Wednesday, January 23, 2008

USA: ASTA Files Comments on Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) filed comments yesterday with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the issue of Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation. ASTA provided the DOT with numerous recommendations for updating the more than 20-year old rules that currently govern the process of Denied Boarding Compensation practices.

In its comments, ASTA:
  • Stated that it is in favor of doubling the ceiling on compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers.
  • Suggested that ceiling caps should be adjusted automatically every five years and based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • Objected to the DOT permitting airlines to establish, without any control, preference as to who will be involuntarily bumped when they are unable to secure volunteers. The DOT currently allows airlines to decide who will be involuntarily bumped based on the price of a passenger's ticket.
  • Argued that anyone with a confirmed seat assignment should never be bumped. ASTA also suggested that if an airline reserves the right to bump passengers based on the price of their ticket, the airline should warn the passenger of this risk at the time of purchase.
  • Argued that compensation practices for international and domestic travel should be treated identically and based on a combination of length of delay and distance.
  • ASTA recommended that the rules abolish the use of vouchers in favor of cash payments, stating that only cash payments will create a full incentive for airlines to closely manage Denied Boarding Compensation.
Read the full press release here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

World Tourism: Travel & Tourism leaders forecast continued growth for 2008

Despite repercussions of the ongoing global credit crunch, Travel&Tourism leaders revealed that the industry will moderately be impacted and signalled continued growth rates for 2008 at a reduced pace.
According to the recent research produced by the World Travel&Tourism Council (WTTC) and Oxford Economics (OE), Travel&Tourism entered this recent period on the back of another solid performance in 2007. International tourism arrivals increased in this year by nearly 6 per cent per cent, totalling to nearly 900 million tourists and marking the fourth successive year that arrivals' growth has exceeded its long-standing trend of 4 per cent (source: UNWTO).
Furthermore, the research also indicated that tourism spending per capita has more than matched these increases. International air passenger traffic also rose at a record 9.3 per cent (source: IATA) from year to year in November.

Read full article here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Austria: Hotel Association argues for voluntary Smoking Ban

While Austrian Government is still struggling with a smoking ban in restaurants, the chairman of the Hotel Association on Wednesday hurried ahead with the proposal to introduce a general smoking ban in all Austrian hotels. The idea was immediately citisized by the tourism section of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, not only representing hoteliers but also owners of small restaurants who refuse to accept a smoking ban.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"'External costs' in transport: Commission prepares the ground for efficient and fair pricing of transport services"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has released a comprehensive compilation of existing studies on external costs in the transport sector. This handbook, jointly prepared by several transport research institutes, summarises the state of the art as regards the valuation of external costs. The Commission intends to make use of the handbook as one element which prepares the communication on the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport that is due in June 2008 and a proposal to revise the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Friday, January 11, 2008

"General and business aviation on the Commission's agenda"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Today, the European Commission has adopted an agenda for general and business aviation in Europe. For the first time since the creation of the EU internal aviation market, the Commission has studied this sector, quantified its value and identified the challenges that it is facing. The Commission now proposes to integrate general and business aviation into the EU air transport policy. Improving data gathering, screening of legislation to ensure proportionality and integrating general and business aviation into the capacity optimisation initiatives are the main elements of this agenda.
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, Commissioner for transport, said: 'We fully recognise the value of non-commercial aviation and intend to work with this sector in Europe, as it is a large source of employment, expertise, technology and revenues'."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

"Failed-airline protection is now a law of the past"

As reported by Ed Perkins, at the Chicago Tribune, "The law requiring surviving airlines to carry travelers with tickets on any failed line expired and Congress did not extend it. If you hold a ticket on a line that fails, you can usually get your money back. But other airlines are no longer required to accommodate you - what air service you can get is strictly voluntary on the part of those lines.
The risk of airline failure has diminished greatly since the original law was passed, and I haven't seen much about the question in the last year or two. But the recent failure of all-business-class Maxjet should remind you that even when most big lines are making money, some airlines can be risky. And the combination of factors that killed Maxjet - high fuel costs, credit problems and a cloudy market outlook - could strike other financially weak airlines. Even though the law expired, the problem definitely did not." Read more>>