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News of June 2010

French strike brings chaos

24 June 2010

Strike action by French public sector workers has been causing major disruption to air and rail services across the country.

Hundreds of domestic and European flights have been cancelled, and public transport in major cities has been seriously hit.

Some 80% of all flights across France were to be cancelled, the French civil aviation office said.

National carrier Air France said it was cancelling 55% of its short- and medium-haul flights. All long-haul services will continue to operate.

Many airlines are offering refunds to affected passengers.

source: BBC News

Solar plane set for night flight

17 June 2010

A solar-powered plane is getting ready to hit the skies once again – this time, at night.

It will be the first ever manned night flight on a plane propelled exclusively by solar energy.

The aim of the project’s founders, Andre Borschberg and round-the-world balloonist Bertrand Piccard, is to show that a solar-powered craft is able to fly day and night – and eventually long-distance flights – without any fuel.

The ultimate aim is to push the frontier of renewable solar energy. In two years’ time, the plane will set off on its first manned transatlantic solar flight, followed in 2013 by an even more daring circumnavigation of the Earth.

source: BBC News

Airlines attack ‘cash-grab’ German tax

16 June 2010

Airlines reacted furiously to plans announced by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to raise €1 billion from a new “eco tax” on aviation.

Lufthansa said it was a black day for the sector, while the industry’s trade association denounced it as a “cash grab” and a “kick in the teeth” for airlines and passengers alike.

Few details have been established, but Ms Merkel said that the new departure tax would contribute €1 billion this year to proposed budget savings of €80 billion in the period to 2014.

source: Times Online

Spirit Airlines cancels more flight due to striking pilots

16 June 2010

Spirit Airlines has announced the cancellation of even more flights through Thursday due to the strike by pilots, which started on Saturday. To help passengers with the cancellations, the carrier says that they will be given flight credits for the full cost of their tickets, as well as an extra $100 credit to use on future flights. However, customers can also choose to get a full refund.

On Saturday morning, hundreds of pilots began industrial action after talks over pay failed with Spirit Airlines. The two sides tried to reach an agreement through the night, but were unable to come to a resolution.


US: Discount airlines score best in survey

10 June 2010

Despite new baggage fees and fewer in-flight amenities, air passengers’ satisfaction with North American airlines hit a three-year high in an annual survey, reversing three consecutive years of declines, J.D. Power and Associates said Tuesday.

Among the big North American “legacy” or network airlines, Alaska Airlines ranked highest for the third consecutive year. JetBlue Airways Corp. led the low-cost carriers for the fifth consecutive year.

The score gap between discounters and legacy carriers continued to widen, with the discounters routinely producing better scores.

source: WSJ

Vietnam Airlines joins SkyTeam

10 June 2010

Vietnam Airlines joined SkyTeam on Thursday, becoming the first Southeast Asian member carrier of the global airline alliance.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung joined Thursday’s ceremony held at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport for the event.

The national flag carrier, which is looking to become one of Southeast Asia’s leading carriers, expects this full membership to boost its Asia presence.

The carrier will add 20 new destinations to the SkyTeam network, which allows passengers to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles when traveling on member airlines.

source: SGGP