Friday 28 September 2018

THAILAND: Maya Bay Remains Closed

Thailand's popular Maya Bay will be continue to be closed to tourists until the end of October due to unfinished restoration and dangers associated with the current monsoon season.

The pristine beach on the southern island of Koh Phi Phi popularized by the 2000 movie "The Beach" was closed for the first time in June after it was discovered that most of its coral had been damaged by boat anchors.

The part of the bay where damaged corals are rehabilitating and new corals are being planted has been closed to boats permanently, the National Park Department has said.

Initially, the beach had been set to reopen for tourists on October 1 but the temporary closure has been extended as a tourist bridge has not been completyed, according to Nopparat National Park chief Worapoj Lomlim.

We're also concerned about the tourists' safety amid the current monsoon season, Worapoj said, adding that damaged corals have rehabilitated fast and officials have managed to plant more than 2,000 new coral colonies during the closure.

The temporary closure will continue each year to prevent further damage to the environment.

Thailand's overall coral damage has reached a critical level, with an alarming increase to 78 per cent from 30 per cent a decade ago, said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a prominent marine ecologist overseeing the effort.

The famous Maya Bay in Thailand has been closed for three months to give its coral reefs a chance to recover. After the reopening on October 1st, each visit will be limited to one hour.

Since June, more than 500 new coral colonies have been planted in Maya Bay, on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea.

The young corals are growing at an unbelievably fast pace. We will soon see the return of this paradise, said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a prominent marine ecologist overseeing the effort.

Maya Bay — popularized by "The Beach," a Hollywood movie released in 2000 — was closed for the first time in June after it was discovered that most corals in the area had been damaged by boat anchors.

The front of Maya Bay, where damaged corals are rehabilitating and new corals are being planted, has been closed to boats permanently, according to the National Park Department.

Tourists can access the bay from the back entrance when it reopens on October 1. The four-month temporary closure will continue each year to prevent further damage to the environment.

Thailand’s overall coral damage has reached a critical level, with an alarming increase to 78 per cent from 30 per cent a decade ago, Thon said.

The country aims to balance the booming tourism industry and the protection of ecosystems. Thailand welcomed about 35 million international visitors last year, a five-fold increase in little more than two decades.

At Maya Bay alone, there were some 4,000 tourists each day. After the reopening, the government has set a limit of only 2,000 tourists a day who will be allowed to visit the beach, with each visit limited to one hour.

The once-pristine Thai bay which became a tourist magnet after the 2000 movie "The Beach" will be closed to boats for several months to prevent further damage to its coral, an official said Wednesday.

Hordes of tourists flock daily to Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Ley for selfies in front of the famed limestone cliffs and blue waters, leading to complaints of environmental damage to the water and sand.

But the picture-postcard beach of the Leonardo DiCaprio film will be closed to boats from June to September this year, Worapoj Lomlim of the Phi Phi islands National Parks told.

For around 20 years the bay has welcomed boats to moor in front of the beach but their engines have damaged coral reefs and caused problems with the sand, he said.

Overcrowded tourist boats have also blocked the view, he added, saying tourists will still be able to reach the beach by foot from an adjacent bay where boats can park.

The closure is the latest effort to mitigate damage caused by tourism, a crucial pillar of Thailand's economy with more than 35 million travellers visiting last year.

But environmental experts and officials are worried the mass tourism is causing irreversible damage to idyllic beaches, with litter and unchecked development disrupting local ecosystems.

Smoking has already been banned on 20 of the country's most famous beaches this high season, with a hefty fine or even jail for those who flout the new rule.

Tourism Observer

EUROPE: Ryanair Unending Troubles, 250 Flights Cancelled Allover Europe Due To Strike

Thousands of Ryanair passengers across Europe face travel disruption on Friday after strikes forced the airline to cancel 250 flights.

The total had stood at 150 until German pilots decided on Thursday to walk out, resulting in another 100 cancellations.

Almost 200 Ryanair flights across Europe won't take off as Ryanair staff in six European countries strike. The decision of the Cockpit pilots' union to join the strike will cancel 35-45 flights in and out of Germany.

They will join striking pilots in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Cabin crews in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain will also go on strike in a row over contracts and conditions.

Unions want staff to be given contracts in the countries where they live, rather than under Irish law.

Irish budget airline Ryanair was bracing for staff walkouts in six European countries on Friday, with 40,000 travelers expected to be affected, including passengers in Germany.

Ryanair cabin crews in Germany, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, as well as pilots in Germany, served Ryanair strike notices of the 24-hour walkout as they seek better pay and conditions.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said the company had written to unions offering to move all staff to local contracts, which made the strike action unnecessary.

However, the Dutch pilots union said it had only verbally offered its members local contracts and had refused to put the offer in writing.

Joost Van Doesburg, of the VNV union, said his members also wanted pensions in line with Dutch standards, and firmer guarantees on sick pay

The genesis of today's row stretch back to autumn last year when Ryanair 400,000 Ryanair passengers had their flights cancelled.

The airline had already canceled 150 of the 2,400 European flights scheduled for Friday, but the announcement of strikes by pilots from Germany's Vereinigung Cockpit pilots' union (VC) has caused the airline to cancel additional flights.

The subsequent decision to start recognising pilot and cabin crew unions around Europe was a multinational problem.

Some deals with some unions in some countries have been done.

But overall there is plenty to resolve.

Ryanair marketing head Kenny Jacobs said the decision by VC to participate would result in 35 to 45 flights to and from Germany not taking off.

In total, around 10 percent of Ryanair's German flights will be affected while around 6 percent of Ryanair's EU flights are affected.

Ryanair released a statement condemning what it called "unnecessary" strikes by the VC union.

The airline on Wednesday released a letter showing it had agreed to arbitration with the union with an implementation period of four to five weeks, compared to the five months VC had sought.

Ryanair staff have been pushing for higher wages and an end to the practice that has seen many work as independent contractors without the benefits given staff employees.

Some Ryanair staff across Europe want the airline to be answerable to local employment laws, instead of the employment law of Ireland, where it is based.

The Irish airline says it has made significant progress in recent weeks in negotiations, including reaching collective labour agreements with staff in Ireland, Britain, Italy and Germany.

Ryanair this week signed deals with cabin crew unions in Italy to provide employment contracts under Italian law and agreed to arbitration with the union representing its German pilots.

The European Commission said Ryanair employees should have contracts in the countries where they live rather than in Ireland, where its planes are registered.

EU rules on employment of air crews were based on where workers left in the morning and returned in the evening, and not where aircraft were registered.

Respecting EU law is not something over which workers should have to negotiate, nor is it something which can be done differently from country to country.

The internal market is not a jungle it has clear rules on fair labour mobility and worker protection. This is not an academic debate, but about concrete social rights of workers.

Ryanair has traditionally employed a large proportion of its staff under Irish law, which unions say inconveniences workers and affects their ability to access social security benefits.

Ryanair said the vast majority of its 2,400 flights on Friday would be unaffected, with only 35,000 of 450,000 passengers experiencing disruption.

Passengers whose flight have been cancelled were contacted by email and text message on Tuesday to advise them of their options.

We sincerely apologise to those customers affected by these unnecessary strikes on Friday which we have done our utmost to avoid, Ryanair said.

It has rejected calls by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority to compensate passengers whose flights have been cancelled, claiming they were caused by competitor airline crew, unions and lobby groups and were therefore extraordinary circumstances.

However, Coby Benson, a lawyer specialising in flight delay compensation at Bott and Co, said Ryanair's arguments did not comply with the precedent set in April by a case in Germany.

Last month, Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the height of the summer holiday season.

In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

Another indication of the company's rethink on contracts came on Thursday when it announced two new bases in France.

They will be the first in the country since it closed Marseille in early 2011 after being sued for employing French workers on Irish contracts.

It will also open another base at Bordeaux for summer 2019 and had another four under consideration.

Two aircraft will be based at both Marseille and Bordeaux and will offer a total of 64 routes and handle 3.5 million passengers a year.

Ryanair has just struck a three-year deal with cabin crew unions in Italy, with a key point being that staff based there can now get local contracts with associated benefits and rights.

Friday's strike will be the second biggest one-day strike after some 55,000 customers were put out in August when pilots in five European countries walked out during the peak of the summer holiday season.

All affected customers have received email and text message notifications to advise them of cancelations and options, Ryanair said.

Tourism Observer

MICRONESIA: Air Niugini Plane From Micronesia Lands In Water After Overshooting Runway.

An Air Niugini plane travelling from the Federated States of Micronesia to Papua New Guinea has landed in water after overshooting a runway on Friday morning.

All 36 passengers and 11 crew were rescued.

Air Niugini flight 73 is believed to have overshot the runway at Weno airport in Chuuk, Micronesia, where it was stopping over on the way from Pohnpei to Port Moresby.

PNG authorities are investigating the cause of the crash, which is currently unknown.

So far, we don't know why they went down, Chuuk airport manager Jimmy Emilio said.

Mr Emilio said officials noticed the plane had landed in the lagoon instead of the runway about 9.30am.

A on looker wrote on Facebook that he witnessed the crash from the airport in Chuuk.

It landed in the water about 160 yards or 145 metres off shore.

The plane floated long enough for the 36 passengers and 11 crew members to escape and be rescued by locals in their boats.

The Boeing 737 safely came to rest in the lagoon.

People in small boats were seen rescuing people from the plane before it began to sink.

An employee from a nearby hotel said he heard the plane coming in and thought it was a normal landing.

Then he went back to his workplace and looked from the rooftop, the plane was starting to go underwater.

It was sinking. It’s under water now, he said, while praising the impromptu rescue effort.

The plane crashed and in around five minutes the rescuers were there, they were ordinary people, because there are plenty of boats around the shore.

Air Niugini is PNG's national carrier which services domestic network and international routes across Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

Air Niugini Limited is the national airline of Papua New Guinea, based in Air Niugini House on the property of Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby.

It operates a domestic network from Port Moresby and Lae, as well as international services in Asia, Oceania, and Australia. Its main base is Jacksons International Airport.

Niugini is the Tok Pisin word for New Guinea.

The airline was established in November 1973 as the national airline of Papua New Guinea with the government holding 60% of the shares, Ansett (16%), Qantas (12%) and Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) (12%).

It started as an exclusively domestic carrier; however it expanded to offer international services shortly thereafter. In founding the airline, the government aimed to encourage regional development in a country without an extensive road network.

The airline was established using DC-3 and Fokker F27 aircraft.

International services commenced very early on in the history of the airline with a leased Boeing 720 from 6 February 1976 to 2 February 1977. This was later replaced with a Boeing 707 purchased from Qantas.

During the late 1970s, internal services were performed by a combination of Fokker F28 jet and Fokker F27 turbo-prop aircraft. By the end of 1975 Air Niugini leased Boeing 727-200 type aircraft from Ansett and TAA to serve routes to Brisbane.

The airline also acquired a lease of a Boeing 707 from Qantas to commence a weekly service to Manila and Hong Kong. In 1976, the government bought out the Qantas and TAA holdings and in 1980 acquired the Ansett shares to make the airline wholly government owned.

The fleet of F-27s was phased out in the early 1980s with the introduction of the newly developed de Havilland Canada Dash 7 four-engine turbo-prop.

In 1979, Air Niugini opened routes to Honolulu and to Singapore via Jakarta. That same year, new facilities were opened at Jacksons Airport and new Sales Offices opened in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Europe and the United States.

Air Niugini operated their Boeing 707 from Auckland to Hong Kong via Port Moresby in a tripartite agreement with Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific. This service ran from 1981 to 1985.

In 1984, the airline replaced the two Boeing 707 aircraft with an Airbus A300 on lease from TAA.

This was replaced several years later with two Airbus A310s as the carrier expanded to offer flights principally between Australian Eastern capital cities and destinations in Asia such as Singapore and Manila via their hub Port Moresby.

The airline endured considerable hardships in the 1990s, with unrest in Bougainville and a volcanic eruption in Rabaul destabilising the company's busiest domestic services.

The Asian currency crisis also made an impact, with Air Niugini posting financial losses during this decade. The government of Papua New Guinea responded by cutting jobs from the airline, suppressing wages, as well as opening offices in Asia and Europe in an attempt at having the airline run profitably.

Reforms bore fruit by 2003, with the airline posting a profit of US$15.8 million for that year.

A Boeing 767 was acquired in August 2002, replacing the Airbus aircraft, and was used to offer expanded international services. Combined with aggressive pricing, this made it the most competitively priced airline on many of its routes.

A sharing agreement still exists with Qantas in which that airline buys blocks of seats on Air Niugini's flights between Port Moresby and Australia.

The financial turnaround seems to have stymied pressure from various sectors, including the IMF and the Australian Government, to privatise the national carrier.

The PNG government has voiced concerns that privatisation would jeopardise domestic routes that provide a vital service to regional people and encourage economic development, but which fail to realise a profit.

From September 2004, Fokker 100s have been introduced to start to replace the aging Fokker F28 aircraft that are used on domestic routes, the daily Cairns service, and the twice a week service to Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

In March 2006, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye announced an open air policy, which would allow other airlines to fly international routes into and from Papua New Guinea. The policy will take effect in 2007.

On December 2007, Air Niugini returned its leased Boeing 767 aircraft to its owners, Air New Zealand. The airline briefly entered a wet lease arrangement with Viva Macau before taking up a lease with Icelandair for a Boeing 767-300ER and a Boeing 757-200W.

The 757 was returned in March 2011 and replaced with two additional 767-300ER aircraft.

On 18 April 2008, flights commenced on the Sydney-Port Moresby route initially using leased Embraer 190 aircraft leased from SkyAirWorld of Australia.

On 15 October 2014, Air Niugini announced a wholly owned subsidiary airline company, Link PNG, which commenced operations on 1 November 2014 to coincide with Air Niugini’s 41 years of operation.

Link PNG principally services routes to provincial and district centres which were being operated by the Air Niugini Dash-8-Q200 and Q300 aircraft. 7 Fokker-70 aircraft were acquired (October 2015) from KLM and were transferred during Oct-Dec 2015.

Air Niugini has had a remarkable safety record insofar there has never been a fatal crash with flight crew members or passengers killed or even injured.

In 1973 when PNG gained independence, Pilots from the two airlines operating for the government were from Ansett Australia and Trans Australia Airlines. The majority of these pilots elected to return to these companies and continue their careers in Australia.

This left a huge shortage in the pilot strength of over 95% and consequently replacements were recruited from both Australia and New Zealand.

These pilots had little or no experience in airline operations and few if any skills or experience operating in the extremely hostile environs of PNG.

Nonetheless, they were trained by the outgoing pilots from Ansett and TAA and with the first class training behind them continued to provide safe and reliable services to all of PNG.

When Air Niugini took over the international routes then operated by Qantas, once again the senior pilots were called upon to convert from basic turbo prop aircraft (F27) to B707-338C 4-engine jet aircraft.

Considerable alarm was expressed that these jungle pilots could not possibly operate large jet aircraft hitherto flown by Qantas flight crews.

Again with excellent training and support from Qantas, the PX crews converted successfully to the venerable B707 and from there took over all the check and training on those two aircraft and continued thereafter to the various replacement aircraft being primarily A300-B4, A310-300, B757 and B767.

There were two crashes internally on the domestic operation with the total loss of one F28 aircraft and one DHC7, both due to pilot error. No deaths or injuries occurred in either crash.

On 28 September 2018, a Boeing 737-800 belonging to Air Niugini flew too low and fell short of the runway and landed in a shallow lagoon off Chuuk International Airport in Micronesia, without serious injury to passengers or crew.

Air Niugini operates to 25 domestic destinations and 14 international destinations in 10 countries across Asia and Oceania as of March 2017.

Air Niugini has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

- Qantas

- Solomon Airlines

The Air Niugini fleet consists of the following aircraft:

- Boeing 737-700 --- 1

- Boeing 737-800 --- 2

- Boeing 767-300ER --- 2

- Fokker 70 --- 8

- Fokker 100 --- 7

- Total --- 20

The Link PNG fleet consists of the following aircraft:

- Bombardier Dash 8-300 --- 4

- Bombardier Dash 8-200 --- 2

- Total --- 6

Classes of service Air Niugini offers 2 classes of service, Business Class and Economy Class.

Most domestic routes have Economy Class only, while all international routes offer both service classes, except for services to Cairns and selected afternoon services to Brisbane.

Food and beverage service Air Niugini offers food and beverages on almost all flights. On domestic routes, a snack and drink are served. On all international routes, a meal is served.

In-flight duty-free Air Niugini offers an in-flight Duty Free shop on all international flights.

Entertainment Air Niugini offers entertainment on selected international routes. Domestic flights, as well as flights to Cairns, Honiara, and Nadi, do not usually provide entertainment, but passengers to Brisbane, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, and Tokyo are offered movies and a range of music.

Paradise magazine Paradise magazine, Air Niugini's in-flight magazine, is complimentary on most flights. The magazine, produced every 2 months, contains a range of Papua New Guinea information and stories, as well as Air Niugini details and route maps.

Executive Club is Air Niugini's lounge and affiliated privileges. 3 memberships, Blue Card, Green Card, and Corporate allow certain benefits to membership holders.

Blue Card memberships give advantages such as additional baggage allowance, advance seat selection, discounts on duty-free purchases, priority baggage handling, and domestic Paradise Lounge access.

Green Card memberships provide all Blue Card privileges as well as extra benefits such as international Lounge Access in Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Manila, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Corporate memberships are made up of Blue and Green Cards.

Tourism Observer

Thursday 27 September 2018

INDIA: Man On Indigo Plane Tries To Enter Cockpit To Charge His Phone, Arrested

An Indian airline had to offload an allegedly intoxicated passenger after he tried to enter the plane's cockpit to charge his mobile phone.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo said the man was removed from the plane after the incident, which occurred Monday while IndiGo Flight 395 from Mumbai to Kolkata was still on the ground ahead of takeoff.

While an IndiGo aircraft was on the ground, an unruly passenger tried to enter the cockpit stating that his mobile needs to be charged, the airline said in a statement confirming the incident.

The unidentified man about 35, was offloaded and turned over to local police on grounds of a security violation, IndiGo said.

The man was questioned by authorities, but he ultimately did not face any charges.

He was drunk and wanted to charge his mobile phone. So he moved toward the cockpit, an unnamed officer at the airport police station said.

Police did not find any offense against him to charge a case.

It is the second such incident this week. On Monday a passenger aboard a flight from Delhi to the Bihar state capital Patna was spotted trying to open the rear door of the aircraft while it was in mid-air.

Another passenger raised the alarm, and the man was stopped by the crew. He was handed over to police in Patna.

The incidents in India come as low-cost carriers expand in India amid an emerging middle class that can increasingly afford to travel.

That's led to a rise in first-time or novice travellers who are not always aware of the standard conventions of air travel.

Tourism Observer

Friday 21 September 2018

INDIA: Jet Airways Crew Forget Turning On Cabin Pressure, Passengers Bleed In Ears And Nose

Thirty passengers suffered ear and nose bleeds on a horror Jet Airways flight when the crew forgot to switch on the cabin pressure system.

The flight, travelling from Mumbai to Jaipur, turned back shortly after takeoff.

Passengers complained their safety had been completely ignored by the airline.

Videos taken inside the aircraft showed the chaos on the flight as air pressure dropped and oxygen masks came down.

The plane stopped climbing at 11,000 feet before returning to Mumbai.

Panic situation due to technical fault in Jet Airways flight going from Mumbai to Jaipur. Flight is returning back to Mumbai after 45 minutes. All passengers are safe including me, a passenger wrote.

A passenger said there had also been a problem with the plane’s air conditioning when it left Mumbai.

Another passenger Satish Nair tweeted a picture of himself with an oxygen mask on, and complained that the safety of passengers had been completely ignored by the airline.

Once he had disembarked the aircraft he said: That was horrifying and the worst incident of my life.

Passenger Joel D’Souza said i saw many people having nose bleeds.

I took off my oxygen mask for one second and felt so stuffy and hot in the cabin. There was no announcement by the crew and nobody knew what to do. It was more like a flight to hell.

He said he and other passengers had since boarded another flight.

Lalit Gupta, a senior official of India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said the crew had forgotten to select a switch to maintain cabin pressure.

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which was carrying 166 passengers, landed safely.

Passengers were immediately attended by doctors and given first aid.

Jet Airways said in a statement that Thursday morning’s flight had turned back due to loss in cabin pressure and regretted the inconvenience caused to its passengers.

It said: The B737 aircraft, with 166 guests and 5 crew landed normally in Mumbai.

All guests were deplaned safely and taken to the terminal. First aid was administered to few guests who complained of ear pain, bleeding nose etc.

Jet Airways said it had taken the cockpit crew off duty pending an investigation into the incident.

Tourism Observer

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines Plane With 284 On Board Hits Aerobridge At Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines (SIA) plane carrying 272 passengers along with 12 crew members struck an aerobridge at Changi Airport on Tuesday (Sep 18). Singapore Airlines flight SQ178 was scheduled to depart Singapore for Ho Chi Minh City at 09:45 Local Time.

Flight was delayed after the forward fuselage of the Airbus A330-300 struck the rear aerobridge during push-back at Changi Airport.

All passengers and crew members disembarked normally via the forward aerobridge.

Arrangements were made for passengers to be accommodated on another aircraft to Ho Chi Minh City, the spokesperson said.

The damage to the aircraft is currently being assessed and investigations will be carried out to determine the cause of incident occurred.

Several in-flight announcements were made to inform passengers of the situation. After the passengers disembarked, they were escorted to another gate and provided with refreshments.

As a result of the delay, the flight departed Singapore at 12:00 Local Time and arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at about 12:45 Local Time – 01:55 minutes behind schedule.

Statement issued on Wednesday, Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesman Ivan Tan said that the aerobridge was slightly damaged in the incident, but has since been repaired. CAG will work with the relevant parties on the investigations.

It also said that ground personnel provided assistance to the affected passengers.

CAG will work with the relevant parties on the investigations, it added.

Tuesday’s incident was the latest in a string of woes for Singapore’s national carrier.

This is not the first time a plane has been damaged on the ground at Changi Airport.

In November last year, a tow tug caught fire as it was pulling an SIA Boeing 777-200 to a departure gate.

The aircraft was crossing the bridge above Airport Boulevard Road when the tow tug caught fire. There were no passengers aboard the aircraft at the time but the fire damaged the plane, which had to be grounded for repairs.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Jet Airways Stops Complimentary Meals For Passengers

Jet Airways has suspended complimentary meals option for passengers, who choose to fly in ‘Economy Light’ and ‘Economy Deal’ within India from September 25.

However passengers can buy their meals on-board from the airline’s menu. The customers will be served beverages – including tea and coffee – for free, Jet Airways issued a statement.

Earlier, the meal bill was included in the ticket fare for all the flyers, making the meals complimentary during the flight.

But following the suspension of free meal from September 25, the air tickets for the 2 categories – ‘economy light’ and ‘economy deal’ will be cheaper than the other categories.

The flight plus meal option for domestic flights will remain for ‘Economy Saver’, ‘Economy Classic’ and ‘Economy Flex’ and for all fare options in Premiere.

On international flights, all features and benefits under First Class, Premiere and Economy remain unchanged.

The past six months have been harrowing for India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways.

Compounding its financial woes, the carrier plunged into fresh trouble this week over safety and tax issues.

The Naresh Goyal-promoted carrier has been in the red for two consecutive quarters and is also under market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) lens.

Jet’s issues are not particular to the airline but symptomatic of a larger malaise. The Indian aviation sector is facing economic headwinds in the form of rising global oil prices and a depreciating rupee.

Jet, for instance, had debt of Rs7,364 crore ($1.01 billion) on its books as of June. Given its precarious financial position, the airline was reported to have even considered slashing salaries.

On Sep. 19, it announced that there would not be free meals on economy class bookings done from Sept. 25.

March 2018, Jet Airways reports a loss of Rs1,036 crore in the Jan-March quarter as revenue declines and costs increase significantly. The company defers the March salaries of some employees citing circumstances beyond its control.

April 2018, Bows out of bidding for Air India citing the complex process.

May 2018, Government refuses to approve Jet’s merger with its subsidiary JetLite, nearly three years after the proposal was made.

June 2018, Jet announces new check-in baggage norms. The 15kg of free check-in luggage for economy class will have to be in one bag. Business class passengers can carry 30kg in two bags.

August 2018, Considers a 25% pay cut for employees.

August 2018, Indefinitely defers announcement of financial results for the April-June quarter of financial year 2019.

August 2018, On Aug. 12, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation announces an audit to assess Jet’s financial health. State Bank of India asks the firm to provide enough collateral for emergency funding.

August 2018, On Aug. 27, the company announces losses of Rs1,323 crore for the April-June 2018 period.

September 2018, On Sep.19, the income-tax department conducts surveys in the company’s Mumbai and Delhi offices over allegations of financial misappropriation.

September 2018, Sep. 20, around 30 passengers on a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Jaipur suffer nose and ear bleeding after the cabin crew forgets to activate the internal pressure control. India’s civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu orders a safety audit of all airlines and airports.

Tourism Observer

INDIA: Cochin International Airport Insurance Claims Go To Rs 3.4 billion

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have filed claims total of Rs 3.36 billion with New India Assurance (NIA) General Insurance company owing to the damage caused by the recent floods in the state, said a Senior Official of CIAL.

A Sr Executive confirmed the development and said that the insurance company is assessing damage to the airport’s assets. The insurer expects to pay out a little over Rs 2 billion towards the claim.

However, this is a preliminary estimate as the investigations are only in an early stage.

CIAL closed its operations for 14 days from August 15,2018 as many assets of the airport were submerged under water and found to be destroyed.

The assets damaged includes the main runway, taxi bay to the terminals, 22 X-ray machines, all furniture at the domestic terminal, 4 conveyor belts as well as the solar panels which power the airport. A big wall also collapsed.

Total damage to the assets and operations of CIAL is estimated to be Rs 3 billion.

Earlier this month, CIAL said it would be creating a master plan with technical consultant Kitco, along side the state government, to build capabilities to meet emergency situations like floods or other natural calamities.

The company, will also rope in two Dutch consultants to assess the master plan, given the latter’s expertise in tackling flood-related problems. CIAL resumed full-scale operations on August 29 and began to work on repairing damaged assets at the airport.

The Kerala government has estimated that the state suffered estimated losses of about Rs 200 billion as a result of the floods.

On August 8, the state received 310 mm rain over 24 hours, which prompted the government to open around 24 dams as the water levels rose to unsafe levels.

The government opened the Idukki dam on August 9 which has not been happened in 26 years.

Following opening reservoir gates at multiple dams, several districts were submerged and over 11,000 houses have been damaged. About 252 people were killed and nearly one million were moved to relief camps.

Now that the flood waters have receded, reports suggest that people are leaving the relief camps and going back to their homes.

Analysts estimate that due to floods in the state, the general insurance industry will receive claims in excess of Rs 10 billion, while life insurance companies could receive claims between Rs 4.5 billion and Rs 8 billion.

Insurance executives and the regulator are working on the contours of a catastrophic insurance policy that state governments and large companies can purchase to guard against huge financial costs of repair and rehabilitation incurred in the event of a natural disaster.

Tourism Observer

CHAD: Chadian Airlines To Start Operations October 1st, Supported By Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has announced a deal in which it takes 49% of the new Chadian Airlines. The Government of Chad will take the remaining 51% of Chadian Airlines.

Chadian Airlines, which will be Chad’s flag carrier, is set to start operations on October 1.

The strategic equity partnership in the launching of the new Chad national carrier is part of our Vision 2025 multiple hub strategy in Africa, said Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.

The new Chad national carrier will serve as a strong hub in central Africa availing domestic, regional and eventually international air connectivity to the major destinations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

I wish to thank His Excellency President Idriss Deby Itno, the Government of Chad, and the stakeholders in the aviation sector in Chad for their strong support to the project.

Ethiopian Airlines already deals with other African countries as part of its growth plan. Ethiopian has a 49% stake in the national carriers of Malawi and Guinea, a 45% stake in Zambian Airways, and a 40% stake in Asky Airline.

Ethiopian is currently in talks with countries like Mozambique, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Ghana for similar agreements.

Through its Multiple Hubs Strategy, Ethiopian operates hubs in Lomé, Togo with Asky and in Lilongwe, Malawi with Malawian.

Tourism Observer

UGANDA: Visit Sisiyi Falls In Bulambuli District

Sisiyi Falls is found in eastern Uganda in Bulambuli District, northeast of Sironko and Mbale. The waterfall lies on the edge of Mt Elgon National Park that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border.

For those who love waterfalls, it is no joke that the concept of a cascade of water falling through above proves, again and again to be one of Earth’s most captivating natural wonders.

Although the hunt for the perfect waterfall visit can prove quite a trek, the spectacular feeling of fresh falling mist on the face and a gaze at the pure majesty of the natural world is a worthwhile way to spend a day, period.

Travelling through Sironko to Bulambuli districts, one will have the privilege of visiting Sisiyi falls and have a feel of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mt Elgon.

Sisiyi falls encompass a unique splendour, the falling masses of water really accentuate Mt Elgon sub-region landscape and are incredible to capture.

Many visitors to this site confess that they discovered it while travelling on the Sironko-Bulambuli route and after seeing it from a distance, over time, you feel indebted to arrange a visit there.

Sisiyi falls is 40km east of Mbale town. The transport fare for the 40km journey to Buyaga trading centre is only Uganda shillings 4, 000 from Mbale town then you board a boda boda cyclist to Sisiyi Falls with Shs 2000.

The flat terrain at Buyaga trading centre promotes good visibility. Sisiyi falls is covered by the green vegetation of trees that shades the tourist spot from the sun.

With this, tourists are kept cool as they try to climb the waterfall and with relative ease, tourists can hike the falls in a hand-holding human chain formation which is usually led by a guide.

The falls is described by the Bagisu ethnic tribe living in the area as Mezi ge lisusi meaning - Smoky waters. Today in Mt Elgon sub-region Sisiyi falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the area.

The site sits on a 13-acre private piece of land. It is magnificent. The fresh freezing breeze is pleasant.

The artificial forest of eucalyptus trees, offered a cooling canopy above and expansive trimmed lawns suitable for picnics and camping for over 200 people. The space looks sufficient for relaxing outdoor activities and energetic games.

What welcomes you at Sisiyi falls resort is the adjacent Butandiga ridge, with shimmering stony hills, and the water falls like a white sheet about 110 metres, probably the highest water fall in Bugisu - Mbale, Sironko, Manafwa, Bulambuli, Namisindwa and Bududa districts.

Sisiyi falls can be accessed through three big stones and trees that stand along the way; these stones and trees could be about 500 years old according Mrs Margret Maleza, 63 a caretaker at the place.

When I was a little girl, these falls were huge but due to cutting down of trees, it has reduced and the increased human habitation on the slopes of the Elgon Mountains will gradually cause the volume of the water to dwindle further, Maleza says.

Water rolls off about a 110 metre cliff. It comes down splashing, falling waterfall toppling off the fall, gushing over rocks and attacking everything in sight then it tumbles down the Sisiyi hill in a series of mini-waterfalls.

As you near closer to the fall, it cascades down the rocks creating a tremendous splash.

At the bottom of the cliff, there is a crater lake formed. And here the rocks are very slippery making walking through the waters across the rock very difficult.

The towering eucalyptus trees on the edge of the lawn obstructs the falls. The falls generate loud roars.

As the water drifts down the granite rock, clouds of spray form and thicken as it splatters against the shallow bed rock, then glide over innumerable rocks.

This degenerated into gaggling noises, which died as soon as the water touches the two huge rocks at the bottom and turn to a stream.

To most local people, Sisiyi has been a source of clean and safe water. There is no cultural religious attachment to Sisiyi falls.

Maleza said though many of the Asians who visit the site believe the Sisiyi waterfalls are capable of curing emotional ailments, like mending broken marriages, the Bagisu have nothing they talk about.

Some consider the shallow bottom of the falls a place for abolition that cleanses them off misfortune as well as delivering a vision for the future,Dr Patrick Lodoi Mutono, the former MP for Butebo is owner of the place

Dr Mutono says the water at the lower end of the falls is ice-cold, close to freezing point adding that the falls offer commanding views of the down rush over an impressively lush Mt Elgon landscape.

With a cool climate than most of the country, Sisiyi Falls is a nice place to unwind, relax and literally chill out away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities.

Sisiyi offers bird watching, trekking to the mainstream river fall, climbing along the rock to the top of about 110 metre high fall, hiking around the local area and visiting other smaller local waterfalls within Bugisu.

Tourism Observer

TANZANIA: MV Nyerere Ferry Capsizes, More 200 Feared Dead

More than 200 people are feared to have drowned in Tanzania after a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria.

The MV Nyerere ferry sank on Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island, local officials said.

The ferry, which is reported to have a capacity of 100 passengers, was travelling between Bugorara and the Ukala islands, close to Mwanza, Tanzania’s second largest city.

The vessel is understood to have capsized when it was close to docking.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (TEMESA) confirmed the incident in a statement and said rescue efforts were underway.

However they were unable to confirm passenger numbers.

20 people were rescued by fishermen immediately after the accident.

The ferry has a capacity of 100 people, a witness says that it was overloaded at the time of the incident. It is not clear how many people were on the ferry at the time the incident occurred.

We pray to God to give us hope in such an accident, Regional Commissioner Adam Malima said.

We pray to God to give us hope that there has not been a high death toll.

Ukerewe District Commissioner Colonel Lucas Magembe said 42 people had already been confirmed dead and that the rescue mission had been halted until dawn on Friday.

The cause of the incident is not yet clear, but accidents are not uncommon on Lake Victoria with overloading and overcrowding frequently found to be the cause.

TEMESA Spokeswoman Theresia Mwami said that the ferry did not have any mechanical problems because TEMESA had carried out heavy maintenance on it in recent months including overhauling two engines.

Accidents are common on Africa’s largest lake, Victoria, where boats often depart overcrowded.

In 2012, at least 145 people died in a ferry disaster in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean, on a vessel that was overcrowded.

More than 800 people died in 1996 when the MV Bukoba capsized. It was one of the worst maritime disasters of the last century.

Tourism Observer

MONGOLIA: Genghis Khan Airlines To Commence Flights 2019

Genghis Khan Airlines a new start-up in the Inner Mongolia region of China. However, unlike some airline start-ups, which start seamlessly, Genghis Khan has had a few problems along its route to the sky.

Genghis Khan Airlines was originally marketed as Tianjiao airlines. However, that name was dropped for a more iconic name, which is based on the famed historic Mongolian figure Genghis Khan.

The airline originally planned to start operations with Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft in March, but it was unable to secure production slots with Bombardier.

Then, in May, the airline was said to be negotiating with Embraer for E190 aircraft to launch operations. The airline was not able to secure production slots or maintenance contracting with Embraer either.

Finally, the airline announced a large order for up to 50 Comac ARJ21 aircraft, including 25 firm orders and options for an additional 25.

The airline plans to receive its first two aircraft in December 2018, with the remaining 23 in the next five years.

Genghis Khan Airlines has also entered into an agreement with Comac in order to establish a flight school for its pilots as well as a maintenance and overhaul facility for the airline’s operations.

The airline’s investors are mostly the Inner Mongolian government, which has invested USD$438 million US dollars into the airline.

The Inner Mongolian government is hoping to increase tourism to the region, which has increased already 12% over 2017, to 202,600 tourists in the first half of 2018.

The airline will be run by a mix of executives who have left various other Chinese airlines, such as Air China, 9 Air, China Southern Airlines, and Qingdao Airlines.

The former chairman of Qingdao Airlines will be in charge of preparing the airline for its commercial operations, and the chairman of the airline will be Hao Yutao.

Genghis Khan Airlines will be the second airline to operate the Comac ARJ21 after the Comac-owned Chengdu Airlines.

Genghis Khan will also be the second-largest operator of the ARJ21 should they exercise their options; Genghis Khan Airlines will follow Henan Airlines and tie with Joy Air.

Should the new carrier choose to do so, the 25 additional aircraft will be delivered 3 years after the original 25 aircraft.

After starting operations, Genghis Khan Airlines plans to launch into the international market once they have received their 25th aircraft.

The airline plans to be operating to 40 destinations with 25 aircraft in 5 years, and then to 80 destinations with 50 aircraft in 8 years. While these plans are ambitious, the airline’s wide investor pool will be able to help finance their expansion plans.

Genghis Khan Airlines yet released its plans for seating configurations on the ARJ21. However, the aircraft is typically equipped with between 78 and 90 seats depending on the number of classes, allowing for some flexibility on the airline’s part.

The aircraft also has a range of up to 3,700 km, which will allow for great flexibility when the airline is considering new routes.

The airline also plans to operate extensive flights within Inner Mongolia from its base at the capital of Hohhot, as there are 20 transport-class airports within the region prepared for the airline to serve them.

Genghis Khan Airlines says that it has completed acquiring the personnel required, including executives, maintenance personnel, pilots, cabin crew, and more.

Genghis Khan airlines look like it has a good chance at being successful in an under served region of China, and although their plans may be ambitious, they have a strong team behind the plans to help see them through.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has approved Genghis Khan Airlines to start operations. The brand-new carrier may commence the flight operations as early as early 2019.

Genghis Khan Airlines was established in 2015 and selected Hohhot Airport as their main hub. Hohhot is the capital city of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, which is located at northwest of Beijing and is just a short 90-minute flight away.

Inner Mongolia has an area of 1.183 million kilometers squared. In recent years, an improvement in airport facilities has not attracted carriers as originally planned.

According to the company proposal, the airline will use Chinese-manufactured Comac ARJ21 aircraft and hope to operate a fleet of 25 the type.

It plans to fly 40 destinations and 60 routes within the first five years. In the next eight years, a fleet of 50 aircraft are expected and the airline has set a goal to reach 80 destinations and 150 routes, the route map will be covering the country’s major cities, Mongolia and Russia.

Inner Mongolia has 28 civil airports, the most airports in a region of China. In 2017, 58 airlines served across the region, reaching 116 destinations and 426 routes, including 37 international route and 21 destinations.

In the first seven months of 2018, the total passengers volume of the airports in Inner Mongolia was 14.28 million, an increase of 17.6 percent over the same period last year.

Expecting rapid economic growth, the number of airports will 50 by 2030. At that point, Hohhot will become a major hub for the region.The airline has already employed maintenance personal, safety regulators, safety management teams and customer services agents.

Hao Yutao, the chairman of Genghis Khan, said, the airline has reached an agreement with Commercial Aircraft Cooperation Of China Ltd (COMAC). The company is going to setup Aero institute, aircraft maintenance center and training center in the region and support surrounding airports.

As a result of the rapid economic growth in China, the airline network of Inner Mongolia can’t meet popular demand. Genghis Khan Airlines commencing service may solve the region’s problems.

The airline has to face competition with the high speed train in the long run, meaning the future is cautiously optimistic.

Tourism Observer

IRAN: Air France and British Airways Stop Flights To Tehran

Air France made it’s last flight to Tehran on September 18th. Air France cut the number of frequencies to Tehran on August 1, announcing that it would fly only once in a week instead of 3.

British Airways will close route 4 days after Air France on September 22nd with a return trip on the 23rd.

British Airways and Air France are following suit of KLM, which announced last month that it would suspend flights from Amsterdam to Iran in September.

Both airlines are issuing statements that the routes are no longer commercially viable.

As the number of business customers flying to Iran has fallen, the connection is not profitable anymore, said a spokesperson for Air France.

However, speculation that the airlines are simply giving in to political pressure after the United States pulled out of the nuclear agreement with Iran and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

After the sanctions were originally reimposed in early August, Airbus and ATR stopped their deliveries to Iran Air, Iran’s national carrier.

Air France, KLM, and British Airways originally restarted their routes to Tehran in 2015 after the nuclear deal was originally struck.

British Airways is offering refunds to passengers affected or offering to rebook passengers with other carriers.

Air France has, in recent times, transferred their Theran route to their subsidiary, JOON.

Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Germania, Alitalia, and Turkish Airlines are some of the European airlines still operating their routes to Tehran. None of them have provided any indication that they plan to cut their flights as well.

Tourism Observer

ARGENTINA: Air Europa Begins Direct Flights To Puerto Iguazu

Spanish airline will start its flights from Madrid to Puerto Iguazu with weekly frequency operated with the Boeing 787-8, ticket sales started already.

Flight Number UX-45 will depart from Madrid on Saturdays at 23:55 Local Time to arrive in Puerto Iguazu on following day at 07:05 Local Time with a duration of 12:10 minutes and the return of UX-46, will be at 08:35 Local Time, landing at the Spanish capital at 05:10 the next day after a stop in Montevideo.

In addition, the increase of an additional frequency is foreseen with a scale in the opposite direction in the Uruguayan capital, although the date has not been mentioned.

With 2 intense years of negotiations, the Province of Misiones will be able to be connected to Europe through the Hub of the airline in Madrid-Barajas and will further enhance the tourist attractions of the area such as the Iguazu Falls as well as benefit Ciudad del Este with its various shopping centers.

With the addition of Puerto Iguazu, Argentina will become the market with the largest presence in South America, currently flying from Buenos Aires with a daily frequency and Cordoba with a stopover in Asuncion with five weekly frequencies.

Air France-KLM and Air Europa (UX, Palma Son Sant Joan) are set to deepen their existing commercial ties through a tentative joint-venture agreement covering Europe and Central/South America.

The three Skyteam members' current partnership dates back over 15 years and involves codesharing on each other's European services out of Paris CDG, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Madrid Barajas.

A statement issued on Wednesday, August 1, said the parties were currently conducting an integral analysis of the joint venture given the complementarity of their respective networks from/to Central and South America.

Preliminary results show it would provide significant additional benefits to customers in the form of improved connectivity, increased seat availability and a basis to launch new routes and direct flights between the two continents.

The Franco-Dutch carrier group also has strategic partnerships with Virgin Atlantic for transatlantic flights although discussions over strategic cooperation on travel to other parts of the world are underway, Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes in Brazil, China Eastern Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, and China Southern Airlines...

Late last week, lrish low-cost airline Ryanair began offering flights to various destinations at market-breaking prices, including a one-way flight from London to Belfast for €7.

The company is offering a one-way flight from Tel Aviv to Paphos in Cyprus in late October for €20 and a return flight for €32, a €10 discount in each direction.

Flights to Burgas in Bulgaria, for example, are being offered for €34 one-way and €42 for a return flight.

These prices include the flight only, without luggage, with a suitcase costing at least €30 in each direction. The bargain campaign is valid until September 3 at midnight.

A partnership between Ryanair and Air Europa is offering Israelis flights to Miami, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Paraguay with a stopover in Madrid.

For example, a roundtrip ticket to Miami in late October costs €580. Since these flights involve cooperation with a regular airline, in contrast to Ryanair's own flights, the price includes a suitcase weighing up to 23 kilograms and hand luggage weighing up to 10 kilograms.

Following disruptions and cancellations of hundreds of its flights, Ryanair announced that it was recognizing FORSA, the union that its pilots joined.

Ryanair's air teams are distributed among pilots unions in several European countries. The airline's flights in European countries were disrupted by pilots seeking better conditions.

Tens of thousands of the airline's passengers were affected by these disruptions at the height of the vacation season in Europe.

Ryanair announced that 65% of its cabin crew were unionized under agreements recognized by the company. Ryanair's management will now work with representatives of Irish union FORSA.

Tourism Observer

UAE: Alcohol Consumption Not Prohibited On Emirates. A Passenger In A Car Driven By Someone With Alcohol In Their Blood Will Get Arrested.

Dubai flights have worried passengers when it comes to serving alcohol mid-flight.

British passenger Dr Ellie Holman was arrested after landing at the airport in the UAE and was found to have alcohol in her bloodstream.

She confirmed that she had a glass of wine during the flight that was offered by the airline.

Emirates has made statements regarding their alcohol rules.

Emirates customers have complained in regards to alcohol consumption.

One woman asked: “Dear @emirates and @British_Airways, am I in danger of getting arrested on a flight to the #UAE if I order alcohol?

Another asked: “Could you clarify if I can drink alcohol in the lounge and during a connecting flight from BHX to BKK. The Embassy are now saying it's illegal to consume whilst transiting through DBX.”

Emirates responded by saying - Alcohol consumption is not prohibited on our flights.

Furthermore alcohol is also served in the lounged in Dubai airport and available for purchase in the Duty Free.

Emirates continues to invest in our food and beverage programme, which is an integral part of our inflight experience, says an Emirates official.

However, like on any other airline, or indeed any hospitality establishment, unruly or disruptive behaviour from intoxication will not be tolerated, and there may be legal consequences.

The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew on board will always be our top priority, Emirates said.

The British Embassy in the UAE warned Britons travelling to the country in regards to drinking alcohol.

They said it is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public, including when transiting through the UAE.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office warns that Passengers in transit through the UAE under the influence of alcohol may also be arrested.

Dubai is popular with British travellers for the cheap flights on offer and good weather all year round.

UAE has recently announced new changes for tourists in regard to transit visa, allowing longer in the country, and free visas for children in a tourism drive.

However strict rules in regards to other substances such as drugs and relations between men and women should be checked before travelling.

A strictly Muslim country, some tourists have found themselves in trouble when participating in activities that are allowed in the UK.

Earlier, Dubai tourists were warned against drinking alcohol on flights when travelling to the country following the arrest of a British mother who drank one glass of wine on an Emirates flight.

Dubai flights often serve alcoholic drinks inflight as it is not illegal to drink in the air.

It is but illegal to be drunk in public in Dubai.

The British Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued the warning to Britons travelling to the country.

They warned, if caught carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood you can be arrested.

The warning follows the arrest of Ellie Holman, who was detained when landing and was found with alcohol in her blood.

It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public-including when transiting through the UAE.

It can result in custodial sentences and/or fine but other offences committed while drunk will be heard separately.

Take care to respect local customs, behave respectfully when consuming alcohol.

There is zero tolerance for drink driving in the UAE. You can be arrested as a passenger in a car driven by someone with alcohol in their blood.

Tourists cannot buy a license for alcohol, and so must only drink in areas which carry a license.

Passengers in transit through the UAE under the influence of alcohol may also be arrested.

Radha Stirling, chief executive of human rights group detained in Dubai, said: In light of the FCO’s announcement, we will be contacting all airlines who transit to or through the UAE to clarify their position on serving alcohol to passengers.

Either the UAE will need to reform their laws urgently, or the airlines will need to update their policy to ensure the safety of customers.

Dr Ellie Holman was imprisoned for three days in Dubai after being asked if she had consumed alcohol on the flight.

She said she was very pleased the Foreign Office had changed the travel warning for British tourists.

Dubai has recently been encouraging British tourists to visit by offering free transit visas as well as free children visas every summer.

Flights to the UAE destination can be as cheap as £350 return when travelling abroad on holiday.

However, a number of tourists have come into trouble due to the strict laws.

Jamie Harron was sentenced to a month in prison last year for drinking alcohol, after being accused of indecently touching another man.

The man said he touched his hip in the bar, something Mr Harron said happened when he tried to walk past while carrying drinks.

Despite paying £32,000 in legal fees and losing his job, the British tourist said he would go back to the country.

A passenger was jailed in Dubai after drinking alcohol on a flight when travelling to the country on holiday with her family, but is it against the law to do so?

A passenger flying from the UK to Dubai was jailed after landing when she drank a glass of wine on the flight.

Dr Ellie Holman, 44, from Kent, was travelling with her four-year-old daughter when she was given a glass of alcohol on an Emirates flight.

When she landed, she was jailed due to public intoxication.

But is it against the law to drink on flights when travelling to Dubai?

Flights to and from Dubai will often serve alcohol, such as Emirates and Etihad.

Some flights will be dry depending on the carrier, and which country it is based such as Kuwait Airways and Egypt Air who do not serve alcohol.

While it is not banned to drink onboard if it is served, it is illegal to be drunk in public in Dubai, also known as public intoxication.

The Foreign Office warns: “You should be aware that it is a punishable offence under UAE law to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in public.

“Passengers in transit through the UAE under the influence of alcohol may also be arrested.”

This means, if a passenger has landed after having had an alcoholic drink, they could be breaking the law if alcohol is found in the blood in tests.

Drinking in Dubai is not prohibited across the country, but alcohol must only be confused in licensed venues such as hotels and restaurants.

Being drunk and disorderly is against the law and could see long jail sentences.

Dr Holman, who has been in jail since July, could face being imprisoned for a year.

She said my passport remains confiscated until the case is settled, which I have been told will take at least a year.

It has reportedly cost her more than £50,000 in legal fees and missed work: My practice is closed. All our savings have gone.

A number of tourists have been jailed or fined while on holiday in Dubai for breaking local laws.

Jake Harron, 27, from Scotland, was arrested for public indecency last year after putting a hand on a man’s hip in a bar while walking past with a drink

He was sentenced to three months in prison after spending £32,000 in legal fees, which was eventually overruled.

Caren Harmon, 43, was detained in the country last year after being accused of taking illegal drugs on the flight.

She was subjected to a number of tests, which were found to be negative and she was released after three and a half hours.

Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling in Scotland, has had his passport taken away from him and faces a three year sentence over the allegations that he touched a businessman’s hip in a bar in Dubai.

The electrician has been convicted and sentenced in advance of his trial on public indecency for drinking alcohol in the Alcohol free zone.

A spokesman for prosecution service in Dubai said: On the drinking charge, he has been sentenced to a month in jail, fined 2,000 dirhams (£412) and will be deported.

His next appearance on the public indecency case is on October 22.

Mr Harron has admitted that he placed his hand on a man’s hip to ensure that they would not bump into each other and spill their drinks.

However, he has said it was a cultural misunderstanding and he has denied indecency.

Following the incident in the bar, he was arrested and jailed for five days before being released on bail.

Mr Harron has been stuck in Dubai for the last three months and spent more than £32,000 in expenses and legal fees in a bid to resolve the issue.

Mr Harron said: I never knew how much stress I could endure until this happened and the waiting game is the worst.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained In Dubai, the British-based NGO who is leading the campaign to help Jamie, said: Jamie's case is not about knowing the law. He followed the law and has witnesses to support him.

This is a case of false and spiteful allegations being made against Jamie and the way that Dubai authorities have responded.

The complainant in this case has no evidence of any crime being committed but Jamie has been stuck in the UAE for more than three months.

Regarding the alcohol charges, of course, he was drinking, everyone was.

He was in a licensed bar. Informing tourists of the law does not help, when the entire enforcement system in the UAE needs an overhaul.

His father, Graham, said: We can't believe that this nightmare has gone on for three months. Jamie is a good boy. He has never been a problem and never in trouble.

We are a very close family and it is killing us to think of him spending even three nights in jail, let alone three years.

Mr Harron had been working in Afghanistan and was on a two-day stopover in Dubai when the incident happened.

British government warned tourists flying to Dubai not to drink alcohol on flights or they risk jail after a mum was locked up for having a glass of wine on a journey to the United Arab Emirates.

The warning, which came on the UK in the United Arab Emirates Facebook page, warned Britons it is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public - including when transiting through the UAE.

The British Consulate said that people should take care to respect local customs and behave respectfully when consuming alcohol.

The warning also said: If caught carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood, you can be arrested.

It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public - including when transiting through the UAE.

It can result in custodial sentences and/or a fine.

They told the UK expats that they would need to apply for a licence before they can drink alcohol, which only non-Muslims and non-tourists are able to obtain.

Millions holiday in the UAE every year and they should not be put in harms way by Emirates and other airlines and suffer like I and my family did.

Either the UAE will need to reform their laws urgently, or the airlines will need to update their policy to ensure the safety of customers.

The travel advice says: The UAE is a Muslim country. Laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK.

Tourism Observer

SOUTH SUDAN: Salva Kiir Orders South-West Aviation Suspension

President Salva Kiir has instructed the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA to suspend operations of South-West Aviation whose one of its aircraft crashed into Lake Yirol recently, killing 20 people.

President Kiir issued the order during a memorial prayer of the victims in Juba on Monday evening.

Among those killed are six women, two SPLA colonels, two children and bishop of the ECS Yirol Diocese, Simon Adut.

Three passengers: a 5-year-old girl, a 40-year-old man and an Italian doctor survived the crash and were flown back to Juba for treatment.

While paying his condolences to the bereaved families, Kiir directed the transport ministry and the CAA to halt activities of the airline until a thorough investigation is conducted.

I also instructed the minister and the Civil Aviation Authority to immediately suspend the operations of South-West airline in the Republic of South Sudan until the investigation is done, he said.

The President also said the CAA should sanction all airlines to provide their manifest and service manual books to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

This, according to him, will aid the CAA know how frequent and last service of the aircraft for approval and verification by other security agencies in the airport before taking off.

The President revealed that a preliminary report of the investigations indicates that poor visibility caused the crash.

However, he said it was partly due to a human error he thinks was avoidable if the pilot had made an emergency landing elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the owner of Supreme Airlines blamed overcrowding of domestic carriers on some airport security personnel.

Ayii Duang said some of the security officers who have access to the runway force crew members to carry their relatives and unauthorized luggage.

He said this hinders the CAA to apply safety rules and regulations.

Speaking at the same ceremony, Ayii urged the relevant government institutions to address the matter:

Juba Airport needs a lot of discipline to be done. Mr. President, minister of transport and the director of Civil Aviation, you need to move out the security at the airport to allow the rules of the aviation to be implemented.

An activist in greater Lakes States is calling on the national government and the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the safety of air travelers in the country.

This comes after a passenger plane crashed in Yirol on Sunday, killing 20 people.

In November 2015, a similar crash in Juba left 40 people dead.

Experts often blame the circumstances surrounding the crash on the conditions of the airplanes – which they say are very old.

We are calling on the national authority to see to that these incidences do not repeat themselves, said Manyiel Dut, the regional coordinator for CEPO in Lakes Region.

Also South Sudan has become a dumping ground for outdated planes. We need to have a technical aviation industry that is capable of preventing further losses in the Republic of South Sudan.

On Monday, Eastern Lakes authorities suspected that the caravan might have been overloaded since the number of the passengers on the manifest was not matching with that of the victims.

Twenty people died in the crash; and three others survived.

However, the manifest shows that only 20 passengers were on board Baby Airline L-410.

Dut appealed to all South Sudanese not to board planes that have already reached seating capacity.

Tourism Observer

Wednesday 19 September 2018

BELGIUM: Ryanair Cabin Crew Union Reject Airline's Offer, Swear To Go On Strike As Planned

Ryanair Belgium cabin crew have rejected an offer from the Irish airline in regards to their recent complaints of local contracts. Strike action is still to go ahead later this month.

Ryanair cabin crew union CNE in Belgium have rejected the offer from the airline.

The airline offered to follow the employment law in Belgium until 2020 for any employees contracted.

This addresses one of the key concerns regarding the current policy which employs staff members according to Irish law, not contracted in their own country.

Ryanair has not yet issued an updated statement in regards to the recent claims.

They claim that the offer would only be good for half of the workers involved.

CNE union spokesman Yves Lambot told Irish Times: “It’s a deception on the part of Ryanair.”

If it goes ahead, the 24-hour walkout is to take place on 28 September.

Cabin crew members across all of Europe are expected to strike later this month in regards to complaints put forward.

Disagreements over hours and pay are some of the key issues put forward by the cabin crew unions.

Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands will also be on strike alongside Belgium on the 28 September.

They will strike once a month until their demands are met by the Irish airline.

The last cabin crew strike was the worst in Ryanair’s history, which resulted in hundreds of flights cancelled and 50,000 passengers affected.

Customers affected also reported their cheques regarding cancelled flights compensation bouncing, resulting in missed compensated fees.

Ryanair has experienced a wave of pilot strikes, mostly Irish pilots, in 2018 which lasted for many weeks.

Up to 20 flights a day were cancelled every Saturday for three months during the strikes in Ireland.

In a recent press conference, CEO Michael O’Leary warned that strike action would continue to happen to keep low fares for the airline.

He stated he would not back down against complaints: We will not be paying a 22 per cent pay increase to German pilots as we still pay more than other airlines such as Norwegian.

We want to reach agreements with our pilots but in some cases we have unions who have over promised and now can’t deliver.

Tourism Observer

SPAIN: Ryanair Passengers Bag Robbed Of Item By Baggage Handler

At an airport in Ibiza a baggage handler was nabbed on camera by a Ryanair passenger ploughing through bags after they had boarded, and stealing an item from a suitcase.

The Ryanair passenger was travelling from Ibiza to Madrid when he spotted the incident.

Footage captured the man opening a case on the luggage trolley that was waiting to be put on the flight.

He was then spotted taking a red speaker out and putting it in his pocket.

The person filming alerted a member of the cabin crew who contacted the police.

The baggage handler was then ordered to return the item to the rightful owner.

He is currently being investigated, having only worked for the airport for three days.

He was not a Ryanair employee.

It is thought that he is no longer working for the airport.

The luggage that was opened was thought to have belonged to a young boy who was travelling on the flight after visiting his brother who lives in Ibiza.

His mother said afer the return of the item: I was very grateful because I had bought it for my son’s birthday and it cost about 140 euros.

The flight then left two and a half hours later following the delay.

It isn’t the first time baggage handlers have been caught on camera treating luggage in a less than careful manner.

A passenger captured one worker at Manchester Airport throwing bags onto the baggage carousel carelessly.

A similar incident caught a woman working at Honolulu Airport in Hawaii hurling bags from the plane to a chute without much care.

Many were spotted bouncing off the chute and almost falling to the ground.

Both incidents were investigated at the time, according to the airports.

In Japan, however, baggage handlers have been spotted treating bags very differently at the airport.

A Japanese baggage handler was filmed carefully organising and cleaning suitcases as they were moved on a conveyor belt.

The young woman wearing gloves and wielding a cloth even polished some of them as they left the plane dirty.

Another man was caught on camera carefully placing suitcases on a truck when removing them from a plane.

Tourism Observer

SWEDEN: Police Arrest And Abandon Chinese Tourists At Cemetery

A Chinese family was reportedly taken to a cemetery in the Swedish capital of Stockholm last Sunday after being denied hotel check-in, according to a statement released by Chinese Embassy in Sweden, prompting massive discussions on social media both home and abroad.

After arriving at a Stockholm hotel in the early morning on September 2, a Chinese tourist, surnamed Zeng, with his 64 and 67 years old parents, found out that the room they booked was not available for check-in until later in the daytime.

Considering the poor health condition of his elderly parents, Zeng asked staff at the hotel if they could rest in the lobby and they would love to pay a fee.

Unexpectedly, the staff told them to leave immediately. If not, they would have to call the police, according to Zeng.

After the police arrived, Zeng showed the prescription of his parents to the police and asked if his parents could stay at the hotel and he would leave himself.

However, the police denied the request and dragged his father out of the hotel and threw him to the ground.

Zeng said his father, who is suffering from cardiovascular disease, lost consciousness and his body started twitching.

The scuffle gradually attracted more passersby, some of them condemned the police behavior.

The police offered no humanitarian assistance to us during the emergency, Zeng said.

Several minutes later, more armed police officers arrived and took Zeng and his parents into a police car.

The officers asked them if they were refugees or tried to use violence.

They kept beating my parents and even threatened to abandon us in the woods with wild animals, Zeng said.

After an hour of driving, Zeng found that he was together with his family taken to a cemetery, eight kilometers away from the hotel.

A half hour later, a passerby drove Zeng and his parents back to Stockholm downtown.

Upon arrival, Zeng immediately notified the Chinese Embassy and informed the local police of the incident.

We just wanted to leave this place and go back home, said Zeng.

The Chinese Embassy in Sweden issued a safety alert on September 14 reminding Chinese citizens in Sweden to be alert and take precautionary measures.

A day later, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden said that the embassy is deeply appalled and angered by what happened and strongly condemns the behavior of the Swedish police.

We hope that the Swedish side will handle the case in accordance with law, and urge the Swedish side again to take immediate actions to protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Sweden, the Embassy said in a statement.

The Swedish police department has yet to respond.

The incident has also sparked a heated discussion on Twitter.

"They should have claimed to be Syrian Migrants then they would have received a handsome #SocialWelfarePackage, a #FreePasstoAllCriminalActs and a #FreeAccomodation," said @Lizzie De on Twitter.

"I don't know what truth you are referring. If these tourists broke the laws or cause a scene, I believed there are standard procedures to handle them. But tossing them to somewhere near the cemetery sounds pretty awful. Unless you meant that's the Swedish police's standard', said @CheeKeat.

"To be fair, it is inappropriate for the hotel to do like that. But why didn't Zeng pay one more night for the room, especially when they know they will arrive in the midnight?" said @Suk_lowlow on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform.

Tourism Observer

LIBYA: Airport In Tripoli Diverts Flights After Attack

The only working airport in Libya's capital has diverted flights after it came under rocket fire late on Tuesday, less than a week after a fragile truce brokered by the United Nations between rival armed groups in Tripoli.

There were no casualties or damage, said a spokesman for a faction controlling Mitiga airport, the only one functioning in the capital.

It's reported that several people had been wounded by the rockets, one of which landed in the Mediterranean Sea.

Rival groups have been fighting in Tripoli for several days but clashes had been focused on the south of the city. Mitiga airport lies in an eastern suburb.

A Libyan Airlines flight bound for Tripoli from Alexandria, Egypt, was diverted to Misrata, said the airport on its Facebook page. Misrata lies about 190 kilometers (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

A spokesman for Misrata airport said that all flights bound for Tripoli would be diverted to Misrata.

An attack at Libya's only working airport on Monday left 20 dead and 69 injured, including civilians, according to a medical source.

Abduddayem Al-Rabri, director of Tripoli field hospital said that the injuries of the clashes at Mitiga International Airport are of varying degrees.

Earlier, he called on all Libyan doctors and medical assistants to help treat the injured.

The Special Deterrent Force, which is in charge of the airport's security, said an armed group attacked the airport with heavy weapons on Monday morning.

The criminal militia known as Bashir al-Baqarah and all the criminals wanted by the Deterrent Force attacked the international airport after escaping from jail and joining the militia, said the Special Deterrent Force, adding that the current situation is under full control.

The head of the Civil Aviation Authority Nasr-Addin Shayeb al-Ain said the airport was temporarily closed for security reasons.

A Libyan pilot said the airport, the scene of frequent clashes between rival militias, was evacuated.

All the staff and passengers who were at the airport were evacuated, the pilot said speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mitiga, a former airbase, has been a civilian airport since Tripoli's main international airport was badly damaged in fighting between rival militias in mid-2014.

Libya has plunged into chaos and political turmoil since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. The country is plagued with political division and escalating violence.

Terrorism has become a major threat to the deteriorating security situation in the country. ISIL terrorists continue to plan or carry out car bombs and suicide attacks in the North African country.

Last week, two ISIL fighter were arrested as they placed a car bomb near the industrial district of central Tripoli but failed to detonate it.

Tourism Observer