Showing posts from October, 2009

Cyprus Tourism arrivals down by 10% in 2009

Greetings from the Island of Love where we are just coming out of another heatwave with temperatures crossing the 30 degrees (yes three zero you read it right) mark on some occasions. Yet despite such spectacular so called autumn weather and the fact that Cyprus is literally the hottest spot in the EU, the Tourists have in the main disappeared already, when October is precisely the best time of year to visit, along with spring. In fact Tourism arrivals are down by 10.7% overall during the first 9 months of 2009 with 1.75 million tourist recorded, compared to 1.96 compared to 2008.

What is fascinating about these numbers is that the worst decline in arrivals stems from the usually buoyant Russian market, which is massive 20.1% down. Is it the downturn or are they finding new places to vacation to? Sweden is down 19.1% and the UK (most important market to Cyprus) is down 7.2%, less than expected, especially with the ultra weak pound.

There are some bright spots though, as the Austrian m…

November Worldwide Events

Remember the 5th of November? The fascinating story centered around Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606) often referred to by our overseas friends as Guido Fawkes, who was a member of a group of EnglishRoman Catholic revolutionaries that famously planned to carry out the great Gunpowder Plot. Although Robert Catesby was the lead figure in conjuring up the actual plot, Fawkes was the man put in charge of executing the plan, as a result of his military and explosives experience. The plot was however foiled, shortly before its intended devastating completion. Fawkes himself was captured in the act, whilst guarding the gunpowder. They were all later executed for treason. Suspicion was aroused because he wore a coat, boots and spurs, as though he intended to leave in a rush! Guy Fawkes most certainly left a lasting mark on history and popular culture in the United Kingdom and even parts of the Commonwealth. On November 5 the yearly event of Bonfire Night takes place, centered on the …

BA to charge a seat booking tax

In a bid to stop the rot on losses, British Airways is set to start charging passengers who want to choose their seats in advance as they book flights.

These Ryanair styled seat taxes will impact on people that desire to secure a seat next to each other on a flight, which of course is pretty much any 2 or more people travelling together! Moreover, it will affect anyone with a seat preference such as window, emergency exit or even an aisle.

Until recently BA featured no such levy for passengers that wished to reserve seats in the 24 hours window prior to departure, however as from the 7th of October this has all changed.  Would be passengers that are willing and able to pay can now secure their preferences at the point of booking.

Interestingly the official at BA commented that the move would "give customers more control over their seating options."

Good question! For an economy class flight within the Eurozone, passengers will be asked to fork out an additional 10 G…

Stray Pilots Say They Were Using Their Laptops

The pilots of the Northwest Airlines flight, that overflew its destination last week by more than 150 miles, say they were using their laptops during the time period that air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. The pilots say they were using their personal computers, against company regulations, to review a new crew flight scheduling system. The NTSB is continuing its investigation.

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By Planet Data

Scottish Investigators Still Looking at Lockerbie Bombing

The UK press reports that Scottish authorities are still investigating the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Furthermore reporters from The Scotsman have found that investigators originally wanted to interview 8 other "high-level" suspects but the Libyan government refused to cooperate with Scottish police.

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By Planet Data

Fourteen Americans Die in Two Afghan Helicopter Crashes

There were two deadly helicopter crashes in Afghanistan Monday (10/26). In the first accident, a NATO chopper went down after leaving the scene of a raid on Afghan militants. According to NATO, in this crash seven U.S. troops and three U.S. civilians were killed, and among those injured were 14 Afghan and 11 American troops, and one U.S. civilian.
In the second incident two helicopters collided, killing four U.S. troops.
Officials believe neither incident involved enemy gunfire.

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By Planet Data

Russian Aircraft Conglomerate Buys MiG Corp.

Russia's United Aircraft Corporation has bought a 100% interest in the MiG aircraft making corporation, UAC said on Friday."

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By Planet Data

Temporary FAA Flight Restriction Over Puerto Rico Gas Fire

Very early this morning two explosions set off a massive fire at Caribbean Petroleum's tank farm and refinery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. As of this morning firefighters were battling the blaze that has engulfed at least 11 of the more than 30 tanks. More than 300 people have been evacuated from the surrounding area. It is not known yet what caused the initial explosions.
Bloomberg reports that the FAA has issued a temporary flight restriction up to 15,000 feet and about a mile wide over the fire.

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By Planet Data

Suicide Bombing at Pakistan Air Force Facility

A suicide bomber attacked the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra this morning killing himself and seven others. The complex is Pakistan's primary air force maintenance and research facility.

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By Planet Data

Air India Passenger Goes Crazy Mid-Flight

This past Sunday (10/11) a passenger went, by most media accounts, "berserk" and tried to open the door on an Air India Express flight between Dubai and Mangalore. After two outbursts the belligerent male passenger was subdued by flight crew members and other passengers, and then tied to his seat for the rest of the flight.

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By Planet Data  

Pentagon Fast Tracks Newest Non-Nuke Mega-Bomb

There were reports back in August that the Pentagon was trying to expedite delivery of its newest non-nuclear mega-bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. Now the DoD has awarded a contract worth nearly $52 million to speed up placement of the bomb on the Air Force's B-2 Stealth bombers.
It seems the Pentagon wants to have MOP available as a possible option for dealing with suspected nuclear installations in Iran and North Korea.

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By Planet Data 

Russia Testing 5 ICBMs Before 2010

"Russia's Strategic Missile Forces will launch five intercontinental ballistic missiles by the end of 2009, the SMF commander said Monday.

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By Planet Data

N. Korea Tests Missiles, Issues Maritime Navigation Ban

North Korea issued a ban on maritime activity off its east and west coasts between October 10 and 20, and then test-launched five short-range missiles into the East Sea on Monday (10/12). Presumably with the navigation ban in place for 8 more days, the North plans to conduct additional weapons tests.

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By Planet Data

Alleged Hijacker Surrenders to U.S. Authorities After 4 Decades

Luis Pena Soltren, 66, who is accused of taking part in the 1968 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 281 surrendered to American authorities this past weekend after living in Cuba for nearly 41 years. Soltren allegedly was one of the armed men who seized control of the New York to Puerto Rico flight and ordered the pilots to fly to Cuba.
Once in Cuba the 102 passengers and crew were released and allowed to return to the U.S.

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By Planet Data 

New Head of Security for Reagan Washington National Airport

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced this week that Robert Allison has been named the Federal Security Director (FSD) for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), which serves Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. Allison had been serving as the acting FSD at DCA since December 2008.

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By Planet Data 

October Worldwide Events

Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere and those dark nights are creeping in to haunt us; it will only get worse soon when the clocks go back too! The southern Hemisphere however is starting to smile in contrast as spring is in the air!

The Perpetual Traveller world events take on a more creative form this month and as always there is a great selection to choose from…

World Food Day 16th October 2009

World Food Day is celebrated on the 16th October and focuses on the fundamental aim of preventing people (especially children) around the world from going hungry. With an estimated increase of 105 million hungry people in 2009, there are now 1.02 billion malnourished people in the world, meaning that almost one sixth of all humanity is suffering from hunger.

Further information:

Grand Designs Live 9th – 11th October 2009

The award winning event for design and inspiration for your home returns to NEC Birmingham this October 2009. With lots in store for this year's show inc…

Olympic Airlines to become Olympic Air with a new face change

After years of a failed aviation business strategy, which clearly impacted on operations, the Greek carrier Olympic Airlines has finally and effectively ceased to exist (as from the 29th of September 2009).

The loss-making state carrier was purchased by the Marfin Investment Group (MIG) powerhouse. A new era is born as the airline is now being relaunched with a slimmed-down network and new aircraft as it moves into the hands of private ownership operating under the name Olympic Air.

The people that be at Olympic Air wasted no time and quickly set up a new website being, although online bookings are not yet actually possible. The new carrier officially launched on the 1st of October 2009, with 20 key domestic routes in addition to the following 10 international destinations, whereby both economy and business class services will be available:

1. London
2. Paris
3. Vienna
4. Brussels
5. Amsterdam
6. Milan
7. Rome
8. Bucharest
9. Larnaca
10. Sofia

At Perpetual Traveller we are surpr…

British Airways launches flights from London City (LCY) to New York (JFK)

As the UK officially and tentatively climbs out of a nasty economic recession, British Airways (BA) recently launched an all-business class flight between London City Airport and New York JFK on the 29th of September 2009.

The 2 daily flights served with an Airbus (A318) aircraft (largest aircraft type presently permitted to use LCY airport) will require a 45-minute refueling stop at Shannon on the outbound journey. BA are stressing that the stop is actually an advantage as Shannon has full Customs and Border Protection facilities, meaning passengers are permitted a complete pre-clearance at the airport, meaning in reality that they will arrive in the US already as a domestic passenger, thereby avoiding the often extremely lengthy US immigration process.

At this juncture the first few flights are reported to be reasonably full, although only time will tell whether this gamble will pay-off, especially considering the delicate prevailing economic conditions. The target market is of course…