Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Saudi Arabia to Slash Airport Fees to Compete With Rival Hubs

2 months ago

After offering financial incentives to carriers to fly “unprofitable” routes, Saudi Arabia is now luring airlines by cutting airport charges by as much as 35 percent in its bid to compete with the world’s biggest airline hubs, most of which happen to be in the Middle East region.

Airport charges at three major airports — Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam — would be reduced by anywhere between 10 percent and 35 percent, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation said. The decreased airport charges would be coming into force later this year.

To maximize growth, airports in the kingdom would be further allowed to reduce charges below the announced caps, the civil aviation authority announced at the Farnborough Air Show. 

In its pivot from oil to diversify into other sectors, Saudi Arabia is looking at tourism in a big way to bolster the country’s economy and then there’s the ambitious goal to attract 100 million tourists by 2030.

This development comes days after Saudi’s civil aviation authority also announced the decision to open the nation’s airspace to all commercial carriers that meet the country’s civil aviation authority’s overflying requirements.

Under the decision, Saudi airspace is now open to flights operated through Israel and by Israeli carriers, a decision which complements Saudi’s efforts to consolidate its position as a global hub. 

US President Joe Biden called the decision “the first tangible step in the path of what I hope will eventually be a broader normalization of relations.” 

Tour Operators

Cyber Attack Against Tour Operator Exposes 300,000 Profiles — Reports

3 months ago

The Israeli government has seized the computer servers of a tour operator after hackers obtained the personal information of 300,000 people.

According to local reports, the government’s Privacy Protection Authority division took action against Gol Tours Ltd after a cyber attack more than two weeks ago.

Gol Tours operates 20 travel booking websites, including hotel4u.co.il, booking-hotels.co.il and come2israel.com The leaked information includes telephone numbers, addresses, dates and locations of booked vacations, and medical information, the authority said in a statement according to the Times of Israel.

The authority said it contacted the owner of Gol Tours following the hack to address the security flaws, but it did not cooperate. “The required changes were not made,” the authority reportedly said.

The owners rejected the claims, another news website, Channel 12, reported.

Iranian hacker group Sharp Boys was behind the attack, according to local media.

Travel companies have a long history of being subject to ransomware attacks.

In 2020, corporate travel giant CWT paid $4.5 million in ransom to cyber hackers. Some 30,000 computer systems were infected and locked.

On Monday, Reuters reported that the Shanghai police may have been attacked, resulting in a potential data breach affecting one billion Chinese citizens.

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