara Don, Visit Derry destinatio n showcase

d anish Tourist Board an y Borja Bedoya of the Sp lida Ho ck eri ventura, Lim Carlota Farriol of PortA ow Sh

Andrew Kennedy and Ao Visit Derry destination ife Fee of TourismNI, showcase

Con Horgan ex Abbey Travel, Gerry Keogh of Dublin Airport and Valerie Metcalfe of FCM at ITAA Conference

Sarah Coombes, Marie Mc O’Connor of Irish Ferrie Carthy and David s, Belfast Holliday Wo rld

ael Al and Ron Israel of Isr Fiona Fitzgerald of El y Show Tourism, Limerick Holida

Paul Manning of Hertz, Paul Hackett of Jayne O’Shea and No Clickandgo, Dympna Crowley, Brian Nolan, Mary Travel, Limerick Ho rma Hogan of Limerick liday Show Lee Johnston and Sean Healy of Lee Travel

Matthew Lampey of Amadeus and Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances, Amadeus appreciation night for the trade

nnan bott Travel and PJ Bre Des Abbott of Des Ab ry ust Ind vel Tra h Iris A, ex Presdient of the ITA Awards

MAY 2020 PAGE 39


Out and about with the Travel Trade

Declan Power of Shannon airport and Carol Anne Chris O’Sullivan of Fitzpatrick Hotels hu Tours and Lauren Siseko Yelani of Uncut urism, South Africa tour- O’Neill of Worldchoice Ireland, Irish Travel Indus- vana Cross of Las Vegas & NYC & and TryphaCompany, To ica try Awards Limerick Holiday Show Hems of South Afr uary 23 2020 Jan , blin Du in nt eve ism

Jenny Rafter McCann of Aer Lingus pictured with Tryphavana Cross of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority at the Brand USA event

, Lim-

of Limerick Travel Tony and Sheila Brazil erick Holiday Show

Annaleen Stynes of CIE of CIE Tours, Visit De Tours and Dervla O’Neill rry destination showcase

Travel, Jennifer CalGodfrey Lydon of Club and Paul Hackett of an be lister of Royal Carib rld Show Dublin Clickandgo, Holiday Wo

Laura Davies of Bisho psc Creagh of Waterfoot ho ourt Hotel and Amanda tel, Visit Derry destinatio showcase n

Rebecca Kelly of Princess Cruises and Andrea Holmes of Sunway, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Dermot Friel of Friels Aoife Fee of TourismNI, of Mid Ulster and Karen e Swatragh, Mary Mage , Visit Derry destination rry Henderson of Visit De ase wc sho

Siobhan Robbe Smart and Jason Baker of Camino Ways, Walsh Boskett of American Airlines and Dave of Etravel, Irish Tra Belfast Holliday World Round Room, Mansion vel Industry Awards @ House, Dublin,January 23 2020

Martin Skelly of Navan Travel and Jim Vaughan of Justsplit, Amadeus appreciation night for the trade

ne Hotel, Bernadette Emer Corridan Caherna , Brehon Hotel and thy Randles, Sinead Mccar ce s Hotel, at IHF Conferen David Manning, Eccle

Sandra Walsh of Joe Walsh Tours, Maria Murphy Linda Lyn ch of City Hotel and Am y Maguire of of CTM and Angela Walsh of CTM City Hotel, Visit Derry destination showcase

Jose Manuel de Juan of the Spanish Tourist Board New York at Fitur@Madrid, January 23 2020

of the Spanish Tourist Rueben Lopez Director Director of Portuguese so Board, Susana Cardo and Cormac Meehan Tourism office in Dublin

MAY 2020 PAGE 40


a of Costa Sal and Armind Geraldine McFadden Invel Tra h Iris , sm uri To De Leon of Lanzarote dustry Awards

Ann Pye of Irish Ferrie s, Hearne of Discover Tra prize winer Sinead vel and Niall McDonnell Classic Collection, Tra of vel Partners Group

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Bláithín O’Donnell and Bernadette Goldsmith of Air Canada, Limerick Holiday Show

Keith Chuter of British Airways with Jon Woolf of Dublin Airport, Irish Travel Industry Awards

O A, Chris Thompson CE e Maria Branigan of O’Callaghan Travel and GraJosie Self of Brand US rtridg ham Hennessy of DSD Ha ve Ste d an A US and President of Brand Brand USA event of Selling Travel at the

Aileen Eglington of AE consulting and Theresa Aigner of Wilder Kaise r Tourism,

Holidays and Eimear Ray Scully of American on Travel, Amadeus apnn Ha r ea Hannon of Eim trade preciation night for the

Fionnuala Moran, Shau na Devereux, Emirates eve Lindsay and Niamh nt for media,

Clare Dunne of The Tra vel Broker with Declan and Rosemary O’Con ne Travel Industry Award ll of Lee Travel, Irish s

John ll, Leah Whitfield and Brian Young, Tom Be ry ust Ind vel es, Irish Tra Grehan of G Adventur Awards

Chris O’Sullivan of Fit zpa Hughes of United Airline trick Hotels and Brian s,

Maureen Ledwith.of Business Exhibitions, Ruben Lopez of the Spanish Tourist Board and Teresa Murphy of Air France/KLM, Limerick Holiday Show

becca Kelly of Prince Karen Cameron and Re World ay Cruises, Belfast Hollid

Catherine Barry and Angela O’Halloran of Bus Eireann, Limerick Holiday Show

Alan Fisher and Sam Hyland, Emirates event media, for

John Galligan of John Galligan Travel and Peter O’Hanlon of Travelfinders, Poonel event at the Iranian embassy

re Granados Mayor of Eoghan Corry with Pe Salou Tourism, Salou of l Be Salou and Natalia nch lau ce en eri food exp


MAY 2020 PAGE 41


Out and about with the Travel Trade

with Maria Synnott of Business Exhibitions and Mau- Mary McGrath of TUI and Bernie Bu rke of Travel erican Airlines pictured A reen Ledwith.of Business Exhibitions, Irish Travel Centres, rish Travel Industry Award Caitriona Toner of Am US nd bassy at the Bra s Lori John of the US Em Industry Awards VIP Media event

Lorna O’Callaghan , Anthony Curran and Hannah er t Cruise and Andy Harm Boulan of Dublin’s Outdoors, Limerick Holiday Simone Clark of Plane s ard Aw ry ust Ind Show of CLIA, Irish Travel

Adrienne Keogh of Am eri Wright of Tour America, can Holidays and Liz Irish Travel Industry Awards

or of Portuguease TourSusana Cardoso Direct Maxwell of the ITAA n Jea , ism office in Dublin dalusia Tourism An of rtin Ma io ton and An

John Galligan of John Ga O’Hanlon of Travelfind lligan Travel and Peter ers, Poonel


becca Kelly of Prince Karen Cameron and Re World ay Cruises, Belfast Hollid

Aileen Eglington of AE con ter of Hotel Feichter, Th sulting, George Feicheresa Aigner of Wilde r Kaiser Tourism, Ski an d rock festival. Soll

Philomena O’Connell and Martina Kenyon-H Aileen Eglington of AE consulting, Tolene Van am ilton of Slattery Island , Limerick Holiday Show Der Merwe of Malta Tourism and Sharon Plunkett of Plunkett PR, Irish Travel Industry Awards

Dondra Ritzenthaler of Celebrity, award winner Dominic Burke of Tl Centres, Jo Rzymowska and Claire Stirrup at Celebrity Cruises trade awards

ria bed and prize winer Ma Lee Osborne of Booka Travel Partners Group , Molloy of Harvey Travel ow dsh roa

Pere Granados Mayor of Salou,Ian Manto of Har- Olwen McKinney of Amadeus vey Travel, Irish Travel Industry Awards and David O’Hagan of Donabate Travel, Amadeus appre tion night for the trade cia-

Olwen McKinney and Gwen Kelly, Irish Travel Industry Awards

m eives a presentation fro Jim Tobin of FCM rec the of t en sid dy Travel pre John Spollen of Cassi conference al nu an A ITA the at A ITA

MAY 2020 PAGE 42


Out and about with the Travel Trade

h John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the Erica Oglesby of MSC Cruises an d Ph nto of Harvey Travel wit Prize winer Jacinta Ma c Collection, Travel Part- ITAA, Aidan Coughlan of WTC and Sean O’Kelly Sunway, Irish Travel Industry Award ilip Airey of ssi s Cla of of Amadeus, Amadeus appreciation night ell nn Do Mc ll Nia ford ter Wa in ow dsh roa p ners Grou

Shauna Mullery and Sin Irish Travel Industry Aw ead Murphy of Hertz, ards

y, Roche , Magaly Murra Kieran Coyne, Teresa of ue oh on O’D rita rga Bridgette Brew and Ma t Holliday World lfas Woodville Garden, Be

Mikie O’Loughlin and Cle Emirates event for me mentine MacNiece, dia,

Prize winner Jacinta Manto of Harvey Travel and Lee Osborne of Bookabed, Travel Partners Group roadshow in Waterford

Kann Linda McCorry of Silversea Cruises, Greg Evans To ika Mac and Warisara Dowden of Thailand urism, Belfast Holliday and Charles Wilson of Germany Travel,Irish World Travel Industry Awards

Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes/Travelescapes and Caroline O’Toole of Fahy Travel, Irish Travel Industry Awards

in Paul Manning of Hertz and Richard Cullen or for Catalan Tourism Aicard Guinovart Direct l of Portaventura, Irish of Killiney Travel rria London and Carlota Fa s Travel Industry Award

Jilliian and Muriel Bolge r, Travel Extra Writer Awards

Jackie Herssons of Travelopia, Ken Masterson of Skytours and Carol Anne O’Neill of Worldchoice Ireland, Amadeus appreciation night for the trade

of Ruben Lopez Director Gonzalo Ceballos with blin Du ard office in the Spanish Tourist Bo

Arminda De Leon of La nzarote Tourism and An Bermudez of the Span a ish don, Belfast Holliday Wo Tourist Board in Lonrld

ne pical Sky and Ted Gree Dave Hennessy of Tro ards Aw ry ust Ind vel Tra h of Arrow ToursIris

MAY 2020 PAGE 43

Out and about with the Travel Trade

and Jill Maguire of John Botty of Wendy Wu ustry update for the ind tes ira Tropical Sky, Em Irish travel trade

Philip Airey of Sunway Travel pictured with Da O’Hagan of Donabate vid Travel, Emirates indust update for the Irish tra ry vel trade

ker, nne of The Travel Bro Rebecca and Clare Du s tive ecu Ex vel Tra Association of Women

Maureen Delmar of MD O’Neill of Worldchoice Travel, Carol Anne Ire O’Dowd of Etihad, Etiha land and Shannon d update for the trade


Suzanne Reynolds of Cassidy Travel pictured Astrid Bell of American Holidays, Mairead Kee- wit h gan of Clickandgo, Bethanie Hulett of Iglu, at the find Lauren Westman and Kate Aherne of Trailers, Red Carnation eve CLIA Ireland conference nt

n Jordan and Michelle Anderson of Topflight and Maggie Caren of Oroko with Sharo Association of Women Travel Executives ragher journalist, Topflight event to mark publica- Brendan Bre of the Travel Corporation, Red Adam Goddard tion of 2020 Italian brochure, Ballyknocken Carnation event

Tara Hynes of Travelpo Carmel Aylward of The Travel Broker and Will rt and Emma McHale Walsh of Clickandgo, at the CLIA Ireland confer- Hertz, Association of Women Travel Execu of tives ence

Martina Block of Eliot travel with Linda Jones and Catherine Boyd of Travel Boutique, at the CLIA Ireland conference

Sheehan of the Travel Brian Hynes and Alison of Women Travel Execon Corporation, Associati utives

vel Joanne Smithies of Amawaterways, Simon Mc- karen Maloney, Teresa Lambe and Sh an aron Jordan of the Tra Adam Goddard and Sh of Women Travel Exec- Dermott of AmaRosa and Stephen Sands of Rivi- O’Dowd of Etihad, Association of Wome non n Travel on Executives Corporation, Associati era Travel, at the CLIA Ireland conference t ee Str y ese Su in nt utives eve

Maureen Delmar of MD ligan of Blue Insurance Travel, and Ciaran Muls, Etihad update for the trade

John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the ITAA, Janine Brown of American Airlines and Aaron Shardey of American Airlines.

Curran of Travel Coun Noreen Lane and Roisin d conference lan sellors, at the CLIA Ire

MAY 2020 PAGE 46

WINDOW SEAT Last month in numbers

u233bn IATA estimate of revenue lost to

aviation through Coronavirus, 44pc below 2019

u32.4bn IATA estimate of refunds due to airline customers for sold but unused tickets.

u1.4bn Combined turnover of travel agencies and tour operators in Ireland at start of the crisis.

5.7m Number of passengers carried by Ryanair in March, down 48pc and back to 2014 levels

280 Number of services from Dublin airport each day at this time of the year. 25 Number of services from Dublin airport each day during April 2020.

95pc decline in passenger numbers at




ocket size for a weather-proof jacket, , splendidly bound and illustrated in O’Reilly’s cartoon style that brings out the inner child in all of us, the duo bring to tourism the raconteur style (“we have been breeding horses for donkey’s year”s) that proved so successful in his who’s who of Irish history (‘when not snogging Stella, Swift took time out to write Gulliver’s Travels’). The history is laid lightly, with whimsy standing where hyperbole might, scatological takes precedent over archeological, and little gems of information sit at the end of

A Feckin Tour of Ireland: 50 Must Do Things by Colin Murphy and Brendan O’Reilly (O’Brien Press).

many paragraphs. The angel who got a bullet at the foot of O’Connell’s statue in 1916 was called courage, the bullet hole was in her right boob. Occasionally the smug jokes reflect the prejudices of south Dublin culture (what does a UCD graduate call a Trinity gradate? Boss) and a disconnect with the future and landscapes it tries to be part of.

The people of the Aran Island speak Gaelic, apparently, not Irish. With even the best tour guides, the jokey style can flag. “Isn’t it handy to have reminder when you’re putting on your (branded) knickers that you should go for a Guinness at your earliest convenience.” Hore abbey was not named because the monks were addicted to medieval hookers.

Parasols of Deauville and beaches of Biarritz

Busman’s holiday: Michael Doorley

Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Michael Doorley of Shandon travel, incoming President of the ITAA


ichael Doorley, new president of the Irish Travel Agents Association says his favourite places are [1] anywhere that he can play golf with sunshine on his back and [2]


elationships with suppliers has always been a thorny subject in the mercurial travel trade. To use a buzzword of the recession, the Coronavirus crisis stress-tested those relationships. Travel agents found solace in those that rose to the challenge, Ryanair with their no nonsense refund policy were a surprise winner. Bookabed, more predictably, threw their experienced an agent-friendly

South America. He has fond recollections of his golf group trips to Canada, South Africa, Argentina, Cuba, Cancun, Vietnam and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. But one destination ranks above all of these. . “My favourite place for golf is anywhere in France. Once the weather is good, there are many excellent courses which are gen-

erally uncrowded and very reasonable. The friendliness shown by all the golf clubs that I have visited (about 20) is par excellence, both in the golf club and on the courses. My favourite areas are around Deauville and Biarritz. Deauville is a beautiful area and a really lovely resort. I generally stay in the Hotel du Golf which has 27 holes of excellent golf. You can find other very good courses within 10/20 minutes drive from the hotel. My other favourite golf area is around Biarritz, which in itself is a top class resort. There are three courses in the area

which will compare with courses anywhere in Europe and at far better prices. Well worth a visit for top class golf. I am not a beach person and prefer to be a traveler to different cultures and South America is my favourite, in particular Peru, from Lima to Cuzco. to Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca. The area is full of history and culture. sights and sounds of a very friendly people, full of tradition. Hotels can be very good and prices are not bad at all. Buenos Aires in Argentina is a superbly beautiful city and as for those great Tango performances. Riverdance eat your heart out.”

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK team into operation, helping with new arrangements, and cancelling accommodation with no fee. The airlines were also helpful, Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad, Jet2, Qatar Airways, Turkish, and many of the cruise lines Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Silversea. Oddly enough, two of the recipients of recent Irish travel trade awards, MSC and Aer Lingus, were notable in their disaffection with the trade as the crisis

mounted. Much of this related to contradictory policy on refunds. Aer Lingus mistakenly sent a voucher offer to a large number of travel trade clients, estimated at 30,000, with voucher offers for which they were not eligible. Aer Lingus was given access to travel trade client data in 2018 to cover eventualities such as the snow shut down, for flight changes and updates. Travel agents were unimpressed.

Since end of month contact from the Commission of Aviation Regulation, Aer Lingus have been quick to process the refunds and keep travel agency clients at bay. Agents frequently say they will remember who was with them in the trenches. The next set of travel trade awards will be interesting to watch.

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