Priceline may surpass Expedia to become the largest Online Travel Agency

A report by PhoCusWright says Expedia might soon lose its standing as the world's top online travel agency to fast-charging Priceline. The study says Priceline could knock Expedia out of the No. 1 slot by year-end.
Priceline has picked up speed the past several years from its successful penetration of Western Europe's travel market, where it's gaining consumers in Britain, Germany, France and other countries, says Carroll Rheem, PhoCusWright's research director.

"The real impact wouldn't be until 2013," Rheem said.

Priceline's been outpacing Expedia in global gross bookings since Q2 2010. It passed Expedia in international revenue last year, Rheem says. Read More

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Infographic: The evolution of online travel

 When many of us think of online travel agencies , we associate it with the automation and convenience online booking systems that allows us to plan thousands of miles of journeys from the convenience of our laptops.

We also imagine it as a relatively new phenomenon that emerged a few years ago, probably less than 5 years ago because that's when we started using them.

The truth is that automated booking systems have been with us since 1946 and American airlines, pioneers in commercial aviation, were also pioneers in developing the first electronic and automated booking systems.

The first Global Distribution System was built in 1976  in the UK.Today, GDS are at the centre of distribution of travel products be they flights, hotel bookings, car hire and other travel products. The first online travel website of note was Lonely Planet which was founded in 1995. The first online travel agency was definitely Expedia, founded ,in 1996 by Microsoft. These and much more rich facts are available in this well designed and informative infographic! Open the Infographic in a new tab for larger view:


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Dubai International Airport affected by landing congestion

More aircraft are having to circulate and burn fuel above Dubai International at peak times as slot congestion rises according to a report by the Business Traveller Magazine.

Full report below:

The practice - well known to passengers travelling to London Heathrow and other key hubs - has spread to the Gulf's leading airport as it grapples with capacity constraints amid increasing growth. The airport handled 50.98 million passengers last year, up 8% on 2010.

One pilot said: "It's becoming a bigger problem. When you're flying an A380 around for half an hour waiting to land, that's a considerable add-on cost."

Emirates declined to comment.

Helen Woodrow, Dubai Airport's Head of Aeronautical Strategy, said there has been a rapid rise in demand for airspace capacity in the past five years, which has led to congestion at Dubai International Airport during peak periods.

Evenings and early mornings tend to be the busiest times as flights criss-cross from Asia and Europe, although many flights operate in the middle of the night.

"We are aware of this and are tackling the issue at multiple levels," she said.

"In the near term, changes to standard arrival and departure routes are currently pending regulatory approval. These changes are designed to enhance the efficiency with which flights to and from Dubai and our neighbouring airports are able to be handled by air traffic control."
Dubai International Airport
She added there are several further phases of airspace development planned over the coming years which will focus not only on changing processes, but also on using emerging technologies such as 'performance based navigation'.

In the meantime, Dubai Airports is engaging with various stakeholder to ensure air routes are decongested, bottlenecks are reduced and latent airspace capacity - much of UAE airspace is reserved for military use - is unlocked.

"Unfortunately not all of the fixes required are under our control. Dubai Airports is actively participating in several national and regional forums with our industry partners such as CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation), the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, to work across borders to optimise the region’s airspace structure," she said.

Peak periods, by their very nature, are highly desirable by airlines who typically prefer to retain these slots.
But should the situation deteriorate then the 'plan B' option of switching more flights to Dubai World Central could be accelerated.

"We do anticipate slot constraints at Dubai will make Dubai World Central an increasingly attractive option for general aviation and cargo airlines in future," she said.

Planes circle for up to 55 hours a day over Heathrow, burning 190 tonnes of fuel and releasing 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Around 60% of arrivals at the airport are held in four holding stacks, according to figures released by air traffic control service Nats.

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Virgin Atlantic Increases Ghana Service

Virgin Atlantic is to add two additional frequencies to its existing London Heathrow-Accra route from March 26.
The carrier will move to a five times-weekly service, citing growth of over 50 per cent in premium economy and Upper Class bookings on the route over the last six months.

The new flights will operate on Wednesday and Saturday, adding to existing services on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Virgin launched flights to Ghana in May 2010, competing with British Airways on the Heathrow-Accra route

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Isthisyourluggage.com: Is this your Lost Luggage?

So how has IsthisYourLuggage.com fared on three years after the launch? Not quite good.  So far  the website, has only a few luggage photos for unclaimed baggage. The website was founded in 2009 by Luna Laboo as a hobby to help passengers trace their lost luggage.

The website features photographs of luggage by the photographer who purchases the luggage from auction houses selling unclaimed baggage and puts their images on the internet in an effort to find the real owners.
Is this your Luggage?

The venture/hobby started on a high note but soon fizzled out though it could be good business given that over one million luggage are lost every year for good with passengers being paid a small compensation fee. Most of these passengers will never see the luggage again but a third party luggage retrieval service could offer them a ray of hope.

Given that the luggage normally cost between $20-$100 at baggage auction houses this could be a profitable venture if only you could trace the luggage owner and give them a second a chance to retrieve their baggage at a small fee slightly above the auction price plus shipping fee. So far, IsThisYourLuggage.com has only 7 bags displayed and it seems to have run out of steam some time ago although I still think with adequate funding, angel investments, it could ease the heartbreak of lost baggage.

On her hobby the founder Luna Laboo says in an interview, "It’s a little odd but not as odd as stamp collecting. Just a little harder to find storage space."

Get some luggage tips
Good Flight Sleep Article at Magellan's

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The Unclaimed Bagage Centre in Alabama, where some of your lost luggage end up in

Unclaimed Baggage Centre(UCB): A retail shopping adventure in unclaimed baggage

Ever wondered what happens to all your valuables in your baggage after making all the futile frantic calls and waiting for three months to no avail? The airline will in many cases compensate you for the loss, so what happens after the compensation? As has been discussed in previous three posts this week that are all about baggage handling, some of the unclaimed baggage will go to auction houses, some will end up in the hands of airline employees while some airlines will simply shred the luggage and discard it. Often airline employees will help themselves to a few valuables like jewellery, expensive watches, laptops and other valuables before confining the rest of it to the shredder.
Some of the goodies at the Unclaimed Baggage Centre
However, in Alabama, in the United States , a family has created a thriving business out of unclaimed baggage by building the Unclaimed Baggage Centre(UCB). Since 1970, the Owens family has created a booming business out of buying luggage that the airlines cannot reconnect passengers and reselling the baggage contents-house slippers to diamond jewelry to harpoons — at a discount.

Unclaimed Baggage: What the travelers leave behind
Many curious people from all over the world, including African countries like Kenya and South Africa, come to the Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Alabama to mull what unlucky travelers have lost.Over the last 42 years, the business has grown from a rented house to a 40,000 square foot facility that draws in nearly a million visitors every year!
The Owens Family has built a successful business from Unclaimed Baggage since 1970
 Besides the bargains and the gawking factor, the Owenses attribute their success to their almost spiritual mission. “We take these misfit toys and put them back into society in a purposeful manner,” says director of marketing Brenda Cantrell.

What happens to unclaimed baggage in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt and other countries in Africa?


Get some tips on lost luggage
Good Flight Sleep Article at Magellan's

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Lost or Delayed Baggage Compensation, how does your airline treat you?

The issue of compensation for delayed baggage delivery or lost baggage is a hot issue for travelers and airlines.  Many travelers often feel, deservedly so, that they should be paid compensation for an airline's mistakes that range from the mishandling of baggage, pilferage, damaged luggage or even lost baggage. But the reality is always much harsher and getting compensation is a difficult process. Airlines will only compensate travelers for damaged or lost luggage but will not compensate you for the stress and inconvenience caused by the delayed delivery of the luggage.

When it comes to baggage compensation claims, airlines normally behave like insurance companies. They will put utmost efforts to reduce their liabilities, including heaping the blame on you for loss of your baggage.

Get some tips on lost luggage
Good Flight Sleep Article at Magellan's

Baggage Claims for Delayed Luggage Delivery
Some airlines clearly state on their websites the amount of compensation that they will give to passengers in the event of delayed delivery of baggage. An example is Scandinavian airlines or Virgin Atlantic who clearly state on their website that they will provide compensation of  £50 or up to  £50 subject to the passenger providing evidence of expenditure as a result of the delayed baggage delivery.  £50 is a very small compensation especially if you're going for a business meeting and the delay necessitates that you purchase personal items afresh to cater for your needs during the duration that the baggage is lost. For most airlines, no compensation will be due to you as long as your baggage arrives in one piece, even a month later!
Lost baggage
 The Montreal Convention sets out airlines' liabilities for passengers and their baggage and applies to international travel only although some countries are now enacting laws to cater for baggage mishandling on domestic flights. According to Montreal Convention for Destroyed, Lost or Delayed Baggage, the passengers do have rights when these woes have been caused by the airline or as a result of the airline's inadequacies.

To make claims for damaged baggage,  ensure you report the claim for the damage within seven days of the receipt of the baggage. Many airlines have outlined procedures for filing these reports on their websites.
For delayed baggage claims, if the airline admits liability for the delay of the checked baggage and the baggage does not arrive within  21 days, then you are entitled to enforce your rights under the Montreal convention and demand compensation. Ensure that you file a complaint within 21 days from the date you received the baggage from the airline. There is however no liability for unchecked baggage, so the loss of your carry-on luggage is not covered under the Montreal convention.

For lost baggage, the various international treaties, Warsaw Convention, Hague Protocol, Montreal Protocol No 4 and IATA Inter-carrier Agreements do not specify any reporting time frame requirements thus giving airlines a window to enact rules that in many cases will limit their liabilities in case of lost luggage.


How much Compensation are you entitled to?
So how much are you entitled to? For claims of mishandled baggage, passengers are entitled to maximum of 1000 Special Drawing Rights which with the current exchange rates, amounts to a maximum of $643 irrespective of the contents of your baggage.

Normally, every case of a lost bag is evaluated individually and airlines will demand receipts for the contents of the baggage to back up your luggage claims which is normally not practical since we cannot have receipts for all the items that we travel with! In the absence of receipts, airlines will compensate you at their discretion(normally far below the actual value of lost items) or not compensate you at all. Compensation, if it happens, often does not reflect the value of items lost with your baggage. Airlines often ask for a list of items that were in the bag and original receipts as proof of their value like insurance companies would do during a claims settlement. Like insurance companies, their offer for compensation often does not match a claim in full because they have reduced payments on the grounds of depreciation of the value of the items in the bag.
The issue of baggage claims is  still a grey area in international law and airlines will continue to interpret international laws in their favour and passengers will continue going through agony caused by incompetence of negligence o the airlines.

To be on the safe side, take a few precautions top increase the chance of tracing your luggage or getting a compensation from your airline where your baggage is irretrievably lost. The following book provides tips on
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Travel: What happens to lost your luggage

While some airlines will auction your unclaimed luggage for "charity causes", your luggage may in many cases end up in the hands of airline employees who will help themselves to the loot after a fruitless search.

Your luggage could also end up on eBay. To learn more about what happens to your lost luggage and the process airlines undergo to try and retrace the luggage, read What happens to your luggage at the airport. At New Zealand's Christchurch International Airport, they have a much simpler and crude solution to the lost luggage without any form of identification. They simply destroy it, as captured by an AirAsia passenger below:

 For tips on taking care of your luggage, you can visit here and purchase some valuable travel resources:
Good Flight Sleep Article at Magellan's


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What happens to lost luggage at the airport?

When traveling by air, passengers check in their luggage with the assurance that they will meet their luggage when they arrive at their destination. But for some passengers, this always ends in a lot of headaches where it takes days or even weeks to trace your luggage as pieces of luggage may end in a different destination entirely. In some cases, the luggage is lost for good, never to be seen again. This is especially so in airports where luggage theft is common or instances where the luggage does contain any form of identification. So what happens to this lost luggage?

Many airlines will try the utmost best to reunite the passengers with their luggage although this can be a very difficult task at  times. The first step that an airline will take to try and trace your luggage is look for any obvious contact details attached or inside the luggage. So the airline employees will open the luggage and check it through for any form of identification among your items. If no obvious contact details such as names, business cards, IDs, dairies are found in your luggage, most airlines will then turn to the World Tracer System to assist in the recovery of the bags. At this time, you have probably reached your destination and tired of making frantic calls to your airline for luggage inquiries. If you've flown with a reputable airline with a professional service, then there is no needs to worry at this time. Your luggage could still be traced, it could have flown to the wrong airport on the other side of the world. The World Tracer System integrates data from multiple airlines globally to try and match bags with their owners. From the moment you report that your luggage is missing, 100 days will be spent trying to trace your lost items. The system will look to match tag numbers with baggage type, colour and brand within the database, and when a match is made, the item will be forwarded on a "rush tag" to the nearest airport to you, and delivered directly to your contact address, be it your home or hotel. This is a happy ending to a terrible ordeal that happens in most cases but in some cases, the luggage just disappear into thin air and are not traceable even after three months of searching.

A small percentage of luggage is normally not reunited with their owners even after the 100 day period. These sadly are normally auctioned off by airlines in theory but in many cases, they end up with airline employees who divide the loot. So if you have ever wondered where you nice uncle working at the airport gets all these exotic presents, then now you know.

For professional airlines, lost luggage always end up in auction houses where the proceeds from the auctions are supposedly used to fund charitable causes but this is normally a small and secret part of airline operations and not many airlines will reveal the causes they fund with the proceeds from the lost luggage from some unlucky traveler.

Some airlines will remove high value items like laptops,  expensive suits and watches and sell them separately while the vast contents of the luggage are normally packed and sold as a package.In many cases, bidders have no idea what they are getting into when they place bids for bags but many will join the bid for the thrill of it. The practice is quite popular in some countries that bidders don't even care what they will lay their hands on in the auction. Many bidders resell the items on portals like eBay while some keep them as souvenir.

It's normally assumed that by the time your luggage enters an auction house, the airline has exhausted all options to retrace your luggage over the 100 day period but it has been revealed that many airlines do a very shoddy job in the process Some of the people who buy lost luggage at auction houses have been known to find contact details and other forms of identification in the luggage meaning some airlines are not very diligent in tracing the luggage owner. It also not known where the proceeds from luggage auctions go to, or what causes it funds. In some cases, airline workers have reported some unscrupulous airlines that rush luggage to auction houses before the 100 day period has even elapsed, meaning the search is aborted early and not given due consideration.

It is clear there's no guarantee that your luggage will arrive with you in your destination and tragically enough, there's no guarantee that it will be traced and brought back to you should it get lost during your flight. You can increase your chances of tracing your luggage by making sure your contact details are clearly visible both outside and inside the case. Failing that, you can take a chance by visiting auction houses where lost luggage, your invaluable possession,  is auctioned to strangers who will in turn sell it in bits and pieces to anonymous people on eBay! In many cases, airline employees will help themselves to your valuables.

You might not stop your luggage from getting lost but there are few precautions you can take to ensure you get a soft landing in case you lose your luggage during your travel:

  • Buy Travel Insurance: You can get better settlements from reputable travel insurers like TravelGuard .
  • Use Secure Identity tag on your bags: One of the main reasons you might lose your luggage is because the airline's  identity stickers fall off. Buy Quality Luggage Tags here or ease of identification.
  • Good Flight Sleep Article at Magellan's
  • Don't pack your bags too tightly: Bags stuffed full of clothing and other personal items are more likely to break and be damaged as they move through the airline's baggage handling system.

How does your favorite airline handle lost luggage? Ensure you make inquiries next time you travel!

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FastJet: Sir Stelios Plans West African Venture

15 Jets to link six West African countries to Accra Ghana, future expansion into the rest of Africa to create an "African EasyJet"

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is planning to launch his new airline venture in west Africa in the coming months with up to 15 jets in what may eventually become an African version of EasyJet, the UK low-cost carrier he founded.

Sir Stelios is poised to report the results of a feasibility study run by his EasyGroup management team for Rubicon, a cash shell which raised £9m in a December placing to fund the launch of the airline, to be called Fastjet.

FastJet: West African Venture
The study is expected to recommend that Fastjet link about six west African countries to Accra, the Ghanaian capital. Two people familiar with the study said that up to 15 aircraft could be leased initially. If successful, Fastjet will eventually expand across Africa, they added, to become the first pan-African low-cost carrier.

“There’s a very serious plan to make Rubicon into a very serious low-cost carrier,” said David Lenigas, a Rubicon board member and chairman of Lonrho, the pan-African conglomerate.

“One of the attractions is that west Africa is very poorly served other than with national carriers that don’t have the proper models to do regional low-cost service,” said Geoffrey White, Lonrho chief executive and also a Rubicon board member. “The initial assumption could look to have 5m passengers a year passing through Ghana.”

Lonrho owns a 12.7 per cent stake in Rubicon and also runs Fly540, a low-cost airline that operates regionally in east Africa and domestically in Ghana and Angola.

“There’s probably going to be an association with Fly540 in Ghana and it will make the whole thing bigger and a whole lot better,” said Mr Lenigas.

Rob Burnham, chairman of Rubicon, said there was space for collaboration with Fly540 but cautioned against suggestions of a reverse takeover on grounds that the airline did not have a jet fleet. “That doesn’t fit with our long-term plans, but Fly540 does operate in Ghana and it does have some infrastructure that could be of use for us in launching this.”

On speculation that Fastjet could rapidly expand throughout the whole of Africa, Sir Stelios tried to damp down expectations. “The concept works best on short flights of about one to two hours,” he told the Financial Times. “This company has to learn how to walk before it can run.”

Sir Stelios said that he has not yet decided whether he will invest directly in Rubicon. Earlier reports suggested that Sir Stelios was planning on making a $500m investment in Fastjet.

In December, Rubicon received exclusive branding rights for Fastjet from EasyGroup for 12 months in exchange for a payment of £480,000, a 5 per cent stake in the company and further royalty fees.

A day ahead of a much anticipated showdown over bonus pay with EasyJet executives, Sir Stelios said that Fastjet would not violate the terms of his non-compete agreements with EasyJet. “Even if it is still in force, it has a very narrow restriction in time and geography,” he added. 

Source Financial Times

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Sky Team launches Go Africa Pass

Global airline alliance SkyTeam has launched a new Go Africa Pass, providing cost savings and flexibility on flights operated by Kenya Airways within Africa. Kenya Airways flies to 45 destinations in 36 countries in Africa.

The pass is available to business and leisure travelers flying with any of SkyTeam’s 15 member airlines on an intercontinental round-trip to Africa or a Go Round the World ticket.

SkyTeam Go Africa Pass
 Customers purchasing a Go Africa Pass can opt from a minimum of three to a maximum of 16 flight coupons. Fares are calculated based on the number of miles flown non-stop, offering discounts of up to 75 per cent off standard fares, depending on the itinerary.

Coupons have no minimum stay, open-jaw itineraries are permitted and passengers can stop in each city multiple times. According to the SkyTeam alliance, this gives passengers complete flexibility to plan their trips. The Go Africa Pass is available for sale, for travel starting on or after March 1.

“With continued demand for travel to and within Africa, SkyTeam’s Go Africa Pass complements our already comprehensive network of flights from key global cities to major African destinations,” said Jerome d’Anglejan, SkyTeam’s director of sales. “The Go Africa Pass enables passengers to explore Africa’s full potential by increasing their travel options throughout the continent.”

Kenya Airways operates flights to Nairobi from Hong Kong and Guangzhou in the Greater China Region, as well as from cities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Other SkyTeam airlines with services to Africa include Air France, Alitalia, KLM and Delta Air Lines. Korean Air will start services to Nairobi in June. Future members Saudi Arabian Airlines and MEA also fly to Africa.

SkyTeam’s Go Africa Pass is one of a number of travel passes created by the alliance to offer flexible, economical travel to its global passengers. SkyTeam passes include Go Round the World, Go China, and Go Europe. Customers can contact their local SkyTeam airline, reservation center or travel agent for details and bookings.

The Go Africa Pass, market by Kenya Airways, must be issued in connection with a SkyTeam round trip, open jaw, or round-the-world ticket originating outside Africa with a destination in Africa. These tickets can include frequent-flyer reward tickets.

Reservations for all flights must be completed before departure. Fares per coupon are based on the distance flown. The infant fare is 10 per cent of the regular and for children aged 2 to 11, the child fare is 75 per cent  of the fare.

Travel must be completed within the validity of the intercontinental /round-the-world ticket. There is no limit on stop-overs. All bookings are in economy class.

Rebooking and revalidation is not permitted for the first flight. For subsequent flights, rebooking/ and revalidation is permitted free of charge. There is a no-show charge of US$50. Voluntary re-routing is permitted for a fee of US$50 plus any fare difference and no refund applies.

Other SkyTeam Passes include Go Asia, Go America, Go Europe, Go China, Go Italy, Go Mexico

Details of Sky Team Go Africa Pass

Discover the incredible diversity that Africa has to offer while enjoying complete flexibility in your travels.
Whether for business or pleasure, traveling in Africa will be an unforgettable experience. From spotting the 'Big 5' in the most magnificent wildlife parks, hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro, trying couscous in a Moroccan Kasbah, or enjoying a 'Braai' on a South African beach; the continent is waiting for you to discover its charm.
And one easy, economical ticket can get you there. The Go Africa Pass offers you a choice of 45 destinations throughout Africa, giving you plenty of choice when planning your itinerary.

Travel at Your Own Pace
To be eligible to purchase the SkyTeam Go Africa travel pass, all you need to do is buy an international ticket to Africa on any SkyTeam airline that services the continent. Another starting point can be the Round the World Pass, which you can purchase from any of SkyTeam’s 15 member airlines. Then, simply book your first flight within Africa on Kenya Airways at least 3 days before your international departure. SkyTeam Go Africa allows you to go at your own pace travel whenever you are ready for your next discovery.

Terms and Conditions 

Carrier: Marketed and operated by Kenya Airways.
Eligibility: Must be issued in connection with a SkyTeam round trip/open jaw/round-the-world ticket originating outside Africa with a destination in Africa, including frequent flyer reward tickets.
Number of coupons: min 3, max 16 coupons.
Reservation: Reservations for all flights must be completed before departure.
Ticketing: Ticketing time limit applies.
Fares: Fares per coupon are based on the distance flown.
Infants and children’s fares: Infant 10% of the fare, Child 2-11, 75% of the fare.
Maximum stay: Travel must be completed within the validity of the intercontinental /round-the-world ticket.
Stopovers: No limit. 
Class of service: Economy class.
Changes: 1st flight - Rebooking/revalidation not permitted. Subsequent flights: Rebooking/revalidation permitted free of charge, no show charge of USD50 applies. Voluntary rerouting permitted at USD50 plus any fare difference, no refund applies.
Baggage allowance: Rules of operating carrier apply.
Frequent Flyer: Terms and conditions of respective programs apply.

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Moscow: 29 nations sign declaration against EU Emissions Trading System

Several countries, including China and the US, have joined Russia in signing a joint declaration against the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) carbon tax on foreign carriers, which took effect Jan.1 this year.

The declaration was signed at the Moscow international conference by Armenia, Argentina, Republic of Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the US.

China has formally banned its airlines from participating in the scheme without government approval.

The declaration also listed several retaliatory measures that included filing a complaint with ICAO, prohibiting airlines from participating in the EU ETS, mandating EU carriers to submit flight details and other data, assessing whether the EU ETS is consistent with the WTO agreements, and reviewing bilateral air services agreements. Other countermeasures include suspending negotiations that enhance operating rights for EU airlines and imposing additional levies on EU carriers.

It also gives other countries the latitude to create other retaliatory measures in compliance with their own legislative bases.

Russian deputy minister for transport Valeriy Okulov said Russia is planning to prohibit its local carriers from paying for emissions. The declaration could pass in the first half of 2012.

Okulov also said that Russia could reinstate overflight fees on routes over Siberia. The fees were introduced by the Soviet Union in 1986 to compensate for traffic that Aeroflot lost to foreign carriers. The payments were made part of bilateral air services agreements between member states and the Russian Federation. In 2006, the EU and the Russian Federation agreed to phase out costly Siberian overflight fees by 2013.

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Velvet Sky Airlines Ready to Fly Again

 Velvet Sky Airlines confirmed today(Thursday Morning) that its flights were delayed due to disputes with service providers.The airline had not paid South African Airways Technical and other service providers including Shell service fees.

On Wednesday hundreds of passengers were left stranded at Cape Town International Airport after several flights were delayed for hours.

Dozens of commuters who had booked their flights were left in the lurch and stranded at airports across the country.

Velvet Sky's Gary Webb said that the dispute with one of their service providers was resolved during the course of Wednesday night. The airline has promised to compensate all passengers who were affected by the flight cancellations yesterday. Here's a message posted on their Twitter profile:


Webb also said the company did not have certification of the agreement until today.

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IATA: Africa sees growth in Business and First Class Travel

Yet more positive news for the air travel market in Africa. In the year 2011, the growth in first class and business class air travel on intercontinental flights from Africa to Europe, the Far East and the Middle East dipped according to the latest IATA survey.

In Africa, the opposite was true. Business and First Class travel rose within Africa and between Africa and the South West Pacific area.
Business Travel within Africa grew by 2.9%

Decline in Premium Travel in European, M.Eastern and the Far Eastern Routes
Premium travel fell by 7.9 percent between Africa and the Far East, by 5.7 percent between Africa and the Middle East and by 4.8 percent between Africa and Europe. But it rose by 9.6 percent between Africa and the southwest Pacific(Fiji, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Cook Islands) and by 2.9 percent within Africa. 

Worldwide, the report shows that air travel in both premium and economy markets rose in December, with premium travel increasing by 3.7 percent, compared with the same month the previous year, and economy travel by 7.4 percent. 

IATA economists suggested that this was due to an improvement in business confidence, which had “turned up in the past two months, and is pointing to increased business activity. As a result we would expect some increase in business travel lending some support to premium travel in the months ahead.
“However, growth risks from the euro zone debt crisis remain.” 

Despite this, the report continued, “a leading indicator of premium travel growth – the purchasing managers’ index of business confidence – signals an optimistic outlook for premium travel markets in coming months”.
“Changes in business confidence have been a good early indicator of changes in premium travel growth, leading them by up to six months. 

“The index has now clearly turned and broken through the neutral level into expansion territory, indicating likely improvements in premium travel growth in coming months.” 

Commenting on the drop in travel between Africa and the Far East and Middle East, the report pointed out that these routes “previously experienced strong growth from increased investments and trade but now shows weakness”. 

However, it said that travel within Africa “has proved to be very resilient with good economic growth rates in a number of countries on the continent facilitating strong travel activity”.


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South African Airports handled 30 million passengers in the last 10 months

According to the latest figures from the Airports Company of South Africa(ACSA), airports in South Africa handled an estimated 30 million passengers between April 2011 and January 2012 indicating a healthy aviation market in South Africa in spite of the tough economic times globally.

According to ACSA, the air traffic received a huge boost over the summer period at the Cape Town International Airport where international passenger travel increased by 12% in November last year and 17% in December and January this year, compared to the same periods a year earlier.

OR Tambo International Airport
More than 5-million passengers passed through King Shaka International Airport last year and the increase in passengers was driven in part by the launch of flights by Velvet Sky Airlines.

New routes from King Shaka have been opened, including a flight to Lusaka, Zambia and a route to Dallas, Texas. Demand for flights to other African countries proved resilient last year with demand for premium and economy class tickets rising at near double-digit rates.

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Tunisia: Syphax Airlines to launch flights in March

 According to information received from the authorities in the Tunisian Ministry of Transport, the country's newest airline, Syphax Airlines, will launch flights in mid-March, operating from Sfax-Thyna International Airport in Eastern Tunisia.


The transport ministry is currently studying the modalities for allowing the private airline to operate from the airport. Syphax Airlines will operate two aircraft, Airbus A319, to provide regular and charter flights to European and Arab countries.



Syphax Airlines

In January 2012, Syphax Airlines announced the signing of an agreement of $55million for the acquisition of two Airbus A319 aircraft, each with a capacity of 150 passengers. Recently, Tunisia's Telnet Holdings invested in the new airline venture.

The company said that delivery of the first plane to the International Sfax Thyna airport will be made on February 29, 2012 and the second delivery on March 14, 2012.

The two aircraft will provide eight daily flights  from the
Sfax-Thyna International Airport  to Tripoli (Libya), Morocco, France, Italy, Belgium and Turkey.
 

The establishment of Syphax Airlines brings to five the number of Tunisian airlines. The others include Tunisair (publicly-held), Nouvelair, Tunisair Express and Tunisavia.

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South Africa: Five ACSA employees fired over luggage theft

The Airports Company of South Africa(ACSA) has fired five employees in the last week over luggage theft at the OR Tambo International Airport.


The employees were caught red-handed after a recent security upgrade at the airport.
“ACSA is pulling out all the stops to combat luggage theft. Incidents of luggage theft and tampering have dropped by one third over the past two years,” Assistant general manager of airport operations Tebogo Mekgoe told media.

He said ACSA spent about R7.2 million a year on luggage security measures.
Luggage Tampered with at the airport
 Incidents of luggage tampering at the airport have declined from 18 out of 1000 passengers who departed in January 2010, to 10,4 out of 1000, a year later.

 Los Angeles and London Heathrow Airport are some of the worst airports in the world with highest incidents of luggage theft and tampering.

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TAAG Angola Airlines increases flights to Beijing

TAAG Angola Airlines will increase frequencies on its Luanda-Beijing line.

The Angolan airline will go from 1 to 2 flights per week to the Chinese capital as of March 26, 2012. The Flights will be operated by Boeing 777-200ER.


The schedule for the route will be as follows:
DT690 LAD0715 – 0415+1PEK 772 14
DT691 PEK0700 – 1700LAD 772 25

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Lonelier Planet: Solo-travel trend continues to rise

Tour operators and hotels are noting a significant increase in solo travelers within their customer base and are taking steps to further accommodate this growing travel niche.

There are plenty of reasons why one would want to travel alone. Sometimes a frequent travel partner isn’t available. Other times people simply crave quiet and solitude. For these and many other reasons, solo travel has become a growing niche over the past few years, and agents, tour operators and cruise lines are adjusting the way they do business in order to accommodate the new trend and the new travelers.
Hotels and booking agents are seeing an increase in the trend of solo travel
Last year, tour operator Abercrombie & Kent launched a dedicated solo travel division that waived or greatly reduced supplements and fees for solo travelers, and saw a 26 percent increase in this niche for the last three quarters of the year. Bob Simpson, A&K’s vice president of product planning and business development, feels that this bump contributed significantly to the company’s overall profits for the year. A full 11 percent of its overall client base is now people traveling alone. Simpson estimates that 50 percent of the company’s solo travelers are not part of the single travel program, but sign up for a regular excursion.

Get the full story at Travel Agent Central

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The Hidden Cost of Africa's Air Traffic Boom

The rush to take flight may be ignoring more democratic transportation infrastructure.

Republished from the Atlantic Cities
 A thick man in a green military getup will not let me see the future. The trouble is, I can see it already. Just past a forest of hulking baobabs, and 45 minutes from Senegal’s capital city, a telltale air traffic control tower looms over a dusty, 25,000-hectare construction site. If its builders have their way, the tower will soon direct traffic for five million air passengers every year.

Africa’s newest airport is named for Blaise Diagne, a Senegalese politician and the first African to serve in the French National Assembly, beginning in 1914. It’s a fitting tribute: Diagne would have relished the idea of hopping from Paris to Dakar and back with 21st century ease.

Work on the ambitious, $400 million project began in 2007, with inaugural flights slated for 2012. The project is nowhere near completion, but represents a bold play for airspace in west Africa and beyond: over four miles of runway are under construction (the current offering in central Dakar is half that size.)
The eye-catching Blaise Diagne International Airport airport will be the operational headquarters of the country's new flag carrier, Senegal Airlines.
Blaise Diagne International Airport (BDIA) is part of an exploding trend on the continent: air travel. Taking flight seems an elegant solution to a prominent African problem. The lamentable road infrastructure across many countries slows the formation of trade distribution networks, restricts movement for ordinary people, and subjects road-dependent economies to price shocks when the cost of fuel spikes. What’s more, tens of thousands of annual road accidents amount to a ruthless theft of African lives.

Contrasted with flight maps from a decade ago, the proliferation of new routes connecting Africa to itself is astonishing. Once, traveling from Nairobi to Nouakchott required a pit-stop in Europe. Today, those cities, as well as Accra and Lagos, Lagos and Lusaka, Lusaka and Johannesburg are connected by direct flights. You can board a plane in Addis Ababa and wake up in Washington, D.C. The days of sporadic domestic flights on rickety carriers (one memorable flight to Abuja on the defunct Shanshangi Airlines comes to mind) are over; new low-cost, high quality carriers like Fly540, OneTime and Arik Air repeat the EasyJet model, puddle hopping across Africa. Senegal is using its pending airport as a selling point for new national carrier Senegal Airlines, a successor to the now-bankrupt Air Senegal International.

As a frequent passenger, I’ve personally welcomed the new air infrastructure in Africa. For increasingly international businesses, deal-making and due diligence for investors just got easier. BDIA’s projected 5 million annual passengers will enjoy refreshingly simplified access to the Americas, Europe, and Asia—and vice versa. American professor John Kasarda coined the word aerotropolis—conurbations built around an airport. In the book he co-authored with Greg Lindsay on the subject, they note that, “in the area of globalization, we choose cities drawing closer together themselves, linked by fiber optic cables and jet aircraft.” Africa, where high-speed web and mobile connections have already taken off like a hockey stick, is now poised to fulfill the second part of that prediction.

But is this really good from a development perspective? Senegal’s future airport is being built and will be run with foreign help, from the Saudi Bin Laden Group and a German administrator, and it’s clear the depopulated towns surrounding the airport have yet to see a boom. Still, there are hopes that the airport will improve local economic life. Moussigna, a 56-year old Senegalese man who had come with friends to view the construction project, praised its foresight. “It’s a vision for the future,” he says. “We’ve got to have long term projections for this region to grow.” Perhaps more importantly, BDIA anchors a triangle of mid-sized Senegalese cities—Dakar, Mbour and Thiess—which should enjoy tertiary benefits of airport traffic. A short distance from the fancy coastal villas of Toubab Diallo and just past the spartan village of Kirène, the project offers something for everyone—or so the government attests.

Nevertheless, the pattern of technological “leapfrogging” that has so excited Africa-watchers of late carries a hidden danger. The rise of mobile phones rendered landline telephones obsolete. Innovations in mobile banking, or seed production, use new tools to provide new means of wealth creation for ordinary people. For better or worse, (and for public or profit), these previous innovations have been populist. By contrast, air travel risks leapfrogging the ordinary person entirely.

An example: I traveled nearly 300 kilometers by road to Saint-Louis, the former capital of French West Africa (from which Diagne represented Senegal). While the trip was once possible by train, the national rail network—also offering passage to neighboring Mali and Guinea—has been out of service for years. To fill the gap in reliable transport, a private operator is now offering daily flights from Dakar to Saint-Louis, but at rates that dwarf the average monthly salary in Senegal. The state is in the midst of a 655-kilometer road renewal project, but even once its completed, ordinary Senegalese are likely to be stuck with crowded, unreliable buses, overloaded cargo trucks, or out-of-reach airplanes.

Still, the airline industry here is experiencing a boom. Incumbent Ethiopian, South African, and Kenya Airways will give the rejuvenated Senegal Airlines a run for its money. Rwanda—a landlocked, tiny nation with ambitions toward grandeur—is also heavily investing in an air-based economy, and its national carrier, Rwandair.

It’s perfectly sensible for landlocked, overlooked and less populous African nations to reach for the skies. It follows the trajectory of more developed countries; Norway, for example, jump-started its economic growth once new shipping routes lowered barriers to exporting the average person’s goods.

But the rush to take flight may be ignoring more democratic transportation infrastructure. In the short term, planes simply do not create enough popular opportunity. Doctors, lawyers, businesspeople - they can export their services by airplane. Farmers and miners cannot. It’s no easy feat to fly cement, lumber, oil, medicine, or large harvests. For these and other development necessities, you need good roads, good rails and good networks of people. The craze for air travel may erode all three. While airlines grease the wheels of the briefcase set, it’s up to local government to ensure that these shiny new planes don’t enable the elite at the expense of the average citizen.
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Picture: Kenya Airways Plane in Sky Team Livery!

Isn't it cute? A Kenya Airways B737-700 aircraft will fly the Sky Team colours reflecting the Kenyan carrier's status as the only African representative of the global Airline Alliance.
Kenya Airways aircraft in Sky Team Livery
Bigger image here

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Dropped from the Skies: African Airlines that went under in the last decade

Air Afrique
In 1961, the ever united former French colonies banded together to form Air Afrique. But the airline collapsed in debt and lost all of its aircraft by the time its 11 member states decided to put the carrier to bankruptcy in 2002. Several initiatives are currently underway to form new regional airlines in the Central and Western Africa.
Nigeria Airways
Nigeria Airways went under in 2003 under a mountain of debts. Here, employees protest the government's plan to liquidate the airline at Lagos Onikan Stadium in 2003. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the
boards that ran Nigeria Airways as perennially corrupt.

Air Gabon


Air Gabon went bankrupt in 2006
Ghana Airways
Ghana Airways collapsed under debt and safety issues in 2004. This is a Ghana Airways coffin, which may be morbidly fitting. The airline's successor Ghana International Airlines ceased operations in 2010.

Cameroon Airlines
Cameroon Airlines, Camair went under in 2008 under financial difficulties and financial issues. The successor airline Camair-Co began operations in 2011.
 Air Senegal International
Air Senegal International ceased operations in 2009 after after 38 years in the sky. The successor airline Senegal Airlines took to the skies in 2011.


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Former CEO: Nigerian Airways could have been salvaged

Former Nigeria Airways(NAL) CEO Major General Olu Bajowa has stated that the airline could have survived its financial troubles in the last decade due its robust assets and bilateral service agreements.


According to the former CEO, the airline was not dead as it was painted, which was the excuse used to liquidate and sold it. The former CEO added that NAL had tremendous human and material assets, locally, regionally and internationally that could have helped defray some of its debts, rather than the outright liquidation by the Obasanjo civilian administration.

The defunct Nigeria Airways
“NAL had assets in Europe, UK, America, African countries to offset the liability it purportedly acquired. The various routes its aircraft were flying as the national carrier and the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) it entered into with other international airlines then were enough for its sustainability.

The huge resources from BASA and its annual subvention from the Ministry of Aviation then should have formed part of what could have bailed it out then or in the alternative entered into operations with mega airlines such s as the British airways or other international airlines, the former NAL CEO in the 1980s said, adding that the airline was the country’s pride.
Former Nigeria Airways Employees protest the liquidation of the airline 2003
Mr Bajowa was speaking at the launch of the book "Nigerian Civil Aviation: Decade of Security, Safety and Passenger Comfort Development" by Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye, an event that was also attended by the former President under whose administration the Nigeria Airways was liquidated Mr Olusegun Obasanjo who contended that there was no way for the airline to have survived profitably as it was run by various boards of directors who were perennially corrupt. Obasanjo said NAL was a huge drain to government funds.

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DR Congo Suspends two airlines after Gulfstream IV N2SA Crash

 The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended the licenses of two aviation companies operating in the country after one of their planes crashed last week killing a top adviser to President Kabila and four others.

 Minister of Transport Joseph Martin Kitumba said in a statement released late Tuesday that the licenses of Air Katanga Express and Katanga Wings had been suspended as Congolese and American experts investigate the crash of the Gulfstream 3 jet.
The Gulfstream IV crash in Bukavu
 The Katanga Express plane went down Sunday as it attempted to land at Bukavu airport in eastern Congo. Among the five bodies pulled out of the wreck was Augustin Katumba Mwanke, described in United States diplomatic cables as "the power behind the throne" in Kabila's administration, according to WikiLeaks.

The plane's two pilots were also killed. There were 10 passengers on board.

The minister announced that a special commission will investigate the causes of the crash. Congo has one of the worst safety records in the world. Just two weeks ago, an Antonov plane crashed after it left the same airport in eastern Congo. Officials found the debris from the destroyed plane around 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the town of Namoya, where it was supposed to land an hour later.

Last July a plane operated by a different airline crashed, killing 85 people on board. The forested country has almost no good roads outside of the capital, forcing people to rely on badly-maintained flights or boats.

Each time, Congolese officials have promised an investigation. The death of the presidential adviser, who on Wednesday was posthumously awarded an honor, may finally prompt a more-in depth review. In addition to Mwanke, who was also the former governor of copper-rich Katanga province, the minister of finance, a provincial governor and one of Kabila's at-large ambassadors were also injured. The three were evacuated to South Africa for treatment.

"Given the urgency and the necessity, an investigative commission has been created and charged with leading an investigation into the probable cause of the accident, and determining responsibility," said the statement.

Congo expert Jason Stearns wrote on his blog that Mwanke's influence cannot be overstated. He had a direct hand in the country's mining contracts.

"He was the mastermind behind crucial financial deals, including most of the big mining deals concluded in the past decade. ... 'No mining contract is signed without Katumba's approval,' is a phrase I heard more than once among Kinshasa businessmen," wrote Stearns, author of a history of Congo's conflict. "Rasputin, Dick Cheney, eminence grise -- these were all epithets applied to Katumba." 

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Ethiopian Airlines to use the Dreamliner in the Johannesburg Route

Ethiopian Airlines will deploy the B787 Dreamliner on the Johannesburg Route from June this year according to the Global Distribution System(GDS) timetable for the airline.

Reports Airline Route

ET’s Boeing 787 seats 270, including 24 Cloud 9 Business Class and 246 Economy Class.
Planned Boeing 787 operation as follows. Although routes mentioned below are now opened for reservation, there is a chance for 787 inaugural date to be altered pending on delivery time frame.

 Routes to be serviced by the Dreamliner will include Addis-Dubai, Addis-Johannesburg, Addis-Guangzhou, Addis-Harare and Addis-Lusaka.


Addis Ababa – Dubai eff 15JUN12 ET600/601 operates with 787, replaces 767/77L (EXCEPT 16AUG12 – 15SEP12)
ET600 ADD2215 – 0300+1DXB 787 D
ET601 DXB0435 – 0740ADD 787 D eff 16JUN12
Addis Ababa – Johannesburg eff 15JUN12 Daily 787 service replaces Boeing 767
ET809 ADD0850 – 1330JNB 787 D
ET808 JNB1420 – 2050ADD 787 D
Addis Ababa – Guangzhou eff 15AUG12 Daily nonstop flight replacing Boeing 767 via Bangkok
ET606 ADD0030 – 1515CAN 787 D
ET607 CAN2300 – 0600+1ADD 787 D
Addis Ababa – Harare eff 18SEP12 Service operates Day x246, replacing 767-300 (Day 246 with 737-800; this route from 16SEP12 operates nonstop in both direction)
ET873 ADD0920 – 1245HRE 787 x246
ET872 HRE1440 – 1955ADD 787 x246
Addis Ababa – Lusaka eff 18SEP12 Service operates on Day 246, replacing 767 (this route from 16SEP12 to operate nonstop in both direction)
ET883 ADD0910 – 1215LUN 787 246
ET882 LUN1500 – 2005ADD 787 246


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Korongo Airlines: Brussels Airlines gets permits for the DR Congo Subsidiary

Brussels Airlines has received the necessary documentation from the government authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to set up a local subsidiary in that country.

According to information from Brussels Airlines, the new airline will be called Korongo Airlines and will be set up in partnership with investment company George Forrest International and other private investors. It will operate on regional routes in the Central African country, as well as to several other cities including Johannesburg.
Korongo Airlines: "Korongo" is Swahili for migratory birds
 It's expected that Korongo Airlines will now begin operations in March or April this year, according to an article in a Belgian newspaper. Two years ago, Brussels Airlines and mining magnate George Forrest formed a partnership to form an airline that would provide domestic flights in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It was expected that an airline formed by Brussels Airlines would earn the trust of the Congolese traveling public as the existing local airlines have very poor safety records and have been involved in numerous accidents that have claimed several lives. DR Congo's airlines have always been christened "Flying Coffins" due to their poor safety records.

According to Brussels Airlines, many businessmen, UN officials and aid workers  in the Congo have repeatedly asked for a safe airline for flights between towns and cities in the vast Central African country that's estimated to be the size of Western Europe and without a proper road network. A local Brussels Airlines subsidiary will also provide travelers from the Congo the convenience of easy connections to international flights on Brussels Airlines.

Mining magnate George Forrest made his fortune in the Democratic Republic of Congo's brutal mines
 The ambitions of Brussels Airlines and George Forrest were long crippled by bureaucratic obstacles. Late last year, the airline and George Forrest International invested $11 million in Korongo Airlines but had faced vehement opposition by the aviation Union leaders in Belgium and the opposition in the DR Congo.
  
According to George Forrest, the way is now clear for the launch of the newest bird in the Skies of the Congo: "We now have all authorizations to the last signature" He continued, "We have a few weeks for our structure to start," 
 
Korongo Airlines will use Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga Province as its hub.

The news of the breakthrough is positive for Congo and the Congolese aviation fraternity. Korongo Airlines will definitely usher in some assurance of safety to the chaotic and dangerous Congolese aviation scene that has claimed thousands of lives.


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Air Cemac ends ties with South African Airways, looking for new strategic partner

Air Cemac, a proposed airline for the Central African region has terminated its air services agreement with South African Airways and is now shopping for new partnerships within the next one month.

The accord has ended suddenly as a result of "deep differences of opinion" between Air Cemac and the South African Airways management.
Air Cemac shopping for new Strategic Partners
Air Cemac is an initiative of the heads of states of nations in the Central African region to create a regional, mainly privately held airline to foster regional integration and easier travel in the Central African region.
Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, which are shareholders in Air Cemac, agreed to base the airline in Brazzaville, Congo.

With so many suitors in the African aviation industry, Air Cemac will not be shopping for long.

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Protecting your data as you travel

Our last post on cybersecurity at the airport and on board some aircraft that offer on board connectivity dealt with rogue Wi-Fi hotspots and the measures you can take to protect your laptop from hackers. This post will deal with a bigger problem of information security throughout your travel itinerary and how you can protect yourself from data loss or even data theft during your travel.

Wi-Fi access points still play a major role as they are the entry points to your data that hackers, cybercriminals and the individuals involved in cyber espionage. The other option is when your laptop is stolen. So these miscreants have two gateways to your information. Free Wi-Fi is the most important amenity amongst Business Travelers, according to a survey done by American Airlines and HP in 2009. In fact business travelers responded that Wi-Fi was the "most important airport amenity, outscoring basic travels needs such as food by nearly 30 percentage points."

Information security and travel: Travelers needs to place more efforts in safeguarding their data.
For many of these travelers, the convenience of accessing free Wi-Fi at the airport lounge outweighs the risks of hacking and information theft. But this depends on the position in the pecking order. The loss of information by a high flying executive or government agent is definitely quite expensive!

Even for an "ordinary" business traveler, there are risks associated with malware installed via rogue Wi-Fi access points that might cost you lots of data and hundreds of dollars to restore your data and  remove the malware.

According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institut, the physical loss of devices, and the accompanying combination of replacement cost, detection, forensics, data breach, lost intellectual property costs, lost productivity, and legal, consulting and regulatory expenses sets a company back an average of $49,246 per lost laptop! Lost laptops with encryptionhttp://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=4596185367102352450&postID=4789261814681384493 however cost companies only $20,000, which is 29,000 less than for an unencrypted laptop. Encrypted disks however safeguard data by scrambling information on them. They unlock that information only when the user enters the proper passcode.

Tips for Safeguarding your data during your travel
There are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure your data is safe during your travel. Travel can be a headache and who wants an extra head ace post travel? Use the following steps to safeguard your data and ensure a smooth and safe Wi-Fi access as you hop from one city to another in your business travels:
  • Use an encrypted disk to safeguard the information on your laptop or smart phone and make sure you log off of your computer when you're not using it.In most cases when you hibernate your computer, its memory is recorded unencrypted. You can also use a free software called TrueCript(http://www.truecrypt.org) that allows you to encrypt the content of your local drive and on USB Flash drives.
  • Turn off your wireless and Bluetooth connections if you're not using them. These are electronic gateways into your devices and as long as they are on, hackers can scan for open Wi-Fi peer to peer connections and gain access to your files. Hackers can use software like Aerodump to quickly figure out the existing wireless access points. Woo unto you if yours is one of them and you are not well armed to fend off attacks.
  • Use an anti-glare shield on your computer to prevent others from spying on your screen. With such shields, you must be face-to-face with the screen to be able to read it. 
  •  Regularly back up the data on your laptop or smart phone. Several companies offer backup services, but you can also save information on other computers and disks. Even if your data is encrypted- eliminating your fear of sensitive information getting stolen -backing up the data will make it easy to transfer to a new phone or laptop.
  •  If you lose your smart phone and don't want others to access your information, call your provider and request that the device be wiped of information. There also exist security software that allows you to send a text message to your phone that will remotely wipe it and block others from accessing its content. 
  •  To ensure that you're visiting an authentic Web site and not getting duped by a phishing scheme, some experts suggest logging onto those sites through your company's VPN connection.
  • Be vigilant to avoid losing or forgetting your laptop at the lounge. Avoid sleeping or taking a nap with the laptop on your lap; place the laptop on your lap instead of a table when using it as it's much easier to forget the laptop on the table but impossible to forget to carry it with you when it's on your lap :)

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The dangers of rogue Wi-Fi Hotspots in Airports

Just when you thought your troubles were over after long immigration queues, a delayed flight, cancelled flights, congestion, long immigration queues,extra baggage fees, intrusive security screening there is just one more problem you might endure before you finally board your flight, rogue Wi-Fi access points in airport lounges!

Many travelers are only too happy to settle at the lounge for a few moments online to do some business, write  a few reports, reply to a few emails before a long flight and update friends and family via social media before boarding flight. Sometimes, delayed flights might force travelers to wait for hours in an airport lounge. To easen the burden and anxiety on travelers, many airports have installed free Wi-Fi hotspots on airport lounges to enable travelers to get online before boarding the aircraft.

Free Wi-Fi at the airport comes with the dangers of rogue Wi-Fi access points
What you might not know is that hackers and cybercriminals might also be sitting in the same lounge, masquerading as free public Wi-Fi providers to gain access to travelers laptops and steal private information, read your emails, your bank account details, reports and more private information.

These fake Wi-Fi hotspots are called "rogue Wi-Fi" as it's not the official Wi-Fi provided by the airport but an illegal local network set up to infiltrate your information. It's very difficult for a traveler to differentiate between a good internet access point and a rogue network.

The traveler's laptop will simply provide list of Wi-Fi spots available and the traveler will randomly connect to one of the available options, especially if it has a 'familiar' name like "Airport Wi-Fi" or "free Airport-Wi-Fi". It's virtually impossible for the traveler to determine which is which and therein lies the loophole that hackers and cybercriminals exploit.

Many airport security are not trained in monitoring rogue Wi-Fi Access Points in the airport and are in many cases more concerned with the more important task of ensuring physical security at the airport to prevent the next underwear bomber from slipping past the airport security system.

This gives the hackers a free ride in the airport. They might just be your regular guy using their laptop while in the real sense, they are actually setting up a rogue Wi-Fi access point.

As a traveler, it's safe to connect to Facebook, Twitter or other social networks but exercise great caution when performing online transactions which will require you to enter your credit card information! One sure way to exercise caution is ascertain the true identity of the legitimate airport Wi-Fi by for example asking around and connecting to only those networks whose identities you trust. Make sure that your communication is secure, disconnect the wireless when you stop using it, and maintain the list of wireless connections that you use on your laptop so that you don't accidentally connect to networks that may spring up when you're traveling.

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26 nations meet in Moscow next week to discuss ETS Retaliatory measures

 26 powerful nations dubbed the coalition of the unwilling amongst them China, India, the United States and Russia will meet in Moscow next week to look for a coordinated retaliation against the EU Emissions Trading System that went into force in January this year.

The EU introduced a unilateral measure to add aviation into its Emissions Trading System, a move that will force even foreign airlines landing or taking off in Europe to acquire permits corresponding to the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the entire flight — regardless of where it originated or ended or the nationality of the airline.
Emissions Trading System: Time for some hard talk?


The measures have been vehemently opposed by China, US and Russia amongst other nations but Europe believes these countries are not their best friends when it comes environmental issues and has vowed not to back down(or to be intimidated into backing down) on the implementation of its ETS.

The countries will adopt a few hard measures to force Europe to back down. According to the New York Times, "Those countermeasures include following China’s lead in banning its airlines from paying the charges unless and until the Chinese government grants permission; imposing punitive levies on European airlines when they fly over other countries’ air space; reviewing bilateral and “open skies” agreements covering such things as landing rights and market access, and freezing consideration of any new routes or capacity, according to a draft discussion paper seen by the International Herald Tribune on Friday. 

In addition, the paper calls on governments to consider reopening trade agreements in sectors other than aviation and to freeze trade negotiations as a way of “putting pressure on E.U. industries.”
The meeting would “send a very strong signal to our E.U. friends that other countries are really angry and really preparing something strong,” said a Chinese diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue.
"

EU has said it would adapt its law if ICAO comes up with a  global solution. According to the EU Spokesperson for Climate Action Isaac Valero-Ladron: "A solution is clear: rather than asking for the suspension of the only functioning system that exists to address aviation's carbon emissions, we'd like to see the countries criticising the EU come forward with concrete suggestions, in the framework of ICAO, for an even better, global solution,"

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