New A380 & 787 routes, emissions tax threat, hotel rates, airline sales, pilot fatigue, Spirit makes bank and another new all-Business Class airline

In other airline, hotel and travel industry news this week…

  • Thai Airways will take delivery of two Airbus A380s next year and will initially operate their first whale on regional routes, of which Bangkok to Hong Kong is probable. Once they take delivery of their second A380, service to Frankfurt will begin, followed by London and Paris once additional aircraft come online.
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced this week they’d begin flying their internationally configured Boeing 787s between Tokyo and both Seattle, WA and San Jose, CA beginning April 1st and between Tokyo and Boston April 22nd. The aircraft will feature 46 seats in a staggered all-aisle access Business Class and 112 seats in Economy in a 2 x 4 x 2 configuration. Will United Airlines maintain their SEA-NRT daily roundtrip once that happens? I think not.
  • The latest push to exclude U.S. carriers from the upcoming European Union Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme has failed. The highest court upheld the law that will begin charging airlines for exceeding their carbon emission allotment on flights to and from Europe beginning January 1, 2012. The article quotes one analyst who predicts the law will cost U.S. carriers $3.1 billion from 2012 to 2020. Where is that money going to come from? You and me. We’re now used to fuel surcharges, so why not throw a carbon footprint surcharge in the mix, too? Ugh.
  • Curious to know what hotel rates look like in major North American markets between now and the end of February? Check out this summary showing the lowest and median prices for stays in three-, four- and five-star properties. Chicago, Las Vegas and Toronto have the most economical rates for three- and four-star properties. For those with deep pockets, the median rate for the Ritz Carlton Battery Park in New York is $1,023.88 per night in December.
  • Airline transactions processed through the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) were basically flat last month from the large travel agencies serving major corporations (e.g., American Express, Carlson Wagonlit, Omega World Travel), while tickets processed dropped for the second consecutive month from online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline.
  • The FAA issued a final rule this week covering airline pilot flight times and rest periods. Now instead of eight hours between duty shifts, there will be a minimum 10-hour period with eight of those required to be in a hotel room. Duty times for single cockpit crews will be capped at 14-hours, but can still be extended two hours should delays strike. The new rules don’t apply to cargo operators and UPS pilots sued the FAA on Thursday for inclusion.
  • Spirit Airlines reportedly made $50 million in its first year charging customers who have a carry-on bag that won’t fit underneath the seat in front of them. The fee is currently set at $30 per bag if you schedule it online in advance, $35 during online check-in or $40 if handled at the airport.
  • British Airways may eventually see competition for its all-Business Class London City to New York Kennedy Airbus A318 service. A previously unnamed buyer of 10 Bombardier C-Series passenger jets has come forward saying they hope to begin similar service to New York and other locations. Named Odyssey Airlines, the carrier claims they’ll be able to fly nonstop versus the one-stop refueling British Airways currently has to do in Ireland on westbound flights. The carrier isn’t expected to get off the ground until 2014, if at all.

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