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News of December 2011


Argentina snakes on plane arrest sparks smuggling probe

31 December 2011

Argentine authorities are tracing a suspected major animal trafficking ring after a Czech man was caught trying to smuggle hundreds of snakes and other exotic animals out of the country.

Karel Abelovsky was arrested in early December as he tried to board a flight to Spain from Buenos Aires.

Suspicions were raised when staff manning the airport X-ray machine at Ezeiza airport saw his suitcase moving.

It was found to contain some 250 animals, including 10 boa constrictors.

source: BBC.co.uk


Hotel sells most expensive dessert

31 December 2011

A hotel is celebrating after selling the most expensive dessert in the world.

Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in Windermere, Cumbria, could only be crowned the title-holder if a customer was to dig deep and buy the £22,000 pudding it was offering.

Carl Weininger from Rugby, Warwickshire, splashed out on the wildly extravagant chocolate pudding as a treat for his 60th birthday on December 5 and the hotel’s culinary team is now waiting for confirmation that the dessert will take its place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Styled like a Faberge Easter egg, the chocolate pudding is believed to have broken all previous records thanks to its pricey list of ingredients which includes gold, champagne caviar and a two-carat diamond.

source: Press Association


Emirates launches global sale slashing 25% fare

30 December 2011

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest-growing international airlines, is celebrating the New Year by offering exceptional discounts on airfares to more than 100 cities, when booking from now until January 9, 2012.

Customers can save up to 25 per cent off all published First Class, Business Class and Economy Class fares departing between 22 January and 30 June 2012, when travelling round-trip to any destination on Emirates’ extensive global network.

Renowned for its excellence in service and innovation, both on board and on the ground, Emirates holds an array of prestigious awards, including Air Transport World’s 2011 “Airline of the Year” award and the Skytrax World Airline Award for “World’s Best Airline Inflight Entertainment,” for the seventh year in a row.

source: gulfnews.com


Airline passengers not so keen on Wi-Fi in the sky

29 December 2011

Wi-Fi on long flights seems like a no-brainer, but travelers are apparently sticking to other tried-and-true boredom killers in the air — like celebrity magazines and booze. According to SplatF, of the 355 million people who have flown on planes equipped with Gogo’s inflight Wi-Fi since 2008, only 15 million sessions have been logged, which means that only 4% of people are going online.

Gogo, which just filed to go public, makes up 85% of the inflight Wi-Fi business, providing 1,323 planes with service. While only a small percentage of airline passengers sign on to Gogo’s Wi-Fi, there’s good news — 84% of commercial planes in North America are still without Internet service, meaning there’s a huge untapped market out there just waiting to get wired.

Source: Time


U.S.: Delta airlines under lawsuit over lost baggage

29 December 2011

A class-action lawsuit filed earlier this month in the US District Court in Miami by California consumer attorney John Mattes, Florida attorney David Tucker, and two other law firms, claims that Delta is only reimbursing passengers for a fraction of what they’re entitled to by law.

Passengers are allowed to claim up to $3,300 in reasonable expenses for their lost or delayed bags, according to federal regulations. Delta airlines, however, told passengers last year that they were only responsible to repay customers $25 a day for lost or delayed baggage, and up to $125 total. The airline was fined $100,000 by the US Department of Transportation for those claims.

About 130,000 bags were “mishandled” by domestic airlines in October alone, according to the most recent DOT data. Delta reported mishandling about 16,000 bags that month and a total of about 328,000 for all of 2010. Over 2 million claims of mishandled bags were filed by passengers in 2010.

source: globalpost.com


Iberia scraps flights during strike

29 December 2011

Spanish airline Iberia has cancelled more than a third of its flights due to a strike by pilots fearing job losses when company planes are diverted for use by Iberia’s planned new budget carrier.

Iberia said it scrapped 118 domestic and international flights on Thursday but found seats on other Iberia flights or with other carriers for all the 10,000 travellers affected by the one-day strike.

It was the second such holiday-season walkout by the pilots.

source: Press Association


Flight times to longhaul destinations to be slashed thanks to Santa’s shortcut

29 December 2011

Proposals to allow twin-engined civilian passenger jets to fly over the Arctic will dramatically reduce flight times and make destinations on the other side of the globe a one-flight hop.

Until now, regulators have insisted the planes must always be within three hours of a suitable place to land.

This is because mechanical problems on a twin-engine plane a potentially far more serious than for a jet with three or four.

But US airline authorities have now nearly doubled the time limit to five-and-a-half hours to take into account the vast improvements in aircraft engine technology.

It is expected that the European Aviation Safety Agency will follow suit.

source: Dailyrecord.co.uk


Olympic Games will not cause a boost in UK visitor numbers

29 December 2011

Britain is unlikely to enjoy any boost in the number of tourists visiting the country next year – even though 2012 will see the country host two of its biggest events in decades.

Both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, in June, and the Olympic Games, in July and August, will light up the UK calendar in 2012 – but neither of these big moments will produce a significant boom in holidaymakers from overseas, according to VisitBritain.

The UK tourist authority has forecast that 30.7million visitors will head to Britain next year – roughly the same number who are recorded as visiting over the last 12 months.

source: Dailymail.co.uk


New airline plans London City-New York link

28 December 2011

Bankers may be languishing in popularity polls but a new airline wants their business and is prepared to challenge British Airways for it once the financial crisis is over.

A British venture called Odyssey Airlines hopes to start non-stop all-business class flights from London City to New York and other locations using 10 newly-ordered Bombardier CSeries passenger jets, aviation industry sources told Reuters.

The disclosure lifts a mystery surrounding the identity of one of the buyers for a Canadian jet which aims to break into a market long dominated by Airbus and Boeing.

source: Reuters


U.S. airlines lose court battle to resist E.U. carbon market

27 December 2011

U.S. airlines lost their fight last week to stay out of the European Union’s carbon trading market at the E.U.’s highest court.

The Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg ruled in a lawsuit brought by the Air Transport Association of America, American Airlines and United Continental that aviation can be included in the E.U.’s emissions trading system (ETS). The decision cannot be appealed.

The directive including aviation activities in the E.U.’s emissions trading scheme is valid,” the court said in a statement. “Application of the emissions trading scheme to aviation infringes neither the principles of customary international law at issue nor the open-skies agreement.

source: eenews.net