Archive for April, 2015
Another high-stakes week looms for Greece. The debt-crippled country has to make a €460m repayment on a loan from the International Monetary Fund on 9 April and is racing to find the money. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has been doing the equivalent of searching down the back of the sofa for spare cash – raiding the coffers of the Athens Metro and the public health service, and seizing EU subsidies destined for Greek farmers.
Nevertheless, there have been increasing suggestions that, if push comes to shove, Greece will choose to miss the IMF payment in order to be able pay pensions and salaries due to government workers a few days later.
Interior minister Nikos Voutsis was the first to raise the prospect of a missed payment, followed by a Greek Treasury official in German news magazine Der Spiegel. On Friday Nikos Filis, Syriza’s parliamentary spokesman, made the same suggestion. There is also speculation that Athens is preparing a new currency and is ready to step in to nationalise the banks to stem the inevitable capital flight that would follow non-payment.
Each suggestion was shot down by government sources, who are engaged in the ultimate game of brinkmanship. The Greeks have proposed a series of economic reforms – while easing austerity measures – in the hope of seeing the final €7.2bn tranche of their last bailout. So far, to no avail.
Greece’s position is made more difficult by the progress of near neighbour Cyprus. Bailed out two years ago, the island has seen its fortunes transformed to such an extent that President Nicos Anastasiades will tomorrow remove all the capital controls put in place at the time. He made matters worse for Tsipras by admitting that Cyprus is preparing for a Greek exit from the eurozone.
We have been here before. Since January there have been two possible default days. Every time Tsipras found the cash, but one day soon, with declining in tax revenues and goodwill all but exhausted, his luck will run out.
CIT Group Inc., a global leader in transportation finance has placed a firm order for five more A321ceo aircraft, in effect doubling its most recent commitment for five A321ceo’s signed at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow and firmed up in November 2014.
This latest agreement brings CIT’s total order for the A320 Family to 205 aircraft, comprising 155 CEO and 50 NEO aircraft.
“We continue to see strong demand for the A320 Family CEO and NEO models from operators looking to grow their business,” said Jeff Knittel, President of CIT Transportation & International Finance. “The larger A321 in particular is becoming an increasing sought after model, as steady passenger growth encourages airlines to deploy larger fuel-efficient aircraft.”
“When leading lessor, CIT, continues to place incremental orders for the A321, we take that as a clear confirmation of the trend for larger aircraft and the high value the market places on this largest member of our popular, fuel-efficient A320 Family,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A320 Family is a solid investment for lessors as it is recognised worldwide as the number one, best-selling single-aisle aircraft family and the preferred choice with airlines in all segments thanks to its unbeatable economics, high operational reliability and best-in-class passenger comfort.”
While passengers benefit from the A321’s state-of-the-art cabin design, wider seats and superior comfort, airlines profit from the unique operational flexibility of Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft. The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with over 11,500 orders to date and over 6,400 aircraft delivered to 400 customers and operators worldwide. Thanks to its wider cabin, all members of the A320 Family offer the industry’s best level of comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18” wide seats in economy as standard.
Source:- Airbus Group
Travelling around the world for business is probably the least dull affair for a corporate traveller. Be it in London, Madrid, Florence, Berlin or Fiji, the hospitality industry around the world is ready with top-notch amenities to woo their guests travelling for business. From private pianos to a secluded trip to an island, a number of luxury properties around the world are offering over-the-top amenities to their guests.
5 Over-the-top Hotel Amenities
• Private Pianist
Where: The Goring, London
Located near Buckingham Palace in London, The Goring is perhaps best known as the luxury hotel where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a commoner before the royal wedding. Guests who would also like a taste of royal life can book the Royal Suite. Here, at no extra charge, the hotel can arrange for a private pianist to serenade guests on the suite’s bespoke grand piano. Guests can also enjoy personalized stationery, bathrobes, and slippers in addition to hand-made chocolates.
• Temporary Closet
Where: Hotel de Rome, Berlin
Forget your little black dress? No problem. The Hotel de Rome offers Schumacher designer dresses at no extra charge, whether guests are looking to wear a cocktail dress or an evening gown. The Schumacher shop is located just a few minutes from the hotel, which can organize a private shopping trip there.
• Private Island Getaway
Where: Laucala Island, Fiji
Booking a vacation to a private island resort in Fiji would feel like getting away from it all for most people, but guests staying at Laucala Island can take privacy even further. The hotel arranges excursions to Tadra Beach (meaning “dream beach” in Fijian), which can only be reached via boat, catamaran, or Jet Ski. Tadra Beach is available to just one couple at a time. The excursion is complimentary for guests celebrating an anniversary or honeymoon, and a spa treatment can be arranged there, for a fee.
• Monogrammed Bathrobes
Where: Hotel Ritz Madrid, Spain
Sometimes the simplest things can seem the most luxurious — especially after a gruelling transatlantic flight. At Madrid’s Hotel Ritz, staff places personalized monogrammed robes in the room before your arrival. Wrapped in red ribbon with single rosebuds, these are no ordinary bathrobes; they’re probably the most opulent and plush ones that you ever used.
• The ultimate bubble bath
Where: Il Salviatino, Florence, Italy
After a surfeit of meetings, few things are more relaxing than a bubble bath. One of Il Salviatino’s discreet service ambassadors can pour a prosecco, spumante or Champagne bubble bath. Not only do the hotel guests bathe in bubbles, they can sip on them as well as a reward for closing an important business deal.
These days, hotel amenities—especially at resorts—are often way over the top, as properties come up with increasingly amazing ways to pamper and spoil guests. The above list outlines the five plushest amenities offered in some elite properties of Europe!
Top 10 Countries for Chinese Buyers & 2014 Price Performance (SOURCE: Juwai.com activity statistics, Juwai Global Property Report):
UnitedStates, + 3.85%
United Kingdom, + 7.33%
Australia, + 5.25%
Spain, – 1.96%
New Zealand, + 4.6%
United ArabEmirates, – 1.14%
South Africa, + 1.95%
Italy and France are also in top 10, but the latest price data is not available.
ABTA – The Travel Association estimates 1.8 million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas over the Easter Bank holiday weekend of 3 April – 6 April making it a particularly busy Easter for overseas departures. Spain is the UK’s favourite foreign holiday destination over the weekend, with the Canary and Balearic Islands the most popular areas. Due to Easter falling quite early this year skiers are also heading off to catch the last of the season’s snow with Switzerland doing particularly well.
Daytime temperatures this weekend are set to reach 23C in Malaga, 30C in the Red Sea resorts in Egypt, and 25C in Turkey. Temperatures in Florida, the most popular long haul destination with its wealth of great beaches and amusement parks are set to hit 26C. The Mexico resorts of the Caribbean coast have also sold well.
Foreign city breaks are popular at this time of the year with the weather being comfortable and the streets less crowded. Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona and New York are among the top choices. Due to the time in the season, holidaymakers are heading high up to resorts such as Zermatt in Switzerland, Val d’Isere and Tignes in France, Obergurgl in Austria and Cervinia in Italy.
Bookings for UK breaks are also healthy with many customers travelling to traditional sea side resorts, national parks and holiday camps.
Airports are reporting strong numbers: 393,000 will leave from Heathrow, 250,000 from Gatwick, 153,000 from Stansted, 70,000 from Luton.
From the North and the Midlands, 125,000 will leave from Manchester, 51,000 from Birmingham and South West and 23,000 from East Midlands with 37,000 from Bristol airport. Well over 100,000 will be leaving via the Scottish airports with 64,000 departing from Edinburgh alone.
Other regional airports, ferry terminals and the channel tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend and Eurostar is reporting that 85,000 will be departing the UK.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “Easter is the travel industry’s traditional curtain raiser to the summer and hundreds of thousands of UK holidaymakers will be heading overseas to enjoy some early sun or late snow. Holidaymakers are flocking to the Eurozone to take advantage of the cheaper Euro. While UK breaks have also proved popular with low fuel prices boosting travel around the country.”
Katy Ellis, Sales & Operations Manager, Ski Club of Great Britain said: “The Easter weekend continues to be a popular choice for many Ski Club members looking to make the most of the Bank Holiday and get four days on snow with no time off work. Easter falls at a good time this year in early April when all the resorts are still open, snow conditions are generally still good and temperatures are warm enough to dine alfresco and top up the tan!”
On Sunday British Airways informed that thousands of its frequent flyer accounts had been hacked and that it had frozen those affected to sort out the problem.
It also informed that no personal information had been viewed or stolen, however warned customers that some fliers might not be able to use their air miles temporarily. It expected the system to be back to normal in the next day or so.
According to spokeswoman Michele Kropf, British Airways is not aware of any access to any personal information within Executive Club accounts, including travel histories or credit card details. Customers were emailed details on how to reactive their accounts.
The breach apparently was the result of a third party using information obtained elsewhere on the Internet, via an automated process, to try to gain access to accounts. It follows problems for hotel companies Hilton and Starwood as well as United and American airlines.