…over the Christmas and New Year period
Lufthansa Paris strike cut short
Lufthansa workers at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport cut short a planned three-day strike that began on Jan 3, so talks could resume over the airline’s plans to outsource ground operations. The strike ended early on Saturday morning and the stoppage did not affect any of Lufthansa’s 17 daily flights to and from Paris.
Huge storm cancels thousands of flights
The governors of New York and New Jersey declared a state of emergency on Jan 2 as a major snowstorm hit the north-eastern United States, resulting in thousands of flight cancellations. The massive winter storm brought bone-chilling temperatures and high winds from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, the news agency Reuters reported, with nearly 60cm of snow falling in parts of Massachusetts. Nearly 2,500 flights were cancelled with another 7,000 delayed. Chicago’s O’Hare and Newark’s Liberty airports were hit the worst. Many more flights were cancelled as the weekend approached.
Frankfurt Airport promises lower charges for airlines
Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport says it will reward airlines if they deploy modern, low-noise aircraft on international routes and achieve passenger growth of more than 1% per year with retroactive reductions in airport charges during 2014 and 2015. Each subsequent year will be rewarded with an additional incentive sum if the airline maintains the previous year’s growth in terms of passenger numbers.
“Elf” concerns may stop Iceland highway
Elf advocates in Iceland are working with environmentalists to block a highway project across the Galgahraun Lava Field to the Alftanes peninsula. Elves are still an entrenched part of Icelandic folklore and are taken seriously there. A group known as the Friends of Lava argues that the road project will have a detrimental effect on elfin culture, seeing the elf issue as part of a wider concern for the history and culture of this unique landscape.
New York mayor plans horse-and-carriage ban
They’ve been a familiar sight in Central Park for years, but horse-and-carriage rides will soon be truly a thing of the past. Incoming mayor Bill de Blasio calls the long-running tourist attraction “inhumane”, as horses endure long hours and often get injured in collisions with cars. He wants to replace them with vintage cars. But carriage drivers say they will do all they can to fight the ban.
Silkair to fly to Mandalay and Kalibo
SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, will launch services to two new Southeast Asian destinations, increasing its network to 47 destinations in the Asia Pacific region. It will offer thrice-weekly services to Kalibo in the Philippines through circular-routing flights with Cebu from May 27 and thrice-weekly circular flights between Mandalay in Myanmar and Yangon from June 10. Kalibo will be SilkAir’s third destination in the Philippines after Cebu and Davao, and Mandalay its second in Myanmar after Yangon. The new services will feature business and economy class.
Fast London-Edinburgh rail service in 2016
Alliance Rail Holdings has unveiled plans to resurrect the Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) brand in England and launch a new high-speed service between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh in 2016. The company says it hopes to run nine-car Pendolino trains along the East Coast main line, cutting journey times from four-and-a-half hours to three hours 43 minutes.
BA plane wing rips through building
The wing of a British Airways Boeing 747 crashed into an airport building in Johannesburg late on Dec 23, injuring four airport personnel. The accident at the OR Tambo airport was caused by the Boeing 747 using a narrow taxiway by mistake. The wing clipped a building behind the SAA technical hangars.
Another Dreamliner problem strikes Norwegian
One of Norwegian’s Boeing 787s was grounded again, this time in the United States. The newest of the airline’s three Dreamliners was due to depart Fort Lauderdale for Stockholm on Dec 21 but was hit by a technical problem. Norwegian said the plane had to wait for spare parts to arrive but did not give more details about the nature of the problem.
Hotel website helps travellers get amorous
Travellers looking for love – or a foreign affair – are the target market of a new website targeting accommodation seekers. Loveroom aims to help travellers hook up with other people they think are attractive. The entrepreneur behind the idea got inspiration for the idea after noticing the interest in his Airbnb site skyrocket when he added a photo of his girlfriend to the profile.
[pictured: Lufthansa 747-8 Intercontinental]