Travel Weekly's Europe E-letter: Dec. 22, 2004

UP WITH EUROPE: The recovery in U.S. arrivals in Europe continued albeit more slowly in November. According to New York research firm Donald N. Martin & Co., American travel to the Continent was up an estimated 4% last month, compared to the stronger 10.8% growth recorded by the Dept. of Commerce in September. Airwise, the top nine transatlantic carriers reported a 8.4% jump in traffic; however, Europeans empowered by an ever-stronger euro currency accounted for most of the passenger volume growth. But overall, total U.S. arrivals could hit 12.6 million for all of 2004, higher than the 12.14 million seen in 2001 but still short of the record 13.12 million recorded back in 2000.

FRATERNITé: Air France Holidays, the Stateside tour division of Air France, tapped U.S. tour operator Europe Express, of Bothell, Wash., to operate many of its Europe-wide, customizable air-land vacation packages. In conjunction with the new partnership, Air France Holidays revamped and expanded its www.airfranceholidays.com Web site. For more, visit the site or call (800) 237-2623.

DEPARTURES:

" The new low-fare carrier wars in central Europe have claimed their first victim. Air Polonia, Polands first low-cost carrier, ceased all flights Dec. 5. The airline   founded by former LOT Polish Airlines chief executive Jan Litwinski just over one year ago flew to Londons Stansted Airport from Warsaw, Gdansk and four other Polish cities, as well as from Warsaw to both Paris and Rome. Similar services from Poland are offered by Hungarian competitor WizzAir and Slovak airline SkyEurope. SkyEurope reportedly is honoring most Air Polonia tickets; passengers can rebook at www.skyeurope.com, and more information is available at (011) 48-22 846-7427.

" Virgin Atlantic Airways voted best international airline in the recent Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards debuted a specialist cocktail service for Upper Class Suite passengers. Uniformed mixologists from gin purveyor Bombay Sapphire will fly aboard select flights, offering a choice of five cocktails, including the RedHead

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