Skift Travel News Blog

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

Airlines

Cathay Pacific Appoints Customer Chief Ronald Lam as New CEO

3 months ago

Cathay Pacific announced on Wednesday that CEO Augustus Tan would be stepping down on December 31 and chief customer and commercial officer, Ronald Lam would succeed him.

Even after appointed the CEO of Catahay Pacific, the airline has said Lam would continue to serve as chair of HK Express, Cathay’s low-cost subsidiary.

Lam was appointed chief customer and commercial officer in 2019. He joined the Cathay Pacific Group as a management trainee in 1996 and has since held a number of senior leadership roles in Hong Kong and overseas, including CEO of HK Express.

As the airline looks to increase its passenger flight capacity and strengthen connectivity, Lam would lead the airline through its post-Covid recovery and the introduction of the three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport, Patrick Healy, chair of Cathay Pacific Group, said in a press statement.

“The company’s dual-brand strategy comprising Cathay Pacific as a premium full-service airline and HK Express as a wholly owned low-cost carrier have positioned it well to take advantage of the recovery and continue contributing to the long-term success of the Hong Kong hub,” Healy said.

Healy also spoke of Tang’s critical role in the airline’s restructuring in 2020 and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

Releasing its September figures, the airline has said that it would continue to add more flights in the coming months.

In addition to the flight sectors previously scheduled for November and December, the airline had announced that it would be adding more than half a million seats with an increase of around 700 sectors in November and 1,200 in December.

Japan and London Heathrow sectors would be witnessing a substantial increase in passenger flights in November and December, the airline had said.

In another board reshuffle announced Wednesday, Lavinia Lau will replace Lam as the chief customer and commercial officer from January 1 and Alexander McGowan will replace Gregory Hughes as chief operations and service delivery officer, effective April 1.

Online Travel

Edreams Odigeo Gets Fined in Spain for Allegedly Misleading Consumers on Subscriptions

4 months ago

A regional consumer affairs agency in Spain fined eDreams Odigeo $23,300 (24,000 euros) for allegedly duping some consumers into buying the company’s much-publicized Prime subscription service.

the Odiego offices in Barcelona new as of 2017
In 2017, eDreams Odiego moved into new offices in Barcelona designed by Vimworks. Source: Vimworks.

The General Directorate of Consumer Affairs of the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca and Ibiza among the better-known islands in the archipelago, levied the fine against eDreams Odigeo based on consumer complaints, finding that the Spain-based online travel company enticed travelers to book discounted flights, for example, but didn’t show prominently enough online that they would also be charged a roughly 55 euro ($53) annual fee for activation of the company’s subscription service, according to multiple published reports.

Edreams Odigeo announced in August that Prime attracted 3.5 million subscribers, after notching its largest ever quarterly growth in April, May and June, namely 560,000 paying members.  

The amount of the fine, $23,000-plus is a tiny for eDreams Odigeo from a financial perspective — the company claims to be the #2 flight online travel agency in the world behind Trip.com Group in China — is inconsequential. But the hit to eDreams Odigeo’s brand reputation, which had some trying times several years ago, could be more significant.

The company’a brands include eDreams, Opodo, and GoVoyages, among others.

An eDreams Odigeo spokesperson commented on the regulatory action.

“The resolution proposal by the Balearic consumer authority is not final and we respectfully disagree with it,” the eDreams Odigeo spokesperson said. “Our subscription programme, Prime, is exclusively offered to consumers as an optional service. Users must expressly opt-in to enroll on the programme after confirming they have read the terms and conditions. All the details of the subscription are displayed clearly and upfront, ensuring that no customer joins the programme unknowingly. 

“For further transparency, we offer a free trial period to allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of the service at no cost for 30 days. Furthermore, all customers who decide to join the free trial receive an email confirmation that clearly informs them of their subscription and how to easily cancel it online at any time before any charge is made, should they wish to.”

Janis Dzenis, a spokesperson for WayAway, a recently launched travel price comparison service that operates a subscription plan in the U.S., reacted to the news, arguing that such services need to be up-front with travelers.

“One hundred percent transparency about what the consumer is signing up for is a must for us,” Dzenis said. “Subscriptions are a long-term business play and unsatisfied customers could jeopardise your brand. By all means show people a ‘if you were a subscriber you’d get xx percent off this flight’ option, but it has to be completely clear. No surprises.”

The consumer affairs unit of the Balearic Islands, which is an autonomous province of Spain, likewise proposed a euro 24,000 fine against Spanish low-cost-carrier Volotea on similar lack of transparency grounds in inducing sign-ups for its own subscription plan.

“In the case of Volotea, the Consumer Affairs Directorate of Baleares points out that, when simulating buying a ticket for the Menorca-Asturias route, a discount of just over five euros was offered, but at the same time a subscription to the Megavolotea Plan was activated, with a cost of almost 50 euros per year. In the case of eDreams, different discounts entailed the activation of the Prime service, with a cost of 55 euros,” Facua reported.

The consumer affairs agency considers the case against the airline as being in its preliminary stages, and the proceeding against eDreams Odigeo resolved.

Airlines

EasyJet Working Towards Getting Enough Staff This Summer

9 months ago

Low-cost carrier easyJet admitted it missed out on a strong Easter break after failing to have enough operations staff.

CEO Johan Lundgren said easyJet was “absolutely focused” on strengthening its operational resilience after it canceled flights due to crew absences, as it posted a first-half loss of $674 million.

Demand is set to be strong this summer, and the airline reported bookings made in the last 10 weeks were above pre-pandemic levels. It also expects to fly 90 percent of its 2019 capacity in the third quarter. Sold ticket yields for the fourth quarter are 15 percent above 2019 levels.

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