easyJet strike. Extreme Sailing. Ponta do Pargo.

easyJet pilots vote for strike action

easyJet logoFollowing up on the two previous blogs, the result of the easyJet pilots vote was announced yesterday and they have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action. Pilots union Balpa said that the ballot closed with 96% agreeing to strike over complaints that their strenuous shift patterns are resulting in rising levels of fatigue. According to the union 86% of its 2,000 members took part. However, they have received a last-minute offer from easyJet, which will be considered in meetings today.
In a statement easyJet said it is committed to working with Balpa to find a resolution to the dispute and promised passengers that no disruption is currently planned: “We hope to reach a mutually agreeable solution. easyJet can reassure its passengers that no industrial action is currently planned by its UK pilots”.

24.9.16: Update: The BBC report that easyJet pilots have suspended strike action pending further talks: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37456624

Extreme Sailing Series

Extreme Sailing photoFor those who have noticed increased activity in the bay over the last few days, the explanation is the arrival of the sixth stage of the Extreme Sailing Series 2016, which sees some of the top professional catamaran sailing teams in the world competing in a series of races between today and the 25th. To quote their website: “Now in its 10th year, the Extreme Sailing Series is a pioneering and award-winning global sailing championship that features super-fast, hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans racing in close confinement in stadium settings in the heart of some of the world’s most iconic cities and venues”.  There is expected to be a lot of media coverage and live streaming, particularly over the weekend. Seven international teams will compete, with the final (8th) stage in Sydney in December

Ponta do Pargo


Aeriel view of Ponta do PargoIn the wake of the August fires the Diario reported recently that land in Ponta do Pargo that was expropriated for the infamous failed golf course development will serve as a pasture. This is only be a temporary measure until the beginning of next spring, but solves a problem for livestock farmers after the fires destroyed large areas of pasture allocated to three cooperatives of farmers in Calheta and Ponta do Sol. It is anticipated that by March next year the original pastures will have regenerated.

Busy day in Funchal harbour

Busy day in the harbour yesterday with both the Queen Elizabeth and the Balmoral in dock – the photo (from the excellent Sergio Cruises blog) doesn’t quite give the impression of size when you are stood on the quayside! The cruise ship season seems to have well and truly started – another came in from the west in a blaze of lights around 6.00 this morning.

Queen Elizabeth and Balmoral

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Caniçal festival. Porto. easyJet strike.

Canical fishing boats

The Diario reports that this weekend will see the annual “Festa da Piedade” fisherman’s festival in Caniçal. The feast of Our Lady of Mercy is marked by “procession at sea”, involving many fishing boats with one raffled to carry the prize of the statue of Our Lady from the chapel at Monte Gordo, on the approach to Ponta de São Lourenço. to Caniçal. The procession starts at 3.00pm today (Saturday) and involves the journey to the pier at Caniçal, celebrating Our Lady protecting fishermen from storms. Boat owners traditionally carry as many passengers as they can accommodate. A Vigil Mass is held later in the parish church of Caniçal.

French air traffic controllers

European flights imageBA and Ryanair cancelled flights last week as French traffic controllers started their fourteenth bout of industrial action this year. Ryanair cancelled 22 flights on Wednesday night and 72 on Thursday. No Madeiran flights are reported to have been affected, although easyJet cancelled some flights. No dates seem to be available at the moment for any possible fifteenth strike but this will no doubt be inevitable judging by the previous form of the French ATC.
Lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E), which represents airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways’ parent company IAG, has called for the European Commission and governments to take action to reduce the impact of ATC strikes. The organisation wants neighbouring countries to be allowed to carry out ATC in airspace affected by industrial disputes.

Porto

Monarch logoFor those wanting to take in the delights of Porto en-route to Madeira (highly recommended by all who have been there, with spring and autumn being the best time to visit), Monarch have released new routes to Portugal’s historic second city. They will be flying three times a week from both Luton and Manchester commencing 28th April 2017, with prices starting at £33. Of course easyJet and TAP do the onward leg from Porto to Madeira. Presumably those with residency here could claim part of their fare back for this leg if they booked a return journey to the UK in this manner as part of the assisted travel to the mainland subsidy?

easyJet

easyJet logoContinuing on an aviation theme, and following up on the story tagged on to the end of the last post the closing date for the ballot of pilots on a possible strike in October has been given as September 21st.
Update Monday p.m: easyJet have announced a “flash sale” with 20% off a number of routes including Funchal on travel between 6 October 2016 and 25 January 2017. The campaign lasts for three days and ends at midnight on Wednesday. Link here.

Ronaldo painting in Santo António

Ronaldo spray paintingRTP Madeira’s Facebook page has a video interview with the British artist who spray painted Ronaldo on the side of the Civic Centre in CR7’s home parish of Santo António here

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Best year ever for tourism? New tax laws. Possible easyJet strike.

Porto Santo record confirms tourism growth

Porto Santo beachNext week, with the Columbus Festival between the 15th and 17th of September, the island of Porto Santo expects to record an overall average occupancy rate of 85%, representing a a 10% growth on 2015. This is the best of the last five years – in 2014 occupancy during the Columbus Festival stood at 65%, 2013 saw 69%, and in 2012 the occupancy rate was just 63%. At the moment there are 2776 tourist beds in the 12 largest establishments on the island.
The Diario reports that with the Atlantic Festival on main island recording its best occupancy rate ever, and the Wine Festival achieving its best result in the last five years, Porto Santo’s figures could confirm what should be the best year ever for tourism in the Madeira Islands.

The most enviable island on earth

Back in early 2015 the Daily Telegraph described Madeira as “the most enviable island on earth?”, taking the quote from H N Coleridge, nephew of the poet, who waxed lyrical after a visit in 1825: “I should think the situation of Madeira the most enviable on the whole earth. It ensures every European comfort with almost every tropical luxury”. They ran another story on the island this week, featuring the new Pestana CR7 hotel – an article which has mysteriously now gone offline. Whilst hunting for it I came across this from the Guardian’s website on Monday – an extensive and largely complementary article on the island and it’s most celebrated son.

Link to Guardian article on CR7 museum

New tax disclosure laws

Pile of Euro notesThe Journal reports that banks will have to inform the Tax Authorities of the existence of accounts  belonging to Portuguese citizens or foreigners residing in Portugal with a balance of over €50,000 by the end of July 2017.
The law, approved on Thursday by the Council of Ministers, adopts a set of rules for access to, and automatic exchange of , financial information in the field of taxation, which result from the implementation of an EU directive, but extend to residents in the country.

Hottest day in Portugal

Hot sun clip artThe Portugal News reports on the Portuguese Met Office revealing that September 6th was officially the hottest day of the year so far in Portugal. Warm southerly winds bringing with them hot air from the Sahara desert were once again the reason behind temperature records being broken. According to the Met Office, the average maximum temperature in Portugal on Tuesday was fixed at 38.6 degrees, while the average temperature over a period of 24 hours was 29.2 degrees.
Whilst our fires may have been extinguished, spare a thought for the mainland. The Algarve News reports that the number of fire-fighters involved in tackling the fire that has swept from the Monchique hills towards Portimão has risen to 668 with 216 vehicles and 8 aircraft attacking the blaze on several fronts.

easyJet strike possible next month

Just picked up on this on Saturday afternoon:

The Telegraph reports today that pilots working for the budget airline easyJet are considering strike action that could disrupt the October half-term holiday for thousands of families. About 2,000 UK-based pilots are being balloted for industrial action over complaints of rising levels of fatigue that union officials insist risk “serious health and safety concerns”. A ballot on industrial action, conducted by the pilots’ union Balpa, is currently taking place and will close at the end of September. If pilots vote in favour of industrial action, then strikes are likely to start in October, co-inciding with the half-term getaway. (We are) committed to finding a resolution to the issues raised and we still hope to reach a mutually agreeable solution said an asyJet spokesman. Any strike would be the first in Britain for easyJet.

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