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Qantas CEO Alan Joyce turns around the airline

Sydney  – Qantas Airways Ltd. chief executive officer (CEO) Alan Joyce hired bodyguards in 2011 after receiving death threats for his unprecedented grounding of the airline's entire fleet during a bitter industrial dispute. Five years later, Joyce has largely won over hostile customers, politicians and unions who had called for his head during the national carrier's worst crisis. Joyce this year delivered record profits and the first dividends since 2009, and on Friday will front the airline's annual meeting in Sydney to unveil plans for growth. Qantas is targeting expansion in Asia with new services to China and the use of "big data" for the airline's hugely profitable frequent flyer business. "You have to look at new trends and technologies all the time and make sure you are keeping up with them," Joyce told …

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Passengers use tech vs travel hassles – survey

Travelers now rely on technology to avoid hassles and improve their experience, based on 6,920 responses from passengers in more than 145 countries gathered under the 2016 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The survey revealed that people want to arrive at the airport ready to fly and prefer to pass through security and border control once without having to remove personal items. They favor uniquely-tailored travel options – and are prepared to offer their personal data to access them. Furthermore, they want to have the same connectivity in the air as on the ground. The survey showed passengers want to be able to do more of the traditional airport processes “off airport” by taking advantage of the latest digital self-service options. In 2016, the percentage of passengers …

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Carnival Vista named year’s best new ship by Cruise Critic

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship Carnival Vista was named the year's best new ship while Seattle was named best US homeport in Cruise Critic's annual awards, announced Wednesday. Cruise Critic praised Seattle for its many attractions and new light rail system, which makes it easy for visitors to get around. Carnival Vista, which launched in May, was cited for its wide-ranging amenities, including an onboard water park, brewery and 14 restaurants. Carnival also won in the category of best value for money for the third consecutive year for affordable fares, free activities and dining venues. The cruise review website and online community chooses winners of its Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards based on the editors’ shared experiences on the ships and their knowledge of the industry. Disney Cruise Line was honored for best dining …

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Tesla hastens self-driving future

After pushing the auto industry along toward an electric future, Elon Musk wants to put cars on an accelerated path to driving autonomously, equipping each new Tesla Motors, Inc. model with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability. Every Tesla, including the upcoming Model 3 sedan, will ship with eight cameras and a dozen sensors to give them 360-degree visibility, according to the Palo Alto, California-based company. While drivers won’t be able to let go of the steering wheel yet, that’s a goal after a series of software refinements Tesla makes over time. Tesla plans to do a Los Angeles-to-New York drive “without the need for a single touch” by the end of 2017, Musk told reporters Wednesday on a conference call. In building each vehicle with the necessary hardware regardless of whether …

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How to eat well at 30,000 feet

If you think all airline food tastes bad, it’s not your imagination. But don’t just blame the chef. Serving flavorful food at high altitude poses a unique challenge. “The problem is that we taste poorly on airplanes,” says Bianca Bosker, author of Cork Dork, an upcoming book covering the science of the senses. “Research has shown that the dryness, deafeningly loud rumble, and air pressure of cabins all effectively dull our senses so that food ends up tasting much blander than it would back on the ground.” But a bit of knowledge — and preparation — can go a long way toward getting you the best possible in-flight meal, even if you’re stuck in steerage. Try to move on up. Sitting in the very front of the plane (meaning business and first-class cabins) …

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Airlines would refund for late bags under US plan

The  Obama administration unveiled sweeping new consumer protections for airline passengers Tuesday that would give travelers refunds when bags arrive late, require carriers to release more information about tardy flights and make purchasing tickets more transparent. The government is also planning to require air carriers to report more information on wheelchairs it loses or damages, and clearer data on the percentage of bags that get lost on flights. “We are committed to a system of fair treatment and fair play for the 700 million passengers that will board 9 million domestic flights this year,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a White House briefing. “These new protections will do just that.” The combination of executive actions and proposed rule changes are the third major effort at improving air-passenger consumer protections by the Obama …

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Eurostar trims jobs as Brexit bites

Eurostar International Ltd. will cut jobs and trim train frequencies between London and mainland Europe following a decline in demand for travel in the wake of Britain’s decision to quit the European Union. The operator of Channel Tunnel express services is in talks with U.K. unions about eliminating 80 posts across its business via voluntary redundancies and the offer of sabbatical leave, it said Tuesday, while declining to provide details of the planned timetable revisions. “This is a challenging environment for all travel companies and we need to manage our costs carefully,” spokeswoman Catherine Bayles said by phone. “That’s why we are looking at the size and shape of our business.” Eurostar said July 29 that passenger numbers fell 3 percent in the second quarter, with revenue slumping 10 percent, as fewer business …

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Air passengers to double in 20 years – IATA

Air travelers will nearly double from 3.8 billion this year to 7.2 billion in 2035, most of whom will be in Asia Pacific, although increasing trade protectionism might still damage growth prospects, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s latest update on its 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast. The association based its prediction on a 3.7 percent annual Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR). "People want to fly. Demand for air travel over the next two decades is set to double. Enabling people and nations to trade, explore, and share the benefits of innovation and economic prosperity makes our world a better place," reiterated Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. The forecast for passenger growth confirms that the biggest driver of demand will be the Asia-Pacific region. It is expected to be …

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i-ACT deploys lady enforcers to man traffic

Some 22 lady enforcers will now manage areas with high pedestrian traffic in Metro Manila. The Inter-agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT), the single authority in traffic management along national roads in the metropolis, deployed the women constables from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to boost its manpower. The MMDA shall also deploy three lady motorcycle riders to complement the traffic enforcers. To date, 1,509 traffic enforcers are assigned to the i-ACT, mostly from the MMDA. The i-ACT is currently in discussion with Local Government Units, mall operators, and volunteer groups to help in managing traffic in Metro Manila. In addition, the i-ACT plans to recruit from the provinces to meet its required number of traffic enforcers. Meanwhile, this week, the i-Act and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) have agreed to extend coding hours …

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That pilot in the cockpit may someday be a robot

By Joan Lowy Manassas, Va.  — From the outside, the single-engine Cessna Caravan that took off from a small airport here on Monday looked unremarkable. But inside the cockpit, in the right seat, a robot with spindly metal tubes and rods for arms and legs and a claw hand grasping the throttle, was doing the flying. In left seat, a human pilot tapped commands to his mute colleague using an electronic tablet. The demonstration was part of a government and industry collaboration that is attempting to replace the second human pilot in two-person flight crews with robot co-pilots that never tire, get bored, feel stressed out or become distracted. The program's leaders even envision a day when planes and helicopters, large and small, will fly people and cargo without any human pilot …

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