Regional News - Europe.

Position:Briefs - International Air Transport Association - Adler Thermae Resort

New York, Geneva (AirGuide - Regional News Europe) Jan 8, 2012

Tintin enthusiasts flock to the home city of its creator Brussels has a special place in the hearts of "Tintinologists," or fans of the Tintin series of comic books, because of the city's status as the home of Tintin's creator Georges Prosper Remi -- better known as Herge. An entire museum dedicated to the artist awaits enthusiasts eager to learn all about his life. The Comic Strip Trail takes fans around the city to see 30 murals depicting Tintin and other famous Belgian cartoon characters. Jan 4, 2012

Business as usual is no longer an option The world is in sorry shape, but that's no reason to be despondent, writes Richard Branson in an excerpt from his new book, "Screw Business as Usual." The stakes are so high that people will inevitably have to pull together to solve environmental and social challenges, Branson argues. "We will fix things, not just because we have no choice, but because this life and this world are all we have," he predicts. Jan 4, 2012

IATA: Air transport markets weaken in November The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global traffic results for November showing a softening in passenger markets while air cargo markets remained weak compared to levels attained earlier in the year. Passenger traffic was 4.3% above November 2010 levels but this is skewed as November 2010 was a particularly weak month. The softening in passenger markets becomes apparent when comparing to the previous month (October 2011). This shows a 0.5% decline on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Freight markets were 3.1% below November 2010 levels despite a 1.1% increase on October 2011 performance. OWeak global economic performance is being reflected in air transport markets. Freight markets have contracted some 4% compared to January. Although passenger markets have had some growth relative to the beginning of the year [ETH] about 2%[ETH] the trend has been both soft and volatile. Continuing economic uncertainty will likely mean market shortcomings deepening as we enter 2012,O said Tony Tyler, IATAOs Director General and CEO. Globally, passenger load factors have fallen sharply to 76.3% from 78.5% in October. This shows that the weakness in passenger demand is outpacing airlinesO ability to adjust capacity accordingly. Regional differences are sharp. While North American carriers saw a 0.8% decline in travel, carriers in the Middle East experienced a 10.1% increase, followed by 9.0% for Latin American airlines. International Passenger Markets International travel markets continue to be weaker than domestic markets. Compared to October, international demand contracted by 1.5% while domestic demand grew by 1.3%. African carriers reported 2.6% growth in demand. While this is twice the 1.3% capacity expansion, the region still recorded the weakest load factors of 66.2%. North American airlines saw international demand shrink by 1.2% (compared to November 2010), roughly in line with a 1.0% reduction in capacity. The fourth quarter uptick in the US economy has yet to be reflected in passenger markets. Latin American and the Middle Eastern carriers recorded the strongest year-on-year growth at 8.8% and 9.8% respectively. For both regions, capacity increases outstripped the growth in demand with Middle Eastern carriers growing their capacity by 10.4% and Latin American carriers by 11.4%. Latin American economies have remained strong with robust trade activity. Middle Eastern airlines have seen a gain in market share on long-haul markets through price competitive products. European airlines continued to face the weakest market outlook due to the uncertainty in the Euro-zone. Demand grew 4.9% compared to the previous November while capacity increased by 5.3%. This is a steep change from the 6.4% demand growth recorded for October on a capacity increase of 8.1%. Growth in travel has been supported by business travel on the back of export strength in economies such as Germany. Asia-Pacific airlines reported 2.4% growth in year-on-year demand which is less than half the 5.4% growth in capacity. The regionOs carriers recorded a load factor of 73.3%. Jan 3, 2012

Adler Thermae Resort TuscanyOs Adler Thermae Resort Wins Wine Spa Honors. The Adler Thermae Spa and Resort was named by Gayot as one of the 10 best wine spas worldwide. The spaOs location in the midst of TuscanyOs finest wine region and its creative approach to using rare grapes in spa treatments has brought it attention. The hotel offers many treatments using the grapes and seeds from the local vintners, including facial treatments with the anti-aging grapes, exfoliation treatments using organic red grapes, the Bacchus Ritual which is a massage and wine bath, and the Brunello wine envelopment. There are also wine tastings available in the Adler ThermaeOs cellars and a wine menu offered at dinner. The spa is surrounded by hills and terraced vineyards. Besides a menu of treatments, many using local products like milk, honey and grapes, it also offers thermal baths. The resort is located 15 minutes from Pienza and Montalcino and about 40 minutes from Siena. Jan 4, 2012

Aeriso Report cites a widening mobile-bandwidth usage gap. Half of all mobile-data traffic is being sent and received by 1% of users, research suggests. Consulting firm Arieso based its conclusions on an analysis of the usage patterns of more than 1 million mobile-phone customers in Europe over the course of 24 hours, finding that 10% of them accounted for about 90% of wireless bandwidth. Jan 6, 2012

Air China Air China to Resume Shanghai-Paris Flights in March. In March, Air China will resume Shanghai-Paris rotations CA833/4 and change the Shanghai-Beijing-Paris service CA933/4 to Beijing-Paris direct service. Boeing 777-300ER widebodies will be used on these routes to replace the original A340. Air ChinaOs move with the Beijing-Paris market is part of a broader effort to shore up its international presence. Jan 2, 2012

Air France Air France completes long-haul fleet re-configuration. Air France has completed the installation of its premium economy cabin on six Airbus A380s, extending the new intermediate class on almost all of its long-haul fleet and network covering 67 destinations. Air France started rolling out the premium economy cabin in the fall of 2009. All of its A330s, A340s, A380s and most of its Boeing 777s (except those serving the French overseas territories with high-density seating configuration) are now retrofitted. The French carrierOs premium economy is a separate cabin located between the economy- and business-class cabins, with fixed-shell seats that recline to 123 degrees, have a 38 in. pitch and an individual video screen offering 500 hr. of programs on demand. The meal service is the same as in economy but passengers receive amenities such as noise-reducing headphones, a feather pillow and a wool blanket. On the ground, premium economy passengers have priority check-in and priority baggage delivery. Jan 5, 2012

Algeria Algeria sees progress on Vimpelcom dispute "in days". New steps will be made within days towards concluding a long-running dispute with telecoms firm Vimpelcom over ownership of an Algerian mobile phone unit, Algeria's telecommunications minister said on Thursday. "The process is going well. Things will accelerate. You will see new steps in the coming days," the minister, Moussa Benhamadi, told reporters when asked about the dispute over the Djezzy unit. Jan 5, 2012

Amadeus Amadeus Debuts Hotel Optimization Package for Agents. Amadeus has introduced the Amadeus Hotel Optimization Package, which large travel agencies and travel management companies (TMCs) can use to more efficiently access to all relevant hotel content and save time for their travel counselors. AmadeusO Profit Optimization area helps large travel agencies and TMCs save time and have more control over global hotel programs, while its Content Optimization section creates a one-stop shop for hotel content. The Hotel Dynamic Saver is a multi-GDS Business Intelligence solution that provides last room availability, identification of rate squatters and automatic future comparison of negotiated versus public rates to ensure buyers get the best deal at all times. With Hotel Dynamic Saver, Amadeus can identify an average achievable savings of 10 percent on total hotel spend for travel agencies and corporations. For a typical Fortune 500 corporation this can mean annual savings of up to USD1.6 million on hotels alone. Amadeus integrates hotel aggregators into all its travel agency point-of-sale solutions. First to be integrated in 2011 were Destinations of the World and Transhotel, representing a total inventory of more than 50,000 hotels. Amadeus said having this hotel content fully integrated into its system saves time and money for travel agents and increases service levels for their clients. Amadeus LinkHotel is a fast-track service that incorporates specific hotels requested by travel agencies and their corporate customers that are currently not bookable on the GDS (for instance, hotels close to remote manufacturing sites which typically would not show on these systems). Through this service Amadeus already connects over 6,000 hotels to the GDS for real-time reservations. Additional components within the package include a tool to drive contract compliance by driving smarter booking behavior at the point of sale. Jan 3, 2012

American Airlines, United Continental, US Airways, Delta Air Lines American, US Air add surcharges in wake of EU law. American Airlines and US Airways Group have joined other big U.S. carriers in adding surcharges to flights in the wake of a disputed European law requiring airlines to pay for aircraft emissions. Representatives of the two U.S. airlines confirmed on Friday that both have matched a USD3 surcharge each way unveiled by Delta Air Lines Inc on fares purchased in the United States for...

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