Categories
Transport

British Airways extends revolving credit facility

British Airways has extended its United States dollar secured revolving credit facility for one year.

The move, confirmed by International Airlines Group, will take effect from June 23rd.

The amount available under the extended facility is $1.38 billion.

Including the extended facility and some smaller additional facilities recently arranged, IAG has total undrawn general and committed aircraft financing facilities equivalent to €2.1 billion currently, compared to €1.9 billion at the end of 2019.

IAG has not drawn down on any of its facilities.

IAG continues to have strong liquidity with cash, cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits of €7.2 billion as of March 27th.

Total cash and undrawn facilities are currently €9.3 billion.

In addition, the group is exploring a number of operational and treasury initiatives to improve further its cash flow and liquidity and will update the market in due course.

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Holiday

IBTM Connect to showcase industry knowledge online

IBTM Events has launched a new online platform, IBTM Connect.

The service is a resource hub for business events professionals to access and share knowledge and practical guidance. 

The launch is part of a three-step plan to keep exhibitors, hosted buyers and the wider industry connected as they collectively navigate the impact of Covid-19.

IBTM Connect will host regularly updated content, including insightful webinars and videos from key industry professionals, ways to virtually network with industry peers and news and updates to prepare for recovery.

Commenting on the launch, Shane Hannam, portfolio director, IBTM Events, said: “We recognise that this is an unprecedented period of challenge for our industry and we are absolutely committed to continuing to provide support and education for our peers.

“Our connections and industry partnerships mean that we are uniquely positioned to create and curate high quality content from around the globe that can serve to provide insights and tangible benefits during this time.

“By keeping conversations going and sharing learnings, together we can weather the storm and emerge in the strongest possible position to rebuild and recover.”

Content will be refreshed regularly, including with weekly webinars from industry experts covering topics, including motivational keynote speaker Gary Bradt delivering a session on ‘how to cope during times of unprecedented change’ and Helen Moon, founder of Eventwell, talking about ‘mental health and wellbeing’.

The latest content on IBTM Connect covers everything from mental health and wellness, to managing a crisis and tips for working from home.

Further details will be announced in due course on the official website.

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Categories
Travel

Tourists flock to Dutch tulip fields to take Instagram-worthy travel snaps

Considering jetting off on holiday?

You might want to take a leaf out of travel bloggers’ books and head to the tulip fields of Holland.

The country is famous for his pretty petal fields – and Instagrammers make the most of the picturesque scenery by taking photos.

Scores of tourists enjoy walking through the fields and posing against the flowery backdrop.

Alternatively, holidaymakers can soak up the setting on bike tours or boat trips.

If a Netherlands getaway has piqued your interest, here are the best places to see blooming bulbs.

There are several bulb field regions in Holland.

One of the most famous is nestled between Leiden and Den Helder, just behind the North Sea dunes.

The Keukenhof Flower Fields boasts rows of tulips, as well as daffodils and hyacinths.

On April 25, 2020, the location will also host a flower parade.

The Bloemencorso Bollenstreek sees a line of petal-covered floats wind through a 40km route.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators watch the festivity, which takes place in the municipality of Noordwijk.

Musical acts and luxury car displays also draw tourists to the festivity.

And for those who don’t make it to the big day, there are other events held from April 22 to 26.

It’s not tricky for tourists to visit Keukenhof – as it’s around 20-30 miles from Amsterdam.

To get to the gardens you can book a coach, tour group or hire a car.

Entrance tickets can be picked up from £15.

Note that Keukenhof opens on March 21 – you can expect to see tulips there until May 19.

For those who want to head further than the Netherlands’ capital, Flevoland could be a shout.

Noordoostpolder and Oostelijk Flevoland are tulip fields hotspots.

Alternatively, you can head to North Holland where you’ll find Enkhuizen and Breezand.

All offer fabulous flower experiences – as well as the opportunity to take the perfect selfie.

  • Tourists flock to 'Galician Chernobyl' to pose by contaminated waters

If we’ve convinced you to book a trip to Holland, you may want to look at some flights on Skyscanner.

Currently, you can jet off from London to Amsterdam from just £26.

So for around £50 per person, your travel should all be sorted.

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Categories
Transport

Norwegian secures NOK3 billion in government support

Low-cost carrier Norwegian has secured the necessary approvals to unlock emergency funding.

The Norwegian government last week proposed a guarantee of NOK6 billion for the Norwegian airline industry, of which up to NOK3 billion is directed to Norwegian.

The guarantee will be up to 90 per cent from the Norwegian government provided that financial institutions contribute with the remaining ten percent.

The guarantee scheme will consist of three tranches with a maximum two years maturity.

Two Nordic banks have now obtained credit committee approval to provide a guarantee to Norwegian for the required ten per cent for the first tranche.

Norwegian will secure the necessary headroom to pursue further guarantees from the Norwegian government, the carrier said.

The company added it was now working with GIEK and the ministry of trade, industry and fisheries to clarify the criteria and terms related to the remaining tranches under the scheme and to obtain further guarantees from financial institutions in order to back such remaining tranches.

Norwegian will update the market with its further plan of action and implications for its stakeholders as soon as the criteria and terms have been finalised.

Currently, most of the Norwegian fleet is grounded and the company has reduced its operations to a minimum.

Norwegian will primarily operate domestically in Norway and Sweden and between the Nordic capitals, in order to deliver on its corporate responsibility of maintaining critical infrastructure so that people and necessary goods and medical supplies can be transported during this unprecedented crisis.

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Categories
Travel

These tourists are not as brave as they look – can you see why?

Last summer a daredevil couple took breathtaking snaps of them dangling from a precarious 2,769ft peak to "feel alive".

Leonardo Edson Pereira, 23, and his girlfriend Victoria Medeiros Nader, 18, appeared to take living life of the edge to a whole new level.

They seem fearless as they hang off Brazil's Pedra de Gavea in a series of daring images, wearing just bikinis and shorts.

"I love living on the edge! I know people think it's dangerous and crazy but it makes me feel alive," Leonardo said.

"It is really high and I do just hang on using my arm strength. I have to trust myself not to fall."

But recent Instagram snaps have revealed that the couple could have been winding us all up.

The beautiful backdrop where the couple seemed to be risking it all looks suspiciously like the Pedra do Telegrafo, where hundreds of tourists queue to take trick pictures.

This is because, although the stone appears to be on a cliff edge, there is actually a plateau just below where people can stand.

The spectacular spot in Tijuca Forest near Rio de Janeiro allows nervous travellers to show off to their mates back home without risking anything at all.

And several pictures posted to social media before being edited or cropped show the ground just below their feet.

The trick was revealed after images appeared to show Luis Fernando Candela hanging by his feet and using his abs to hold himself in position high above the beach.

The pictures appears to show Candela hanging from a cliff face with spectacular views of the Pedra Branca national park in the background.

"This is by far the most dangerous stunt I've tried. The only thing that was keeping me up was my strength – all the weights I've tried in the gym were building up to this moment," he said.

"My girlfriend was terrified but I was determined to get the photo."

But the image was later found to be a fake. In fact, hundreds of tourists have posted pictures of them leaping from the ledge, which seems to be thousands of feet above the ground – sneaky!

Pedra da Gavea was the first mountain in Brazil to be named in Portuguese, with its literal translation being 'Rock of the Topsail'.

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Categories
Cruises

Spain to close all hospitality accommodation from Tuesday

Officials in Spain have ordered the closure of all hotels, campsites and short-stay accommodation from next Tuesday.

The closures come amid a rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

There have been 14,769 cases recorded in the country, with 638 deaths to date.

Spain is currently under an intensive lockdown, which is expected to last for another two weeks.

In response to the latest moves, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has advised Britons to get in touch with their travel operator as soon as possible.

A spokesperson said: “The Spanish government have confirmed that all hotels will close in Spain from Tuesday.

“We therefore advise British travellers in Spain to contact their tour operator or airline as soon as possible, to arrange their return journey home before this date.”

The country declared a state of emergency on March 14th, which introduced a series of measures including significant restrictions on movement throughout the country in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Seats on flights out of Spain over the coming days are expected to be in high demand, with both Ryanair and easyJet announcing near complete groundings from next week.

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Categories
Cruises

Azizi Developments nearly sells out Palm Jumeirah development

Azizi Developments has recorded 80 per cent pre-sales of its residential units on Palm Jumeirah.

In line with its strategy, the developer consistently achieves a high pre-sales ratio across all of its projects, with all of them selling out swiftly prior to their completion.

Spanning across nearly 38,500 square metres of built up area, Mina features 178 units, comprising 120 one-bedroom apartments, 54 two-bedroom residences, and four spacious, lavishly designed penthouses scheduled to be completed by quarter two of the year.

The project also features several retail units spread across 1,847 square metres.

This report comes in light of Azizi Developments’ recent announcement of surprising its existing customers with further enhancements to the landscaping of Mina with an investment of over AED10 million.

Azizi is now utilising superior hardscape materials of improved specifications, at no cost to its clients.

The developer also added to the soft landscape through the generous addition of greenery in the form of trees, bushes, and floral plants.

Furthermore, shaded areas are being added for the comfort of Mina’s residents, and ground levels are being adjusted to make the landscape more visually appealing.

Mina residents will enjoy immediate proximity to the Palm’s extensive promenade, where families can bask in the orange glow of Dubai’s soothing sunsets and active residents can take advantage of early-morning runs.

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Categories
Transport

Gatwick Airport cuts staff, closes gates and suspends investment

Gatwick Airport has unveiled a series of steps designed to safeguard the “financial resilience” of the business in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The plans will significantly reduce costs.

The spread of Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the global aviation industry with airlines at Gatwick – including easyJet, British Airways, Norwegian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and TUI – reporting reduced levels of traffic.

There have also been substantial cuts in planned capacity over the next two months.

In response, Gatwick will close to flights between midnight and 05:30 from Tuesday – except for emergency landings – and close two of its six piers.

In terms of capital expenditure, the airport is deferring spending on its investment programme for the foreseeable future.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, and his executive team will take a 20 per cent salary cut and waive any bonuses for the current financial year.

Gatwick has also terminated the employment of 200 staff employed on temporary fixed-term contracts and contractors.

Wingate said: “Gatwick is a resilient business, but the world has changed dramatically in recent weeks and we have been forced to take rapid, decisive action to ensure that the airport is in a strong position to recover from a significant fall in passenger numbers.

“We also very much regret having to make this difficult decision to reduce our staff numbers and I would like to thank everyone for the contribution they made to the business.

“Significantly reduced passenger numbers are likely to be sustained, at least in the short- to medium-term, and I need to prepare people for the news that other serious measures are likely.”

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Categories
Transport

Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises Brits against all non-essential foreign travel for 30 days

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has advised British citizens against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days.

The advice takes effect immediately.

The change in advice reflects the pace at which other countries are either closing their borders or implementing restrictive measures in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Often there is little or no notice when countries take these steps and restrictions are also being imposed in areas where no cases of coronavirus have yet been reported, the FCO said.

They are therefore very difficult to predict.

British people who decide that they still need to travel abroad should be fully aware of the increased risks of doing so.

That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home, if travel restrictions are put in place.

Anyone still considering travel to be realistic about the level of disruption they are willing and able to endure, and to make decisions in light of the unprecedented conditions.

Foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lock downs in various countries.

“The speed and range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented.

“So, I have taken the decision to advise British nationals against all non-essential international travel.”

The FCO, however, said it was not currently advising Brits to immediately return to the UK if they are overseas.

However, they should keep in mind that flights may be cancelled at short notice or other travel restrictions may be put in place by foreign governments.

“Whether travel is essential or not is a personal decision and circumstances differ from person to person.

“It is for individuals themselves to make an informed decision based on the risks and FCO advice,” the FCO said in a statement.

UK inward and outward travel has already fallen by a significant amount since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet have cut flights by 80 per cent this month and IAG (operator of British Airways) has decreased capacity by 75 per cent.

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Categories
Transport

Air New Zealand pauses ticket sales, cuts flights

Air New Zealand is further reducing capacity across its network as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on travel demand.

The airline placed itself into a trading halt today to allow it time to more fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions.

On its long-haul network, Air New Zealand will be reducing its capacity by 85 per cent over the coming months and will operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open.

Full details of this schedule will be advised in the coming days.

Among the network capacity reductions, the airline can advise it is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from March 30th until the end of June.

The Tasman and Pacific Island network capacity will significantly reduce between April and June.

Details of these schedule changes will be announced later this week.

On the Domestic network, capacity will be reduced by around 30 per cent in April and May but no routes will be suspended.

Customers are advised that due to the unprecedented level of schedule changes they should not contact the airline unless they are due to fly within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation to New Zealand or their home country.

Air New Zealand chief executive, Greg Foran, said that while airlines face an unprecedented challenge, Air New Zealand is better placed than most to navigate its way through it.

“The resilience of our people is exceptional, and I am consistently amazed by their dedication and passion for our customers,” he said.

“We are a nimble airline with a lean cost base, strong balance sheet, good cash reserves, an outstanding brand and a team going above and beyond every day.

“We also have supportive partners.

“We are also in discussions with the government at this time.”

As a result of the downturn in travel Air New Zealand continues to review its cost base and will need to start the process of redundancies for permanent positions acknowledging the important role partnering with unions has in this process.

“We are now accepting that for the coming months at least Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including people.

“We have deployed a range of measures, such as leave without pay and asking those with excess leave to take it, but these only go so far.

“We are working on redeployment opportunities for some of our staff within the airline and also to support other organisations.”

Foran added the airline is working constructively with the heads of the four main unions representing more than 8,000 of its workforce to ensure the right outcome for all staff.

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