Mach waives financing condition for Transat acquisition

first_img Tuesday, June 25, 2019 Tags: Group Mach, Transat Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Mach waives financing condition for Transat acquisition MONTREAL — Group Mach Inc. has submitted an amended version of its proposal to acquire Transat today, removing conditions related to financing from the Government of Quebec.The group announced its non-binding agreement with the government, in connection with its formal proposal to acquire all issued and outstanding voting shares of Transat A.T. Inc., at a price of $14.00 cash per share to Transat’s Board of Directors.This entailed waiving a financing condition and the execution of support and voting agreements with the amended proposal, which only contains the following conditions:• Transat terminating its current process with Air Canada prior to entering into any definitive acquisition agreement with Air Canada;• The execution of a confidentiality agreement between Transat and Mach which includes a period of 30 days to complete due diligence and execute a definitive acquisition agreement between Mach and Transat during said period; and• The receipt of customary regulatory approvals, namely the review of the Amended Proposal by federal competition and transportation authorities (the “Key Regulatory Approvals”).More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsOf note in regards to Key Regulatory Approvals, Mach, TM Grupo Inmobiliario and their subsidiaries do not carry on any activities in Canada in any of the segments of current activities of Transat. In particular, neither Mach nor TM or any of their subsidiaries operate an airline anywhere in the world. Mach shall preserve all existing operational activities of Transat post-closing of our proposed acquisition of Transat.last_img read more

Ticos living abroad can vote in 2014

first_imgFor the first time in history, Costa Ricans older than 18 and living abroad can vote in general elections, as long as they’re registered with Costa Rican embassies or consulates in their countries of residence.For the 2014 general elections, Costa Ricans in other countries will have to register in the period established by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and then will be able to vote at embassies or consulates. Some 50,000 Costa Ricans living abroad currently are registered with the electoral census. Once polls close, embassies and consulates will report results via the Internet to electoral officials. The actual votes will then be sent by mail to be counted and registered. General elections are scheduled for the first Sunday in February, 2014, in which Costa Ricans will vote for president, two vice presidents and 57 legislators. Costa Rica’s president serves for a period of four years. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Flowers hid cocaine bound for Europe

first_imgStop and snort the roses.Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) announced Thursday morning they had busted an international drug ring that ferried cocaine from Costa Rica to Germany and Austria, hiding the drugs among shipments of tropical flowers.OIJ Director Francisco Segura said that police raided nine properties and confiscated more than $8 million worth of assets inside three homes in San Carlos, and two more in Santa Ana and Guápiles. The estimation did not include the value of several luxury vehicles also seized by authorities.Segura described the suspect’s lifestyle as “ostentatious.” Costa Rican police conduct one of nine raids Thursday morning, May 22, 2014, to disrupt an alleged operation to ship cocaine to Europe. The Tico TimesPolice found a large amount of cash in U.S. dollars and Costa Rican colones inside the Santa Ana home, but had not confirmed the amount before the press conference Thursday morning.Seven people were arrested in the raids, including four Costa Ricans, a Colombian, a Mexican, and a Romanian, who allegedly led the gang.The Romanian suspect, a Costa Rican resident whose name was not released, had a previous conviction for drug trafficking from 2001 but remained free.The OIJ director said that the criminal organization operated by sending relatively small amounts of cocaine — 22 kilograms at a time — to avoid detection. The drugs arrived in Golfito, near the Panamanian border, by sea. They flew in a small plane with a false bottom to San José. From the capital, the cocaine was shipped to a flower exporter in Guápiles and then to Europe.Segura said the group could have been sending drugs to Europe at least once a month since the Romanian was first arrested over a decade ago. Marisel Rodríguez, OIJ press chief, estimated that a kilo of cocaine is worth roughly $35,000 in Austria. Drug trafficking suspects are rounded up Thursday, May 22, 2014. The Tico TimesSegura said that there was no immediate connection with a Mexican or Colombian drug cartel but that OIJ was investigating the possibility.Law enforcement has been on a roll since President Luis Guillermo Solís took office May 8, seizing over 2 metric tons of drugs and breaking up several criminal organizations, including an international drug network trafficking marijuana and LSD to Europe.“When you see a rat in the house, it’s not because there’s just one rat. It’s because there are a bunch on them. Here, unfortunately, drugs are everywhere,” Segura said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Solís put on the defensive as joint US-Costa Rican patrols come up for renewal Costa Rica newspaper claims drug traffickers used landing strip on Paris Hilton’s family property Costa Rica seized record-breaking 26 metric tons of cocaine in 2014 Nearly 1.5 metric tons of cocaine seized by joint US-Costa Rica drug patrols in the Pacificlast_img read more

Rampant pipeline theft fails to deter Mexico onshore oil bidders

first_img Facebook Comments MEXICO CITY – Five incidents of pipeline theft a day, a rate that’s almost doubled in the last two years, isn’t fazing potential bidders seeking to produce oil from onshore fields in five Mexican states.A record 79 private companies, including Engie of France and Pacific Exploration and Production Corp. of Colombia, have qualified to bid in the Dec. 15 auction now that Mexico’s new laws have opened oilfield development to private companies. That compares with 20 companies that qualified to bid in the country’s Sept. 30 offshore auction, underscoring how the chance to enter Mexico’s nascent oil market is outweighing risks.“I’m not too concerned about security at this stage,” said Stefan Olivier, CEO of London-based MX Oil. “We are very interested in Mexico and we are going to be bidding” in the Dec. 15 auction.Mexico’s state-owned oil producer Petroleos Mexicanos documented 3,600 illegal taps on pipelines in 2014, a 40 percent increase from the 2,627 a year earlier, costing the company an estimated $792 million in stolen fuel. The taps are used to siphon out oil and gasoline in transit.Pilfering more than quadrupled from 2009 to 2013, according to Pemex, as the company is known, which partially attributes its 11-year slide in crude production to the increase in illegal taps. Mexico is on pace to exceed a record 4,000 incidents of pipeline theft this year, up from 710 in 2010.Through the first eight months of the year, there were 3,547 illegal pipeline fuel taps reported, according to data gathered by Pemex, including 1,168 in the states where the 25 onshore fields will be auctioned next week. Two of the fields up for auction are located in the northern Tamaulipas state, which reported 561 incidents of pipeline theft through August, the most of any Mexican state. A Pemex press official sent the figures for pipeline theft in an email on Wednesday.Fifty-three of the 79 companies qualified to bid in the coming auction are based in Mexico. The fact that local participation has increased in the onshore auction suggests the security risks aren’t seen as a deterrent to potential bidding, according to Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.“Every company knows that security will increase the cost of operating in Mexico, but they don’t see it as a deal-breaker in any way,” Wood said in a phone interview. “The Mexican companies already know the lay of the land. They have been operating in the country for years and are familiar with the way things work.”The additional expense required for security measures onshore might be offset by the low cost of entry and favorable royalty terms offered by the government, according to Tim Samples, a law professor and Mexican-energy analyst at the University of Georgia in Athens. The Finance Ministry and National Hydrocarbons Commission announced Nov. 30 that no minimum investment will be required for bidders, and that royalty levels on the fields will range from 1 to 10 percent.“These are bargain-bin fiscal terms here. They are rock bottom,” Samples said. “In this price environment with the on-the-ground realities of producing onshore in Mexico, it might be a necessity” for the government to lure companies with favorable financial terms.The onshore oil fields for auction are located in the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, in the northern Burgos basin, the eastern coastal state of Veracruz, and the southern Chiapas and Tabasco states. In April 2014, a hotel housing Weatherford International Ltd. oil workers in Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas, was riddled with gun shots in an area of the country known for drug gangs.“The most salient operational risk relates to extortion,” Grant Sunderland, Latin America analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, wrote in an emailed response to questions. “There is a considerable risk that drug-trafficking organizations will ‘follow the money,’ and as oil and gas investment ramps up, foreign companies could become targets of crime.”Mexico’s government has proven it can provide adequate security forces for large-scale infrastructure projects such as onshore oil drilling, according to Randall Connally, chief executive officer at Northcote Energy of London. Northcote, which is building a facility in the Tabasco state, elected not to participate in the onshore oil auctions.“Anywhere in the world a certain amount of crime is to be expected,” Connally said in a Dec. 3 phone interview from Dallas. “The Mexican government has control of the vital components of their national infrastructure. Once the field is operating, especially if it’s a gas field, I don’t think you need to worry about organized crime.”© 2015, Bloomberg Related posts:Four dead, 16 injured in fiery blast at Mexico oil rig Foreign firms compete in historic Mexico oil auction Mexico indigenous group sees racism in Coca-Cola ad Donald Trump’s hated $23 billion in migrant cash unlocks Mexican creditlast_img read more

Nearly 43000 appointments postponed as health strikes continue

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Strikes cause partial shutdowns of public hospitals Costa Rican Caja reports significant delays for surgeries due to strike Mandatory prices for medical procedures rankle public, politicians Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decades More than 42,900 medical appointments have been canceled or postponed this week as thousands of public-hospital workers continue to strike in Costa Rica.Health unions say they’re protesting tax-adjustment policies enacted as part of Costa Rica’s recent fiscal reform. These include tax increases and a reduction in annuities.On Thursday, thousands demonstrated peacefully with a march from La Merced to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (Caja) building in San José.Union representatives have said strikes will continue through Saturday morning, though Caja officials remained optimistic that a Thursday-afternoon meeting would result in an end to the protests.According to Caja manager Roberto Cervantes, the 42,900 missed appointments comprise 38% of those scheduled through Thursday morning. Pharmacies and EBAIS, public community health clinic managed by the Caja, are impacted as well.While emergency rooms at public hospitals have remained open, some are operating with a reduced capacity, Cervantes said.“With a strike, no one wins, and it’s the patients who are suffering,” Mario Ruiz Cubillo, medical manager of the Caja, said at a Thursday press conference. “This strike has a cost that will be reflected monetarily and in public health.” The Caja said it is relying on volunteers at several public hospitals to maintain other essential services.Cervantes and other Caja officials have asked patients to arrive for scheduled appointments unless instructed otherwise.last_img read more

Chinese editor leaves amid uproar over army remark

first_img Sponsored Stories The incident underscores the Communist Party’s concerns over scattered calls to place the 2.3 million-member People’s Liberation Army under government, rather than party, control. Such a move could substantially diminish the party’s overall influence over Chinese society and weaken its hold on the ultimate lever of control.State media issue frequent calls rejecting nationalization of the army and telling serving military members to devote their highest loyalty to the party.Yu spent years covering blood buying rings blamed for spreading AIDS, and it wasn’t clear whether he was leaving the newspaper. A switchboard operator said he remained listed as the in-depth editor.The Southern Metropolitan and its sister papers are known for their relatively gutsy reporting that sometimes draws the ire of authorities and demands for staff to be removed. The demands are often met simply by switching staff to other positions inside the publishing group.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   “Let’s just leave it at that,” Yu told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.However, activist friend Hu Jia said Yu told him he stepped down after the remarks were posted by an unknown person, a claim repeated by online media based overseas. The remarks said sarcastically that if the party insists on full control over the military, then the people should have the right to form their own army.The People’s Liberation Army was established in 1927 to battle Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists in China’s 22-year civil war. After largely sitting out Japan’s World War II invasion, it re-emerged to lead the communists to victory in 1949 and has remained the party’s house army ever since, defending its interests during the chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution and in suppressing pro-democracy protests in 1989.While the comments posted to the newspaper’s microblog weren’t directly attributed to Yu, authorities often hold editors and webmasters responsible for content and comments posted to their sites and expect offending material to be swiftly removed. That’s part of the vast network of online supervision that is believed to include thousands of people policing the Internet and blocks on politically sensitive websites and banned search terms. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Top Stories BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese newspaper editor has left his job after comments were posted to his paper’s official microblog mocking the ruling Communist Party’s insistence that it maintain control of the nation’s military.Yu Chen confirmed Sunday that he was no longer the Southern Metropolitan’s in-depth editor. He declined to discuss the reason or other details in a sign of the sensitivity of the matter. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

Drug meeting spotlight on Perus cocaine problem

first_imgSo far, though, the corrupting influence of drug money has badly weakened Peru’s law enforcement agencies and judiciary, consistently frustrating money-laundering and drug prosecutions, says the counter-narcotics chief in the attorney general’s office, Sonia Medina.“There is a paralysis at the moment” she said last week, with honest, committed judges and prosecutors scant.There is no shortage, meanwhile, of cocaine, which Peru supplies to neighbors including Brazil, the world’s No. 2 consumer after the United States, as well as a growing European market.Under the previous administration of President Alan Garcia, eradication of Peru’s coca crop, the raw material of cocaine, did not keep pace with new plantings.In October, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration intelligence chief Rodney Benson said Peru surpassed Colombia in 2010 “in potential pure cocaine production” and was at about 325 metric tons a year compared to 270 metric tons from Colombia.From 2006 to 2010, the area under coca cultivation in Peru jumped 35 percent to 236 square miles (61,200 hectares), the U.N. says. That’s s double the size of the crop in Bolivia, the No. 3 cocaine-producing nation. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy The vital role family plays in society Associated PressLIMA, Peru (AP) – Peru’s struggle with a resurgent cocaine trade is in the spotlight as it hosts nearly 60 nations in conference on illicit drugs beginning Monday.The Andean country’s cocaine production likely now exceeds Colombia’s, making it the world’s No. 1 source of the illicit drug, the United States and United Nations say.President Ollanta Humala said when he took office a year ago that he’d make the drug war a priority, and his government announced an ambitious antinarcotics plan in March. Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Colombia’s coca crop encompasses nearly twice as much area as Peru’s by U.S. measure but gets thinned regularly by herbicides sprayed by planes flown by U.S. contractors. Peru’s coca fields, by contrast, yield more because their mature plants are mostly untouched by eradication. And unlike in Colombia, the only eradication done in Peru is by hand.The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime’s representative for Peru, Flavio Mirella, told The Associated Press this year that “drug trafficking is in full growth” in the country and “could get out of hand.”Peru aims to counter that by reducing the area under coca cultivation by 30 percent by 2016. Peru’s drug czar, Carmen Masias, told the AP when the plan was released that there are no “liberated zones” in the country exempt from eradication.Yet areas that produce some of Peru’s best-quality coca remain untouched by eradicators. Many are protected by armed gangs, including those in the Monzon region of the Upper Huallaga Valley of central Peru, experts say.About 55 percent of Peru’s coca crop is in the Ene and Apurimac Valley to the south, where the presence of leftist Shining Path rebels is so strong that the government hasn’t yet dared try to eradicate. The rebels have killed more than 70 government troops in the region since 2008. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Top Stories The United States has firmly backed the Humala government’s counterdrug efforts and shares Peru’s opposition to drug decriminalization, which is not on the official agenda for this week’s conference.That omission has upset drug production and transit nations promoting a debate on legalization, arguing that they are paying too heavy a price trying to fight traffickers.“We’ve had 40 years of the fight against drugs and that’s time enough to evaluate whether a strategy is successful or not,” said Guatemala’s ambassador to Peru, Gabriel Aguilera.“In those 40 years neither demand nor supply has been substantially reduced. Nor has the violence diminished.”Proponents of legalization were heartened when Uruguay announced plans last week to legalize and sell marijuana and use the revenues to strengthen the fight harder drugs.___Associated Press writer Franklin Briceno contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Regional elections foretell turmoil in Italy

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Top Stories The populist Five Star Movement garnered 18 percent of the vote _ not enough to win the governorship because other parties ran in alliances, but still making it the top vote-getting party and a force to be reckoned with. Movement leader Beppe Grillo attracted large audiences with his attacks on Monti’s austerity policies and the seemingly endemic corruption among Italy’s major political parties.“Without doubt this result is not positive for market confidence and increases uncertainty ahead of the general election next spring,” said an analysis by economists Chiara Corsa and Loredana Federico for UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank.Monti’s government of technocrats imposed a painful austerity program and has started in on reforms that together have succeeded in bringing down Italy’s borrowing costs, which had skyrocketed when his predecessor, media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, lost the confidence of markets that he could bring Italy’s finances under control and balance the budget.Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond yield rose Monday after the release of the Sicilian election results _ from 4.85 percent to 4.94 percent, a sign that investors have become somewhat more cautious about the country’s financial future. The bond yield edged back only marginally to 4.92 percent on Tuesday. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day But the 76-year media magnate may have changed his mind after a court in Milan convicted him Friday of tax fraud. He attacked Monti, complained that Germany had too much control over Italy’s economic decisions, and said he would stay in politics to reform the justice system.Political analyst Massimo Franco, writing in the leading Corriere della Sera, said Italy is paying the price for Berlusconi’s “sad decadence and his system of power.” He also wrote that the Sicilian election result is a warning that the country risks becoming ungovernable.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) But Monti’s term ends in the spring and he has ruled out running for premier, although he has left the door open for a second term if no party wins a clear majority and he is tapped to head another government. There has also been talk of Monti serving as finance minister in a government next year, a move that would also please Italy’s eurozone partners.Monti, speaking at a conference of the World Economic Forum in Rome on Tuesday, directed himself to Italy’s political class as he sketched a picture underlining the virtue of unpopular _ but necessary _ policy.“The really important thing is, we have done very unpleasant things, unpleasant things for the receivers and even unpleasant for the doers. The perception of what this government is doing is not fully good. But it is higher than that of any of the parties,” Monti said.“This is an important message for future governments: Do not believe that you cannot do the right policies, otherwise you risk your position in the future,” he said.A further unknown is Berlusconi’s intentions. He had been supporting Monti’s government and recently suggested he planned to retire from politics. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix ROME (AP) – Italy risks heading into political turmoil after a regional election showed a huge level of voter distrust in mainstream political parties, a result that could also rattle financial markets that have no small role in deciding the fate of the economically troubled nation.A protest party candidate from a movement launched by a TV comic made a strong showing in Sicilian elections Sunday, a vote seen as a test of popular sentiment before nationwide polls in the spring to replace the government of Premier Mario Monti. The Sicily vote also was marked by sharply lower turnout, down to 47 percent of eligible voters from 67 percent in the 2008 regional elections. Check your body, save your life Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Malawi lauded on antigay law moratorium

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How do cataracts affect your vision? Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona In May, President Joyce Banda announced that she wants to repeal Malawi’s laws against homosexual acts, going against a trend in a continent in which gays are being increasingly singled out for prosecution. Traditionalists and religious leaders condemned her, saying she was trying to please Western donor nations. They argued that homosexuality is alien to Malawi’s cultural and religious values.Kasambara said the suspension of arrests was ordered because “if we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional it would be an embarrassment to government.”Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that arresting people for consensual same-sex conduct violates international human rights standards and constitutional guarantees of equality in many countries.“Malawi has taken a bold step forward, putting respect for its own constitutional guarantees of equality front and center,” said Tiseke Kasambala, a Malawian who is the Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Malawi’s decision has given hope to thousands who risk prison sentences under such laws.”Amnesty International also praised Malawi for the “historic step in the fight against discrimination in the country”. Top Stories Associated PressBLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) – Going against a trend in Africa, Malawi’s government is moving to suspend laws against homosexuality and has ordered police not to arrest people for same-sex acts until the anti-gay laws are reviewed by parliament.Human Rights Watch called the decision “courageous” and said it should inspire other countries that criminalize homosexuality.Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara last week told a public debate on minority rights that the police have been ordered not to arrest anyone suspected of engaging in homosexuality. Anyone convicted under Malawi’s anti-gay laws, some of the toughest in the world, can get up to 14 years in jail with hard labor. Kasambara said parliament will soon discuss the laws. Comments   Share   center_img At least 76 countries, 38 of them in Africa, have criminalized consensual same-sex conduct, according to Human Rights Watch.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

New Zealand backs antiwhaling suit against Japan

first_imgWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand is supporting Australia’s attempt in an international court to stop Japan from whaling in the Southern Ocean.New Zealand wants to intervene in a lawsuit Australia brought against Japan two years ago in the International Court of Justice. New Zealand is seeking to have its views heard as an interested third party. Australia and Japan have until Dec. 21 to accept or challenge New Zealand’s intervention. Sponsored Stories Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Australia’s lawsuit questions the validity of Japan’s whaling program in the Southern Ocean. Japan describes its program as one of scientific study, but Australia and other countries have claimed it’s commercial whaling in disguise.New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully said in a statement Friday that the government will use all avenues possible to try and stop Japan from whaling.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Largest travel market in the world is… Asia Pacific

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/273a9/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> North America is officially no longer the world’s largest travel market, with figures showing clearly that Asia Pacific has taken the top spot with 647 million travellers in the past year.Aviation forecasters have long been predicting this day and in 2009 the milestone was hit, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as Asia Pacific generated 9 million more air passengers than the 638 million recorded in North America.“Asia-Pacific’s prospects are improving faster than other regions,” Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO, also noted.“Asia-Pacific’s diversity, dynamism and potential are a great opportunity. Rapidly developing markets are defining aviation’s future.”By 2013 an additional 217 million travellers are expected to take to the skies within Asia-Pacific.Asia Pacific carriers are also expected to narrow their losses this year down from 2009’s US$3.4 billion loss to US$700 million. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Stena Line ferry receives international recognition

first_imgSource = The Stena Navigator The Stena Navigator, which operates on the Stranraer-Belfast route, has succeeded in picking up the accolade for ‘best ferry conversion’ in the annual ShipPax awards, a global industry voice for ferries and cruise ships.ShipPax, which is based in Sweden and publishes the influential monthly Cruise & Ferry Info magazine along with several other titles, presented the prestigious award at its annual shipping conference.The Stena Navigator which was purchased from SeaFrance last summer, was given a major makeover back in the autumn before entering service in November. The £2m refurbishment was carried out by Northern Ireland company MJM and was designed by Swedish company Figura.ShipPax said the project was “more than a simple revamping of an older ferry”.  It applauded the vessel’s “surprisingly fresh interior themes”, including its artwork, and praised the designers for creating a warm and welcoming environment for customers.Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Director for Stranraer-Belfast, said: “We are extremely pleased with this award because it supports our view that the Navigator is a great addition to our route.”A lot of time, money and effort was spent on turning the ship into the first class vessel which we have today. We think she looks fantastic and it’s great that ShipPax feels the same way.”The company’s Scandinavian heritage was built into the design, most notably in our luxurious Stena Plus Lounge on the Stena Navigator and this has really added to the overall look and feel of the ship.”The Navigator boasts substantial passenger areas including Barista coffee house and bar and The Met restaurant which both seat up to 270, a Sports Bar which seats up to 160 and Stena Plus which seats up to 150. The ferry, which caters for both passenger and freight traffic and has acapacity of up to 1,200 passengers and up to 280 cars or 50 lorries, alsohas two cinemas showing free movies, a Curious George play area for kidsfeaturing an interactive zone, soft play area and mini cinema, Teen Townwith the latest video games for teenagers, internet surf stations, freewi-fi and an onboard shop which offers a wide range of gifts, jewellery andfragrances. There are dedicated facilities for freight drivers as well, including a drivers’ restaurant and a separate truckers’ lounge with state of the art internet facilities, a large touch screen and a relaxation area offering the ultimate in driver comfort. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/27414/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Singapores flagship PARKROYAL goes green

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Pan Pacific Hotels Group is reducing its carbon footprint with the development of Singapore’s first entirely sustainable hotel.Speaking at the Company’s Customer Connections Exposition last week, global sales director Louise Barker told e-Travel Blackboard that The PARKROYAL on Pickering Hotel is expected to launch by mid-2012 will be completely environmentally friendly from electrical use right down to food production.“It will be completely sustainable with solar energy, they’ll grow their own vegetables but at the same time it will be very high tech,” Ms Barker explained.“The lights will switch off as you leave the room, they’ll dim at other times, every feature of the hotel will be sustainable.”The 363 room hotel will cover an area of up to 161,000 square feet and according to Pan Pacific Hotels Group director of corporate sales in Singapore Mary Ang, is the first of its kind of open in Singapore. Ms Barker also took the opportunity to announce that the hotel Group is also looking to expand its China presence, with plans to open three new properties in Ningbo, Shanghai and Suzhou.While both Ningbo and Shanghai will open as serviced suites in 2012, Suzhou will launch in 2014 as a resort property.last_img read more

QLD tourisms bounce back

first_imgResilient Queenslanders during cyclone Yasi Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W A year on from Queensland’s devastating floods and cyclone Yasi, tourism is bouncing back in the sunshine state as operators are resilient in improving their business to attract visitors in greater numbers.According to Australian Bureau of Statistics results, growing tourist numbers point towards a positive future with an increased occupancy rate and average length of stay.  This in part comes from the success of Tourism Queensland’s $12 million Nothing Beats Queensland campaign that was released immediately after the summer’s disasters.Far North Queensland, the worst hit area from the cyclone, has reported solid bookings for many accommodation houses over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.Mantra, one of the biggest operators of hotels in Queensland, reported a rise in occupancy rates of up to 10 per cent in North Queensland, 8 per cent on the Sunshine Coast and 4 per cent on the Gold Coast.Tourism Minister Jan Jarratt paid tribute to Queensland’s tourism operators for their resilience and determination and said while the future looks positive there was still a lot of work to be done.Far North’s tourism recovery officer Richard Blanchette, who was appointed to work with operators as they rebuild after Yasi, identifying issues and helping businesses bounce back, will remain in the position until Easter due to extra funding.Mr Blanchette acknowledged the strength of people in the region as they use the experience of the cyclone to “adapt and expand”.”We need to acknowledge just how far we have come and what we have achieved instead of solely focusing on what there is left to do,” Mr Blanchette said.last_img read more

US Airways joins oneworld

first_img“The addition of US Airways to oneworld represents a significant milestone in our journey to establish oneworld as the first choice airline alliance for frequent international travellers the world over,” oneworld chief executive Bruce Ashby said.  US Airways will withdraw its participation from the Star Alliance on 30 March 2014, with the airline and its regional carriers (US Airways Express) to begin operating as oneworld affiliate members. Following the completion of US Airways’ merger with American Airlines, the brand and all regional affiliates will transition to the oneworld airline alliance, effective 31 March 2014. Customers will be briefed on the changes and developments surrounding the merger and alliance switch – including frequent flyer benefits – through a range of communications. At the beginning of the year, American Airlines and US Airways contracted an US$11 billion merger to form the world’s largest airline, while maintaining the American Airlines branding.center_img “As we work toward creating the new American, network strength and breadth are essential components in building what will be world’s greatest airline,” American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said. The merger was approved by the United States Department of Justice last month. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

Malaysia Airlines mystery becomes murkier

first_imgHowever, the Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the analysis had to be further investigated until any blame could be laid against Shah or the co-pilots. The families were fed up after waiting 11 days of not being briefed by the Malaysian government. An FBI analysis of the MH370 pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s flight simulator shows that the data was deleted on 3 February. Relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were prevented from protesting about lack of information to Malaysian authorities. Despite the lack of information being given to relatives of MH370 passengers, new reports have emerged from Malaysian officials that the flight’s data log had been deleted a month before the flight left Malaysia. Chinese family members of those on board MH370 were forcibly ejected from a briefing on the search for the flight after they held up a banner which read “Give us back our families”, the Guardian reported. Malaysian authorities have been quick to pour cold water on an apparent sighting of the MH370 flight in the Maldives on 8 March. “For the sake of their families we ask you to refrain from any speculation that might make an already difficult time even harder,” Minister Hussein said. All countries represented on the plane have asked for more information on the search, except for Russia and Ukraine.  Local Maldivians said that the plane was seen over a remote island. Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Royal visit boosts British tourist enquiries

first_imgThe royal visit to Australia has boosted UK tourist inquiries, with Australian tourism operators gaining the rewards of the royal tour.Tourism Australia said that the increase in international exposure had resulted in a 125 per cent increase in the number of daily inquiries to Australia.com, The Herald Sun reported.Adelaide also received a 213 per cent increase in the amount of inquiries whilst the other major cities of Australia received a 41 per cent increase.UK tourism based operator Austravel, said that the royals’ visit has led to a surge of inquiries, up 120 per cent from last year, with many tourists seeking to re-enact the Royal tour.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img

Virgin and Singapore Airlines launch frequent flyer conversion

first_imgVirgin Australia and Singapore Airlines today launched their world-first conversion initiative, enabling members of Velocity Frequent Flyer and KrisFlyer to convert Miles and Points between programs.Velocity Frequent Flyer and KrisFlyer members are now able to convert their Points and Miles at a rate of 1.35 to1.00, offering greater access to Reward Seats and flight upgrades on one another’s airlines.The conversion rate selected reflects the fact that each airline program operates in a different reward program currency.As part of a range of enhancements, Velocity Frequent Flyer members will soon experience a more seamless booking process through a major upgrade to the online booking capability.Velocity Frequent Flyer chief executive officer Neil Thompson, said that the airline is constantly looking for new ways to enhance the program.“The introduction of this unique conversion opportunity between KrisFlyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer will allow us to take the program to the next level for our members, we recognise the value our alliance with Singapore Airlines offers, providing access to more than 80 international destinations,” Mr Thompson said.Singapore Airlines senior vice-president marketing planning, Ms Lee Wen Fen, said that Singapore Airlines is proud of the new partnership.“We are proud to offer KrisFlyer members this world-first innovation in the frequent flyer space. We are constantly seeking to enhance our loyalty program to ensure that it provides even more benefits to our members,” Ms Fen said.By unlocking greater redemption opportunities, customers of both reward programs can now earn points by booking flights with each airline.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

US travel company Collette launches in Australia

first_imgCollette, the United States based travel company has officially opened an office in Australia, bringing bold new horizons for the Australian traveler. An official launch event was held last night in Sydney, which was attended by members of the Collette leadership team to help the company hit the ground running in Australia.Also at the event were Christian Leibl-Cote, vice president of service & international business and Todd Bridges, Collette’s vice president of global business development, who came all the way from America to speak at the launch and assist with the opening of the office.Collette president and chief executive officer Dan Sullivan, said that Collette had been planning expansion into Australia for some time now.“For decades, Collette has been proud to take our guests to Australia, showing them all the wonders of the place you are lucky enough to call home.  Now we’d like to return the favour and help Australians explore the dynamic cultures, exciting cuisines, and iconic must-sees that are part of the immersive Collette guided travel experience,” Mr Sullivan said. Established in 1918, Collette is a third-generation, worldwide tour operator, and the new Sydney office adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London. Collette offers 160 escorted tours to destinations on all seven continents and boasts a 98 per cent worldwide customer satisfaction rating from its tour survey returns for the past five years.   The company’s 4-star travel experiences include carefully crafted comprehensive land tours, river cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, garden holidays and more. With a diverse and outstanding product range ideally suited to the discerning Australian traveler and representing great value for money, Collette is looking forward to bringing its high standards of service using reputable suppliers to the local market. Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Etihad Airways new second daily Melbourne service takes off

first_imgEtihad Airways’ new second daily Melbourne service takes offThe launch this weekend of Etihad Airways’ second daily non-stop service will connect Melbourne with more of the world’s great cities and create new opportunities for international commerce and trade.Etihad Airways flight EY462 will depart Abu Dhabi at 10:30am local time on Saturday 1 August and touch down in Melbourne at approximately 6.05am on Sunday 2 August. The return flight EY463 will depart Melbourne at 3:00pm on 2 August and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 11.05pm the same day.The new service will be operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with eight seats in First Class, 40 in Business Class and 280 in Economy Class. It complements the airline’s existing daily non-stop B777 flight between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi.Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said the launch of the airline’s second daily flight would put Etihad Airways in its strongest ever competitive position in the Melbourne market.“Becoming the only airline to offer double daily non-stop flights between Melbourne and the UAE clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Victoria and exponentially increases the attractiveness of our customer proposition.“From August 1 we will connect more international visitors to Melbourne from more markets in the Middle East and Europe and will offer Melbournians the convenience of two daily departures and one-stop connectivity to more than 50 great destinations.“We also plan to boost our economic contribution to the state of Victoria through the airline’s successful freight division – Etihad Cargo. The addition of a second Boeing 777-300ER will double belly-hold cargo capacity between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi and provide new opportunities for bilateral trade with the UAE – Australia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East.”Etihad Airways will now offer one-stop connectivity between Melbourne and popular destinations such asEdinburgh, Geneva, Madrid and Zurich on the Etihad Airways network, Stuttgart and Vienna operated by the Air Berlin Group, and Venice operated by Alitalia, and improved connectivity to key destinations such as Athens and Brussels.The airline will also offer double daily connectivity between Melbourne and Manchester, Dublin, Beirut and London Heathrow, where guests will experience Etihad Airways’ flagship A380 aircraft. Etihad Airways will also offer double daily connections to Rome and Milan in conjunction with Alitalia, Berlin and Düsseldorf with airberlin, and Belgrade with Air Serbia.The new double daily schedule for Melbourne increases to 39 the total number of non-stop weekly return flights the airline operates between its four Australian gateways. The airline flies daily from Brisbane and Perth and offers double daily flights from Sydney – 11 of which are operated by Etihad Airways and three which are operated by partner Virgin Australia.Etihad Airways also codeshares on Virgin Australia flights to 44 destinations across Australia and six in New Zealand.The airline has strong ties to Melbourne and the state of Victoria through partnerships with Etihad Stadium, Melbourne City Football Club, Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Melbourne Recital Centre and Islamic Museum of Australia. Fly Etihad AirwaysSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more