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Archive by Category "News from around the World"

BA scraps long haul flights for summer

British Airways is axing flights on three key long haul routes for the summer as it continues to ground dozens of holiday flights daily.

It has cancelled flights to Miami, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

BA said it will reinstate them in September.

Miami flights will be halves from two to one flight a day from June until early September. BA said the slack will be picked up by partner American Airlines. Miami is a highly popular leisure destination for UK holidaymakers.

Demand for Hong Kong flights remains due to HK’s strict entry restrictions. Hong Kong flight resumption had already been pushed back to May 29.

London to Tokyo flights are suspended for the summer 2022 season.

BA cancelled over 100 short haul flights on Wednesday as its struggles with short staffing continue.

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news/ba-scraps-long-haul-flights-for-summers-as-its-short-staffing-struggles-ontinues/

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The QUEEN’s Platinum Jubilee

On 6th February this year Her Majesty The Queen became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.

To celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, events and initiatives will take place throughout the year, culminating in a four day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June

The four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of service. Visit the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s interactive map to find out more about events taking place across the UK. 

Thursday 2nd June

Trooping the Colour: The Queen’s Birthday Parade will be held on Thursday 2nd June 2022 starting at 11am. The colour will be trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, and more than 1200 officers and soldiers from the Household Division will put on a display of military pageantry on Horse Guards Parade, together with hundreds of Army musicians and around 240 horses. This annual event has now marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years.

During the ceremony, there will be an opportunity to watch the event via large screens, set up in St James’ Park and many more members of the public will be able to watch the spectacle live on BBC and Sky television, not just in the UK but overseas too.

Friday 3rd June

Service of Thanksgiving: A Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen’s reign will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral. Great Paul, the largest church bell in the country, will be rung for the Service. It was made in 1882, but fell silent in the 1970s due to a broken mechanism. It was restored in 2021 and has been rung on 8 occasions since, but this is the 1st royal occasion it will be rung. 

Saturday 4th June

The Derby at Epsom Downs: Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by Members of the Royal Family, will attend the Derby at Epsom Downs.

Platinum Party at the Palace: Hosts Kirsty Young and Roman Kemp will lead live coverage of the Platinum Party at the Palace and air live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and across the BBC network. The celebration will see famous faces from the world of entertainment brought together to perform for a night of musical tributes to celebrate the Jubilee. 22,000 people will attend the event including 10,000 allocated in a public ballot and 5,000 tickets for key workers. And now for the first time, the BBC have released artist visuals of the impressive setting and stage where the acts will perform. The full line-up of acts will be announced by the BBC in the coming weeks.

Sunday 5th June

The Big Jubilee Lunch:

Over 60k people have registered to host Big Jubilee Lunches on the Platinum celebration weekend, with events ranging from world record attempts for the longest street party to back garden BBQ’s and everything in between. Over ten million people across the UK are expected to be joining the celebrations to share friendship, food and fun at Big Jubilee Lunches as part of this nationwide act of community friendship. People across the world are also joining in with over 600 international Big Jubilee Lunches being planned throughout the Commonwealth and beyond – from Canada to Brazil, New Zealand to Japan and South Africa to Switzerland. 

Link: https://www.royal.uk/platinum-jubilee-central-weekend

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KLM facing ‘greenwashing’ lawsuit

Netherlands airline KLM is being targeted in the first major ‘greenwashing’ legal challenge in aviation.

An environmental group plans to sue the airline over ‘misleading’ sustainability ad campaigns.

Fossielvrij NL says its ‘Fly Responsibly’ ads are deceptive and violate European consumer law.

“KLM’s marketing misleads consumers into believing that its flights won’t worsen the climate emergency but this is a myth,” said Hiske Arts of Fossielvrij NL.

“Unchecked flying is one of the fastest ways to heat up the planet. Customers need to be informed and protected from claims that suggest otherwise.”

The group says the entire industry is hoodwinking the public as global net zero is a myth unless the overall number of flights is reduced.

Fossielvrij NL is supported by lawyers from ClientEarth.

“While climate experts warn we need to reduce air traffic to keep a just and liveable world within reach, KLM and the airline industry are … lobbying intensively against climate regulation,” ClientEarth lawyer Johnny White said. 

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news/klm-facing-greenwashing-lawsuit/

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AIRLINES STILL OPERATING 500 GHOST FLIGHTS A MONTH

There are still hundreds of so-called ‘ghost flights’ taking off from UK airports each month.

Between October and December 2021, there were 500 ghost flights a month according to a freedom of information request obtained by the Guardian

A ghost flight is one that flies empty or under 10% of capacity.

Almost 15,000 ghost flights have flown from the UK since the start of the pandemic.

Normally airlines must use 80%:of their allotted slots, although this had been reduced due to the pandemic.

A petition was presented to parliament earlier this year demanding an end to ghost flights.

“If people choose to fly less for environmental reasons – as we are campaigning for them to do – we would expect the market to reflect that,” Anna Hughes, director of Flight Free UK, said earlier this year.

“If planes continue to fly empty because they are concerned about ‘use it or lose it’ rules, it doesn’t allow the market to adapt to shifting demand.”

Last week, the derision of climate activist Greta Thunberg brought international media attention to the empty, gas-guzzling “ghost flights” crisscrossing the EU for no purpose other than to fulfil arbitrary quotas imposed by the European Commission. German airline Lufthansa shared that it will run 18,000 “extra, unnecessary” flights this winter solely to maintain its takeoff and landing slots at airports across the EU. Given that the average European flight produces 400 kg (0.44 tonnes) of carbon dioxide per passenger and assuming an EU average of 133 passengers per flight, those 18,000 flights are poised to emit over one million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere – enough to power over 100,000 homes for a year.

All this waste is for nothing: these empty flights are taking off to protect airport slots, endangering the planet by sending glimmering emissions into the ether. According to global International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, under normal circumstances, airlines must fly 80 percent of their planned schedules in order to maintain their takeoff and landing slots. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant travel restrictions thoroughly derailed the industry and its typical operations. While the IATA has relaxed virtually all slot requirements globally, the European Commission has “adopted a more limited alleviation,” only lowering the so-called 80 percent rule to its current level of 50 percent – it is set to ratchet up to 64 percent in March.

Hardly known for its efficiency, even the United States seems to have a more practical grip on the situation: while takeoff and landing slots are only utilised by three US-American airports, the system was waived by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the start of the pandemic and has been suspended through March. As high-income countries like the US and international aviation bodies like the IATA abandon an outmoded system in a moment of global crisis, the EU seems determined to cling to its clearly unreasonable and carbon-heavy regulations.

In response to criticism, the European Commission doubled down on its choice to back the 50 percent quota, citing “the needs of airport operators, passengers and airlines.” As millions of tonnes of CO2 are pumped into the atmosphere out of negligence, it becomes increasingly clear that the EU does not take the climate crisis seriously.

While “ghost flights” are making headlines today, rightly drawing attention to the political apathy and senseless waste at the heart of so much pandemic and climate-related policy, it is easy for some important, and perhaps even inspiring, context to get lost in the haze. “Ghost flights” are but one consequence of a flagging global aviation industry, which has been brought to its knees by the pandemic: since early 2020, its growth has entirely dropped off – and so have its CO2 emissions.

In 2020, departing European flights plummeted 54.5 percent and emitted 56.9 percent less CO2 than the year prior. In 2021, compared to the same 2019 levels, these figures rebounded slightly: flights dropped 45.3 percent and emitted half the amount of CO2. Ultimately, pandemic-related declines in European aviation saved 106 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere throughout 2021. To put this figure in perspective, here is a non-exhaustive list of things that produce 106 million tons of CO2 each year: the global pet food industry, the 55 billion cubic metres of gas set to be pumped through the impending Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline and the entire country of Qatar. 

Now, it is unrealistic to expect these figures to stay anywhere close to where they are today and it’s only a matter of time before demand for air travel increases to pre-pandemic levels. However, the past two years have provided an example of (forced) degrowth for the airline industry that has led to very positive externalities for the planet. If anything, perhaps European over-reliance on air travel, like so many other aspects of everyday life that the pandemic has called into question, is ripe for reassessment. Like an eerily timed BBC article from February 2020 asks, “should we give up flying for the sake of the climate?” Maybe – from the perspective of January 2022, it sure seems a lot more possible.

https://www.fairplanet.org/editors-pick/the-needless-environmental-impact-of-eu-ghost-flights/

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THIRD GENDER OPTION GRANTED FOR US PASSPORTS

The gender-neutral ‘X’ designation is finally becoming a third standard option on US passports. It is available without medical documentation, and even if their gender is different on other government issued documents.

It begins on April 11. The option of a third gender on US Social Security records will start later this year, As part of White House’s policy changes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be implementing new procedures and new scanners to better serve trans and nonbinary travelers.

AIR CANADA PLANS GENDER-NEUTRAL GREETING, PORTER, UNITED CREATE GENDER X CATEGORY

Transgender activist says it’s time for all airlines to revise their gender categories.

In an effort to be more inclusive, Air Canada plans to drop gender references when welcoming passengers. That means no more onboard announcements opening with, “Ladies and gentlemen.” 

The move follows a growing awareness and acceptance — including in the travel industry — that some individuals are non-binary, meaning they don’t identify as male or female.

An excerpt from an Air Canada employee memo announcing that passengers will soon be greeted with the gender-neutral term ‘everyone’ instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen.’ (Air Canada)

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TRAVEL NEWS in Bulk

EASYJET

Easter flight cancellations are set to drag on for days.

EasyJet says it will likely have to cancel more flights this week as it struggles with short staffing.

At least 60 flights are expected to be scrapped on Tuesday.

…“We expect to make similar levels of pre-emptive cancellations over the coming days, due to the ongoing high level of sickness.”

British Airways cancelled dozens of flights on Monday.

Manchester and London Heathrow airports have experienced hours-long delays.

Lengthy Covid document checks are impacting passenger flows, which are causing flight delays and frustration.

Local MP Graham Stringer called on Manchester Airport management to ‘get a grip ’and sort out passenger bottlenecks swiftly.

NORWEGIAN AIR

Norwegian has dropped the requirement to wear face masks on its flights.

The rule change took effect on Monday April 4.

It covers all flights across the carrier’s current network. …It urges passengers ‘to check the local requirements and guidance at their destination before travelling, including stops and connecting flights in Europe.

RUSSIA FLIGHTS

Russia said it will reopen flights to 52 ‘friendly’ countries.

It will end restrictions on flights to and from the 52 countries which haven’t participated in sanctions.

These include Algeria, China, Lebanon, Argentina, South Africa, Peru and Pakistan.

It is part of measures to open up after stringent Covid-19 restrictions, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said.

It will also lift restrictions on land border travel between Russia and China.

Russia closed airspace to air travel from 36 countries, which includes all 27 EU members in its response against sanctions targeting its airlines.

Sanctions have forced lessors to cancel leasing contracts with Russian airlines for about 500 aircraft.

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THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

What is the Cradle of Humankind?

The Cradle of Humankind (originally known as Cradle of Mankind) is an area in South Africa. Fossilised remains of ancient forms of animals, tools, plants and most importantly, hominids have been found in many dolomitic limestone caves.

These traces provide valuable information about human evolution. The oldest evidence dates back three (3) million years or more.

The Cradle of Humankind was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. It is one of eight World Heritage sites in South Africa.

Where is it Located?

The Cradle of Humankind is located around 50 kms from Johannesburg. It covers an area of around 470 km2 in the provinces of Gauteng and North West. There are 13 major fossil sites in the region. Sterkfontein, near Krugersdorp, is the best known of these sites. Other sites include Swartkrans, Kromdraai, Drimolen, Bolt’s Farm, and Gondolin. Sites excavation is underway.

Thousands of fossils including hominin (i.e. modern humans and their ancestors) were discovered in 1930 in the Cradle of Humankind.

Sterkfontein has proven to be one of the richest sources of information about human evolution

Fossils were first discovered there when the area was being mined for lime deposits.

In 1936 a palaeontologist from Pretoria, Robert Broom, began collecting fossils found by lime miners. Eventually, remains of early humanlike creatures, now called Australopithecus africanus, were uncovered. Australopithecus africanus is one of several extinct hominins.

The most famous fossils discovered in the Cradle of Humankind are known as Mrs. Ples and Little Foot. Both were in caves at Sterkfontein. Robert Broom uncovered Mrs. Ples in 1947, an Australopithecus africanus skull that is estimated to be between 2.5 and 2.8 million years old.

Courtesy of: Private Safaris

Images & Facts Sourced: wikipedia.com; heritagecollection.co.za; maropeng.co.za; visi.co.za.

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EARTHSHIP

What is Earthship?

An Earthship is a style of architecture developed in the late 20th century to early 21st century by architect MICHAEL REYNOLDS. Earthships are designed to behave as passive solar earth shelters made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires.

The Earthship is an autonomous self-sufficient house built with natural and recycled materials with energy conservation in mind. Designed to produce water, electricity, and food for its own use. Earthships are defined by six basic design principles, all of which take advantage of the existing natural phenomena of the earth: building with natural and repurposed materials, using thermal and solar heating and cooling, solar- and wind-generated electricity, water harvesting, contained sewage treatment and self-sustained food production.

BUILDING WITH NATURAL AND REPURPOSED MATERIALS

Earthships incorporate many natural and reclaimed materials in their construction. Used Automobiles Tires are the perfect form for a rammed-earth brick. There’s no shortage of USED TIRES—at least 2.5 billion are currently stockpiled in the United States, with 2.5 million more discarded every year. Tires can be seen as a globally available “NATURAL RESOURCE.” Other materials such as CANS and BOTTLES are optional, although bottle brick walls are a familiar stand-out feature of many Earthships. All interior walls are packed out between the tires and plastered with adobe MUD. Mud can also be used for floors, and reclaimed WOOD and metal are often used.

Global Model Earthships have been built in France, Germany, Mexico, Canada and across the United States. For more Details, please click on the below link:

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Valentine’s Day: ROSES & Figures

Did you Know Who is the Biggest Flower Exporter in the World?

The NETHERLANDS: The Dutch auctions provide about 60% of all global floriculture trading volume, while the Netherlands itself is the world’s largest flower exporter by value, accounting for about 34% of the world’s total flower exports every year.

The Netherlands is called the LAND OF FLOWERS.

Where is the Flower Capital of the World?

The town is sometimes referred to as the flower capital of the world, as the largest flower auction in the world is based in AALSMEER, the Netherlands.The NEW CENTERS OF PRODUCTION are typically developing countries like ECUADOR (The Biggest producer and export of roses worldwide), COLOMBIA (second largest exporter in the world and with a market of more than 40 years old), ETHIOPIA, KENYA, and INDIA.

Did you know that a garden is considered incomplete without a ROSE plant, which is sometimes called the “QUEEN OF FLOWERS”

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5G Developping Story

Despite an announcement by AT&T and Verizon that they would pause the 5G rollout near airports, several airlines still cancelled flights or switched aircraft models….Dubai’s Emirates: Suspension of flights to nine (9) U.S. destinations from Jan. 19, the planned date for the deployment of 5G wireless services. Emirates flights to New York’s JFK, Los Angeles and Washington DC will continue to operate.Japan’s (Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines): curtail Boeing 777 flights. …Germany’s Lufthansa: cancelled a flight from Frankfurt to Miami; and switching aircraft used on some U.S. services from Boeing 747-8 to 747-400. Austrian Airlines: switch from a 777 to a 767 to Newark. Korean Air Lines: switched away from 777s and 747-8s on six (6) U.S. passenger & cargo flights, Taiwan’s China Airlines: reschedule some flights…Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways: deploy different aircraft types if needed.The airlines said they were acting in response to a notice from Boeing (BA.N) that 5G signals may interfere with the radio altimeter on the 777, leading to restrictions.

To read the full story, please click on the link: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/airlines-scramble-rejig-schedules-amid-us-5g-rollout-concerns-2022-01-18/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=The%20Reuters%20Daily%20Briefing&utm_content=19-1-22&utm_campaign=19-1-22

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