Weekly Travel Roundup November 18th

man travelling using laptop
Travel News 18 Nov 2016

For week ending November 18th

This third week of November we have seen Aer lingus announcing a three-times weekly service to Miami, Cork Airport welcoming Swiss International Air and Dalata bringing its Maldron Hotel brand in the UK. Check out our weekly news round-up to discover all the travel updates from the past week.

Aer Lingus announces transatlantic expansion

Aer Lingus announced new transatlantic routes and extra flights on existing routes. As of September 1 next year, the airline will start a three-times weekly service to Miami and will also increase its Los Angeles flight to a daily service from summer 2017.

Cork Airport Welcomes New Swiss Service to Zurich

Cork Airport is flying high following the announcement that Swiss International Air is to commence a new Cork – Zurich service that will operate throughout the summer season from 2nd June to 29th September 2017. Swiss will operate a Bombardier C Series aircraft, which carries 110 passengers. The service will fly weekly each Friday from June and will increase to twice weekly.

Hotel Group Unveils £30m Plans To Build Northern Ireland's Biggest Hotel

Hastings Hotel group is to modify its plan for the 200-bedroom Grand Central Hotel in Belfast and will now aim for 304 bedrooms. It would make this new property the biggest hotel in Northern Ireland. This project is the biggest investment in the Hastings group history (£30 million four-star development of one of Ireland's biggest buildings, 23-storey Windsor House, office accommodation, ground-floor retail and bar spaces, restaurants on the ground, first and 22nd floors).

Aer Lingus Regional Adds Extra Seats for Six Nations

Aer Lingus Regional is adding 3,500 additional seats next spring to Dublin-Edinburgh for the Scotland v Ireland Six Nations fixture and 2,600 seats on Dublin-Cardiff for the Wales v Ireland Six Nations fixture. Demand among Irish rugby supporters is at an all-time high in light of Ireland’s recent victory over the All Blacks.

Ireland's largest hotel operator Dalata brings Maldron Hotel brand into England

The country's largest hotel operator Dalata is expanding its Maldron brand into the UK with the opening of a new location in Newcastle. Dalata signed an agreement to build a new Maldron Hotel with ES Newgate Limited, a subsidiary of McAleer & Rushe. Once built Dalata will commence operations in the hotel through a 35-year operating lease, which is subject to five rent reviews linked to the retail price index. The new 4-star property is expected to open in Summer 2018 and will have 226 bedrooms, a restaurant and meeting rooms.

Record Passenger Numbers in October at Dublin Airport

Passengers numbers reached almost 2.5 million in October, a 9% increase on the same month last year. The increase in passenger numbers made it the busiest October in Dublin Airport’s 76-year history. The number of passengers flying to and from continental Europe increased by 11%, as almost 1.3 million passengers travelled to and from European destinations in October. Almost 860,000 passengers travelled to and from UK destinations last month, a 4% increase compared to October last year.

Khan reveals backing for Heathrow expansion legal challenge

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has revealed he will officially step in and support legal action taken by council against the Heathrow Third Runway decision. The Labour politician said that Transport for London (TfL) was preparing to join four Conservative councils in a combined High Court case against expansion of the west London terminal. Khan, who strongly backed the building of a second runway at Gatwick, told the London Assembly this week that he "would not stand by" and see residents "suffer increased air and noise pollution".

Conrad opens in Chicago

Conrad has opened a new hotel near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping district. Located on Erie Street, the 20-storey hotel features 287 rooms including 24 suites and two “hospitality suites”. It also has 930 sqm of event and meeting space and ten meeting rooms. Other facilities include an American and Italian restaurant, with menus designed by celebrity chef Richard Sandoval. A Japanese restaurant, also developed by Sandoval, is set to open next summer.

Hilton rebrands Bristol property under Doubletree offering

Hilton has rebranded the Hilton Bristol under its Doubletree offering, following a renovation programme. The Doubletree by Hilton Bristol North is located off junction 16 of the M5, close to the M4/M5 interchange and the business parks of North Bristol, and around eight miles from the city centre. All 161 rooms have been refurbished, and the property also features a 24-hour gym, swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, eight renovated meeting spaces, and outdoor courtyard, and Brunel’s Hat Restaurant specialising in local cuisine.

Alitalia facing a new crisis?

Alitalia was relaunched a couple of years ago with high expectations when Gulf carrier Etihad acquired a 49 per cent stake in Italy’s national airline and the plan was to return Alitalia to its former glory. But Italian media report that it hasn’t worked out that way and now Etihad is beginning to lose patience: later this month Alitalia is expected to announce cutbacks. Trade unions claim that as many as 2,000 jobs could be lost. On European routes it is understood that Alitalia will adopt BOB (buy on board) catering and between 15 and 20 of the carrier’s short-haul A320s could be retired.  There will be reductions in ground support to bring Alitalia’s cost structure more in line with its low-cost rivals and the airline is still expected to lose Euros 400 million this year while no improvement is expected in 2017.  And yet when Etihad became involved with Alitalia the forecast loss in 2016 was estimated at Euros 50 million.

Qantas introduces new virtual reality app

Australian carrier Qantas has launched a new app offering customers an interactive virtual reality (VR) experience of some of its Australian destinations. Videos that can be accessed prior to travelling to the destinations as the Qantas VR app is designed to offer a travellers a preview of what the country has to offer. Customers are also able to book tickets to featured destinations directly through the app.