Travel News: World Routes Awards, Thomas Cook, & Plastic-Free Cruises

WIT (13)

World Routes Awards have interesting winners!

The annual World Routes Awards took place at the Adelaide Convention Centre last week. The awards are highly regarded in the aviation industry for recognizing marketing services that support new and existing air services, as well as excellence and innovation in the route development community.

  • Budapest Airport was named the Overall Winner! The airport’s passenger numbers have risen exponentially, with 2018 recording a rise of 13.5 percent to 14.9 million. A total of 34 new routes have been announced or started so far in 2019.
  • Brisbane Airport won the 20-50 million passenger category, having secured new services from an impressive seven Asian airlines in the last two years. The airport saw total passenger numbers grow by 1.7% to more than 23.6 million in 2018, with international traveler numbers surging by 4.8% to more than six million.

 

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  • In the Over 50 Million Passenger Category, Singapore Changi Airport was named the winner. The airport’s total passenger traffic hit 65.6 million in 2018, a year-on-year rise of 5.5 percent and up from 37.2 million a decade earlier. In the last 12 months, the airport has added seven new passenger airlines, as well as expanding connectivity to the likes of Urumqi, Nanning and Wuhan in China, plus Busan in South Korea and Kolkata in India among others.
  • Tourism Ireland won the Destination Category having experienced its best-ever year for tourism to the island of Ireland in terms of visitor numbers, with growth of 5 percent compared with the previous record year. Last year the organization worked on 69 marketing campaigns with 22 carriers, ten airport partners and made a combined investment of more than €7m promoting travel to the island of Ireland.
  • Vueling secured The Airline Award. This carrier has enjoyed 10 years of consecutive growth, secured The Airline Award. The airline took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft in 2018 and this year has launched a number of new routes from Bilbao, Tenerife North and Florence.
  • The Overcoming Adversity Award was presented to Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Having faced three unprecedented crises between 2016 and 2017, the organization implemented crises recovery management plan that included restoring core flights and re-establishing international connections. 

Fallout From Thomas Cook’s Demise Will Reach Far And Wide In Travel

One of Europe’s biggest travel companies is no more and the damage it leaves in its wake is likely to take some time to clear. Last Monday, Thomas Cook announced it was shutting down and hundreds of other hoteliers, tour operators and other travel businesses are likely to suffer as a result. No word yet, though, on how much this loss of business might be worth.

And it’s not just companies that will be affected. Turkey, a key destination for European tourists, stands to lose out on as many as 700,000 visitors, according to the head of Turkey’s Hoteliers Federation. With Thomas Cook gone, TUI Group is the only vertically-integrated tour operator left standing in Europe. It too has a business model susceptible to shocks but has spent a considerable amount of money investing in hotels and cruise ships in the last few years, putting it in a better position.

Thomas Cook’s collapse has led to the UK government launching its largest-ever peacetime repatriation with more than a dozen planes brought in to fly stranded customers home over the next two weeks. Airlines like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are involved. In Germany, Condor airline received a bridging loan from the federal government to secure its future and although other tour operator subsidiaries have not filed for insolvency, they have stopped selling holidays.

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Rival Airlines Are Raising Prices By As Much As 400% After Thomas Cook Collapsed

Unfortunately, this collapse means that travelers have found tickets with rival airlines like Jet2, British Airways, Ryanair, and TUI to have gone up as much as 400%. The collapse left 600,000 people stranded around the world, and many with now-worthless bookings for future flights. One traveler said on Monday that the cost of a flight with British budget airline Jet2 had almost doubled within an hour of Thomas Cook’s collapse. 

China Opens Its Massive New Airport In Beijing

Beijing Daxing International Airport is now open and it’s gorgeous! The massive air hub is expected to become the biggest single terminal by traveler capacity in around two decades. The Chinese leader and top government officials came to the opening ceremony inside the starfish-shaped terminal on Wednesday, days before the country marks the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic.

Located 46 kilometers from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the airport, abbreviated PKX, is set to boost tourism and further support China’s flagship infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. Daxing airport will also reduce pressure on the overcrowded Beijing Capital International Airport, the second-largest air hub in the world.

Quick facts: 

  • Construction cost around $17.47 billion in total
  • The terminal building alone covers 700,000 square meters
  • The new transport hub will have the capacity to handle about 45 million passengers a year by 2021, and 72 million by 2025.
  • The airport is planned to eventually expand from four to seven runways in total
  • The goal is to serve about 620,000 flights annually, or one flight per minute.

By 2040 the hub wants to be able to welcome 100 million passengers per year, thus becoming the world’s largest single terminal in terms of traveler capacity. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US currently holds the crown of the world’s busiest airport serving than 100 million travelers, but they are split between its two terminals. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Says It Will Be Plastic Bottle Free By January 1

Norwegian Cruise Line announced it will replace all single-use plastic bottles across its fleet by January 1, 2020, beginning aboard the Norwegian Encore. The company said it is a result of its partnership with JUST Goods, Inc. Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said: “It is imperative that we take meaningful steps to preserve our oceans and the destinations we visit…. While we are aware that this is just the beginning of what we and others need to do to be good stewards of our environment, we are committed to our Sail & Sustain initiatives and will continue to innovate for the overall benefit of the planet and its future.” The company’s ships will now feature JUST, which takes an innovative approach to sourcing and packaging water. The company focuses on an impact model, taking into consideration both how the water is sourced and packaged, according to a press release, as JUST is 100% spring water in a plant-based carton. The carton is made of 82% renewable materials, the paper carton is made from trees grown in responsibly-managed forests and the cap and shoulder are made from a sugarcane-based plastic. It is refillable and recyclable. It will replace over six million single-use plastic bottles every year.

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Port Tampa Bay To Add Three Cruise Lines

Passengers who prefer sailing out of Florida’s Gulf Coast over the ports on the Atlantic side of the state will soon have some new cruise lines to choose from. Holland America, Celebrity and MSC Cruises will sail from Port Tampa Bay next year. Holland America and Celebrity will resume using Port Tampa Bay as a port of call next year, where they will be joined by newcomer MSC Cruises. This will give Port Tampa Bay six cruise lines for next winter, as the three join Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. Even with the additions, Tampa won’t get much closer to Florida’s busiest ports in Miami and Port Canaveral in terms of passenger traffic. While the pair hosted almost 5.6 million and 4.6 million travelers respectively in 2018, Tampa welcomed just over one million people.

Delta Issues A Weather Waiver For Bermuda Ahead Of Tropical Storm Jerry

The US carrier has issued a weather waiver for Bermuda ahead of Tropical storm Jerry. Delta’s team of meteorologists is keeping an eye on the track of Tropical Storm Jerry, which is expected to pass north of Bermuda today into Wednesday afternoon with winds gusts of 35-45 mph. This waiver allows customers with flexibility in their travel plans to make a one-time change to their itinerary without incurring a change fee. 

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