Back to work. Record business closures. Madeira voted best European island destination. Ryanair baggage charges.

Bit of a “back to work” feel about Funchal this week after most of the locals seem to have had most of August as holidays as usual. Schools still closed for another few weeks (I thought there were plans to reduce the length of the summer holiday here?). As per previous blogs there still seems to be a lot of tourists around, which is great news for the island if it can be sustained! – you have to ask “what economic crisis”? I guess with various politicians back at work across Europe we will be hearing more on this count, although lots of positive economic data from the UK recently. German elections in three weeks will have a significant bearing on the future for the more profligate members of the Eurozone – will they continue to be bailed out? The Diario makes bleak reading locally, reporting on Monday that three businesses in Madeira are closing each day:


733 businesses closures so far this year

Since early this year, the business world lost Madeira 733 companies, most of which have been voluntary closures. According to data published by the Ministry of Justice, the Autonomous Region lost an average of three business days for the first eight months of 2013. This is faster pace than last year (1,009 company closures in total). 560 companies have been created in the same period but the net balance is still negative (-173 companies). Some of the larger businesses on the island have restructured, contributing to the figures, whilst others have moved abroad, Apparently the Free Trade Zone is still attracting

The company that won the tender for the recreation of the old “Comboio do Monte” train ride, a project of seven million euros, which included the construction of the line with a length of approximately 1300 meters to linking the Largo da Fonte ao Terreiro da Luta was one of the statistics. Last year, the municipality of Funchal had already announced that the company gave up the project, but it was only on 8 August when the dissolution of the company was formalized.


Tourism “Oscars”

At the weekend Madeira was elected as the best island destination in Europe in the World Travel Awards ceremony in Antalya, Turkey. The archipelago won in a category that also competed Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Malta and Sardinia. Three Madeira hotels also won in the categories in which they competed: Quinta da Casa Branca (Best Mediterranean Boutique Hotel ) (surely that should read Madeira?), The Vine Hotel (Best Design Hotel in Europe) and Reid’s Palace (Best Hotel in Portugal). I’m not entirely sure on the validity of these “World Travel Awards” – ever since I registered my vote for Madeira a few months ago (and I recall encouraging others to do so) my inbox has been deluged with e-mails from them encouraging me to vote for other random destinations!

Ryanair baggage charges – 66% increase over summer. Cheaper by courier.

I know this isn’t really relevant to Madeira, but it shows the way things are going:


Ryanair recently raised the cost for passengers taking luggage in the hold of its planes from 30 euros to 50 euros (£43.60) for the busy summer period. The no-frills carrier’s chief executive Michael O’Leary, also said it intended to increase baggage charges until no-one took its flights with hold luggage. He confirmed that Ryanair had increased its charge for hold luggage by 20 euros until the summer’s end because "that’s when they are likely to bring more bags". Mr O’Leary went on: "We will keep increasing charges until we get rid of (hold) bags" – Ryanair had reduced the number of its passengers who checked in hold baggage from 80% to 19% and that this was saving the airline "a fortune in money" (his exact words, not mine).

Asked if Ryanair would consider charging for hand luggage, Mr O’Leary said: "At some point in the future I think it’s likely that airlines will do it but I can’t get my head round how you would do it. I think it’s unlikely that we will do it". Ryanair also recently announced that it would get its pilots to increase flight times by two minutes to save fuel, saving the airline around £70m a year. Asked if he was considering reducing the amount of air conditioning on his flights, Mr O’Leary said: "No. Even I would not do that."

The Mail online pointed out that baggage fees from the likes of Ryanair are now so high that it can be cheaper for holidaymakers to use a specialist courier. For while Ryanair would charge £35 to put a standard 20kg suitcase in the aircraft hold on a one-way flight to Malaga, the courier firm SendmyBag would do it for £6 less.This means that a family of four could save £48 by sending their luggage by a courier to their holiday destination and back rather than taking it on a plane.


Finally, we have heard from the blog’s resident photographer in Gaula, Jon Parsons, who felt that after the recent sunset photos, sunRISE wasn’t getting a fair deal – so he attached one of his to right the balance – the view from Casa Parsons

SR Chris2

16 thoughts on “Back to work. Record business closures. Madeira voted best European island destination. Ryanair baggage charges.”

  1. What a wonderful report.
    What a wonderful picture from Casa Parsons.
    With regards to suitcase charges.
    I did put a suitcase into a cardboard case and “posted” it to my private address in Funchal last year.
    It saved a small amount of easjey fees but saved a puffing and wheezy me from lugging it about.
    Didn’t stop the airline from using what amounts to a step ladder to board the plane.
    The carton took a week door to door and its 30 kgs weight carried a charge of £23.99 one way.
    Madeira is considered a “remote” destination by carriers and entails surcharges and lengthening of journey times.
    Carriers continue to charge VAT when I believe freight to the island should be vat free.
    I used who are brokers for many carriers.
    They have an easy to use quick quote website.

  2. As reported widely this year Easyjet reduced the size of cabin baggage, and said that the old larger size may have to be put in the hold on busy/full flights (free of charge). We took 4 cases of the old larger size and one of the new smaller allowable size (ensuring that all passports and valuables were in that one). Since all flights to and from Madeira are always full (in August) we were (as I anticipated) asked to put our larger hand luggage in the hold. Result! – kids not struggllng with overhead luggage bins, no weighing of hand luggage and resulting fees, and saved £100 in hold baggage fees. Also no more scrum for seats as we pre-booked them all in advance.

  3. I feel for all you poor people. You should live in Scotland. You know; that place north of Watford where the people with strange accents live.
    You haven’t lived until you’ve waited 12 hours at Funchal for the return of the plane you were supposed to get much earlier but which was diverted to Manchester because the Manchester one broke down. (At least twice that I know off)
    You haven’t lived until you pay that extra £90 for an overnight stay because the flights from Funchal to England don’t connect to to the flights to the north on the same day.
    As for the mercenary Irishman. He’s just an airline version of the X factor man Simon Cowal – takes great delight in being branded anti-human. Don’t humour the man by paying attention to him and travel with another ailrline.

    by the way: great sun pics but don’t look directly at the sun if you aint got the right gear. You might end-up doing a ‘blinder’.

  4. Jim, I fully understand your logistic and “removed” position – literally.

    Contrary to “Admin” post, I am NOT from Scotland – although my Dad was a proud and outstanding member of the Black Watch Regiment…..

    Myself, I have also proudly “served” in Scotland and the Near and Far East, but Primarily (and equally proudly) in North Wales (Anglesey) aka Prince William, with a short spell in the English areas South of Watford – an interesting contrast indeed.,,,,,

    I am able therefore to concur and to have sympathy with your laments re logistic Air travel problems.

    Always look at the sun through a filter, NEVER “bare” eyes and body……!

    Take Care all, Madeira is Magic and worth it……B&B discount Jim?

    p.s. waiting for Admin to post my latest blog input/contribution, in between my other duties..

  5. It’s our “other” photographer at this end that’s Scottish Jon (“sunset” rather than “sunrise”) – I would never insult you in such a manner!!!! Your latest advice to all residents will feature in the next post

  6. Thanks Peter …. But really no apology needed, I certainly wouldn’t object to being Scottish! It was probably just a “typing” error (corrected I see) that gave the impression …… however, be prepared for a Scottish rebellion, eh Betty?!?
    Tee Hee!

  7. Hopefully the Scottish readers understand/forgive my “English” sense of humour – perhaps a little too “tongue-in-cheek”. My “better half” is a patriotic Scot, and lots of relatives in Glasgow and on the islands – including the Outer Hebrides – where I have been made very welcome on a number of occasions (just recalling – the weather was almost as good as Madeira on the last occasion we visited – at exactly this time of year).

  8. How does Mr O’Leary expect us to go on holiday for one ,two, three weeks or even more (if you are retired and/or extremely lucky) without taking more than hand luggage? He is obviously in the wrong industry if he does not understand the “logistics” of taking a vacation.


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