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Turkish Airlines Raises Staff Wages Amid Aviation Recovery Hopes - BLOOMBERG

JULY 11, 2021

BY  Kerim KarakayaBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) --

Turkish Airlines decided to increase staff wages in July as the easing of coronavirus restrictions in many countries raised hopes for a quicker recovery in aviation.

The salaries of both domestic and foreign personnel working on the reopened international routes have been raised by a minimum of 10% above inflation, the airline said in a statement.

The company cited global loosening of restrictions and the cautious optimism over vaccination programs, while also taking into account sacrifices made by employees during the pandemic.

Turkish Airlines is one of the first major carriers to post a profit this year after a boost in freight revenue. The company announced first quarter net income of $50.5 million, or 438 million liras, even as sales declined, reversing a year-earlier loss and beating analyst estimates.

Last year, the company put foreign national pilots on unpaid leave to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its finances.

Branson, Virgin Galactic Crew Pull Off Key Test Flight to Space - BLOOMBERG

JULY 11, 2021

By 

  •  Mission boosts company’s plan to start tourism trips next year
  •  Suborbital trip caps boyhood dream for daredevil billionaire

Billionaire Richard Branson and five Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. employees pulled off a key test flight to space, bolstering the company’s plans to debut tourism trips next year.

The VSS Unity space plane glided back through sunny skies to land in New Mexico at about 9:38 a.m. local time, shortly after detaching from a carrier aircraft and rocketing to an altitude of about 282,000 feet, or more than 53 miles (86 kilometers) above the Earth. Branson and the crew are expected to discuss the trip in a news conference later Sunday.

The suborbital journey kicks off a landmark month for the future of space tourism, with Branson looking to demonstrate Virgin Galactic’s capabilities nine days before Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos plans to fly on a rocket made by Blue Origin, his space venture. Both companies envision businesses catering to wealthy tourists willing to pay top dollar for a short period of weightlessness and an unforgettable view of the Earth and heavens.

“It’s taken 15 years for Galactic to get to this place.” Will Whitehorn, former Virgin Galactic President spoke to @timsteno and @emilychangTV as Richard Branson sets off for a flight into space pic.twitter.com/BllYJpxLBt
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake)July 11, 2021

It wasn’t immediately clear how long Branson, 70, and his fellow crewmembers experienced weightlessness. After reaching its highest altitude, the Unity pivoted in space and returned to the Spaceport America complex near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

The mission was the spacecraft’s 22nd test flight and first with a large crew. Virgin Galactic has dubbed the flight “Unity 22,” and it’s the first of two tests the company is planning this summer before an astronaut-training mission with Italian Air Force personnel later this year.

Branson was to evaluate the customer experience during the flight and in the various preparatory events Virgin Galactic plans around its launches. Also on board:

  • Dave “Mac” Mackay, chief pilot. He is among Virgin Galactic’s earliest hires. He is a former U.K. Royal Air Force test pilot and Boeing 747 aviator at Branson-backed Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. Mackay, who grew up in a rural village in northern Scotland, became the first Scotsman to fly to space.
  • Michael “Sooch” Masucci, pilot. He is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel with more than 10,000 hours experience in the U-2 and F-16 jets, along with dozens of other aircraft types. He joined Virgin in 2013 and first flew to space in 2019.
  • Sirisha Bandla, Virgin’s vice president of government affairs. She will test the “researcher experience” during the flight with a plant experiment from the University of Florida. Born in Guntur, in the Andhra Pradesh province of southern India, she will become the second Indian-American woman to travel in space.
  • Colin Bennett, a Virgin Galactic engineer. He will evaluate cabin procedures during the test flight. Bennett has worked for Virgin Galactic as an operations engineer for six years in California, according to his LinkedIn page. Previously, he was an engineer at Virgin Atlantic.
  • Beth Moses, Virgin’s chief astronaut instructor. She is making her second space flight after a trip in February 2019. The flight made Moses the 571st person to travel to space, according to Virgin Galactic. She will be the test director Sunday and the cabin lead. Moses worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 24 years before joining the company. Her husband, Mike Moses, is Virgin Galactic’s president of space missions and safety.

Virgin last flew the two-craft system on May 22. The company said the Unity performed well after more than two months of work to minimize electromagnetic interference that had delayed a planned February 2021 test. In a flight in December 2020, the rocket motor failed to ignite and the spacecraft glided back to the spaceport.

The test in May was the company’s first successful powered flight since February 2019. Following the test that took place more than two years ago, flight engineers discovered hull damage on the spacecraft from air pressure that had built up after ventilating holes were accidentally covered, according to “Test Gods,” a book published this year by New Yorker writer Nicholas Schmidle.

The company plans to begin working down its backlog of around 600 confirmed customers in early 2022. Virgin Galactic has said it will resume ticket sales after the summer’s test flights, with executives signaling that fares will be higher than the prior price of $250,000 a seat.

Virgin Galactic’s shares have doubled this year through Friday, lifting the company’s value to almost $12 billion.

— With assistance by Edward Ludlow

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Second homes: Hundreds gather to protest housing 'crisis' - BBC

JULY 11, 2021

Plans to tackle the second homes "crisis" in Wales are "vague" and "unambitious", a campaign group says.

Hundreds gathered at Llyn Celyn in Gwynedd on Saturday after the Welsh government announced plans to "inject fairness back into the housing system".

Gwynedd has the highest number of second homes at 5,098, which represents 20% of all second homes in Wales.

The Welsh government said it was "working at speed" for "sustainable solutions to what are complex issues".

Mabli Siriol, chairwoman of Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith, addressed the crowd and called for "urgent action".

She called for measures including new taxes and legislation to bring in price caps on second homes, and "invest that money in our communities to bring houses back into public hands".

'Urgent steps'

"What we've got from them is vague and unambitious promises - more consultation, more pilot projects - that will take years to make a difference, which is time we can't afford to waste," she said.

There were 24,873 second homes registered for council tax purposes in Wales in January 2021, according to official figures.

Officials say numbers of homes could be much higher depending on the exact definition of a second home.

Those looking to buy second homes or buy-to-let properties in Wales have to pay an extra 3% in land transaction tax (LTT) on top of the tax payable for their band.

New figures from the Welsh Revenue Authority show 44% of all homes sold in the Gwynedd constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd during 2020-21 were subject to the higher rate of LTT.

The area's member of the Senedd (MS), Mabon ap Gwynfor, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "These latest statistics show that the housing crisis is getting worse and that the Welsh government's decision to raise the LTT by 1% hasn't worked... we have to take much more ambitious steps."

'Complex issues'

Earlier this week the Welsh government said it would pick an area of Wales to pilot new policies aimed at "injecting fairness back into the housing system".

It said officials would also look at options to shut a tax "loophole" where some second home owners do not pay council tax.

The government has also said it will launch a Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan in the autumn.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "Fairness is at the heart of our plans, ensuring that everyone in Wales can have access to good quality, affordable housing.

"Within the first two months of forming a new government, we have set out plans to begin to address the impact of second and holiday home ownership in some communities and to protect the interests of Welsh language communities.

"We are working at speed to implement sustainable solutions to what are complex issues."

Sydney Braced for Longer Lockdown as Virus Cases Spike - BLOOMBERG

JULY 11, 2021

(Bloomberg) --

Sydneysiders are braced for a longer and tighter lockdown after Australia’s biggest city recorded 50 new daily cases on Saturday.

“Things are going to get worse before they get better,” New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a press conference. “Unless we reduce that level of people in the community that are infectious, we won’t be able to turn things around as quickly as we can or as quickly as we should.”

Of the new cases, 26 were infectious while in the community. Total cases in the current delta variant outbreak are now at 489 and Berejiklian has warned that unless it is quickly brought under control, Sydney’s lockdown will need to stay in place beyond July 16.

On Friday, the government imposed stricter social-distancing measures including only allowing one person in a household to shop for food or other essentials once a day.

While tough border restrictions helped Australia prevent the waves of death and illness that swept the U.S. and Europe, a slow vaccine rollout has left it still largely unprotected against the virus. Just 26% of the country’s roughly 26 million people have received their first jab, compared to 68% in the U.K, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a deal with Pfizer Inc. will see millions of vaccine doses delivered earlier than previously scheduled, meaning every Australian will be offered at least one jab by year-end.

Vaccine access has been mainly limited to priority groups and the over 40s, with a shortage of supply meaning even those eligible face long waits to book appointments.

With no clear end in sight to the Sydney lockdown, Federal Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese on Saturday called on Morrison to do more to support casual employees put out of work by the city’s closure.

Glo Subscribers To Enjoy Data Roaming, 4G LTE Services In China, UAE - LEADERSHIP

JULY 11, 2021

Good times are here for subscribers to national telecommunication company, Globacom, who are frequent travellers to China and United Arab Emirates, as the company’s pre-paid roaming, data roaming and 4G LTE services formally commence in the  Asian and Middle East countries.

In a press statement issued in Lagos, Globacom said the services were extended to these countries as part of its efforts to ensure that Glo subscribers on vacation or business trips have access to its services in different parts of the world.

“We assure our customers of excellent calling and browsing services”, Globacom said, adding that  Glo customers will have unrestricted access to its super-fast 4G LTE and pre-paid roaming as well as all post-paid services launched many years ago, whenever they visit China and UAE.

“Globacom has the largest roaming footprint covering over 500 networks across over 90 countries,” the company added, explaining that  its roaming rates across different countries are the most competitive in the industry .

The locations where Glo pre and post services are available have therefore increased with China and the United Arab Emirates joining the United Kingdom, Finland, Spain, Serbia, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Holland, France, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland and Denmark. Others are American regions including Brazil, United States, Bolivia, Cayman and Grenada, Chile, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Paraguay.

Glo subscribers will also enjoy the company’s post-paid services in the Asian country of Japan, especially now that the Olympic Games are a month away. This will give the Nigerian contingent to the games the opportunity to communicate and chat effortlessly with their loved ones during the games.

UAE Suspends Entry for Travelers From Indonesia as Cases Surge - BLOOMBERG

JULY 11, 2021

BY  

BY  Adveith NairBloomberg News

PT Garuda Indonesia aircraft parked at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Indonesia, on Monday, May 24, 2021. Garuda Indonesia needs to completely restructure its business, potentially reducing the number of planes it operates to less than half its main fleet as the airline seeks to survive the crisis wrought by the pandemic, its president told staff last week.

PT Garuda Indonesia aircraft parked at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Indonesia, on Monday, May 24, 2021. Garuda Indonesia needs to completely restructure its business, potentially reducing the number of planes it operates to less than half its main fleet as the airline seeks to survive the crisis wrought by the pandemic, its president told staff last week. , Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) --

The United Arab Emirates will suspend entry for travelers from Indonesia from July 11 as the Southeast Asian country grapples with a surge in infections, driven by the delta variant.

The ban will exclude some travelers, including UAE citizens and essential workers, who will be subject to a 10-day quarantine and PCR tests. Travel from Afghanistan will also be suspended, the country’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said on Saturday.

The move comes as Indonesia -- Southeast Asia’s largest economy -- battles one of the worst outbreaks in the region. The government has imposed stricter curbs, including a full work-from-home order for non-essential sectors.

Hospitals in many provinces are running out of beds and oxygen. As many as 38,124 people were confirmed to have the coronavirus in the 24 hours through Friday, with 871 dying from the disease. That was the first day in six that Indonesia didn’t mark a record in infections.

Britain’s Nightlife Prepares for Reopening Wounded by Pandemic - BLOOMBERG

JULY 11, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s world-class nightclubs are preparing to reopen for the first time in 16 months, nursing devastating wounds that many will not survive.

One in eight venues have disappeared since coronavirus struck, and that’s likely to rise, according to CGA and Alix Partners’ Market Recovery Monitor, two consultants that studied the industry. While the government is due on Monday to confirm that large events can restart on July 19, surging infections are clouding the long-term future of clubs

The industry’s woes go far beyond the loss of a good night out. Britain’s Night Time Industries Association estimates its members contribute 66 billion pounds ($91 billion) a year to the economy and employ 1.3 million people in bars, restaurants, theaters, festivals and music concerts. They support an ecosystem of lighting and sound technicians, designers and promoters that also feed the film, television and corporate events industries.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of our nighttime culture, not just as an employer but also its attractiveness to visitors,” said Amy Lamé, the adviser on nightlife to London Mayor Sadiq Khan. “It’s absolutely integral to our success as a city.”

At least a quarter of people in Britain say they’re not comfortable with attending live events including music concerts and festivals, a YouGov survey in July showed.

The damage done by the pandemic risks upending the U.K.’s leading status in the global nightclub business, which has helped underpin the appeal of places like London, Manchester and Glasgow. Britain is home to 12 of the world’s top 100 nightclubs, according to the latest rankings by DJ Magazine. That’s on par with the U.S. and double the number in any other European country except for Spain.

Some members of Parliament have warned that nightlife “extinction” could hobble the wider recovery. Nightclubs have generated only 20% of their pre-Covid revenue since lockdowns started in early 2020 and made more than half of their staff redundant, according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group report on nightlife.

Yousef Zaher, a Liverpool DJ, felt a glimmer of hope in May when thousands of ravers packed into the Circus event he organized. That evaporated in June when the government delayed the reopening by a month.

“Four weeks is a long, long time when the majority in our industry are literally hand to mouth,” Zaher said. “I’m fairly upbeat and positive, but when the news came in, for the first time during this whole Covid episode, I was completely deflated.”

Before the pandemic, the London mayor was attempting to build a 24-hour culture in the capital, noting a third of the city’s workers, or 1.6 million people, work between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. He appointed a Night Time Commission to reverse the drop in pubs, clubs and LGBTQ+ venues, seeing the industry as part of what attracts people to London.

Britain’s nightclubs flourished in the 1990s when tight licensing rules and electronic dance music drew people in their thousands into venues every weekend. Their dominance declined starting in 2005 as the government allowed more bars and pubs to serve alcohol after 11 p.m. and smartphone-dating apps like Tinder and Grindr gained popularity.

While restaurants were allowed to reopen starting in April and for many weeks last year, nightclubs and live music events have remained mostly off limits throughout the pandemic. The industry started selling tickets in anticipation of reopening on June 21 then quickly had to refund those sales and unwind preparations.

With the doors closed and rent payments still due, most nightclubs are struggling under massive debts. Some risk bankruptcy even if government restrictions lift as planned on July 19, said Michael Kill, chief executive officer of the Night Time Industry Association. Others are buckling under the weight of a shrinking pool of staff as workers seek more secure jobs in occupations not hit by the virus. An exodus of workers to the European Union added to that malaise.

Any further delay in reopening or additional lockdowns will “see the decimation of an industry,” Kill said.

The government remains worried that nightclubs can spread the virus quickly, as happened in South Korea when it allowed venues to reopen. A U.K. study released in June suggested that the risk of catching the coronavirus at large events could be reduced by using face coverings, improving ventilation and controlling pinch-points where people congregate. It found 28 infections after pilot events involving 58,000 people at venues across the country in April and May.

Nightclub and events promoters are pressing for assurances that lockdowns won’t return. They’re joining figures like Andrew Lloyd Webber, the the composer behind hit musicals including “Phantom of the Opera” and “Evita,” in warning about the permanent damage being done to Britain’s cultural offering.

There’s signs that people will flock back to big events when they’re allowed:

  • Advance ticket sales suggest a pent-up demand for “euphoric” experiences that can’t be replicated at home, said Cameron Leslie, co-founder of Fabric nightclub in central London
  • Parklife, a music festival that usually takes three weeks to book its 80,000 capacity, sold out in 78 minutes this year
  • Tickets for six Warehouse Project shows in Manchester, with a capacity 10,000 tickets per show, went in less than a day

“The demand for people to go out is phenomenal,” said Sacha Lord, nightlife adviser to Manchester and co-founder of the Warehouse Project club and Parklife. “People want to go to a nightclub, go to a live gig, just feel like they’ve got their freedoms back.”

For now, many venues on the cusp of reopening are splashing out their last cash reserves to prepare. Fabric had to make most of its staff redundant in October. Even with a government grant, it’s hemorrhaging at least 80,000 pounds a month, according to Leslie.

London’s iconic LGBTQ nightclub Heaven racked up 1.4 million pounds of bills since March and now operates as a cabaret with a reduced capacity of 255, down from the usual 1,625.

“All we are currently doing is reducing our losses, we’re not making our money,” said Jeremy Joseph, owner of Heaven and G-A-Y Bar. “Last year, we closed Heaven because we knew it needed to be done -- it wasn’t safe. We acted before the government did. Now we’re paying the mistakes that this government keep making.”

U.K.’s Javid Warns Hospital Backlog Could Soar to 13 Million - BLOOMBERG

JULY 11, 2021

(Bloomberg) --

Hospital waiting lists in England could more than double to 13 million people in the coming months due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions, Britain’s new health secretary warned.

Sajid Javid told the Sunday Telegraph that some people who needed treatment, including for cancer checks and mental health problems, hadn’t turned up for fear of catching the virus or a “very British” attitude of not wanting to overburden health-care workers.

He said he was “confident” that virtually all of England’s remaining restrictions would be lifted as planned on July 19, despite concerns from some scientists over rising infection rates.

The number of patients waiting for NHS treatment reached a record 5.3 million at the end of May; Javid said he was “shocked” to be told by scientists it could go as high as 13 million.

“It’s going to be one of my top priorities to deal with because we can’t have that,” he told the newspaper in his first newspaper interview since being appointed as health secretary in June.

What Does the Future Hold for Business Travel? - NASDAQ

JULY 11, 2021

The skies are getting friendlier once again.

Americans, en masse, are traveling once again, thanks to widespread vaccine availability and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. So far, though, the majority of travel has been leisure, not business.

The ease and convenience of teleconferencing (not to mention the tremendous savings of a Zoom call vs. a real-world trip) have slowed the return of corporate road warriors. And it could be a while before things get back to normal.

"Global business travel is unlikely to make a full recovery before 2024," says Martin Hallmark, senior vice president at Moody's Investors Service. "Around 20%-25% of business travel involves meeting people from within a company's own organization - these trips are most at risk of being replaced."

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is even more pessimistic, saying it doesn’t expect full recovery until 2025. Business travel fell 60% in North America last year and 79% from April 1 through the end of the year. And the impact on the travel industry can’t be ignored. The GBTA estimates losses will be 10 times larger than the impact of 9/11 or the 2008 recession.

There is some good news, though.

Business travel spending is expected to increase 21% this year. And an SAP Concur study found that 96% of global business travelers are once again willing to travel for business. There are some conditions, though.

“After a year of being grounded by events beyond their control, employees are ready to return to business travel, but on their own terms,” said SAP. “The actions that companies take in the next 12 months could make or break their ability to acquire and retain valuable employees amid a competitive market for talent.”

Specifically, business travelers want flexibility. They want to choose their own travel dates and accommodations. And they want that even more than vaccine-related assurances about colleagues and people they’re meeting. Many also plan to add personal vacation time to their trips.

Being willing to fly and actually doing it are two different things, of course. In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, Adobe Analytics found that only 11% plan to travel for work in the next 6 months and 29% still don’t feel safe traveling at all.

Airlines, however, remain optimistic that business travel will show significant recoveries, and they think it will happen before the analysts expect.

“I've been fond of saying the first time someone loses a sale to a competitor who showed up in person is the last time they tried to make a sales call on Zoom,” United CEO Scott Kirby said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.

Even Kirby, though, concedes that it’s going to be a few years before business travel “comes back in earnest.”

A big catalyst for that return could be the resumption of major conventions, something that’s already underway. As many as 30,000 streamed into Las Vegas in early June for World of Concrete 2021, the first large-scale convention to return to the city. While that was 50% below the usual number of attendees, it was a hurdle cleared, and business travel managers are carefully watching news about the after-effects of that show. And the National Association of Broadcasters is expected to bring over 100,000 to the city in October.

FOMO could be another factor. Companies are likely to closely watch competitors, and won’t want to be the last one making in-person sales calls. Some companies, like JPMorgan, are encouraging their employees to get back on the road.

"There are a bunch of clients who gave business to somebody else because the bankers from the other guys visited and ours didn’t,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council in May. “OK, well, that’s a lesson.”

There’s big money at stake for both businesses and the travel and hospitality industries. Business travelers spent $334.2 billion in 2019 on hotels, transportation, restaurants, retail and recreation, says the U.S. Travel Association. This year, even with the recent travel surge, that number is only expected to hit $125.1 billion.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

UPDATE 1-We should avoid imposing new COVID-19 restrictions - G20 presidency - REUTERS

JULY 11, 2021

(Adds quotes, details)

VENICE, July 10 (Reuters) - Italy’s economy minister Daniele Franco said on Saturday virus variants were a major source of concern for the global economy but the world should avoid imposing new restrictions on people’s lives to combat the pandemic.

“The only answer is vaccination,” said Franco, speaking at the end of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 rich countries meeting in Venice under the Italian presidency.

“The major source of (economic) uncertainty is related to the pandemic and the new variants,” Franco told reporters, but added that “we all agree we should avoid introducing again new restrictions on the movement of citizens and their way of life.”

The G20 did not pledge any extra funds at the meeting for financing vaccines to poor countries at risk of COVID variants, where inoculation rates are low, but Franco said the group would review the question in October.

Franco hailed the G20’s endorsement of a “historic” deal on where and how much large corporations should be taxed, saying it would produce a “fairer and more coordinated system,” though details remained to be hammered out. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio and Gavin [email protected];)

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