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Cruise Lines Halt Travel to Cuba following US New Travel Policies

June 5th: Just one day after the U.S. government announced it would no longer allow Americans to travel to Cuba via ship, cruise lines are changing their itineraries and cancelling planned stops to the island.
Royal Caribbean was the first to announce itinerary changes, according to Seatrade Cruise News; its June 5 and June 6 sailings will no longer stop in Havana as originally planned, the company announced in a statement late Tuesday evening.
Perhaps the biggest announcement, however, came from Virgin Voyages—a hotly anticipated new cruise line launching next year that said its maiden voyage would sail to Cuba.

Link: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/cruise-lines-halt-travel-to-cuba-following-new-travel-policies

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Revamping Alitalia & Beyond

A group of Alitalia pilot and cabin crew unions said they would strike June 24, delaying a planned walk out until after the latest deadline for a formal bid for the bankrupt carrier.

Defining a plan to rescue and relaunch Alitalia, which declared bankruptcy two years ago, has been fraught with complications. In the latest twist, the Italian government announced May 3 that railway company Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) had until June 15 to present a plan for the relaunch, extending a previous April 30 deadline.

That was the latest delay to the process that has been slowed down by the Italian government’s wish to keep at least part of the airline in Italian hands. It wants to use a revamped “new” Alitalia as part of a multi-modal transport strategy that will boost the country’s tourism.

The FNTA—which brings together the ANPAC, ANPAV and ANP unions as well as the Confael Trasporti Assovolo association—said May 14 they had met to work out a common policy and a series of actions to support the relaunch of the new Alitalia.

They had been planning to stage a 24-hour strike May 21, but following the latest delay decided that striking on that day would be “untimely and inopportune” so they pushed back the planned action to June 24, after the latest deadline. Flight controllers belonging to the FAST CONFSAL union will also join in that strike, they said.

 

FS is set to lead the relaunch in which the Italian state and US carrier Delta Air Lines are also taking part but Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio, who is also economic development minister, said April 30 that new offers from investors to join the relaunch plan were still coming in.

Transport minister Danilo Toninelli said May 10 that the government was working toward the new June 15 deadline and giving the “complicated” Alitalia dossier “the attention it deserves.”

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk

 

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China_US Trade War

In other trade news, the game of brinkmanship between the US and China keeps escalating, and it looks like China may be ready to play the ace up its sleeve: Rare earth metals. China’s top economic planning agency indicated the country may be poised to curb exports of rare earths. Chinese state media also published this dire notice to Washington: “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Rare earth metals are key to manufacturing technology like smartphones, speakers and tablets, as well as items vital to weapons systems, like lasers, radar, sonar, night vision systems and jet engines. They aren’t actually rare, but they are difficult to mine safely, and China basically has the market cornered. About a third of the world’s rare earth deposits are found there, but the country controls more than 90% of production. And restricting their trade could be a serious game changer.

Link: cnn.com

 

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Beijing Daxing International Airport, the World’s Largest Airport

Beijing now has 2 civilian airports: Beijing Capital International Airport (3 terminals, the 2nd busiest airport in the world, 2nd only to Atlanta Airport) and Beijing Nanyuan Airport (1 terminal).

The new Beijing Daxing International Airport is expected to be the world’s largest airport upon completion. Covering 1.4 million square meters, the terminal will be about the size of 200 standard football fields.

The first-phase construction will complete on June 30, 2019 and the new airport is due to open on September 30, 2019.
The new airport is expected to serve an initial 45 million passengers a year with an eventual capacity of 100 million.
The new airport will feature:
1. Minimal walking distances – The distance between the transport hub and airport terminal center is less than 600 meters or 8 minutes’ walk.
2. A ground transportation center where passengers can be transferred to Beijing in about 30 minutes by such transportation methods as high-speed rail, metro, expressways, Beijing Airport Bus routes and local buses.
3. Fast baggage delivery – The aim is for the first luggage item to appear on the carousel within 13 minutes of landing.
Beijing Daxing International Airport will be the world’s first airport to have two floors each for departures and arrivals. Foreign airlines such as American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have planned to operate in the new airport and open flights to the United States.

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Paris: the 72 Million Euro plan to create the largest garden

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who’s declared a war on the city’s pollution, this week announced plans to transform the bridgeway linking the historic Trocadéro square with the Eiffel Tower into a “green corridor” reserved for pedestrians by 2024.

Hidalgo, whose mission to “pedestrianise” the historic centre of the French capital has already led to the banning of cars along large parts of the banks lining the Seine river, said that: “We’re really aiming for a high pedestrian target (…) We’re going to have a splendid garden where we can hear the birds sing,” she said when she announced the €72 million project on Tuesday. Work is set to start at the end of 2020 or the start of 2021.

Link: https://www.france24.com/en/20190522-paris-hidalgo-create-green-corridor-giant-garden-between-trocadero-eiffel-tower#_=_

 

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What you need to know if you own a Huawei phone

Google has severed business ties with Huawei, in a stunning move that could threaten the smartphone maker’s global ambitions.

The U.S. tech giant has decided to stop licensing its Android operating system to the Chinese telecommunications firm, in order to comply with a U.S. trade blacklist.

It can however continue to use an open-source version of Android, but won’t be able to integrate key Google services like the Play app store.

CNBC runs through what that means if you own a Huawei phone right now, or are looking to buy one in the future.

Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/20/what-google-android-move-means-if-you-own-a-huawei-phone.html?__source=twitter%7Cmain

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Singapore Airport

World’s best airport has new $1 billion shopping, entertainment hub with indoor waterfall.

Singapore Changi Airport, ranked the No. 1 airport in the world, is opening to the public a new shopping and entertainment hub called the Jewel, on April 17.
Inspired by Singapore’s reputation as a “city in a garden,” Jewel features a sprawling indoor forest, 280 retail shops and restaurants and the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. The complex cost $1.7 billion SGD, or nearly $1.3 billion US, to build.

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the hub spans 1.46 million square feet and 10 stories (five above ground and five below) and is covered by a dome-shaped facade made of glass and steel.

Take a look inside:

The centerpiece of Jewel is the Forest Valley, a tropical four-story garden with a large plant collection.

Walking trails lead guest to Canopy Park, a separate section opening in June 2019, which features activities like a 160-feet suspended bridge with glass floor, a bouncing net (to jump up and down on), a walking net (82 feet high above the greenery), a hedge maze, a mirror maze and slides.

In Jewel’s Rain Vortex, another self-contained section, there is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, which is over 130 feet high. The water cascades from an oculus in the roof. (Previously, nature park Gardens By The Bay, also in Singapore, held the title of world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 115 feet.)

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/12/photos-jewel-changi-airport-in-singapore-has-tallest-indoor-waterfall.html

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/singapore/articles/timelapse-video-worlds-best-airport-changi-singapore/

 

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Cyprus Airways signs interline agreement with Qatar Airways

The agreement, which came into effect in November, will enable Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel from Doha to any Cyprus Airways destination via Larnaca.

Similarly, Cyprus Airways’ passengers will be able to continue their journey from Larnaca to Doha and beyond, to more than 150 destinations, across six continents, with Qatar Airways flights.

“We are very excited about this agreement. Our partnership with Qatar Airways is a pillar of Cyprus Airways strategy to diversify services with the aim of offering our passengers more travel opportunities and to establish Cyprus as a hub,” said Natalia Popova, Chief Commercial Officer of Cyprus Airways.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker said: “As one of our key gateways to the Eastern Mediterranean islands, Larnaca is a significant part of the Qatar Airways network.”

“We are delighted to partner with Cyprus Airways to provide a greater choice of travel opportunities to passengers travelling through Doha and Larnaca.”

This latest agreement by the Cypriot-based airline follows a codeshare deal with Romania’s Blue Air for popular flights to London and Greece.

Cyprus Airways recently became a full member of IATA.

“Membership enables the company to collaborate with other international member airlines for codeshare and interline agreements and provide a seamless travel experience through an extended global network to travellers to and from Cyprus,” said Popova.

In July 2016, Charlie Airlines Ltd, a Cyprus registered company, won a tender competition for the right to use the trademark Cyprus Airways for a decade.

The company launched flights in June 2017.

Cyprus Airways operates flights to Europe, Russia and Middle East. All Cyprus Airways flights operate on modern Airbus A319 aircraft with a capacity of 144 Economy Class seats.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.

It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat,’ ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.’

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

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