This Week in Travel News

EU Parliament Approves Passenger Data Sharing
The European Parliament has given final approval to an exchange of airline passenger data between security forces in the European Union, ending a stand-off between privacy advocates and those who consider the move crucial to fighting terrorism. The law on retaining and sharing passenger name records – PNRs, had been stalled for years because of opposition within the European Parliament to the blanket collection of such data. Islamist militant attacks in Paris last year and in Brussels last month spurred France and other governments to call for the swift adoption to improve security against terrorism.

Amtrak Sues Kansas Feed Yard Over Train Derailment
Amtrak has filed a federal lawsuit against a southwest Kansas feed yard, accusing it of gross negligence in relation to a train derailment that injured 28 passengers last month. In the suit filed last Friday by Amtrak and BNSF, the plaintiffs allege Cimarron Crossing Feeders failed to notify the railroad or law enforcement after one of the company’s trucks slammed into the railroad road bed and displaced the tracks by more than a foot. The train carrying 131 passengers and 14 crew was travelling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed shortly after midnight along a straight stretch of tracks in flat farmland near Cimarron, a small community about 160 miles west of Wichita.

Environmental Groups Are Suing Over Pollution From US Airlines
Reuters reports Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to press for faster action in setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the US aviation industry. Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, filed the lawsuit to force the agency to complete its so-called “endangerment finding,” a step in the EPA rule making process that would allow the agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from US aircraft. Any “unreasonable delay” in setting emission standards for airlines violates the law and the EPA’s duty under the Clean Air Act, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 To Showcase World’s Largest Marilyn Monroe Collection
Cunard cruise line will pay homage to one of the world’s most captivating Hollywood icons when Queen Mary 2 showcases highlights from the world’s largest Marilyn Monroe Collection on the line’s signature Transatlantic Crossing, August 9-16, 2016. Celebrity auction house Julien’s Auctions will showcase highlights from David Gainsborough-Roberts’ renowned Marilyn Monroe Collection, the world’s largest collection of film-worn Marilyn Monroe costumes, on board Cunard’s flagship ocean liner for passengers to view and purchase. The Collection, comprised of film costumes, personal gowns and clothing, jewelry, property owned by Monroe, and original photographs and film posters, is the most substantial Marilyn Monroe archive of professional and personal items that exists today.

Terror Alert At Amsterdam Airport
Two men were arrested during a suspected terror incident at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport Tuesday night. Part of the airport’s concourse was evacuated for several hours while armed police and bomb squads combed the area. The Sheraton hotel adjacent to the airport was also evacuated during the incident, which lasted around four hours until about 1.30 am. One man was arrested outside the entrance to the airport’s terminal building, a second was later arrested at a train station nearby. No flights or trains were disrupted during the incident. Dutch news reported that police had not found anything dangerous inside the luggage of the man arrested at the airport, but two men are believed to remain in police custody.

Singapore Airlines Hires Its First Female Pilots
For the first time in the airline’s history, two women are enrolled in its pilot training program. Since its founding in 1972, Singapore Airlines has made history: the airline purchased the world’s first Airbus A380, and it will once again be home to the world’s longest flight, an 18-hour haul between Singapore and New York, as of 2018. Now, for the first time in its 44-year history, Singapore Airlines will have female pilots. The Straits Times estimates that Singapore is the last major global airline in the world to enlist female pilots, and only some five% of total registered pilots in the entire world are female.

Southwest Raises One Of Its Fees
The increased the cost of its EarlyBird Check-In fee by 20% to $15 one-way, up from $12.50. The price increase went into effect in March. Southwest has an open seating policy. Passengers are not given specific seat assignments, but are instead assigned a position within three boarding groups – A, B or C – when they check-in. Seats are then filled on a first come, first served basis.

Virgin To Launch New US Routes

Virgin Atlantic is increasing its regional presence with two brand new routes from Manchester Airport and a codeshare agreement with Flybe. The airline is launching flights from Manchester to San Francisco and Boston in summer 2017. The new codeshare agreement with Flybe means from April 2, customers will be able to book tickets on Virgin Atlantic’s website to travel from one of 18 UK or European airports, and connect to a Virgin flight at Manchester, Glasgow or London Gatwick Airport.

U.S. Tourists Put Strain on Cuba’s Beer Stock

Reuters reports the ubiquitous fridges that dispense beer in Cuba’s bars, cafes and petrol stations are running out of the island’s favorite Cristal and Bucanero brands as a surge in American tourists and the proliferation of new private watering holes put the nation’s main brewery under strain. Brewer Bucanero needs a new plant to keep pace with demand from tourists and a burgeoning private restaurant sector that competes with state-run outlets for supplies, Mayle Gonzalez, a sales executive at the company, said on Saturday.

Senate Kills Measure That Might Have Stopped Sardine-Seating On Airlines

The Senate has killed an amendment to a bill addressing minimum standards for seating aboard commercial airplanes, a measure that would have required the Federal Aviation Administration to set minimum seat-size standards for airlines. The measure came from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said everywhere he goes these days, he hears air travelers complaining that they’re sick of being crammed into airplanes “like sardines.” “I became a sardine Sunday in an older LH 777-200, eight across in economy, but with brand new seats, knees pressing against the seat in front. The armrest on the aisle seat was stationary. There was no way this plane could have been evacuated in 90 seconds, the required amount of time required by law to evacuate a plane in an emergency. Yes the airlines say they meet this requirement, but with what size of people? Supermodels?” Airlines for America opposes the seating mandate, arguing that the FAA has already set reasonable standards based on safety as, it says, the agency should. Otherwise, let the market decide, the group says. Only two airlines, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America, ranked above middling in seating comfort, according to the magazine’s July 2013 survey. 

BA working on codeshares with China Eastern and China Southern

British Airways is in talks with two Chinese state-owned carriers to start codesharing flights between Europe and China, as the U.K. carrier seeks to tap the Chinese travel boom. Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group, said an absence of a domestic Chinese carrier in the Oneworld alliance has prompted the airline to seek partnerships outside the airline alliance in a bid to strengthen its network between Europe and the world’s second-largest economy.

Australia is now running a check on everyone departing the country, too

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection is now running automated checks on all passengers departing the country. The Outward Advance Passenger Processing (APP) program uses iBorders from SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports. SITA’s iBorders system provides real-time, integration between the airlines’ systems and the Department’s border management systems. Outward APP, which provides interactive advanced passenger information, was put in place following legislation enacted by the Australian Government to help improve Australia’s border integrity and national security. As part of these measures, airlines are required to provide data for all travelers departing Australia in advance of their flight. The airline transmits each passenger’s data to the Department during check-in, receiving in response a ‘board’/’no board’ message in real-time.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.