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Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Hotels

Well-to-Do Americans Still Plan to Travel, Says Morgan Stanley Research

2 weeks ago

Morgan Stanley Research released on Tuesday another of its AlphaWise surveys on consumer sentiment. This time it polled about 2,000 U.S. consumers between April 29 and May 2.

Well-to-do households said they were sticking with their travel plans, while there was some weakening in travel planning by other consumers.

Households with income above $150,000 told pollsters that they were still planning to spend significantly more than average on domestic leisure, work-related, and international travel during the next six months.

Morgan Stanley Research

Airlines

Lufthansa Accelerates Recovery on Strong Demand

2 weeks ago

The Lufthansa Group plans to return to its pre-pandemic level of flying sooner than expected, CEO Carsten Spohr said Tuesday.

“Until now we assumed that we would not fully return to pre-crisis levels before the middle of this decade. But in view of the present strong demand dynamic, this forecast may prove too conservative, and we may well return to pre-crisis capacity levels earlier than planned,” he said at the group’s Annual General Meeting.

A fully-recovered Lufthansa Group, which includes its namesake airline plus Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, and Swiss International Air Lines, would be a big boost to the travel industry. Prior to the crisis, the group was the second largest in Europe with a 10 percent share of capacity on the continent.

The group plans to fly 85 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity in 2022.

Read Carsten Spohr's Speech

Tourism

Prince Harry Participates in TV Skit to Promote Sustainable Travel

2 weeks ago

Prince Harry has appeared in a TV skit to encourage people to travel more sustainably.

The Duke of Sussex took part in a pre-recorded skit on New Zealand TV with actors Rhys Darby and Dave Fane as part of a campaign promoting Travalyst, a non-profit organization and partnership Prince Harry founded in 2019 to encourage greener practices in the travel industry. Prince Harry said the campaign was inspired by the Maori culture, which he added places a significant emphasis on sustainability.

Companies such as TripAdvisor, Skycanner, Visa, and Google are a part of Travalyst. Google announced last month it was choosing a new method of collecting and displaying flight emissions data developed by Travalyst.

Airlines

JetBlue Fires Back at United Over Newark Airport

2 weeks ago

United Airlines should look in the “proverbial mirror” when it comes to its allegations that poor operations at Newark Liberty International Airport are the the fault of smaller competitors, JetBlue Airways said Monday.

“Instead of criticizing low-fare/low-cost carriers, United should look in the proverbial mirror first when seeking a carrier to blame for operational issues and congestion at [Newark]: United, with 72 percent of operations at [Newark], is far and away the leading carrier at [Newark] with the most responsibility for operations at the airport,” JetBlue Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Robert Land said in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation officials.

The airline’s arguments mirror those made by Spirit Airlines, both of which United has blamed for a recent spike delays and cancellations at Newark. Spirit Vice President of Network Planning John Kirby recently told Airline Weekly that United was taking “liberties” in blaming its competitors when the mainline carrier so clearly dominates Newark.

JetBlue offers several proposals to improve operations at Newark. For one, the airline says officials should wait for the new Terminal A to open later this year, and see if the facility — plus the end of construction — improve operations. If that does not work, the Federal Aviation Administration should “convene a schedule reduction meeting” to ensure that there are no more than the recommended maximum of 79 flights per hour. Other recommendations include the approval of simultaneous dual approaches on Newark’s two main runways to increase throughput.

No matter what comes of the war of words between United, and JetBlue and Spirit one thing is clear: travelers best be prepared for flight delays and cancellations at Newark this summer.

Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line Posts a $1 Billion First-Quarter Loss

2 weeks ago

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd has reported a net loss of $1 billion for the first quarter of this year, as the Omicron variant hit sailings.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict also resulted in the cancellation or modification of 60 sailings, which included all voyages with calls to ports in Russia.

However, the result is an improvement on the same quarter in 2021, when it racked up losses of $1.4 billion. Revenue also increased to $521.9 million, compared to $3.1 million in 2021, as cruise voyages restarted.

Total cruise operating expense increased 266.1 percent in the 2022 first quarter, compared to 2021, due to the resumption of sailings but also higher payroll, fuel, and “direct variable costs of fully operating ships.” Inflation also affected food, fuel and logistics costs.

While as of May 7 its entire fleet was back up and running, it was operating at just 48 percent capacity in the first three months of 2022.

“Last week we reached the biggest milestone yet in our Great Cruise Comeback as Norwegian Spirit, the last ship in our fleet to resume sailing, welcomed guests on board in Papeete, Tahiti,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO. “The herculean effort to restart our fleet would not have been possible without the incredible fortitude of the entire Norwegian team and the unwavering support of our key partners and stakeholders around the world.”

Looking ahead, its advance ticket sales balance increased $418 million in the quarter to $2.2 billion as of March 31, 2022. This includes $0.6 billion of future cruise credits, or 27 percent of the total deposit balance.

Gross advance ticket sales were $1.1 billion during the quarter, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

The cruise line has removed all calls to ports in Russia from its itineraries in 2023.

Online Travel

Expedia CEO’s Total Compensation Pegged at $296 Million for 2021

2 weeks ago

Expedia Group Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern’s 2021 total compensation was $296 million.

That includes $157 million in stock awards and $137 million in option awards. His salary was around $850,000. The stock and option awards represent the fair value at the grant date, and won’t necessarily be the actual value when the awards vest.

Kern’s total compensation in 2021 compared with $53.9 million for Booking Holdings’ Glenn Fogel, $7.67 million for Tripadvisor’s Steve Kaufer, and $132,000 for Airbnb’s Brian Chesky.

Chesky had a nice pay day — on paper like Kern’s — for 2020, namely $120 million, and Kaufer’s total compensation announced in 2013 was $39 million.

Kern became Expedia Group CEO during the early days of the pandemic in April 2020. He has been vice chairman since 2018, and a board member since 2005.

When it comes to the ratio of the CEO’s salary to median employee compensation, excluding the CEO’s compensation, at each company, Expedia’s was 2,897 to 1; Booking’s was 931 to 1; Tripadvisor’s was 76 to 1; and Airbnb’s was .65 to 1.

The total compensation amounts were included in proxy statements last month.

Online Travel CEO Compensation 2021

CEOCompanyTotal CompensationRatio
Peter KernExpedia$296,000,0002,897 to 1
Glenn FogelBooking Holdings$53,900,000931 to 1
Stephen KauferTripadvisor$7,670,00076 to 1
Brian CheskyAirbnb$132,000.65 to 1

Hotels

Accor Takes Over Legendary QE2 Ship For Floating Hotel in Dubai

2 weeks ago

Well, never accuse Accor of not experimenting with new things, maybe to a fault: it has taken over the operations of the legendary cruise liner and ship Queen Elizabeth 2. The cruise ship will undergo further upgrades and renovations prior to joining the MGallery Hotel Collection. Situated in Dubai’s Port Rashid, It becomes Dubai’s first floating hotel.

Accor is working with the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) Investments LLC, a private equity firm working with Dubai government.

Once the renovation is completed, the new MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will feature 447 hotel rooms, nine food & beverage outlets, ten meeting rooms, 5,620sqm area for outdoor events, six retail outlets, a swimming pool and a gym.

Business Travel

Amtrak To Add More Trains As Demand Returns

2 weeks ago

Good news on travel demand, of the rail kind: Amtrak has announced its summer schedule with most Acela frequencies since the onset of the pandemic and Northeast Regional departures nearing 80% of pre-pandemic service levels. The new summer schedule also includes the restoration of four long-distance trains to daily service, the service said in an announcement.

Amtrak anticipates the announcement of additional service for summer travel later this spring.

Amtrak Announcement

Tags: amtrak

Airlines

Lufthansa Changes Boeing Order in Face of Manufacturing Delays

2 weeks ago

Lufthansa is mixing up its Boeing order as the manufacturer struggles with getting regulatory approval for its largest aircraft, the 777X. The German airline now is changing its order for that airplane to seven Boeing 787-9s, to be delivered in 2025-2026.

But that comes with its own risks. Boeing currently can’t deliver any 787s, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has mandated more inspections on the aircraft. Boeing last month said it had provided the regulator with its plan for fixes on the 787. The FAA has not provided a timeline for when it will sign off on the plan and deliveries can resume. Air Lease Corp. has estimated the 787 delivery delays have cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

The 777X, or 777-9, similarly has come under regulatory scrutiny, with its entry-into-service slipping from next year to 2025, although the final decision rests with the FAA and other regulators. Lufthansa’s order signals that the airline believes the schedule could slip again.

Lufthansa’s order also includes 10 freighters, as the airline said it believes surface cargo bottlenecks now will continue for the foreseeable future, and shippers will divert more cargo to air freight. The airline is ordering three 777Fs for delivery beginning this year, and seven 777-8Fs, to be delivered from 2027.

Meetings

U.S. Meetings & Events Recovery At About 70 Percent Compared to 2019

2 weeks ago

Latest data from events business intelligence vendor Knowland for the U.S. market is showing meetings and events data for April had a significant increase of 323 percent over April 2021, but of course an unfair comparison when last year vaccines were just starting to roll out. Some interesting recovery data:

— Attendees were ahead of 2019 levels for April with the average number of attendees per event at 118, compared to 63 in April 2021 and 74 in April 2019.

— The top five growth markets compared to March (in order) in April were Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs, and Kansas City.

— The corporate segment represents 63 percent of meeting and event business with Technology, Healthcare, and Training/Education taking the lead as the largest industry groups. From a recovery standpoint compared to April 2019 levels, Online Retailer, Tobacco, Charity Org/Social Services, and Biotechnology are the segments at the highest level of recovery capture in April.

— For April, the market was 66 percent recovered compared to April of 2019