Road Warrior: South African Airways needs a lift

New Hyatt hotels, Qatar wants visitors, US carriers denied fewer passengers

The state-owned carrier has been losing money for the past seven years. Photograph: Udo Weitz/UDO

The state-owned carrier has been losing money for the past seven years. Photograph: Udo Weitz/UDO

 

SAA in trouble

South African Airways has asked the South African government for a cash injection of 13 billion rand (€0.822 billion) to allow the airline to continue operating. The state-owned carrier has been losing money for the past seven years and has continued with the support of the government. The board of SAA made a plea as it needs cash to cover operating costs and to meet debt repayments. The airline has presented a financial plan to the South African parliament’s finance committee and believes it can return to profit by 2019. A statement is expected in October when the finance minister Gigaba Malusi will make his budget submission. South African tourism has seen a swing into growth in the past number of years with 12.8 per cent growth in 2016.

Hyatt Hotel will add 60 new hotels

Hyatt Hotels are on pace to add 20 per cent more hotels to their existing 300-count properties. The hotel group has opened 33 hotels so far this year. In the last quarter there were 22 opening with 3,366 rooms from the United States to Asia. One hotel opened in Europe in Amsterdam, a Hyatt Regency. The Chicago-based group will open hotels in Mexico, Bangkok and India. Hyatt has 300 hotels in their portfolio with 66,000 rooms.

Qatar waives visa rules

Effective immediately, Qatar has waived visa requirements for citizens of 80 countries. The minister for the interior has announced that citizens of the 80 countries will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa to visit. A multi-entry visa will be issued at ports of arrival free of charge. Depending on the nationality of the visitor visa will be valid for 30 days from date of issue or 180 days and allow the visitors to spend up to 90 days in Qatar. According to Hassan al Ibrahim, the Chief Tourism Development officer, “easing entry into Qatar is a key enabler for the growth of the tourism industry.”

US carriers deny boardings going down

The US Department of Transportation announced this week that US carriers had bumped the least amount of passengers since last year, in the first half of this year. Denied boarding was down to 0.52 per 10,000 from January to June. The rate reflects 17,330 passengers out of 332,415,301 flown passengers. The previous high had been 0.62 per 10,000 that was set in the first half of 2016. The figures come after an incident on a United Airlines flight in April when a passenger was physically dragged off an overbooked flight. Congress held hearings and took a very dim view. Airlines were threatened with more legislation if they did not improve the situation.

jscales@irishtimes.com

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