America wants £6 entry fee
Visitors to America will pay a $10 (£6) entry fee under new rules approved last week by the Senate, prompting angry EU officials to threaten a similar welcome for American tourists at European airports.
The new fee is an integral part of the Travel Promotion Act, now awaiting formal ratification from the House of Representatives, which has already indicated its approval. Once it becomes law, possibly as soon as the end of 2009, tourists from the 35 countries covered under the visa-waiver scheme • including the UK and Ireland • will be required to pay the fee when applying for their Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. It covers multiple visits within a two-year period.
With an irony possibly missed by its proponents, the cash demanded from visitors will be used to “promote the United States as a premier travel destination and better explain US security policies”, according to the US Travel Association.
“Our nation’s economy is struggling and international travel promotion is part of the solution,” argued Roger Dow, of the association. “This legislation will help the US to create thousands of new jobs and welcome billions in new spending by international visitors.”
“Only in Alice in Wonderland could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed,” said John Bruton, the European commission’s ambassador to Washington. Now the EU says it may insist that American visitors apply for visas.
© Chris Haslam Sunday Times
Shanghai AirlinesChina Eastern Airlines to buy rival Shanghai Airline
China Eastern Airlines is to buy its smaller rival Shanghai Airlines,
in an all-share deal set to be worth about 7bn yuan ($1bn; £637m).
Under the announcement, each share of Shanghai Airlines will be exchanged for 1.3 China Eastern shares.
China Eastern will also raise 7bn yuan via a share issue.
The takeover will give China Eastern control of more than 50% of flights from its Shanghai base. Analysts said the deal would “relaunch” the carrier.
The joining together of the two firms, both of which made a loss last year, will enable them to compete more effectively with domestic rivals Air China and China Southern Airlines.
Shanghai Airlines will become a subsidiary of state-controlled China Eastern following the completion of the deal, but keep its brand name.
China Eastern currently operates 240 planes, while Shanghai Airlines has a fleet of 66.
©BBC News July 2009
Just not enough space … until now Boeing Unveils a New 737 to Please the Big & Tall
Mountain men, rejoice! Freshly announced from Boeing is a new, taller 737 cabin design which will free up more headroom and actually allow passengers of average heights to stand up in their seats and stretch. Gone are the days of contorting yourself while waiting to grab your carry-ons and disembark.
To reconfigure the cabin of the workhorse 737, Boeing looked at the spaciousness of the upcoming 787 Dreamliners (set to roll out in Seattle within a week) and the pivoting overhead bins of 777s of 15 years ago. The result, the “737 Sky Interior,” features these tucked-away bins to relieve the claustrophobia of the past while borrowing a Virgin America’s touch of mood lighting to highlight the lofty aisle.
So where will the more statuesque folk feel more comfortable flying in the future? Boeing has already sold a bunch of these 737s, which also include fuel-conserving engine upgrades.
Just don’t go wearing your 10-gallon hat on board quite yet; sadly these big babies won’t be hitting the tarmac until next year.
©Jaunted.com June 2008
Ryanair Duty FreeAll beware Ryanair
Question: When is a low cost carrier just not…. Ryanair’s latest price hike is to charge £28.50 for carrying duty free purchases that will not fit into the airline’s strict one piece of hand luggage (max 10kg) rule.
And don’t think you can sneak it onboard; the fine is charged at the gate, joining other add on fees that include £4.75 each way to check in at the airport and a baggage charge of £19 per bag, per return flght, (plus a fine of €15 for every kg of excess weight over the allowed 15kg). Despite this Micheal O’Leary claims the airline is still better value than its rivals.
To prove it, Ryanair offers the “double the difference guarantee” – and this, readers, you have to try.
Setting your stopwatch, first find the small link on the Ryanair home page, but careful now, as you need to read the terms and conditions.
So ….. on finding your cheaper flight (not including any of the optional extras such as those above), you must book the Ryanair altenative, download a claim form, complete it and email it together with the screen grabs of the better offer. But don’t pause here. You have to do this between 9 am and 5 pm Mondays to Fridays ONLY ….. and within one hour of making your booking.
Think you have beaten O’Leary yet ???? ……. The cheaper flight must be a return, and must depart within one hour of the costlier Ryanair flight on both sectors of your journey.
Meet all these conditions and the carrier promises to refund double the difference….. Good luck and let us know.
Lithuanian Airline NewsLithuanian Airline Files For Bankruptcy
Lithuanian carrier flyLAL, which was privatized in 2005 and counts Scandinavian airline SAS among its competitors, said on Friday it had filed for bankruptcy.
The indebted airline grounded its flights last weekend after failing to attract an investor.
“Being unable to continue flights and without seeing any real chances to renew operations, we were forced to file for bankruptcy,” chief executive Vytautas Kaikaris said in a statement.
He added that the firm’s financial situation “worsened significantly at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 and there were no possibilities to improve it without additional investments”.
The company said its had 89 million litas (USD$33.41 million) of debt at the end of 2008.
Vilnius Airport has started negotiations with a number of airlines to fill the gap left by the former national carrier.
“There are negotiations going on with six airlines, and some of them could start flights from Vilnius for sure,” said airport spokesman Arunas Marcinkevicius.
A group of businessmen privatized Lithuanian Airlines for 25.6 million litas in 2005, restructuring it into a number of companies. FlyLAL’s owners are to continue a charter firm.
The government rejected a proposal to buy flyLAL back for a symbolic 1 litas and cover its debts. The plan to sell its shares to a Swiss-registered investment fund also failed.
January 23, 2009