Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Airport slot allocation: The Commission clarifies the existing rules"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission today adopted a Communication on the application of the slot allocation Regulation. The Communication clarifies a number of issues in order to ensure a better implementation of the existing rules and to improve the efficient use of scarce capacity at congested Community airport. In particular, it signals the acceptance of 'secondary trading' of airport slots between air carriers.
Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission, said 'At crowded airports, we need to make sure that slots are used as efficiently as possible and that airlines have a fair chance to develop their operations. Slots at airports must be distributed in a fair and non-discriminatory way. Today we are recognising for the first time that secondary trading is an acceptable way of allowing slots to be swapped among airlines. We will keep a close eye on the situation across Europe and ensure that secondary trading works to the advantage of consumers, but this system has already shown its value in London, where it has allowed a range of airlines to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the EU-US aviation agreement and to create new levels of competition.'."

This Press Release is available in full text.

"Crimes Against Tourists"

As reported by Kotie Geldenhuys, at the Servamus, "South Africa is a country with many tourist attractions. Local as well as foreign tourists enjoy the sunny, pleasant climate that South Africa offers. Not only do they visit the many wildlife sanctuaries, indigenous forests and wilderness areas, they also enjoy the unspoilt landscapes and golden beaches of this paradise. Unfortunately in every paradise there is a snake, and the snake in this paradise is crime." Read more>>

Philippines: kidney transplant 'tourism' banned

The Philippines today announced a ban on kidney transplants involving overseas patients in an effort to stamp out the murky organ trade, which preys on some of the country's most vulnerable and impoverished people.
The thriving "transplant tourism" trade made the Philippines one of the world's cheapest places for wealthy foreign patients seeking to buy a new kidney.
Organ sales are illegal in the Philippines. But in each of the past few years, as many as 500 foreign patients, including Britons, received kidney transplants, the vast majority of them from people who were not relatives. The Philippines became a transplant "hotspot" after China and Pakistan, among the world's largest sources of donated kidneys, adopted tough measures to curb organ sales.

Source:; full article here>>.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"European Community strengthens aviation relations with Australia"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Today, the European Union and Australia signed an aviation agreement which allows European airlines to fly between any EU Member State and Australia. 'I welcome this important step in the EU's air transport relations with Australia,' said Jacques Barrot, Vice-President in charge of transport. 'This will pave the way for a comprehensive aviation agreement involving cooperation in key aviation areas such as competition, safety and the environment.'
The horizontal agreement signed today removes nationality restrictions in the bilateral air services agreements between EU Member States and Australia and therefore allows any EU airline to operate flights between any EU Member State where it is established and Australia. This agreement acknowledges the existence of the European single market for air transport in the relations between the EU and Australia. It demonstrates that there is an external dimension of the single market for air transport. The agreement recognises that airlines in the EU are not any longer national airlines but Community airlines."

This Press Release is available in full text.

USA: $210M settlement in airline price fixing is approved

An agreement by two British-based airlines to pay roughly $210 million to settle a massive price-fixing lawsuit met with tentative approval from a federal judge on Friday.
The class action lawsuit, which accused the carriers of colluding to gouge trans-Atlantic passengers with fuel surcharges, was brought on behalf of 5.1 million passengers who bought airplane tickets in the United Kingdom and another 2.1 million passengers who purchased tickets in the United States.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco granted tentative approval for British Airways PLC and Virgin Atlantic to refund one-third of the surcharge paid by each of the airlines' passengers between Aug. 11, 2004 and March 23, 2006. Breyer has scheduled a hearing to make his decision permanent on Sept. 12.
Similar price fixing class action lawsuits against other carriers are pending.

Source: Associated Press/Google; full article available here>>.

Monday, April 28, 2008

China: Passenger train collision kills 70

A high-speed passenger train jumped its tracks and slammed into another train in eastern China on Monday, killing at least 70 people and injuring more than 400 in China's worst train accident in a decade. Authorities were quoted as saying that human error was to blame.
The death toll could rise, with 70 people hospitalized in critical condition after the pre-dawn crash in a rural part of Shandong province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
It said a total of 420 people had been hurt. No foreigners were among the dead. Injured survivors included four French nationals, a Chinese national sailing coach and a 3-year-old boy.

Source: Yahoo News. Full article here>>.

Friday, April 25, 2008

UNTWO: Renewing Capacity for Tourism Development

UNWTO is actively supporting African destinations which have the capacity to renew their tourism development after having recently suffered from internal crisis or terrorist attacks. These efforts coincide with the overall support provided by the United Nations to foster social and economic stability in the region.

UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli is currently visiting African countries (Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritania) to demonstrate the Organizations’ commitment to help re-launch their tourism development potential.

Source: UNTWO press release>>.

USA: Federal Court decision supports traveller laptop seizures

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has issued a warning to its members worldwide – and to all business travellers – to limit proprietary information on laptop computers when crossing U.S. borders, and to eliminate any personal data, including photographs, finances and email that you do not want examined by Border Protection authorities. The warning follows a decision by a federal appeals court on 21 April 2008 giving customs officials the unfettered authority to examine, copy, and seize travellers’ laptops – without reasonable suspicion!

Source: ACTE press release of 23.04.2008>>.

Decision of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals available for download here>>.

USA: Private tourism sector opposes responsibilty for national security

The National Tour Association voices its opposition to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposal calling for airlines and cruise lines to collect biometric information, including fingerprints, from foreign travelers departing the United States.
The International Air Transport Association has condemned the proposal, stating that border protection and immigration are government responsibilities. NTA supports IATA and will be enlisting the support of other segments of the travel and tourism economy. Already, the United Motorcoach Association and the American Bus Association have signed on in support.

Source: NTA; full text here>>.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Russia: end to space tourism in 2010

On Cosmonaut's Day (April 12th 2008) the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) announced that they will cease it's $40,000,000-a-flight space tourism enterprise.

Read full article here>>.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hawaii: Aloha Pilots Seek Court Injunction

The Aloha Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l, (ALPA), filed a complaint in U.S. Bankruptcy Court today seeking injunctive relief against the airline. ALPA asserts that Aloha Airlines management's total disregard for pilots' collective bargaining agreement during the past few weeks has triggered a "major dispute" under the Railway Labor Act, which governs airline contract negotiations. ALPA seeks an order from the Court to force Aloha Airlines to comply with its contract.

ALPA will continue efforts to resolve the major dispute with management, but if no agreement is reached by 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, 2008, ALPA and the Aloha pilots may, after following all of ALPA's internal preliminary procedures, strike any or all of Aloha's operations.

Source: eTurboNews; read full article here>>.

China: Turnabout pilots lead to big fine

A Chinese airline has been stripped of routes and given a large fine after some of its pilots turned back flights amid suspected industrial unrest. China Eastern Airlines was punished by the country's civil aviation authority after the incidents earlier this month.
The carrier had claimed that the flights had returned to Kunming airport after take-off due to bad weather but later admitted a "human element". Pilots had been demanding better pay, hours and working conditions.
Fining China Eastern 1.5 million yuan ($215,000; £108,000) and giving some of its routes within Yunnan province to rival airlines, the carrier was told to punish those responsible and uphold safety.

Source: BBC; Fina full article here>>.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Missing airline baggage up 25 pct in 2007

Airline passengers suffered more delays than ever in retrieving their luggage last year as 42 million bags went missing, 25 per cent more than in 2006, according to a report issued on Thursday.
Of these, 3 percent or one bag for every 2,000 travellers, were never found, said the report from the Geneva-based SITA organisation which provides computerised services including baggage handling to the air travel industry.
SITA said the overall cost to carriers of mishandled baggage in 2007 was some $90 per piece for a total of $3.8 billion, which the industry -- just returning to profit after six years of global losses -- could ill afford.

Find full article here>>.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Australia: Airline fuel surcharge inconsistencies exposed

A survey of airline fuel surcharges between Australia and the UK has unveiled significant inconsistencies.
The disparity between the world's major airlines is so great that Australian flyers have been warned by the nation's largest travel agency Flight Centre to ensure they take the surcharges into account before deciding which airline to use.
A schedule of 13 airlines flying the long-haul route between Sydney and London shows passengers can pay anything between zero and A$802.40 in surcharges - on top of the quoted fares. (US$1 = A$0.92 at the time of writing).

Source:; find details here>>.

Friday, April 11, 2008

European Court of Justice: Tennis racquet to overthrow implementing Regulation on Aviation Security

On 25 September 2005, Gottfried Heinrich was stopped at the security control of Vienna-Schwechat Airport as his cabin baggage contained tennis racquets, allegedly prohibited items. Nevertheless, he did board the plane with the tennis racquets in his baggage. Security staff subsequently ordered him to leave the aircraft. Heinrich brought proceedings before the Unabhängiger Verwaltungssenat im Land Niederösterreich (Independent Administrative Chamber for the Land of Lower Austria). The Austrian Court has referred questions to the Court of Justice of the EC asking whether regulations or parts thereof can have legally binding force if they have not been published in the Official Journal.
In her Opinion delivered 10. April 2008, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston opines that the publication of the 2003 implementing regulation without its Annex is a defective and inadequate publication that does not satisfy the requirements of Article 254 EC. As to the consequences of that defective and inadequate publication, Advocate General Sharpston considers that this constitutes a violation of an essential procedural requirement, resulting, at the very least, in invalidity. However, the Advocate General suggests that the Court should go further than declaring the regulation invalid and declare it to be non-existent.

Case C-345/06 - Gottfried Heinrich / Source: ECJ press release 27/08.

"Blacklist of banned airlines: the European Commission adopts new measures"

As just stated by the EU Press Room, "Two years after the establishment of the first Community list of airlines subject to an operating ban in the European Union, the European Commission today adopted the seventh update of the 'blacklist'. The Commission is imposing a ban on all operations of an additional Ukrainian airline (Ukraine Cargo Airways) as well as on all operations of the Congolese carrier Hewa Bora Airways. At the same time, the Commission is closely monitoring the progress of corrective actions by carriers such as Mahan Air from Iran, TAAG Angola Airlines and all Indonesian carriers, all of which at this stage, remain on the list. Jacques Barrot, Commission Vice-President in charge of transport said that 'The conclusion is clear: those States or airlines which fail to act decisively to resolve their safety deficiencies will be placed on the list. But our objective is not only to identify safety issues, but to resolve them. The Commission will continue tirelessly in its dialogue with States, their civil aviation authorities and their airlines to ensure that they attain acceptable levels of air safety on a sustainable basis.' The new list replaces the previous one and can already be consulted on the Commission’s website ("

This Press Release is available in full text.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

USA: American Airlines interfered with tips, court says

American Airlines interfered with the tipping process by imposing a fee on curbside baggage, a federal jury in Boston ruled. The airline imposed a $2 bag-check fee at the curbside two years ago, which skycaps, who are paid below minimum wage, were required to charge, USA Today reported.
When they did, travelers assumed the fee was an imposed tip or part of one, the skycaps' attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan argued. American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said the company was "disappointed by the verdict and the amount awarded," which was $325,000.

Source: United Press International; find full article here>>

Monday, April 07, 2008

"Commission paves the way for in-flight mobile phone use across Europe"

As just stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission today introduced rules to harmonise conditions for the take-off of pan-European mobile communication services on aircraft. These services will allow businesspeople and consumers to receive and make calls and messages safely with their own mobile phones while flying all over Europe. This means that the 90% of European air passengers that already carry mobile phones on-board aircraft can remain contactable during flights."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Carnival Brands agree to refunds

Six Carnival brands to refund retroactive fuel fee31/3/2008Carnival Corp. has reached a voluntary agreement with Florida’s Attorney General to refund retroactively applied fuel supplements for six brands: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess, Costa, Cunard and Seabourn.
The refund applies to bookings that were made prior to Nov. 7, when the supplement was announced. The supplement remains in effect for bookings made on or after Nov. 7.
The amount of funds to be returned totals approximately $40m. Carnival said today’s announcement will have no impact on first quarter financial results or its March 20 guidance for the second quarter or the full year since the company had not recognized the revenues made prior to Nov. 7 pending the Attorney General’s review.
For cruises departing on or prior to April 4, passengers due a refund will receive it in the same form they used to purchase their cruise. For sailings departing from April 5 through June 23, passengers will receive an on-board credit. Customers sailing on or after June 24 will have their booking adjusted to remove the supplement.
Carnival noted that travel agents whose clients had existing reservations on Nov. 7 were offered $10 per booking in administrative compensation for notifying those clients. Agents will still receive the $10 per booking.
The Florida Attorney General said more than 1.1m bookings were affected. A similar settlement was reached last month with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, resulting in $21m in consumer reimbursement. Go to

UNTWO: Action Plan to Empower Women through Tourism

The positive contribution of tourism to women empowerment can only be determined if poverty reduction and the enhancement of women’s dignity and role in the work place are addressed. These are among the issues in UNWTO’s Action Plan to Empower Women through Tourism, unveiled during ITB Berlin 2008 in early March. The Organization is committed to play a leading role in economic empowerment of women in the tourism sector.

The Action Plan has to be regarded as part of UNWTO’s “triple commitment” objectives, in the framework of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals:
tourism should benefit the poor;
protection of our environment and
empowerment of women.

Find full press release here>>.