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Showing posts from November, 2010

Egypt invests $368m in historic hotels

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The Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) has created a new brand for nine of its most iconic properties. The state-owned company owns a total of 22 hotels in Egypt, and has decided to group its most historic properties together under the moniker Historic Hotels of Egypt. The hotels will have seen a total investment of $368 million by the end of 2013, said General Nabil Selim, chairman of EGOTH. Originally founded in 1841, Cairo’s The Shepheard Hotel is currently undergoing a complete renovation, after the management was taken over by Rocco Forte Luxury Collection in July. The Old Cataract in Aswan (pictured below), built in 1899 and past host to Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, will see its refurbishment completed in 2011. The Nile Ritz Carlton Cairo, one of the city’s top hotels since the 1950s, is also in the middle of a major refurbishment, due to be complete by 2013. The same year a refurbishment of the boutique Luxor Hotel will be completed. Other properties now …

US Airport Secure Flight Passenger Checks Begin

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A new airport security initiative has now started to be introduced to flight sites in the US by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). The Secure Flight programme involves acquiring passenger data to compare it to known terror suspect lists and, overall, passenger using airports in the US have welcomed its arrival.

The introduction of Secure Flight comes just days after the printer cartridge bombs incident - which has now resulted in tighter air cargo security measures being put in place – but it is not directly related to it.

Rather, Secure Flight represents a response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Privacy concerns have delayed its roll-out, until now. Secure Flight ChecksSpeaking to passengers at JFK International Airport, news agency Reuters gauged that, overall, the Secure Flight checks had their approval. “These things are probably necessary”, one said. “Terrorists are still trying to attack, and that needs to be made difficult for them.” Trade organisations have spoken u…

Jetstar delays iPad roll out

Jetstar, the low-cost subsidiary of Qantas Airlines, has delayed rolling out iPads across its network until next year. Initially, the iPads were to be rolled out by year-end. The airline plans to rent out the gadget for US$9.70, which passengers can use to watch movies, read newspapers and magazines or play games. The delay, says chief of Jetstar corporate relations, Simon Westaway, is due to contract negotiations with Apple and media outlets. The scheme was first introduced in June on a trial basis on domestic routes, which proved to be successful.
Source: www.jetstar.com

Tune Hotels to open second London property

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The Asian budget hotel chain is to open a property close to the Broadgate office and retail complex in the City of London, joining the brand’s existing Westminster hotel. The group said that it has secured a site close to the Broadgate complex, although no further details have been given on the hotel or its scheduled opening date. The news comes as Tune Hotels announced it has secured financial backing from a consortium of investors to develop 15 hotels in London by 2015, a total investment of over £100 million. Tune Hotel Westminster opened earlier this year opposite Lambeth North tube station, and the consortium says it is in “active discussions regarding a number of additional sites in central London”. The Broadgate complex is located next to Liverpool Street station, and includes the 35-storey Broadgate Tower, one of the City of London’s tallest buildings.

India Approves New Mumbai Airport

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Mumbai, India, is closer to gaining a second airport after governmental approval was given on 22 November 2010. The huge new Mumbai airport’s go-ahead was given by Jairam Ramesh – India’s Environment Minister – and it paves the way for the site’s construction. The approval came after months of negotiations between environmental and airport officials and includes a set of conditions meant to safeguard local wildlife. Campaigners had been against the first set of airport plans that surfaced, highlighting the amount of trees that would have been lost, and the waterways that would have been redirected. According to Ramesh, some trees will now be kept alive, and one waterway will be left as it is. “From an environmental point of view, this has been a very major compromise that has been reached”, he told media representatives.

“We have bargained, we have negotiated, and we have compromised. The result is an environmentally safe and ecologically sound, energy efficient international airport …

Fighter Jets Intercept Small Plane Over DC

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The U.S. Secret Service is going to interview the pilot of a Cessna 182 who briefly violated Washington, DC airspace restrictions on Monday (11/22). Military officials who spoke to CNN said that NORAD scrambled two F16 fighter jets to intercept the small plane, and then escorted it to an airport in Manassas, Virginia,
Source: Planet Data

Air Force Says Pilot Didn't Survive Alaska Crash

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Friday afternoon the U.S. Air Force announced that search and rescue teams looking for the pilot of an F-22 that crashed near Alaska's Denali National Park have found conclusive evidence that Capt. Jeffrey Haney did not survive. In providing this update, Col. Jack McMullen, 3rd Wing commander said, "Sadly, we can no longer consider this a search and rescue operation, but must now focus on recovery operations."
Source:Planet Data

TSA Debunks Myths, Offers Holiday Travel Advice

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With escalating controversy about the TSA security procedures for people traveling through the nation's airports, the TSA is working overtime to address peoples' issues. Here are two TSA posts meant to clarify policy, technology and procedures. The first is the TSA's "Helpful Hints for Holiday Travelers" and the second is an official TSA blog post addressing some "Myths" about the screening process and certain recently news stories.
Source:Planet Data

Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing for Cracked Windshield

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A Delta flight from Atlanta to Southern California was forced to make an emergency landing in Dallas Thursday afternoon after the jet's cockpit window cracked. The plane landed safely.
Source: Planet Data

Namibian Airport Scare Caused by Test Device

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The suspicious piece of luggage containing possible bomb components found yesterday at Namibia's main airport has turned out to be a suitcase designed to test security procedures and technology. German and Namibian investigators say they don't know how the "real test suitcase" manufactured by a U.S. company ended up in the baggage area of the Windhoek airport and about to be put on an Air Berlin flight bound for Germany, but Namibian officials say the incident was not a security drill gone wrong.
Source:Planet Data

Disguised Man Flies from Hong Kong to Canada

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Nov 5, 2010 — Canadian authorities intercepted a young Asian male disguised as an elderly white man on a flight from Hong Kong that landed at Vancouver on October 29. Air Canada officials say the man claimed refugee protection after his arrest.
Source: Planet Data

68 Dead in Cuban Plane Crash

Nov 5, 2010 — An Aero Caribbean aircraft crashed near the Cuban village of Guasimal in Santi Spiritus province last night killing all 68 people aboard. The plane was one of the last to leave Santiago ahead of Hurricane Tomas. There is no word yet on the possible cause of the tragedy.
Source: Planet Data

Eurocypria of Cyprus goes belly up, leaving thousands of tourists in the lurch

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The Cypriot Charter Airline Company Eurocypria with its ongoing financial challenges finally announced on Thursday an indefinite suspension of all flights. This desperately bad news for Cyprus Tourism is expected to disrupt the travel arrangements of thousands of international tourists.
The state-owned board of Eurocypria made this desperate announcement after its 320 staff declared an indefinite strike over job losses. Rumours surrounding the airline seems have impacted on the distraction of its staff, which by some reports compromised air safety. More specifically the Company stated "The executive board has decided to indefinitely suspend the company's flight programme from midnight, November 4,". The  board went onto advise the Government in the capacity of sole owner to proceed with entering the process of the Company liquidation at the earliest juncture and moreover to seek alternative employment for the Companies existing employees. As the dust settles, it appears tha…

Travel Alert - Haiti

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Ahead of Tropical Storm Tomas (or Hurricane Tomas if it strengthens) possibly hitting Haiti, the U.S. State Department issued the following Travel Alert for the island nation on Tuesday (11/2) warning about the threat from the storm.

U.S. State Department
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens there is a high probability that Tropical Storm Tomas may bring tropical storm force winds and heavy rains to Haiti later this week. While the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has downgraded Tomas from a category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, NHC reports Tomas could regain strength as it moves west. The NHC tracking model shows Tomas turning north toward Haiti by the end of this week; Haiti could begin to feel effects of the storm, such as powerful winds and heavy rain, by November 4. A Travel Warning issued by the U.S. Department of State on June 24, 2010 is still in effect and advises U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Haiti due to limited infrastructure and access to basic services. Even …

Car Bomb Sat at Belfast Airport Since Last Year

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A bomb squad defused an improvised explosive device in a parked car at Belfast International Airport over the weekend. The Belfast Telegraph reports that the vehicle has been parked in the long term lot since last year, and "was meant to go off at the time the car was abandoned." Thankfully it did not explode as the would-be bombers expected, and was only discovered after attendants examined the long ago parked car on Saturday (10/30).
Source: Planet Data

Ex-Guantanamo Detainee Gave Intel on Cargo Plane Bomb Plot

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The British press (The Daily Telegraph, Sky News) is reporting that Yemeni officials have revealed that a former-detainee at the U.S. detention facility in Guartanamo Bay is the person who tipped off Saudi authorities about the parcel bomb plot discovered on Friday. According to the reports, it appears that Jabir al-Fayfi, a member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, fled Yemen for his native Saudi Arabia where he surrendered to authorities on October 16 and then told them about the cargo plane terror plot.
Source:Planet Data

Airlines Must Be Compliant with Secure Flight

As from November 1st, the "grace period" for airlines to be in compliance with the TSA's Secure Flight program is over. This means that Secure Flight will not conduct watch list matching or approve the issuance of a boarding pass by an airline if complete passenger data is not submitted to TSA. When booking an airline reservation a traveler should make sure he/she provides complete Secure Flight passenger data, including full name (as it appears on government-issued ID you plan to use at the airport), date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable).

For more information on TSA Secure Flight visit the TSA website.
Source: Planet Data

Investigation of Yemen Parcel Bombs Continues

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Here are a some key updates about yesterday's discovery of suspicious packages being sent from Yemen to the U.S. President Obama confirmed in a statement to the country on Friday that at least two packages, one in England and one in Dubai, contained explosives.Obama called this a "credible threat".The packages stopped is England and Dubai were addressed to synagogues in Chicago.About 24 additional suspect packages are being examined in the Yemen capital of Sana'a.Officials around the world are saying that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is likely responsible for sending the packages.Source: Planet Data

Going Through Airport Security, Leave that MacBook Air in Your Bag

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Last week Apple released its new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air computers. And CNN was quick to learn that for frequent air travelers the 11-inch version might help speed you through airport security checkpoints. A TSA spokesperson told CNN the 11-inch Air can remain in a traveler's carry-on bag when it goes through the airport security x-ray machine. But the jury is still out on the 13-inch version. However, for the immediate future, if you want to avoid the possibility of a delay at a security checkpoint you may want to separate your 11-inch Air from your carry-on until the policy has time to filter down to TSA security personnel.
Source:Planet Data