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Category Archives for News

Ryanair Increase Flight Choices to Lanzarote

The low cost carrier Ryanair has recently announced the creation of a new route to Lanzarote from Manchester airport.  So once again increasing the range of choice available for tourists based in the UK who are planning to visit the island.

Ryanair aircraft

Ryanair....The Canaries Favourite Airline

It wasn’t so long ago that the number of airlines flying from the UK to Lanzarote was relatively restricted, with many of the main low cost operators claiming that the four hour journey to the island didn’t sit comfortably with their existing business plans. 

That has all changed in recent years however and it is now possible for holidaymakers to choose between all of the main names such as Ryanair, easyJet and Monarch – as well as longer standing suppliers such as Thomson and Thomas Cook.  And as a result the cost of flights to Lanzarote has also fallen in real terms over that time, with returns now available from as little as £150 (depending of course on the time of year).

Ryanair´s announcement is part of a wider plan for expansion in the North West of England that also encompasses the creation of new routes to various European destinations from Liverpool John Lennon airport – an initiative that is expected to create around 1000 jobs in the region.

Flights to Lanzarote are now available from all of the main airports in the UK, with the following airlines operating out of each hub.

London Gatwick

Monarch

Thomas Cook

easyJet

Thomson

London Luton

Monarch

Ryanair

Thomson

Birmingham

Monarch

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Thomson

East Midlands

Ryanair

Jet2

Monarch

Thomas Cook

Thomson

Manchester

Monarch

Jet2

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Thomson

Liverpool

easyJet

Ryanair

Leeds/Bradford

Jet2

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Glasgow

Jet2

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Thomson

There is if course a growing disparity between airlines in terms of baggage allowances and check in policies, so it does pay to research these elements before committing to a booking. 

Ryanair remains the largest carrier of tourists to Lanzarote and the Canary Islands by some distance, accounting for around 50% of all foreign holidaymakers.  As a result they wield considerable power and have recently been embroiled with the Canarian Government in an ongoing spat about flight subsidies, a row which led to Ryanair cutting a number of routes to the island from mainland Spain, Holland and Germany.  As well as a dispute centred around forced landings at Lanzarote airport - which has led to calls for an enquiry by AENA, the Spanish Aviation Authority. 

 

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Binter Unveil Flights From The Canaries to The Cape Verdes

Binter, the Canary Islands airline, has just announced the creation of new flight routes to the Cape Verde islands, another chain of volcanic islands located just off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Verde Islands

Take Off For New Binter Flights To Cape Verdes...

The new services depart twice weekly from Las Palmas airport on Gran Canaria and are the first direct air link between the two island chains.  Flights will depart every Tuesday and Friday costing around €170 and take around two and half hours to reach their destination of Praia, the largest city and main commercial hub in the Cape Verde group, which is located on the island of Santiago.  Binter is also hoping to launch new services to the tourist friendly island of Sal in the near future.

According to Binter, who also operate flights to Lanzarote from the other Canary Islands, the services are primarily designed to target business executives, as a number of companies in the Canary Islands are seeking to expand their operations in the Cape Verdes.  The flights will also provide a much needed link between the Cape Verdes and Europe, as despite their location close to the coast of Africa the Canaries are Spanish territory and hence part of the European Union.

The Cape Verde islands are located close to the coast of Senegal and were formerly a Portuguese colony – Cabo Verde.  There are ten islands in the chain and they occupy a collective land mass of about 4,000 square kilometres.

Much like the Canaries the Cape Verdes played an important role in the slave trade, as millions of Africans were held and transported from these two island chains to South America during the 18th and 19th centuries.  As a result the islands were regularly attacked and sacked by pirates and privateers, including those well known English sailors Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh.

The islands achieved independence in 1975 and are today home to around 500,000 inhabitants.  The Cape Verdes boast little in the way of natural resources so increasingly residents have come to rely on tourism, which has been a rapidly expanding sector since the turn of the century.  Indeed for a while the islands were depicted as the new Canaries, before the onset of the recession in 2007 and 2008 bought property prices crashing down.

The addition of these new Binter flights certainly pave the way for more inter island hopping and visitors to Lanzarote can also use other forms of transport such as ferries to reach nearby islands such as La Graciosa and Fuerteventura too.

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Greenpeace Denounce Oil Prospecting Project Near Lanzarote

The row about oil prospecting in the Canaries rumbles on, as Greenpeace has just submitted a damning denunciation of the planned project to the European Commission.

Anti oil prospecting poster, Canary Islands

Just Say No.....

Oil giants such as Repsol have long had their eye on potential oil fields located close to the shores of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura but until recently their attempts to start prospecting have been successfully repelled by the Government of the Canaries.  Recently however this body was over ruled by the central government in Madrid, who gave these companies the green light to start their operations.  Naturally this decision has caused enormous amounts of controversy, not least as local observers fear that oil prospecting could have an enormously negative impact upon tourism in the event of a spillage, causing widespread damage to beaches on Lanzarote.

In addition the waters around Lanzarote are home to a delicate marine eco system which would be endangered by the creation of platforms.  Whilst these waters are also the source of drinking water on Lanzarote, as the island has no natural water sources and is kept in aqua by desalination plants.

The issue is now exacerbated though by the economic crisis in Spain and the lurch towards a more right wing corporate capitalist style government headed by Mariano Rajoy.  With unemployment rising and a bailout looking increasingly likely it is hard to see how this conservative ruling body will be able to resist the temptation of taking in more tax dollars by allowing oil prospecting to go ahead.  The current economic crisis provides the perfect excuse for them to press ahead with this business friendly agenda, despite the overwhelming opposition of local residents to the plan.

Now Greenpeace has weighed in to the debate too, stating that any such project would be in breach of European Commission laws which stipulate that the impact on the environment must first be fully evaluated.  Whilst also making clear their opposition to the project and pointing out the need to learn from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the moment current plans allow for drilling just 60km off the shores of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, so obviously any spill would have a cataclysmic impact upon the tourist industry on both islands.

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New Weekly Market For Puerto del Carmen

Lanzarote´s largest resort is now home to a new weekly market, which opened for the first time last Sunday to considerable acclaim whilst welcoming some 2000 visitors.

 

Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen

New Market in Puerto del Carmen

 

Outdoor markets are becoming something of a growing trend on Lanzarote, with virtually all of the main towns and villages boasting some type of open air shopping experience. Ranging from the huge weekly affair held in the former capital of Teguise through to smaller and more atmospheric events such as the Saturday morning market in Haria.  So serious shoppers are advised to book car rental and get out and about exploring.

So Puerto del Carmen, despite being the most popular resort on the island, was very much the odd one out in terms of providing this sort of attraction, until the new La Tiñosa market opened last Sunday.

Organised by the local council (the Ayuntamiento of Tias) and running from 11.00 to 14.00 the market is part of a wider plan to revitalise and improve the overall tourist offering in Puerto del Carmen. And featured a whole raft of events such as live music, a skateboarding competition and prize draws, as well as stalls selling a variety of items including locally produced food and drink.

Such was the success of the event that it will now be held every week, so adding further to Lanzarote´s impressive roster of markets, which also include:

Teguise Market

Held every Sunday and attracting crowds in their tens of thousands this is the mother of all island markets, as the normally quiet cobbled streets of the former island capital are transformed into a massive outdoor bazaar. Stalls here offer everything from mass produced leather goods through to local artisan products and there are also plenty of other entertainments on offer too, such as live folk music and dancing.

Haria Market

Our local favourite Haria market is held every Saturday morning and is a far more intimate and atmospheric experience than Teguise. There are about 30 stalls here selling locally produced craft products as well as organic fruit and veg, bread, chesses and wines.

Playa Blanca – Marina Rubicon

Held every Wednesday and Saturday from 09.00 to 14.00 the market in the Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca features about 60 stalls selling a wide cross section of products. The Marina is also a great place to visit at anytime for a bit to eat or drink and a spot of people watching.

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Rain At Last On Lanzarote

Whilst rainclouds are the last thing any tourist visiting Lanzarote would want to see on their holidays for local residents and farmer’s precipitation is a much awaited event.  As the island is currently parched after a dry spell that has lasted for virtually two years.

Rainfall, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Rare Rainfall on Lanzarote

Lanzarote is at last experiencing rainfall, albeit in very small quantities.  As a lengthy dry spell that has lasted for the best part of 24 months is bought to an end.  However the expected disruption to normal weather services is likely to be very brief, with normal conditions, comprising temperatures in their mid 20´s Celsius and no precipitation, are set to return almost immediately.

Thanks to the location of the island so close to the coast of Africa and the outer fringes of the Sahara desert Lanzarote rarely receives much in the way of rainfall, which is one of the primary reasons why this island is so popular with sun starved holidaymakers from Northern Europe.  However this low level of H20 isn’t such great news for local farmers, who are forced to use methods of dry cultivation in many instances in order to produce crops such as potatoes and grapes. 

Indeed in certain spots such as Famara the island appears much like a desert and as there are no natural water sources on Lanzarote of any substantial size, making locals entirely dependent on desalination plants for their supplies of potable drinking water. The current weather front, linked in to Tropical Storm Nadine which has now blown itself out, is only expected to last for a day or so.  After which normal weather conditions will be resumed.

If you are planning on taking a holiday on the island over the coming autumn months then we recommend sticking to the south of the island in order to experience the best possible weather conditions. 

Playa Blanca is the best bet for sunshine at this time of the year thanks to the fact that it is located right at the southern foot of the island.  Puerto del Carmen also offers stable and sheltered conditions.  The north of the island in particular can experience more cloud and rainfall at this time of the year, although visitors need to bear in mind that the best attractions on Lanzarote can also be found here too.

 

 

 

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Ryanair Fly Into Trouble with Forced Lanzarote Landing

The Irish budget airline Ryanair has come in for more criticism from the Spanish aviation authority AENA as a result of requesting a priority landing at Lanzarote airport last week. 

The incident took place last Tuesday afternoon as the Ryanair flight FR2048 from Leeds Bradford was forced to abort a landing at Arrecife airport and request priority over two other planes in front of it in the queue as the aircraft was running low on fuel, according to an AENA spokesperson.  An accusation that has since been hotly denied by the airline, which is already under investigation for three other possible low fuel emergency landings in late July.

Ryanair

Forced Ryanair Landing on Lanzarote...

 

According to airline pilot forums Ryanair are pursuing a deliberate low fuel policy in order to reduce costs, with the airline’s pilots unable to take extra fuel on board without a valid explanation and accompanying evidence.  The airline also optimizes its flight plans, leaving little leeway for pilots in the event of a forced diversion or emergency.  Ryanair however has denied that any of these landings came about as the result of their planes being low on fuel.

Either way the Irish aviation authority, in co-operation with Spanish authorities has opened an investigation into the latest incident.

Ryanair are the largest carrier of passengers to the Canary Islands and currently account for some 45% of all volume, thanks to their creation of new bases and hubs in the Canaries last year.  The airline recently cut back some 21 flights to Lanzarote as a result of the withdrawal of flight subsidies, impacting routes to Holland, Germany and the Spanish mainland.  A move that some observers dismissed as deliberate sabre rattling in an attempt to force a U turn.

The airline is certainly no stranger to controversy and is quick to latch onto any PR opportunity.  Only last week for example the airline´s boss Michael O´Leary stirred up another hornet´s nest by branding a passenger who was charged €60 to print off her boarding pass an idiot for not doing this themselves, despite the fact that the passenger was staying in a rural villa in Spain with no internet access.

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Monarch Add New East Midlands Route To Lanzarote

One of the UK’s leading low cost airlines, Monarch, has just announced the creation of a new service to Lanzarote from East Midlands airport, with flights commencing from late October.  So once again increasing the range of choice available for independent travelers keen to book their own flights and accommodation on the island, whilst also creating 150 new jobs in the process.

 

Monarch Airlines

Take Off For New Flights From East Midlands

 

Monarch will be operating two new weekly services from East Midlands, adding to the existing flights already offered from that hub by Ryanair, Jet2 and Thomson.  As the leisure airline has just established a new hub there, from which they will also be flying to other winter sun spots such as Tenerife and the Algarve.

However it wasn’t so long ago that the main low cost airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair didn’t even bother with the Canary Islands, preferring to limit themselves to short haul destinations in and around the Med and within a couple of hours flying time of their bases in the UK.  As these operators claimed that it wouldn’t be possible to fly to destinations further away and make a profit within the context of their existing business models.

How quickly times change, as Ryanair are now carrying around 50% of all passengers to the Canary Islands, whilst both easyJet and Jet2 now also offer flights to Lanzarote from various airports across the UK.  So as a result tourists now have a much wider choice of services, times and prices than ever before.  And as well as direct flights there are also flight options via other routes such as Madrid, however these do tend to add hugely to the normal four hour journey time whilst offering little in the way of savings.

In terms of prices the main airlines are all much of a muchness.  Tourists can expect to pay around 200 pounds return outside of the main peak holiday times (which are Christmas, Easter, Summer and any school holidays) and as much as 400 per person return during these periods of high demand.  There are however considerable differences in quality of service between these airlines, as any regular flier will be aware, with some for example offering much better luggage allowances and more generous legroom than others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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