Fairmont Hotels formally becomes part of the AccorHotels group

As of today, Fairmont and its sister brands Raffles and Swissotel have formally joined the AccorHotels group. As per the press release: “Following the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, the transaction with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia provided $840 million (€768 million) cash payment and the issuance of 46.7 million AccorHotels shares in consideration for the contributed FRHI shares. The transaction gives QIA and KHC respective stakes of 10.4% and 5.8% in Accor’s share capital. Ali Bouzarif and Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo from QIA and Sarmad Zok from KHC will now join AccorHotels’ Board of Directors. AccorHotels plans to generate approximately €65 million in revenue and cost synergies thanks to the combination…

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No KrisFlyer elite miles on Virgin Atlantic flights

I just received a communication from Singapore Airlines informing that starting 1 July 2016, KrisFlyer members will not be able to earn any KrisFlyer élite miles on Virgin Atlantic operated flights between the Americas and Europe. You are although eligible to earn KrisFlyer élite miles on the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s non-transatlantic flight network. Do note that KrisFlyer élite miles count towards your KrisFlyer status and are different from the redeemable miles accrued via travel and credit cards etc. I see this as a fallout from the Delta trying to exert more control over the lucrative trans-Atlantic sector run by Virgin in direct competition with British Airways. With the latest announcement of aligning of Delta and Virgin schedules between this route, this fallout was inevitable.…

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Air India introduces paid seat selection

Ever since Air India has joined the Star Alliance, things have become more and more professional for the airline as it brings in the specialist expertise to improve its service and product standards. With low fuel price helping the airline swing back into a profit. The airline is now learning from its peers and has now introduced paid seat selection for the preferred seats on all its routes. As of May 17, 2016 as long as you fulfill the conditions listed below. You are eligible to select a paid preferred seat for your travel with the airline. With these changes, the airline is clearly showing the intent to generate revenue from its activities on the line of what the other airlines have done for a…

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Garuda switches London Heathrow flight to Singapore

Starting 31st March 2016, Garuda Indonesia has started flying direct 5 times a week (every other day except Monday and Friday) from Singapore to London (Heathrow) one way basis. The airline has done this due to the ongoing runway issues at the Jakarta airport which limits the take-off weight from the airport. The airlines 77-300ERs are exceeding the runway restrictions on full load. The airline is marketing this one-way flight big time to gauge market interest given that it is competing against the likes of every big airline that is directly or indirectly flying this route. The airline, based on the response it gets to the flight may make this flight a permanent feature should it get a strong uptake although its limited by the fact…

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Baidu backed Qunar wants to do what?

There have been lots of exciting developments happening in the airline industry, be it cramped seating in economy class or the so-called best business seats. This news though beats everything out by a mile. According to this news article, Chinese on-line travel booking giant Qunar intends to start its own airline. The Baidu backed company intends to set-up this new airline along with two yet unnamed co-founders which will give it bragging rights to being one of the first Chinese on-line travel agency to be able to do so. This act can also be termed as a reaction to the acrimonious battle that the company had to fight against Chinese airlines about the extra charges and opaque refund policy for the tickets bought on the so-called flagship stores set-up on…

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Air China to launch Shanghai flights from San Jose

There seems to be a flurry of Chinese airlines applying to grab airline routes given the first come first serve policy that only allows one airline to fly a route, the notable exception being Air China which is the de-facto state airline. Air China has now gone ahead and applied for flying rights to fly from Shanghai to San Jose, three times a week. Given that both the cities have a huge technology centre connection, the flight may prove really popular. The airline intends to start flying using an Airbus A330 from June onwards pending Department of Transportation (DOT) approval. As one of Bay Area’s 3rd airport, this can prove to be a good alternative to flying to other airports especially SFO. Conclusion: Even though they…

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Air France and PayPal partner to make buying tickets seamless

Air France is not really known as a very creative driven airline. Its a title that usually goes to its partner KLM who have brought in unique customer focussed initiatives like 24/7 twitter support in  multiple languages, find your seat mate and many more. But this time Air France has taken a leaf out that same book and launched a new initiative by which it will allow passengers to buy tickets on its website and pay via PayPal. As per the official press release: “Customers can now pay for their plane tickets simply and quickly with PayPal, without having to enter their credit card numbers each time they make a booking. By the end of March 2016, Air France customers will also be able to…

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Air Canada flight diverted twice!

An Air Canada flight from Frankfurt to Toronto  had the misfortune of being diverted to London’s Heathrow airport twice on the same day in a matter of hours. According to the news article, the flight AC 873 on 3rd March 2016 took off from Frankfurt and right when it hit the UK shores, the crew detected an electrical odour and pilots declared an emergency and landed at the Heathrow airport for further checks. On being cleared for take-off after no issues were found, the plane took off again only to return back to Heathrow with the same issue. This must have been a great inconvenience for the passengers and a huge cost for the airline also as they ended up accommodating all the 336 passengers on-board…

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Airbus A380 and Emirates, what the future holds?

The future of Airbus A380, the flagship model of the plane manufacturer from Europe hangs in balance. The only two factors justifying the jumbo are the need for transporting more people out of busy slot constrained airports such as Beijing and Heathrow and the Middle East airline giant, Emirates. The A380 super jumbo is lagging in sales and yet to make a profit for Airbus, hence the frame maker is not very keen on bringing in the neo version of the plane which has long been demanded by Emirates, the biggest customer of the aircraft with 140 of those birds on order. The airline has repeatedly said that it needs more of these jumbo to satisfy its need of moving more people around the world…

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Air China to order Airbus jets worth 

As part of the local capability building roadmap, the Chinese government has been luring Airbus and Boeing to build locally by doling out large orders for their jets. The latest in this case is the huge Air China order worth $3.1 billion for Airbus A330 jets. The Chinese government agency COMAC has been trying to build jets on its but its effort have been more of test dummies at best which are still lagging behind the industry standard features and technology. IN order to jump-start itself into the big boys league of the Boeings and the Airbuses of the world. The government has used the large market potential to its advantage whereby its handing out large orders to satisfy its market need by making the…

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