EU concerns over Air Berlin bid

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, EUROPE, News

BRUSSELS, 12 December 2017: The European Union said Friday it was concerned about the impact on competition of German airline Lufthansa’s plan to take over routes operated by failed rival Air Berlin.

“We have quite deep competition concerns because there is a risk that on some routes Lufthansa becomes de facto a monopoly,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said at a news conference.

The warning comes a week after Lufthansa offered concessions to encourage the European Commission to green-light its planned purchase of parts of Air Berlin. Read more

Missiles raise safety risks

December 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, North Asia

SEOUL, 8 December 2017: A North Korean ballistic missile was seen by the crew of several airliners last week, aviation authorities said Wednesday, raising concerns about the threat to civilian flights posed by Pyongyang’s unannounced tests.

The North has conducted a flurry of missile tests this year in defiance of repeated international protests, including from aviation authorities.

Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last week, which reached an altitude of 4,475 kilometres (2,780 miles) before splashing into the sea 950 kilometres (590 miles) east of its launch site, North Korean state media said. Read more

Catalan crisis cuts hotel bookings

December 8, 2017 by  
Filed under EUROPE, Hospitality, News

MADRID, 8 December 2017: Hotel reservations in Barcelona are down by 10% in the first quarter of 2018 over the same time last year due to Catalonia’s separatist crisis, which could lead to job losses in the sector, industry lobby group Exceltur said earlier this week.

If the trend continues “tourism company heads may have to start adjusting the number of their employees to adapt to lower levels of demand,” Exceltur — which groups Spain’s major hotel chains and tour operators — said in a statement.

Hotels expect they would have to reduce their staff by an average of 8.2%, while car rental firms predict they would shrink their payrolls by about 5%, it added. Read more

Singapore cracks down on Airbnb

December 8, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Singapore

SINGAPORE, 8 December 2017: Two men have been charged in Singapore with illegally renting out apartments on Airbnb, the first such prosecutions in the city-state under new rules, local media reported Wednesday.

Regulations introduced in May ban homeowners from leasing property for less than three months without approval from authorities, meaning many short-term rentals on Airbnb should be illegal.

Housing policy is tightly controlled in space-starved Singapore, where 80% of the population lives in public housing which is subsidised by the government. Read more

IATA offers rosy 2018 forecast

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, EUROPE, News

GENEVA, 7 December 2017: Led by US airlines, net profits in the aviation industry are set to rise by some 11% in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday as it presented economic forecasts for the industry.

According to the forecast by the industry’s global trade association, combined net profits will hit USD38.4 billion, from a revised USD34.5 billion in 2017, with US carriers weighing in with almost half.

“Strong demand, efficiency and reduced interest payments will help airlines improve net profitability in 2018 despite rising (operating) costs,” said IATA, whose 280 members account for more than three quarters of global air traffic. Read more

Cancellation crisis hits Ryanair growth

December 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, EUROPE, News

LONDON, 6 December 2017: Ryanair passenger traffic grew at the slowest pace in three years last month, data from the Irish no-frills airline showed Monday as it weathers a cancellations crisis.

Some 9.3 million passengers flew with Ryanair in November, up 6% compared with the same month a year earlier.

But last month’s increase was the lowest since October 2014 and fell short of 8% expansion in October. Read more

Lufthansa sweetens Air Berlin bid

December 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, EUROPE, News

FRANKFURT, 4 December 2017: German aviation giant Lufthansa has offered concessions to encourage the European Commission to green-light its planned purchase of parts of bankrupt Air Berlin, the Brussels authority told AFP.

“We have received remedies” from Lufthansa concerning the case, a spokesman said.

As Europe’s highest competition authority, the Commission is examining the impact the German group’s plans would have on the continent’s aviation market. Read more

Buddhist monks join Cambodia’s prayers

December 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Cambodia, News

SIEM REAP, 4 December 2017: Thousands of orange-clad monks joined Cambodian Premier Hun Sen, Sunday, for a prayer ceremony by the famed Angkor temple, lauding “political stability” after the main opposition party was dissolved, an act that has cemented the strongman’s grip on power.

Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia since 1985, making him one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, an accolade earned through a mix of cold political strategy, deft public relations and repression.

His rule appears virtually assured after a court early this month disbanded the main opposition party ahead of next year’s elections. Read more

Volcano burns wedding dreams

December 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Indonesia, News

JAKARTA, 4 December 2017: Australian Tiarna Thompson had her dream Bali wedding all set, but there was one thing she did not count on: a volcano threatening its first major eruption in half a century.

The 24-year-old and her fiancé Justin saw their plans go up in smoke when Mount Agung rumbled to life, spewing ash and fumes that forced hundreds of flights to and from the island to be cancelled.

“It’s funny how a volcano can just turn our plans and our whole lives sort of upside down, just like that,” said Thompson from her home near Brisbane. Read more

American Airlines short of pilots

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under AMERICAS, Aviation, News

WASHINGTON, 1 December 2017: American Airlines was scrambling Wednesday to avoid thousands of cancelations over the busy holiday travel period after a scheduling glitch left many flights without pilots, the company said.

Some 15,000 flights scheduled between 17 to 31 December 17 are without pilots after a scheduling system hiccup allowed too many pilots to take time off, the American Pilots Association said, according to news reports.

The airline said it will offer pilots 150% of their hourly rate to cover affected flights and can also call on reserve pilots to prevent cancelations. Read more

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