Monday, June 30, 2008

Air Tahiti Nui to Suspend JFK-Tahiti Flights

Air Tahiti Nui will suspend its flights from JFK Airport to Tahiti for its low winter November - April season due to the continuing increase in fuel prices. During the peak summer months, the carrier has achieved solid results on its JFK-Tahiti route with load factors in excess of 70 percent with a schedule of three flights a week. “It’s no secret that the airline industry is taking a hit with the steadily rising costs of jet fuel,” says Nick Panza, Air Tahiti Nui’s vice president Americas. “Unfortunately, like many other carriers, we’ve been forced to make service cuts.” This season’s last non-stop flight from Tahiti to New York will be on October 16; while October 17 will mark the last non-stop Tahiti to New York flight. The final direct flight from Tahiti to New York via Los Angeles will be on October 23, with a return flight from New York to Tahiti via LAX on October 24. Visit

Radar – The Airport Bird Dog - Retires

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Radar, the official bird dog at Southwest Florida International Airport, is retiring after a successful, 7-year career. The 9-year-old border collie joined the airport in June 2001, after the first bird dog retired. In 1999, Southwest Florida International Airport became the first commercial airport in the nation to use a dog as part of its Wildlife Management Program. “This program is very important - it keeps our travelers, birds, and aircraft safe by reducing the number of birds on the airfield in an environmentally friendly manner,” said Robert M. Ball, A.A.E., executive director of the Lee County Port Authority.
Radar was napping and not available for comment, however airport personnel speaking on her behalf said they are confident the dog will enjoy her retirement as much as she did her busy career. All the best Radar......

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Québec plein la rue at Summer Festival

On July 3, 4 and 5, 2008, “Québec plein la rue”, a series of 3 original and exciting evenings that have been specially planned to mark the anniversary of the founding of Québec, will bring the biggest international street performance companies here for a North American premiere. Because history will play an important role in “Québec plein la rue”, the event will open on the St. Lawrence River, where the history of Québec began and from where it takes its name. The next site will be Pointe-aux-Lièvres, near the place where Jacques Cartier and his crew spent the winter of 1535-1536. Finally, it will move up to Boulevard René-Lévesque, where Québec City grew into an urban centre. July 3: Thousands of lights on the water “Québec plein la rue” gets off to a scintillating start on July 3 with a spectacular and magical fireworks display launched from the middle of the St. Lawrence River, at Pointe-à-Carcy. This historically symbolic site was chosen because it will allow the greatest number of spectators to see the fireworks from both shores. Specially created for the 400th anniversary of Québec by an international-calibre team of artists and explosives technicians, these fireworks, the biggest ever, will be under the direction of Groupe Concept FD and will call on Québec’s finest fireworks resources. The 30-minute display will be accompanied by original music simulcast on radio CKIA-FM 88.3. A colourful, explosive one-night-only opening show! July 4: Mystery and enchantment at Pointe-aux-Lièvres Starting at 9: 30 p.m. on July 4, French street performance companies, Ilotopie and Salamandre, along with the Dutch troupe, Teatro Pavana, will enchant spectators during a two-hour performance at the Pointe-aux-Lièvres sector of Cartier-Brébeuf park. Expect to be carried away to a bewitching and mysterious world! As soon as they enter the site, spectators enter an unreal world of fantastic creatures performing flamboyant fire-handling exploits and where half-human, half-animal giants invite them down torch-lit paths. At the end of a short walk to the Saint-Charles River, spectators witness the feats of a happy troupe of colourful characters in an astonishing underwater performance. July 5: Gathering on the boulevard On the night of Saturday, July 5, between 11: 30 p.m. and 1: 30 a.m., Boulevard René-Lévesque will be taken by storm as Ilotopie, La Compagnie de la Salamandre and Teatro Pavana, along with Project Bandaloop (United States), Transe Express (France), the Compagnie Les Vernisseurs (France), La Compagnie des Quidams (France) join local troupes of street performers. As these varied troupes take to the street, perform on a temporary stage and launch an assault on the façades and rooftops of the buildings on the north side of the boulevard, in front of the Parliament. their breathtaking shows will demonstrate all the strength and finesse of the street performer’s art. A production of the Québec Summer Festival in collaboration with the Carnaval de Québec M. Christie and the Grands Feux Loto-Québec.
Don't miss it....

Friday, June 20, 2008

TSA's new policelike badges a sore point with real cops

Screeners at the nation's airport checkpoints are going to start wearing police-style badges — but real officers aren't too happy about it. Some sworn officers fear airline passengers will mistake screeners for law-enforcement officials with arrest powers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to equip its 48,000 screeners with 3-inch-by-2-inch, silver-colored, copper and zinc badges that will be worn on new royal-blue police-style shirts. The attire aims to convey an image of authority to passengers, who have harassed, pushed and in a few instances punched screeners. "Some of our officers aren't respected," TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said. Actual airport police, who carry guns and have arrest powers, worry that their own authority will be undercut by screeners who look like police. Every major airport has its own police department or is patrolled by local police.
"A lot of cops at airports are not real thrilled about it," said Duane McGray of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, an airport police association. "It's another way of saying (to airport police), 'You're not important.' " Network president Paul Mason, chief of the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport police, worries that passengers will mistake badge-wearing screeners for police and expect them to handle crimes. "There are going to be some growing pains on the part of the (screeners) and police," he said. Agencies often give badges to workers who aren't law-enforcement officers. At the TSA, badges are carried by 1,200 inspectors who check that airlines, airports and others comply with security rules. The Environmental Protection Agency gives badges to its 250 workers charged with overseeing cleanups of oil spills and other hazardous releases, EPA spokeswoman Roxanne Smith said. Airport screeners will get badges after finishing a two-day training program covering issues related to badges as well as how to talk to passengers in a calming manner. Unlike police, who often are required to carry their badges while off-duty, screeners will be barred from wearing them when they are not working, TSA Deputy Administrator Gale Rossides said. "We coupled the badges with the communications training to make it clear to our officers that they're there to facilitate our passengers," Rossides said. She said the TSA has no interest in giving screeners law-enforcement power. In April, Baltimore-Washington International Airport screeners became the first to get badges and blue shirts, which replace white shirts adorned with a yellow TSA patch. Screeners at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will get them today.

African nations abolish visas for business travellers

Twenty-five countries spanning half of Africa have agreed to abolish visas for their business travellers and some other professionals in what could potentially be a major relaxation of migration rules. The plans were announced in the small West African country of Benin at the closing ceremony on Wednesday of the 25-nation Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD). The bloc's members stretch from Morocco, Libya and Egypt on the Mediterranean coast to Central African Republic in the south and Somalia and the Comoros islands in the east.
"Visas are abolished for businessmen, researchers, sportspeople and well-known artists.The 15 states of West Africa's ECOWAS bloc, all but one of which are CEN-SAD members, have already started a scheme of a common passport and travel without visas within their zone

Monday, June 16, 2008

Air Berlin Offers More Flights to Germany from Southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. Easier access to Europe this summer with the help of Air Berlin. Air Berlin, which recently acquired LTU, resumed its twice-weekly nonstop service to Munich (MUC) from Southwest Florida International Airport in May. A third weekly nonstop flight to Düsseldorf (DUS) will be added to Air Berlin’s schedule on June 24. These flights offer passengers more flexibility and the ability to connect to major European travel destinations, including Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Zurich and London. Air Berlin is Germany’s second-largest airline with 127 aircraft flying to more than 100 destinations throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the world. Robert M. Ball, A.A.E., executive director of the Lee County Port Authority said. “Air Berlin’s extensive network allows passengers to travel onward from Düsseldorf or Munich to many German airports and top holiday destinations in Europe.”

Lawrence Hunt pulls the plug on Silverjet's rescue hopes

Silverjet's rescue hopes tarnished Monday June 16, 2008 Silverjet's recent roller coaster ride, which appeared to end happily for the all-business-class carrier earlier last week with an acquisition and relaunch agreement with a Swiss investment firm, took a plunge for the worse Friday as the deal suddenly collapsed. Kingplace, an Irish company managed by Geneva's Heritage Cie, had agreed last Tuesday to "principal terms" to own and operate Silverjet, which shut down at the end of May following the failure of another investment arrangement. However, according to Silverjet administrator Begbies Traynor, "unusually complex negotiations with third parties" meant that Kingplace "is no longer in a position to acquire Silverjet as a going concern. As a consequence, we have today had to make the entire workforce formally redundant in line with our legal obligations as administrator." The number of job cuts numbered between 300 and 400, according to various press reports. It appears to be the end of the line for the carrier, which had been confident of a relaunch. "We continue to negotiate the sale of Silverjet's assets for the benefit of the company's creditors," BT said. Silverjet did not release a statement. The Times reported that the UK CAA was not satisfied that Kingplace could demonstrate its ability to provide more than £25 million ($48.8 million) in funding over the next six months. Silverjet follows Eos Airlines and MAXjet Airways into the history books. Paris Orly-based L'Avion, which operates all-business-class 757-200 flights to Newark, continues to operate.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Southwest not yet reserving seats past October

Southwest not yet offering reservations for the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season NEW YORK (Associated Press) - According to Southwest Airlines, you're free to move around the country _ but not after Oct. 30. While you can make a reservation on most other carriers for travel next spring, Southwest hasn't yet posted a schedule for the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. Another sign of the uncertainty in the airline industry? Not exactly. Most U.S. airlines allow customers to book up to about 330 days in advance. American Airlines will let you book flights through next April. On the Web site of Delta Air Lines Inc., you can make reservations into May 2009. That's important for airlines that offer international trips, which might be planned many months ahead of time. Southwest Airlines Co., which doesn't fly outside the United States, has usually posted shorter schedules _ ones that go out about six months. "We just haven't opened up a new schedule yet that goes beyond" October, said spokeswoman Beth Harbin, adding that a new schedule through Jan. 9 will be posted later this month. Harbin said the lack of a holiday schedule "is not about pricing, it's just about the schedule we want to put out there for the holidays." A factor that could be complicating Southwest's plans: Other carriers, including Continental Airlines Inc., AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Delta and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines have all announced big cutbacks in flying after the peak summer travel season ends. Those airlines are beset by record high fuel prices, and they're worried about the weakening economy undercutting demand for travel. Low-cost airlines like Dallas-based Southwest _ the only major U.S. carrier to earn a profit in the first quarter _ and New York-based JetBlue Airways Corp. expect to pick up more traffic as the big network carriers cut back on flights. JetBlue said this week it would add daily flights from several East Coast cities to Puerto Rico this fall, about the time American reduces service to the Caribbean. And as United's and Frontier's retreat in Denver, Southwest is adding service from there to San Francisco and other cities. Southwest will soon be operating 95 daily flights in Denver, up from 13 just two years ago. Jerrold Glass, a former US Airways executive and now an aviation consultant at FH Solutions Group in Washington, said the practice of offering reservations nearly a year into the future could trip up airlines if they commit to fares that later prove unprofitable. "Because of everything going on with fuel and the need to recapture that through fares, they're rethinking that policy," he said.

US Airways Adds Checked-Bag and Beverage Fees

US Airways has joined the ranks of air carriers charging for checked bags. The members of the carrier's new policy impacting customers who book economy class tickets for travel on or after July 9. They will be charged $15 each way ($30 roundtrip) for the first checked bag. The new fee applies to customers traveling within the United States, and to/from Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. US Airways' first bag fee is in addition to its previously announced $25 second bag fee ($50 roundtrip), which went into effect May 5. American Airlines and United Airlines also recently announced that they would begin charging customers $15 for a first checked bag. Exceptions to the new baggage fee include: all Dividend Miles Preferred Members (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Chairman's Preferred), confirmed First Class and Envoy Class passengers at the time of check-in, and Star Alliance Silver and Gold Status members. The following customers will also be exempt from paying the fee: military personnel on active duty, unaccompanied minors and passengers checking assistive devices. Agents are advised to disclose to customers at the time of booking that fees may apply when checking bags. In addition, agents should include a disclosure notice on customer itineraries and invoices. To see a summary of airline checked bag fees, as well as a sample disclosure notice, read ASTA's Airline Checked Baggage Policy Chart. US Airways will implement a $2 fee for all non-alcoholic beverages (including sodas, juices, bottled water and coffee) in its domestic coach cabins effective Aug. 1. Alcoholic beverages will also increase to $7 (currently $5). Complimentary beverages will continue to be served in domestic First Class, US Airways Shuttle flights, trans-Atlantic Envoy and trans-Atlantic economy class. Visit

Thursday, June 12, 2008

United Airlines announces new checked bag policy

United Airlines has announced two changes to its domestic checked-bag policy. The service fee to check one bag for domestic travel will be $15 each way and the fee to check three or more bags, overweight bags or items that require special handling will increase from $100 to $125 or from $200 to $250, depending on the item. United said the changes apply to customers who purchase a ticket on or after June 13, for travel within the U.S. and to/from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on or after August 18. The $15 service fee does not apply to customers who are flying in United First or United Business or who have premier status with United or Star Alliance. Details on United's checked bag policy are available at United says "With record-breaking fuel prices, we must pursue new revenue opportunities, while continuing to offer competitive fares, by tailoring our products and services around what our customers value most and are willing to pay for. United estimates that the new $15 service fee will apply to one out of three customers, and the potential revenue from baggage handling service fees, including those for checking a first and second bag, will be approximately $275 million a year. The fee to check a second bag is $25 each way and applies to customers who purchase Economy tickets for travel exclusively within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada, and who do not have premier status in Mileage Plus or Star Alliance. For itineraries that include international flights (except Canada), checking a first and second bag will continue to be free, and the cost to check more than two bags or items that are overweight or require special handling varies by destination. Customers may pay these service fees at an airport Easy Check-In kiosk with a credit card or at the check-in counter with a credit card, check or cash. To ensure smooth operations at the airport, United will have developed the ability later this year for customers to pay for baggage fees via when they check-in online. Visit
Is this a way to generate revenue paid for by those with more bags and saves bucks for those with carry-ons? Please advise Boeing and AirBus we don't need more seats, only larger overhead bins......

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Lake Como, Bellagio, Italy

Set in the lush Lake Como District, the elegant Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has attracted the most discerning international travelers since 1872. Today, this prestigious hotel is the only property on Bellagio’s picturesque shores to offer the venerable Five-star Deluxe rating. Upon arrival, guests will be immediately enchanted by the Old World charms of this mansion-hotel, including a sharp attention to detail and discreet, personal service.For three generations, the Grand Hotel has belonged to the Bucher family, a dynasty in fine European hotellerie. The historic main villa offers a variety of spacious rooms and suites with views of the lake or the verdant gardens and park-like grounds of the hotel. The Residence L’Ulivo—with 13 one-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and terraces—is adjacent to the main hotel building.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tampa International Airport earns 2008 IATA Eagle Award

The International Air Transport Association has selected Tampa International Airport for its prestigious 2008 IATA Eagle Award for airports. The award was announced and presented during a special ceremony on June 2, 2008, at the 64th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
The award is given to leading airports and air navigation service providers for outstanding performance in customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and continuous improvement. Other factors include strong support and nominations from the airport’s airline customers.
Louis E. Miller, Executive Director and CEO, Tampa International Airport said “Receiving the IATA award is a great honor for us. We have a clear understanding of the importance of cost control to the airlines; it is crucial to maintain reasonable rates and charges to all the airlines serving Tampa International. Our main objectives are to balance the cost along with the highest quality of service to all Airport customers,”
For more information please contact Brenda Geoghagan, Tampa International Airport