Flybe and Ryanair Propose a New Airline in Ireland

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, is entering into an agreement with Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, to set up a new airline in Ireland.

The agreement forms part of Ryanair’s concession package for its protracted takeover of Irish airline, Aer Lingus.

The company intends to acquire the Flybe Ireland brand for €1 million, and Ryanair would inject around €100m into the new entity as part of the agreement. If the deal is successful, Ryanair will also be transferring 43 of its European routes to the new airline.

Flybe chief executive officer, Jim French, said, ‘Flybe would be delighted to be granted the opportunity to service the Irish aviation market through Flybe Ireland, an airline which would be based in Ireland and dedicated to developing a broad range of scheduled services for business and leisure markets.

This development of creating a Dublin based airline is in line with the Company’s stated strategy at the time of IPO – which was to diversify away from reliance upon the UK economy. The terms of the deal negotiated ensure that Flybe Ireland will be a well-capitalised, well-funded company, enabling us to deliver upon that strategic aim. Flybe has a history of acquiring businesses of scale, restructuring and refocusing them and as a result delivering profitable returns. This opportunity plays clearly to that corporate strength.

Flybe would be proud to have the chance to serve the Irish markets, and would be, as we seek to be throughout the rest of Europe, a good employer and corporate citizen.

However, before Flybe Ireland can come into being there are many hurdles to overcome, not least the EC accepting the remedies offered by Ryanair in its offer to take over Aer Lingus, and then the shareholders of Aer Lingus accepting an offer from Ryanair. However, Flybe has positioned itself well if these events come to pass, while in the meantime we continue to focus upon the delivery of the cost reduction and efficiency plan we outlined in January.’

First DoubleTree by Hilton in Ireland Welcomes Guests

The Morrison Dublin, a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, has opened in Ireland, bringing the upmarket, Doubletree, hotel brand to Ireland for the first time.

Hilton Worldwide, the brand owner, had earlier entered into a franchise agreement with the owners of the existing Morrison Hotel in Dublin, and the new hotel has been converted from the 138-room property with the completion of a €7 million refurbishment.

Martinez Hotels and Resorts will operate the new hotel.

The UK and Ireland director for Martinez Hotels and Resorts, Stephen Mulligan, said, ‘We set out with a very ambitious timeline for this project so we’re delighted to be opening the hotel on schedule and with the support of our new partners, Hilton Worldwide. The refurbishment coincides with a busier than normal event calendar for Ireland this year, and we believe the reopening will not only benefit the long term patrons of the Morrison, but will also contribute to the vibrancy of this up-and-coming part of Dublin.’

The Morrison, is located on Lower Ormond Quay, in Dublin’s city centre, and is close to the Templebar, Jervis Street and Henry Street shopping and dining areas. The hotel amenities include a split level, 24-hour fitness centre, on-site dining at The Morrison Grill and Quay 14 bar, flexible meeting space, complimentary high-speed internet access and a 24-hour business centre.

John Greenleaf, the global head for DoubleTree by Hilton, said, ‘This hotel is a fabulous representation of what our brand is all about. I’m thrilled with the work Nikki O’Donnell has done in bringing to life the essence of Ireland’s rich culture through such a stylish, sophisticated design. Guests will experience a taste of the city’s Celtic heritage and modern vibrancy while enjoying the signature DoubleTree by Hilton touches that we know appeal to travelers across Europe – all starting of course with the trademark warm chocolate chip cookie served upon check in.’

Hilton Worldwide is currently operating four hotels in the Republic of Ireland, all located in the Irish capital.

Ryanair Operates Extra Flights for Six Nations Championship

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, is operating an extra service, known as Six Nations specials, from Dublin to Bristol, for rugby fans.

The Six Nations Specials service will be available from Dublin today and tomorrow, returning from Bristol on February 3.

Ireland will be playing Wales in the Six Nations Rugby Championship at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, February 2, while England will be playing Scotland on Sunday.

The airline is also offering 15 rugby flights between Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh for Ireland’s tie with Scotland on Sun February 24, 2013.

The airline head of communications, Robin Kiely, said, ‘Ryanair has been inundated with demands from Irish rugby fans looking to travel to the Wales-Ireland game this weekend and we’re delighted to announce five extra Six Nations specials between Dublin and Bristol on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We’ve also scheduled 15 flights between Dublin and Glasgow and Edinburgh for the Scotland-Ireland game on Sunday, 24th February, which are already filling up quickly.

Only Ryanair offers the lowest fares for Six Nations matches and these seats will sell out fast, so our advice to rugby fans is to book today on www.ryanair.com.’

The airline has recently reported a robust performance with a pre-tax profit of €19.3 million for the third quarter ending December 31, 2012.

The third quarter 2012 profits are €18m, an increase of €3m on the same quarter last year, in spite of an €81m increase in fuel costs. Revenues had increased by 15 percent to €969m in third quarter of 2012, with a 3 percent increase in traffic to 17.3m passengers, compared to the third quarter of 2011.

Flybe Announces New Service from Glasgow to Shannon

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, has launched its newest service from Glasgow Airport in Scotland to Shannon Airport in Ireland.

The airline is offering three times weekly flights to Shannon from Glasgow from May 1, 2013, with inaugural fares commencing at £36.99 one-way.

Simon Lilley, the airline’s director of marketing, said, ‘Flybe is committed to developing further its route network out of Glasgow. We have every confidence that this additional new service will prove successful in offering an attractive and affordable way for travellers to access this growing business and leisure destination that is widely regarded as the West of Ireland’s premier gateway.

Our new service to Shannon will further complement our already extensive schedule to and from Glasgow Airport that now features a total of nine routes and a total choice of up to 312 flights each week. We look forward to welcoming our first passengers on board in May and would advise people to book early to take advantage of the lowest possible fares.’

Amanda McMillan, the managing director of Glasgow Airport, said, ‘The Irish market is very important for us and the addition of Shannon provides people in Glasgow and the West of Scotland with easy access to Limerick, which is the ideal base from which to explore the Irish West Coast.

Flybe has been very active in identifying new destinations that it feels will work out of Glasgow Airport and with the convenient flight times on offer, we are confident this route will be a success.’

The new service is expected to strike a chord with holidaymakers who wish to visit Ireland in 2013 to take part in the country’s yearlong tourism event, The Gathering.

Cityjet Introduces Flights from Dublin to Brest

CityJet, an Ireland-based airline, is offering new services to Brest, in France, from Dublin, the Republic of Ireland’s capital.

The new service will be commencing from June 29, 2013, with flight AF5266 departing on Saturdays from Dublin Airport, for Aeroport Brest Bretagne. The return flight departs from Brest on the same day. The new route will operate using an Avro RJ85 jet that has capacity for 95 passengers.

This addition to the service compliments the current summer service between London City airport and Brest.

Passengers can book the new fares at www.cityjet.com, commencing from €96 one way and €189 return.

Christine Ourmieres, the chief executive officer of CityJet, said, ‘Brest is a popular summer destination, so we are delighted to be able to offer Dublin based passengers’ direct access to the heart of this stunning region – one of France’s best-loved destinations. Our service from Dublin offers a convenient schedule for families enjoying longer summer holidays during the school break period or those visiting their second home in Brittany.’

The airline network offers service to 22 European destinations in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK.

Brest is a city located on the western tip of Brittany, in France, and it has a natural harbour. The city is also home to Oceanopolis, an ocean discovery centre, claimed to be the first of its kind in Europe. Brest is one of the many destinations in France served by the airline from UK.

The airline has recently also introduced its service to Nuremberg, in Germany, from London City Airport, and also added the German destinations of Dresden and Paderborn.

Irish government unwilling to back Ryanair’s Aer Lingus bid

The government of Ireland has expressed its unwillingness to support a bid by Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, to acquire its rival Irish airline, Aer Lingus.

Ryanair, which owns a 29.8 percent stake in Aer Lingus, has previously offered EUR694 million for the remaining Aer Lingus stock. The Aer Lingus’ board subsequently rejected this on the basis of it being an insufficient offer. The airline is now willing to offer around 40 routes from major airports in Ireland to other airlines in return for the acquisition, as part of a comprehensive remedies package. The European Commission will take the final decision.

The Irish government, which owns a 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus, has announced its decision to oppose the takeover bid by Ryanair.

A statement by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Ireland, said, ‘Earlier today, the Cabinet considered the sale of the State’s 25 percent shareholding in Aer Lingus.

The Government remains committed to the sale of the stake in Aer Lingus at the right time under the right conditions.

However, the Government is not prepared to support any offer that would significantly undermine connectivity or competitiveness for Ireland.

Based on what is now in the public domain, the Ryanair remedies package does not satisfy our concerns about connectivity, competitiveness or employment for Ireland.

Obviously, the European Commission will make its own decision in its own time, but we do not see any benefit to Ireland in what has been reported.’

Earlier Ryanair said, in its own statement, ‘This comprehensive remedies package includes a number of new airline bases in Dublin, new entrant competitors on over 40 routes to/from Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as well as specific competition solutions that guarantee increased price competition on routes to and from Ireland.

Ryanair expects that the commission will shortly market test this transformational remedies package, and remains confident that its offer for Aer Lingus will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment by the commission.’

Irish Rail Announces Increase in Fares from December 2012

Iarnrod Eireann, the Irish national rail company, has announced new fares from December 1, 2012.

The National Transport Authority has announced an increase in single and return fares, complimenting the earlier increase in monthly and annual season ticket fares. Iarnrod Eireann is implementing its fare increases from December 1, 2012, with the monthly season ticket fare increases to be implemented from January 1, 2013.

The single, return and season tickets for adults, children and students will rise by an average of 3 percent for intercity and long-distance journeys of 41km and more, and by 10 percent for Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) and short-distance journeys.

A report published by the National Transport Authority, said, ‘Public transport fare increases have been deemed to be necessary in recent years as the operators have sought to compensate for reduced PSO payments, declining numbers of passengers due to the economic situation and reduced ancillary revenues.

Cost reduction programmes have been put in place by the operators, but these take time to design and implement, and costs have not fallen to the same extent as the revenue base. Cost reduction has also been hindered by the significant increase in fuel costs, which are largely outside the operators’ control. The result has been that increases in fares have been counter to, or in excess of, inflation and economic growth.’

Iarnrod Eireann, said in a statement, ‘Iarnrod Eireann will continue to provide a range of heavily discounted online fares through www.irishrail.ie significantly below these regulated fares, as well as student, family fare and other promotions throughout the year. Furthermore, commuters who purchase monthly or annual season tickets through their employer via the Taxsaver scheme receive tax relief of up to 52 percent on the cost of their season tickets.’

Aer Lingus Regional to Terminate Flights from Waterford in Ireland

Aer Lingus Regional, a service operated by Irish regional airline, Aer Arann, under a franchise agreement with Aer Lingus, an Ireland-based airline, is set to withdraw its base at Waterford Airport in Ireland, from 2013.

The airline will be terminating its routes from Waterford Airport to Manchester, London Luton and London Southend airports in England, from New Year 2013.

The airline chief executive officer, Graham Doyle, said, ‘We have been aware of Aer Arann’s difficulties since before their examinership in 2010 and continued to work with them through these challenges. Regrettably, however, the airline has limited its capacity on the Waterford routes. This has been due to issues elsewhere in their business rather than the market in the Southeast region with a population of almost 500,000.

This has seen services reduced on the consistently high-performing London Luton route in favour of Southend Airport, whose owners are now also Aer Arann’s largest shareholder. The Southend route performed poorly by comparison so that even a major marketing push by Waterford Airport and our partners could not fully mitigate this switch.

It is clearly a blow to have key UK routes withdrawn in these particular circumstances and is especially disappointing given that the Aer Lingus Regional brand was only introduced at Waterford as recently as late March of this year – just over seven months ago.

We were delighted to be working with the Aer Lingus brand but our understanding is that the decision arises from the sale of an aircraft by Aer Arann that necessitates them further cutting their route network.’

Travel Bloggers Heading to Dublin for TBEX Europe Conference in 2013

Dublin, Ireland, will be hosting next year’s TBEX Europe travel bloggers conference, one of the largest conferences, worldwide, for travel bloggers.

Rick Calvert, the chief executive of TBEX, a community of travel bloggers, said, ‘We are very excited to have chosen as the destination for our event in October, 2013. We’ll be hosting hundreds of travel bloggers and travel industry professionals from all over the world for two days of comprehensive educational programming and engaging networking events.

Our delegates will be sharing their unique Dublin discoveries and experiences with the world online. We couldn’t have chosen a better destination, as Dublin is the European headquarters of companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga and Twitter; it’s a thriving social media hub. 2013 is also the year of The Gathering in Ireland and TBEX is proud to be a part of it.’

The Irish minister of state for tourism, Michael Ring TD, said, ‘This is a great achievement for tourism and Ireland. Thanks to the efforts of Failte Ireland, we have won a conference, which will deliver up to 450 travel bloggers to our shores in October 2013. This could not happen at a better time. By that time, The Gathering will be in full swing and I can guarantee that all who attend will experience Ireland at its best and most lively.’

TBEX aims to provide travel bloggers with opportunities for career growth in professional travel media through education and networking with travel industry professionals and direct marketing agencies.

For international travel bloggers, Dublin offers a location to explore and a chance to meet and exchange ideas.

Mary Jo Manzanares, the conference director for TBEX, said, ‘With its history, architecture and culture providing a backdrop to modern city life, Dublin offers something for every travel blogging niche and every travel blogger budget. Failte Ireland with support from Tourism Ireland is rolling out the red carpet to welcome our attendees to their home, and I’m very excited for October.’

Sixt to Operate In Ireland through Franchise Partner

Sixt, a European car rental company, has expanded its services in Ireland, as it partners with an Ireland-based car rental company.

The company will now be able to offer an exclusive portfolio of rental cars to its customers in Ireland, with models ranging from Opel and Toyota, to Audi and Mercedes, in all sizes, to include small and mid-size cars, SUVs, premium vehicles, and minibuses. The vehicles may be picked up from a number of locations in and around Dublin, catering to the requirements of both leisure and business travellers. Customers may also book a vehicle in Ireland, using the company website, www.sixt.com.

Sixt customers can now also benefit from a new and improved range of services in Ireland. Sixt, Germany’s largest vehicle rental company, and one that is claimed to be a provider of high-quality mobility services, has joined forces with a strong vehicle rental partner on the Emerald Isle. The franchisee has around 20 years’ experience in the field and is claimed to be renowned for its outstanding service.

Detlef Krehahn, the senior vice president of international franchise, at Sixt, said, ‘We are delighted to have on board such an experienced company with the highest standards in quality and service as our partner in Ireland. Private and business customers alike will soon benefit from this new partnership. What’s more, the new partnership will make a key contribution to creating synergies between Sixt partners and companies in Ireland and the United Kingdom in the vehicle rental and leasing sectors.’