29 April 2008

Eos Airlines files for Bankruptcy

Evidently the global banking turmoil is reflected in many cross-industry ways. Few years ago, niche companies emerged and faced the air carrier monsters on the business class market. After witnessing SilverJet’s unfortunate survival strive few days agao, now travelers witness the death of Eos.

The US, John F. Kennedy based Eos is an all-business class airline which filed for bankruptcy yesterday, a week after receiving funds of $50 million. The small carrier declared debts of $34.9million and assets of $70 million in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York.

Eos competed in the emerging but savage market with business-only carriers like MAXjet Airways, L'Avion and Silverjet amongst traditional airlines, offering lower fares. The airline is the fifth carrier to go bankrupt the last 30 days while rumors reveal discussions taking place regarding starting up a new Facebook friend-group with bankrupt air carriers. Volunteers seem easy to allocate as Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc., Aloha Airgroup Inc., Champion Air, ATA Airlines Inc. and Skybus Airlines Inc. have already expressed their interest in principal.

Silverjet’s , MAXjet’s and L'Avion’s invitations are still pending acceptance as the companies pull all the corporate strings they can afford to avoid what it seems an unavoidable acceptance in the kind request to join the group of BANKRUPT Air carries.

22 April 2008

Gatwick airport on sale

Hellish winds of change seem to be blowing lately over London’s biggest airports. News land in one after the other in UK travel industry; Heathrow personnel still striving to short out Terminal 5 while “stray” rumours spread around regarding construction plans of a second runway in Gatwick airport. Worse was yet to come though, as discussions over a Gatwick sell-off escalated yesterday.

It is no secret BAA is a hair’s breadth away from collapsing into pieces, surely bound to drug down the hill their Spaniard conglomerate owner Ferrovial. You see the Spanish company carries a £23 billion burden, directly related with borrowings accompanying the BAA acquisition, which actually stocks up around £900 million from interest added up every year. So, while Ferrovial sweats over covering interest payments its bankers - RBS and Citi - are called up to inject an additional £11 billion for BAA’s debts.

It may sound strange to say that for a giant like Ferrovial, but it looks like they might end up out of cash half 2009, according to financial analysts, if action is not taken. Therefore, since they already started lashing randomly around potential liable executives, the loveable BAA CEO was the first to take the hit and got the suck. It was dead obvious that Stephen Nelson was the join the scapegoat club of sucked top directors from huge companies following recent global turmoil.

Things aren’t made easier on Ferrovial’s effort to keep BAA together and maintain Gatwick ownership as the UK Competition Commission raised concerns regarding BAA’s near-monopoly in the south-east region. The final decision won’t be released before summer, nevertheless a Gatwick see-off would definitely do the trick at least in the short term. BAA’s situation worsened greatly as Heathrow Terminal 5 was ironically anticipated like “mana from money heaven” to bring in some extra cash…

19 April 2008

London Tube stay late

Underground railways systems are unbreakable links in modernised cities making millions include their premises in their every day urban existence. London Tube specifically, is a favourite for small talk subject, appropriate for most social classes through out the course of the day. I always admire people who refrain from rushing into judgmental comments because I, too, am used to the tube and I am trying to accept that it takes time to grow in you.

Sometimes though, I am getting confused and not only when most lines under-operate during weekends, but also to why it can't stay open a couple of hours later on Friday and Saturday. It shouldn't be too complicated, I mean the Germans are doing it in Berlin for years now, New York's Underground made the city insomniac and now even the Greeks will start!

So, lets put things straight; The Germans, who are known to never be in a hurry, find it easy and purposeful. The Greeks decided to work a few hours more while the weather is much better and taxis cheaper. And to point out the obvious once more, London, being a city of a huge workaholic population who commute every evening panicking not to lose the last train doesn't need one? Or do the poor students who afford to rent only zone 4 will afford a taxi back home?

I knew about Berlin's underground and still I felt left out. Coming across Athens' underground news though, was a bit too much to handle. I don't understand why there is this luck of common sense to approach simple problems Londoners face everyday.

13 April 2008

SilverJet seeks Brighter future

Silverjet Plc is a very competitive premier transatlantic carrier struggling to survive in an inhospitable market of soaring operational costs and decreased revenues. The troubled business-class airline, flying business class London to New York, is in takeover negotiations. Although Silverjet shares tumbled big time, its rivals like MAXjet Airways Inc. had it worse filing for bankruptcy while Oasis Hong Kong Airlines Ltd. ceased operating all due to rising oil costs.

Silverjet offers premium seats at almost half the price of British Airways Plc. and analysts though optimistic about the future, still consider it a risky and vicious industry demanding for pragmatic and long-term plans if Silverjet is to continue competing. The carrier’s strength is its solid product; it is well-designed and commercialised in order to stand good chances against giants like British Airways. Silverjet is determined to make a difference in the market with personalised and passenger-oriented service including pleasant onboard women-only toilets, private terminals and meals designed by restaurant Le Caprice, London.

Silverjet has realistic objectives to return to a profitable bottom-line as quickly as possible in a brutal market and March’s numbers showed finally some financial sunshine as passenger total rose 23 percent to a record 10,885. Even the analysts seem to be optimistic when forecasting believing there's a significant difference in where the share price is at now and how high it could actually go.

Silverjet began flying between London Luton and New York Newark airports last January competing with MAXjet, Eos flying from London Stansted to New York John F. Kennedy, and L'Avion, connecting Paris and Newark. And boy, they appear determined to stay around for quite a while. Last November they rushed to include a Dubai link to their services on the same day they got their hands around the sparkling-new Boeing Co. 767 aircraft. The airline is still expecting another two planes and keeps everyone on their toes for the future.

Coherent projects like Silverjet tend to shape up industries, providing very focused but well-designed products to travellers who choose to think out of the box when it comes to corporate flying. It seems an almost unfair David and Goliath story here, as David-like Silverjet is actually offering a more competitive package in terms of luxury and value for money for a fraction of British Airways prices.

Isn't it to our benefit as consumers for such companies to stay in business?

12 April 2008

Alitalia Shares Halt

What's the deal lately in the travel industry with bad news coming straight on top of good ones? Heathrow's brand new Terminal 5 is causing tremendous amounts of stress while the echo from the opening ceremony is still mingling with the frustrated crowd in its great hall.
The second set of bad news comes from Italy. Air France-KLM was closer than ever and anyone to acquiring and finally salivating the troubled Italian airline Alitalia. A barrage of disagreements though, sank negotiations deep in the Mediterranean sea.

Alitalia's outgoing chairman Maurizio Prato had warned unions that the firm risked going bankrupt unless a deal was reached. Unions though got stubborn, went on a strike and even came down on public demonstrations. Consequently, Mr. Prato’s departure from Alitalia’s chair shouldn’t come as a surprise and the company’s board was running from one emergency meeting to another looking for a replacement.

The Italian government, having a 49.9% stake in the firm, "is sitting on very hot coals" so it would check again if Air France-KLM's decision to withdraw from talks is final. Having previously failed to reach an agreement, which led to Maurizio Prato’s resignation, unions now agreed to negotiate again. Even that though didn’t affect Alitalia’s rock-bottom financial situation so it was considered unavoidable to suspend Alitalia’s shares. All trading in Alitalia shares was actually suspended last week and quoting Mr. Prato after the collapse of the negotiations he said "This company is cursed: only an exorcist can save it".

The Italian government has been trying for more than a year to sell its stake in the troubled national airline and now has actually run out of bidders. Failure to reach any agreement leaves the state-owned airline on the ropes just days before general elections. Maybe the one and only Silvio Berlusconi, who is opposing the governmental sale of Alitalia, will be elected again. With the current turn of events he could actually be the “white knight” who will rescue the Italian carrier and restore its reputation.

Although I doubt... what's your speculation?

10 April 2008

Bulk Jelly Beans from Ohnuts.com

Traveling by plane is an experience dealt with many different ways nowadays. Many of us regard it as a pleasant way of transportation, others enjoy the thrills it offers while a few suffer from frustration and anxiety attacks. A pleasant way to tackle stress created by flights is treating yourself with your favorite snack or aperitif. Thats why we frequently come across passengers getting drunk before boarding or in my case stuffing myself with junk food and falling asleep throughout the whole flight. A good friend of mine has a different “flight addiction”; candies and more specifically jelly beans.

So, on our last flight together I decided to surprise him by avoiding costly candy retailers and look online for a better deal. My most impressive result was ohnuts.com from where you can order in Bulk Jelly Beans.

Obviously the site offers an amazing collection of confectionery, dried nuts, sweets and candies. To be perfectly honest I am more of a chocolate guy and my options were great there as well, but the jelly bean page was just overwhelming. I didn’t even know that the humble candy comes in so many different variations.

Ok, I knew that they can be very colorful. But I doubt that even Willy Wonka would have come up with flavors like tiramisu, vanilla and grape. The options available include assorted bags and different sized candy; the whole site is totally out of Hansel and Gretel’s most amazing dream. At some point I started salivating without actually noticing why. The reason was that the corner of my eye caught the dark brown, chocolate flavor jelly beans and instantly alerted my brain without actually realizing their existence.

So, if you are among those who treat themselves with candy when traveling by plane or love spoiling your nephews when visiting I would definitely suggest it.

By the way, what’s your favorite flavor?

09 April 2008

See beyond the Universe

This is the place where you are given the choice of experiencing different styles of holidays. From the sanctuary of 5 brilliant hotels to the friendliness of Voyages Ayers Rock Resort Campground, the visitor can experience the superior beauty of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park which comprises one of the most vivid cultural landscapes of Australia's Northern Territory.

Ayers Rock Resort is believed to be one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world.
Offering over 65 tours, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and attractions and activities within the Resort, your experience in this paradise will be full of action.

If though you wish to relax by dining under a shade of stars, the award-winning Sounds of Silence restaurant can make you have the time of your life.

You will witness an amazing sunset over Ayer's Rock in a private dining setting in the desert. In the end you will enjoy the classic Australian delicate dishes such as bush tucker, emu, bush salads, barramundi and some very special delicious desserts.

You can accompany the meal with a tour through the constellations guided by the resident astronomer.

Away from the buzz of the city, in the deep darkness of the Red Centre, feel free to discover the Universe beyond...

Sounds of Silence Dinner

08 April 2008

Kuala Selangor - Fireflies performance

Wish to escape from the bustle and hustle of Kuala Lumpur?
The Mangrove forest as well as the bird sanctuary is the natural heritage of Kuala Selangor which is a small rustic city not too far from the city of Kuala Lumpur.

The countryside of Kuala Selangor has a rich historic past that every visitor would like to explore. You can learn much more about mangrove trees by walking around the jungle trails as well as spot the mix of migratory and local bird species.

What will definitely fascinate you is the millions of fireflies. They can be easily found on trees as the location in Kampung Kuantan is easily accessible and reachable by a short traditional boat (sampan) ride. According to local people, the best time to admire the fireflies flashing their 'lights' is during the new moon and especially about 1 to 4 hours after sunset.

The area has loads of local restaurants by the riverfront where you can enjoy your dinner before boating upstream to admire this wonderful spectacular.

Kuala Selangor Fireflies

07 April 2008

Virgin Galactic Space Tourism

Today’s entry intends to create a complete picture of the new trend in the global travel industry inspired from science fiction works such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Space tourism is the latest phenomenon of tourists purchasing spaceflight packages for personal pleasure.

Yesterday we looked into Xcor and how their small aircraft called Lynx is set to face the current space tourism competition. Until now the only option space tourists had was to pay the "humble" $20 million fee for accessing the International Space Station through the Russian Space Agency. Soyuz spacecraft conducts the transportation and the package includes the unique, mind-blowing experience of looking at Earth from space, the status symbol element of the experience and experimentation with weightlessness.

Sir Richard Branson owner of Virgin Group isn’t someone keen on missing out on innovative and virgin commercial opportunities with huge monetary potentials. Hence, he spawned a new company called Virgin Galactic aiming to provide passengers with the opportunity to orbit over 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth on a reasonable price.
Sir Richard Branson trusted and consigned the task of developing SpaceShipTwo to Burt Rutan, owner of Scaled Composites and designer of the pioneering SpaceShipOne. Virgin Galactic's new suborbital craft will be an improved version, allowing 2 pilots and 6 passengers to be accommodated in a luxurious and comfortable environment. The whole experience will not last longer than 2.5 hours from liftoff to touchdown, and passengers will be allowed to release themselves from their seats and enjoy 6 minutes of zero gravity environment. Yes, it will be very much like clips from space stations we see on television where astronauts float freely in the cabin. I would definitely suggest you try the trick with the floating milk, priceless.
Virgin Galactic has announced revenues closing up to $30 million already in spaceflight bookings. The initial price is set to $200,000 and according to future plans prices will gradually decrease to reach the very "normal" sum of $20,000 (£10,000) after the first 400 passengers, as exclusivity and originality will seize being a factor in the equation. Sir Richard Branson accompanied by family members will be the first to take the trip and if you want your name to be listed along with names like Moby, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Hawking you should start saving.

06 April 2008

Xcor Lynx Space Trips

I was looking into new holiday ideas few days ago when I stumbled upon a US company with something different to suggest for those out there who have taken one to many ordinary holidays. So, if all your holiday pictures start looking alike there might be light in the end of the tunnel.

Xcor Aerospace is a California based company planning to break into space tourism industry piloting a two-seat rocket capable of suborbital flights to altitudes more than 37 miles above the Earth. The space shuttle developed thoroughly by Xcor will be given the name Lynx reflecting its size of about a small private plane. Further details regarding design and technical characteristics have not been released in advance and everyone interested is looking forward to know a bit more.

Though Xcor has given away a few general information though, just enough to retain interest. So, we know Lynx is designed to take off normally from a common runway climbing up to 200,000 feet (37 miles) reaching a speed of Mach 2 in order to descend in a circling glide and back on Earth with a runway landing and it will be slightly bulkier but resembling few homemade jet designs.

Xcor CEO Mr. Jeff Greason stated that the vehicle is designed to operate much like a commercial aircraft providing in addition affordable space access for individuals and researchers while future versions are already in discussion including improved capabilities for research and commercial uses.

05 April 2008

British Airways in Heathrow T5 Chaos

It wasn’t very long ago I was writing about the new project completed at Heathrow airport. Terminal 5 has been completed and submitted on an opening ceremony attended by the Queen herself. Unfortunately, there has been a downhill ever since as. Last week British Airways was forced to cancel a staggering one-fifth of its flights, a consequence of the 2nd day chaotic opening. The staff was overwhelmed by complications from various sources, including system log-on problems for baggage handlers and delays at staff car parks. British Airways announced problems with baggage handling though didn't specify the exact nature of the problem and avoided to comment regarding the cancellations.

The £4.3 billion Terminal 5 failed to ease journeys and added on passengers’ frustration due to overcrowding. The carrier defended the argument of ``exhaustive'' customer trials of the building last month, with volunteers invited to play the part of travelers. Maybe it’s the volunteers’ fault, probably they came in short in scenario rehearsing and role-playing. Are they to take blame for more than 90 flights canceled so far?

The situation is very sensitive, on one hand Heathrow airport accommodated 68 million passengers last year and managed to handle them quite successfully with only 4 terminals - though striving with negative records for baggage handling already. The late part of Heathrow’s family was supposed to expand capacity by 30 million to 75 million.

I am still a bit dubious, was the project nothing more than wishful thinking? Or we are just being over-judgmental very early? Maybe passengers should hold back premature bitter comments. Their anticipation Terminal5 to operate smoothly is on ground basis, but isn’t it fair to it give some time? Isn’t a bit early for this huge project to solve an old problem in a fortnight?

04 April 2008

Luxury Lear Jet Airambulance

We 've all entered or read about debates regarding how travel insurance will take away unnecessary stress and heafty cost if things go a bit off plan. Air medical support is an established service provided extensively. The next step was definitely obvious to many, nevertheless the project appeared to be cvery sensitive and complicated allowing no space for errors.

Positivity, hard, work and devotion are the primary values of a company which managed to provide an air ambulance service of top status and attention to detail. The team's expertise on medical flights and fligt physiology is of hospital standards amongst all flight paramedics and nurses.

Their qualifications and registrations are publicized and promoted through their website, making you feel easy and confident admitting your health to their hands and include:

  • ACLS(Advanced Cardiac Life Support)

  • ICU/CCU Licensed Registered Nurses

  • Nationally Registered Flight Paramedics

  • Certified Respiratory Therapists

  • Emergency Medical Technicians(EMT)

Finally, a regulatory authority like FAA has approved their operation, which sort of sum things up as the service covers an great range of emergencies. I always enjoy a bit of involvement with the website so definitely found handy the lovely illustrations of Lear Jets and bits of information for your "life vessel".


So, they think they can dance!

People who live in Paris say that a visit to Paris demands a night out at the Moulin Rouge!

The world famous cabaret is there to charm you with its glamour, glitz and a great variety of sumptuous dishes. While you are eating, an orchestra plays fine music until you finish your dinner and begin to see the show.

Whoop it up and have fun in the marvelous display of the excellent choreography, the exotic costumes and shining sets of the fascinating Feerie Show while enjoying your special dinner.

It's really impressive watching the dancers dressed in feathered costumes and dancing to the pulsating music. In this festive atmosphere, you will definitely discover brilliant folklores from all over the world. You will also be stunned by the real French Cancan, the acrobats and the talented clowns.

Moulin Rouge Show can definitely make you travel across the ages with its feerie performance.

Moulin Rouge Show and Dinner

02 April 2008

Live like a King or Queen for a day

While most Australia's regions are closely associated with adventurous tours, Tasmania has to offer a different experience to its visitors.

A unique opportunity to enjoy a superb experience of Tasmania in the most comfortable way. Rolls On Tour offers a high smooth and quiet ride using Rolls Royce "Silver Spirit" enabling traveler to see Tasmania in a very different way at a pretty realistic cost.

These people love Tasmania and are ready to show and share with you the most incredible sights and experiences you could ever live in the island. With a range of Tours from day ones to One hour Tours (they also cater for overnight tours), they start in Tasmania's capital city, Hobart and take you on various trips including the one to wonderful Port Arthur via the stunning scenic Eaglehawk Neck. In this top tourist destination, you can visit the historic penal settlement ruins and the Interpretation Gallery as well as go cruising around the Isle of the Dead.

Regarding the cost, note that the admittance cost is included in the total cost along with some treats you will receive on the journey.

As said above, you can always select from a variety of tours depending on what you fancy the most. Another Day Tour offers a "Foodies Delight" tour to the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and the Huon Valley where all food is included in the total tour cost as well.

Worthwhile doing something different on your holidays...

Rolls On Tour - Tasmania

It's just Rome...

This so-called Eternal City concentrates some of the most breathtaking things you will find while travelling across Europe. And this is Rome...

From the Colosseum's gory resonance and the arrogant lavishness of the Vatican to the high speed of a Fiat Bambino and the bill for a café latte you will see that this city has something to say to every single visitor.

If you don't want to miss some of the top must-see themes you can choose to spend a day visiting the Vatican City, experiencing the papal audience and admiring the majesty of Rome's architecture and history.

On your way to Vatican City you will see many magnificent Roman squares and monuments that reflect the rich architectural majesty of an ancient era. The Fountain of the Naiads in the Piazza della Republica will definitely impress you. Comprised by the bronze statue of Glaucus (God of the Greek sea) encircled by 4 reclining nymphs, this monument will take you back to the Roman history.

On the other hand, Piazza del Popolo has been quite popular amongst visitors as in the centre point of the square you find the Egyptian obelisk of Ramses II with fabulous fountains all around the base.

As far as the papal audience is concerned, it is going to take place in the heart of Vatican. The faith and devotion of the gathering will create an unbelievable spiritual atmosphere you will have never experienced in the past.

Papal Audience at Vatican City

01 April 2008

View Toronto from 553 metres CN Tower

The picture might look like a futuristic plan for a new conceptual hi-tech city project, but it actually isn't. This is Toronto's skyline which, amongst other fabulous buildings, holds in its collection the noticeable CN Tower Toronto, a 553.33 metre tall communications and touristic building 33 years old.

Back in April 2, 1975 a former US Army helicopter, called Olga, carried the last piece of the jigsaw – the tower’s antenna – after 26 months of construction and 5 months ahead of the deadline. On that historical day CN Tower officially “robbed” the height record from Moscow's Ostankino Tower and a new era begun.

The area around the Tower started developing rapidly, particularly with the construction of Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre (or SkyDome). What it used to be an appalling railway wasteland is now a newly developed entertainment district, with CN Tower centred and defining Toronto’s skyline. The construction of SkyWalk in 1989, connecting the tower and Rogers Centre to the nearby railway and subway Union Station, added on the projects practicality and accessibility creating a thriving tourist hub.

CN Tower accommodates 360, one of Toronto's finest restaurants offering great fresh cuisine topped with a magnificent revolving view of Toronto more than 351 metres (1,151 ft) below. The wine list should be adequate, if not overwhelming, including more than 550 international and Canadian wines, while the elevator ride is complimentary when buying a full course. The highlight though, still is the ride with the glass walled elevator offering a spectacular view of greater Toronto and lake Ontario that both you and your children will carry with for a long time.


A day out with koalas and kangaroos

It's needless to say that Australia is a holiday destination which is preferred by millions of people every year.

Unique animals like kangaroos and koalas are reasonably on the top of a tourist's must-see list as well as the deserts that make Australia the driest inhabited continent in the world.

For visitors who travel to Australia there are countless incredible sights to see except for the frequently-photographed Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Ayers Rock of Uluru.

You can always enjoy a brilliant day out exploring the Perth's well-known Pinnacles Desert which is an amazing landscape. The highlights included off in this exciting day is road-driving and sand boarding on massive white sand hills, touching and taking pictures of koalas, hand feeding kangaroos and viewing the beautiful native wildflowers.

Also, if weather conditions permit it, you will be driven to the Indian Ocean for swimming.

1 Day 4WD Pinnacles, Koalas & Sand Boarding

Fly over NYC, fly over the world!

Whether you visit New York City for business or for holidays you definitely need to have an exploring sightseeing around this incredibly big city.

It's wide-known that New York City is mainly associated with the massive towering buildings that make the borough of Manhattan well-distinguishable from every corner of the city. In particular, the Manhattan skyline has been popular from the countless Hollywood films and TV series.

Perhaps the most famous building is the enormous Empire State Building which although is no longer the tallest, it still comprises one of the most visited buildings on the planet.

If though you wish to escape the crowds and the queues the only way is to be taking to the skies. From up there, you will be able to come face-to-face not only with Empire State Building but also with the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler building. Yet, you will be given the opportunity to enjoy a magnificent view of the wonderful Central Park.

The Big Apple helicopter ride over the NYC will take you over iconic structures and sky-rocketing buildings that will be like no other.

The Big Apple Helicopter Ride