News: Chemaly appointed executive assistant manager at Raffles Singapore prepares for reopening

News: Chemaly appointed executive assistant manager at Raffles Singapore prepares for reopening

Raffles Hotel Singapore has announced the appointment of Chadi Chemaly as its executive assistant manager, rooms.

He will start in February.

Chemaly brings with him over 15 years of experience in hospitality, achieving outstanding results in housekeeping and room operations across the globe.

His journey as a hotelier started in North Carolina where he was part of front office operations in various top hotels including The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel in Charlotte.

Chemaly continued to fine tune his luxury hospitality portfolio in Saudi Arabia at Al Faisaliah – a Rosewood Hotel before joining Raffles in Beijing as executive assistant manager, rooms.

Most recently, Chemaly was based in Mexico with Fairmont Mayakoba, where he was responsible for the operation and administration of the hotel as its director of operations.

At Raffles Hotel Singapore, he will oversee its rooms and housekeeping division.

This includes the management of the legendary Raffles Butlers, the iconic liveried doormen and the upkeep of the lush tropical landscape that makes Raffles Hotel Singapore an oasis for the well-travelled.

Christian Westbeld, general manager, Raffles Hotel Singapore, said: “Chadi is a dynamic and passionate hotelier with a proven track record.

“He will be an invaluable addition to Raffles Hotel Singapore, contributing towards our legacy of delivering emotional luxury and legendary service.

“This is especially meaningful during our current careful and sensitive restoration as we write our new chapter for the hotel with a grand reopening in the second half of 2018.”


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 10:28AM

More of the world’s passengers can now find better wifi onboard

More of the world’s passengers can now find better wifi onboard

Routehappy has published its annual review of in-flight wifi showing that 82 airlines around the world now offer internet connectivity in-flight.

The rich content for flight shopping platform published its wifi report during the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s TECH meeting in Los Angeles.

In 2017 a total of 12 airlines added the service over the past year since the 2017 report was published.

The airlines that now offer wifi on many of their flights represent 43% of all available seat miles (ASM) worldwide, an increase of 10% over the 2017 report.

US carriers still lead the pack, offering wifi on 85% of their ASMs and non-US carriers offer wifi on nearly 32% of their ASMs, with some still rolling out.

The top three airlines leading the pack in wifi availability are Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Emirates. Three airlines now offer wifi on 100% of their flights: Icelandair, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic.

Customers will find wifi service onboard 100% of long-haul flights with Air Europa, Delta, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eurowings, EVA Air, Iberia, Kuwait, Lufthansa, SAS, Scoot, United and Virgin Atlantic.

The quality of wifi connections available is also improving. Connections rated as “Best” by Routehappy are available on 16% of ASMs worldwide. This represents an increase of 129% in quality of connections over 2017.

Routehappy rates wifi connections based on performance as follows:

  • Best wifi: Fastest wifi systems currently available, capable of advanced media streaming (whether allowed by airline or not); comparable to a home connection.
  • Better wifi: Wifi systems capable of full web browsing and limited media streaming.
  • Basic wifi: Wifi systems providing basic web browsing and no media streaming capabilities.

There are fewer connections rated as “Basic” this year, or 27% of all ASMs, a decrease of 16% from last years report.

The most common connections available (57% of ASMs worldwide) are still rated in the middle-of-the-road as “Better,” but a shift towards services rated “Best” continues.

Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy said of this year’s results:

“2017 was another progressive year for in-flight Wi-Fi, with a large increase in the amount of airlines that provide Wi-Fi access, on top of the growing availability of nearly half the available seat miles worldwide. The 129% growth of Best Wi-Fi is extraordinary, it shows the commitment airlines are making to best in class systems and we expect to see this number increase even more in 2018.”

Part of the impetus for adoption is that airlines now recognize that Wi-Fi connectivity is a priority for their passengers. Even smaller carriers like Air Astana in Kazakhstan, Air Côte d’Ivoire in the Ivory Coast, and Air Mauritius now offer connectivity on their flights.

Another driver for adoption is the reduced cost of installation and operation of these systems, making it affordable to many more airlines. Airlines around the world are also modernizing their fleet which makes installation of these systems now more convenient. Airbus and Boeing are also offering connectivity as a line-fit option on the production line which makes it easier for airlines to introduce the service on new aircraft.

Related reading:

Inflight wifi could be a $130 billion market by 2035

Inflight wifi tipping point by 2022


via tnooz

February 1, 2018 at 10:20AM

Listen to Muriel Spark Read from Her Work, in Honor of Her Hundredth Birthday

Listen to Muriel Spark Read from Her Work, in Honor of Her Hundredth Birthday

In 1993, Muriel Spark read from her memoir, “Curriculum Vitae,” and her
novel “The Public Image” at the 92nd Street Y’s Poetry Center. Her editor
at The New Yorker, Charles McGrath, delivered the opening remarks, in
which he confessed that “Muriel Spark required no editing.” This
impeccability applied to her public persona, too. Spark—a few weeks
after this appearance, she would become Dame Muriel Spark—was
seventy-two years of age at the time, and it’s apparent merely from the
audio of this event that she was as dauntingly impressive in person as
she was on the page.

Her speaking voice, from the distance of a quarter century, is a
phonological banquet. Your first impression is of a senior member of the
English Royal Family, albeit a weirdly intelligent and funny one. Then,
as you listen some more, you hear a Scottish accent, in particular the
“R”s in “archives,” “of course,” “Portman Square,” “years,” “bores”—all
pronounced with a soft rhotic trill. Finally, you understand that this
voice dates from the epoch in which acquiring skills in elocution,
deportment, and etiquette was necessary for middle-class young women who
aspired, to use the old phrase, to better themselves. The youthful
Muriel Spark was, of course, such a woman.

It feels apt, then, to hear Spark read about her blackly absurd
experiences, in postwar London, as the general secretary of the Poetry
Society. As a young divorcée poet and class upstart who was intent on
publishing modern verse, she found herself the subject of bizarre
accusations and scandalmongering, romantic and professional and social.
Simply to name the dramatis personae—Sir Eugen Millington-Drake;
Brigadier General Sir George Cockerill; William Kean Seymour—is to
populate a piece of Spark fan fiction. Then there’s this passage, which
caused her 92Y audience to roar with laughter:

One enraged reader who joined in the campaign against me was Dr. Marie
Stopes, the famous birth control expert—on that account, much to be
admired. She was resolutely opposed to my idea of poetry. Up to his
death three years earlier she had been living with Lord Alfred
Douglas, the fatal lover of Oscar Wilde, an arrangement which I
imagine would satisfy any woman’s craving for birth control.

The material for “The Public Image,” from which Spark read next, had
been given to her in a dream—the only time, she tells the Y audience,
that this happened to her. The novel concerns a famous actress whose
husband, out of envy and malevolence, destroys her carefully constructed
image with a baroque scheme involving his own suicide; defamatory
suicide notes; and a party, thrown by him, of such disgracefully
debauched dimensions that it will irreparably damage his wife’s brand as
movie star.

It’s curious, on the face of it, that Spark chose to dig out a
twenty-five-year-old novel to complement “Curriculum Vitae.” But the two
books have in common women staking a claim in a pre-feminist workplace,
and the sexual and reputational precariousness of their situation, which
Spark no doubt understood was unending. A woman is never out of the


via Everything

February 1, 2018 at 10:13AM

China’s #MeToo Moment

China’s #MeToo Moment

In 2004, Luo Xixi, a young Ph.D. student at Beihang University, in
Beijing, tried to say no when her adviser asked her to drive with him to
his sister’s apartment. But the adviser, a forty-five-year-old professor
named Chen Xiaowu, who was a prominent academic and the managing
director of the China Computer Federation, an organization of academics
and experts, insisted. He wanted her to tend to his sister’s houseplants
while she was away, Luo said, because it was a task that “women should
be intuitively good at.” Once they got to the apartment, however, Chen
locked the door and told Luo that he and his wife were incompatible in
bed, because his wife was “too conservative.” He lunged at Luo, who
pleaded with him to stop, and relented only when she said, through
tears, that she was a virgin. Luo said that he told her that he had been testing her
“moral conduct,” and warned her not to mention the incident to anyone.

Inspired by the #MeToo movement in the United States, where Luo now lives, she wrote a detailed account of her experience in an open letter
that she posted under that hashtag earlier this month on Weibo, the
popular Chinese social-media platform. Within a day, it received three
million hits. Last fall, after allegations of abuse surfaced against Harvey Weinstein, a whisper network had formed in chat rooms on Chinese
social media, where female students had anonymously put
forth complaints of sexual harassment and assault against Chen. Reading
those posts gave Luo the courage to go public, she wrote. Her letter
drew the most attention, likely because it was signed. Several of
Chen’s other former students then went on the record with their own
allegations. He denied any wrongdoing, but, two weeks ago, the
university reportedly dismissed him from his posts.

In the United States, the public conversation about harassment has
provided catharsis, but it has also revealed the pain of disclosure. The
long-delayed litany of allegations has shown that women often fear
losing their financial stability, their professional standing, and what
some may perceive to be the respect of their peers as much as they fear
their predators. Perhaps the most revealing aspect of the investigations
is not the abuse itself, which, in some cases, was long suspected, but
the structures that a powerful man may erect to protect himself even as
he ritualizes the abuse.

In China, where a far more determined sense of patriarchy and
hierarchical order exists, that structure can reach considerably higher.
“In China, if you are a Ph.D. student, it’s difficult to overstate how
much your supervisor determines your fate,” a Chinese feminist activist
named Liang Xiaowen, who is now attending law school in the United
States, told me. “Deference to authority is paramount to your survival
as a student.” Since last fall, thousands of students and alumni have
written letters to some thirty universities across China, calling for
the institution of firm policies regarding harassment, and Liang made
the same demand in an open letter she wrote to her alma mater, the South
China University of Technology. Even the official language used to
describe sexual harassment, she noted, hints at moral equivocation.
“They don’t call it ‘harassment’ or ‘assault’ on school documents,”
Liang said. “In Chinese, the term is ‘inappropriate teacher-student
relations,’ as if to suggest that the inappropriateness could be the
fault of both parties. In the abstract, people are saying it is wrong,
but perpetrators are not really harmed.”

Last year, after the Weinstein story broke, the state-run China Daily published
an online piece stating that the virtues of Chinese culture
insured a comparatively low incidence of sexual harassment. The piece
met with a backlash on social media, decrying the falsity of the claim.
(A survey conducted in 2017 by the Guangzhou Gender and Sexuality
Education Center and the law firm Beijing Impact found that nearly
seventy per cent of Chinese university students had experienced sexual
harassment.) But its publication suggests a narrative that the
government has a vested interest in selling to the public. “The Chinese
government has become much more sophisticated in propaganda than it used
to be, but it needs to project a certain image,” Leta Hong Fincher, the
author of a forthcoming book, “Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China,” told me. Women’s-rights groups are treated with
hostility by the government, which tends to cast them as agents of
Western interference.

When I spoke to Fincher, who lives in New York, she pointed out that
feminist activism represents a real threat to the Chinese government,
which, above all else, is concerned with maintaining social stability,
to safeguard its own political legitimacy. Collective action taken on
behalf of any cause is reason enough for suspicion and, sometimes, a
criminal charge of subversion. “The fact that #MeToo spread so quickly
in such a short period of time shows that the message of feminism has
broad appeal, and that it resonates with ordinary people,” Fincher said.
“Since the democracy movement of 1989, when was the last time that there
was any sort of collective active across so many provinces?”

Like women in this country, women in China are grappling with how to
convert the momentum of a fledgling protest into concrete action. But,
unlike this country, China lacks a clear definition of sexual
harassment. (A law passed in 2005 banned workplace harassment, but any
concrete sense of what harassment means was left too vague for
implementation to be truly effective.) In the workplace as well as in
schools, there are no standardized guidelines on how to handle sexual
assault. On social media, phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” have
been erased, and online petitions are intermittently deleted. The use of
the “MeToo China” hashtag has also been blocked, forcing members to use
creative homonyms, in order to evade censors.

At the moment, the movement is primarily composed of young, educated
women, living in cities or abroad. For every woman who has come forward
many more remain in the shadows. Not long ago, I spoke to a Chinese
woman in her mid-sixties who did not know what to make of #MeToo. Like
many people of her generation, she still faithfully reads the Chinese
state media and finds much of what is happening among the younger
generations baffling. The woman, who has lived in New York since the nineteen-nineties, had counted herself as a member of
China’s privileged class (her parents were cadre leaders during Mao’s
revolutionary years), but she told me about an incident that she was
still hesitant to discuss, decades after it occurred. When she was
sixteen and living in Nanjing, she had a charismatic Chinese teacher who took a liking to her.
“He made me the class monitor,” she said, and her classmates teased her
about being the teacher’s pet.

Then, one day after school, as she was erasing the chalkboard—the duty of
a class monitor—in the empty classroom, the teacher grabbed her hand. “I
didn’t know what to do. I ran from the classroom,” she said, but she
remembered an inexplicable feeling of guilt, as if she had forgotten the
lines of a play that she had been assigned to perform. The teacher never
mentioned the incident to her, but for the rest of the year he no longer
praised her essays in class, as he used to. She told no one, not even
family members, what had happened. “It seemed like something I dreamt
up,” she said. “But what I think of most is what a classmate said to me,
sometime after we graduated. She told me that, for a while, I was the
envy of the class for being the teacher’s undisputed favorite. She said,
‘We all thought it was unfair that you alone were so well-liked by the
teacher.’ ” The friend laughed and added, “You were so lucky.”


via Everything

February 1, 2018 at 10:13AM

News: Chopra steps down as Oberoi Group president

News: Chopra steps down as Oberoi Group president

Chopra steps down as Oberoi Group president

Oberoi Group president Kapil Chopra has stepped down from the role to focus full time on entrepreneurial activities.

The resignation has been accepted by Oberoi Group executive chairman Prithviraj Singh Oberoi.

Oberoi announced Chopra’s departure to all his employees in a memo earlier and informed them about Chopra’s decision to take on the role of an entrepreneur.

Oberoi himself reminisced about his first meeting with Chopra during an interview in 1994 for the position of a management trainee.

He went on to mention that Chopra had planned to leave as early as April 2017 but agreed to stay on till a transition plan was created.

Chopra was promoted to the position of group president in January 2013.

In a letter to colleagues, Chopra added: “After a career spanning two decades with The Oberoi Group, I am moving on to pursue my dream of an entrepreneurial venture.

“I had been contemplating this for quite some time.

“It has been a tough decision, but as they say – to set new milestones, you have to raise the bar for yourself and be your own competition.”

Chopra also confirmed his first venture would to take over as the chairman of the board for EazyDiner – an app that lets guests book reservations for dining out in restaurants and hotels in India and Dubai.


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 10:09AM

News: Favourable tax environment drives up results at Boeing

News: Favourable tax environment drives up results at Boeing

Boeing has reported fourth-quarter revenue of $25.4 billion with GAAP earnings per share of $5.18 and core earnings per share of $4.80 reflecting record deliveries and strong performance.

The figure also reflected the impact of a favourable tax reform of $1.74 per share.

Revenue was $93.4 billion for the full year, reflecting a strong deliveries mix, with GAAP earnings per share of $13.43 and core earnings per share of $12.04.

“Across Boeing our teams delivered a record year of financial and operational performance as they focused on disciplined execution of production and development programs, growing services, and delivering value to customers,” said Boeing chairman Dennis Muilenburg.

“That performance enables increased investments in our people and our business, and greater cash return to shareholders.”

Boeing saw commercial airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increase to $15.5 billion on higher planned delivery volume and mix.

The fourth-quarter operating margin increased to 11.5 per cent, reflecting strong execution.

During the quarter, the commercial airplanes delivered a record 209 airplanes and the 787-program rolled out the first 787-10 airplane – expected to be delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines.

The 737-program delivered 44 MAX airplanes during the quarter and has captured over 4,300 orders since launch for the 737 MAX, including a recent order from flydubai for 175 airplanes.

Development on the 777X is on track as production began on the first 777X flight test airplane in early 2018.

Commercial Airplanes booked 414 net orders during the quarter.

Backlog remains robust with over 5,800 airplanes valued at $421 billion.

“In 2017 we delivered the first 737 MAX airplanes, launched the 737 MAX 10 and completed the 787-10 first flight, all while delivering more commercial airplanes than ever before,” said Muilenburg.

Operating cash flow in the quarter of $2.9 billion was driven by strong operating performance.

During the quarter, the company repurchased 6.7 million shares for $1.7 billion and paid $0.8 billion in dividends.

For the full year, the company repurchased 46.1 million shares for $9.2 billion and paid $3.4 billion in dividends.

Based on strong cash generation and confidence in the company’s outlook, the board of directors in December increased the quarterly dividend per share by 20 per cent and replaced the existing share repurchase program with a new $18 billion authorisation.

Share repurchases under the new authorisation are expected to be made over the next 24 to 30 months.


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 09:59AM

News: Prime minister Correia attending opening of Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort

News: Prime minister Correia attending opening of Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort

Hilton has marked the official opening of its new resort on the island of Sal in Cabo Verde, announcing the company’s debut in the country and further growing the brand’s portfolio of resorts.

Rudi Jagersbacher, Hilton president for Middle East, Africa and Turkey, and the company’s area vice president of operations for Africa and Indian Ocean, Jan van der Putten, were joined at the hotel’s opening ceremony by the country’s prime minister, Ulisses Correia, justice minister Janine Lelis, the hotel’s owners, and a host of dignitaries, ambassadors and guests.

Speaking at the event, van der Putten said: “Cabo Verde is a fast-growing tourism destination that offers amazing weather year-round, a rich culture and pristine beaches, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to Sal with our world-renowned Hilton service and hospitality.

“We have an incredible product here and we expect to drive great business and opportunity to the hotel and to Cabo Verde as we look to expand in the country.”

Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort boasts of a stunning natural stone pool set within a lush tropical garden.

Guests can enjoy a 24-hour fitness centre, a kid’s club with a children’s pool and a nautical centre for diving and sailing adventures.

The hotel also features a beauty salon and Hilton’s signature eforea Spa concept with a wet area and eight treatment rooms.

Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is also the only hotel in the area to offer 24-hour room service and a minibar.

With over 1,000 square meters of flexible meeting and events space, including a 300 square-meter ballroom with high ceilings, Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is ideal for business groups, small meetings and social events.

The hotel also offers wedding packages which allow couples to celebrate their special day on the scenic beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Each of the hotel’s 241 spacious guest rooms features a 50-inch LED television, Wi-Fi and a balcony or terrace.

All rooms span at least 39 square meters, while suites offer at least 75 square meters of space.


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 09:47AM

News: UK joins top three European source markets for Taiwan

News: UK joins top three European source markets for Taiwan

Taiwan last year welcomed the largest ever number of British tourists – a record-breaking 64,719 travellers – representing an increase of 8.3 per cent on 2016.

The UK market has grown year-on-year since 2013 and joins Germany and France as the three largest sources of European travellers into Taiwan.

As a holiday destination, Taiwan offers British travellers a seamless combination of Asia’s highlights, from ultra-modern cities and a mouth-watering food scene to dramatic mountainous terrain flanked by expansive coastlines and centuries-old traditions and cultures.

Joe Y Chou, director general of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, said: “Over the past year, we’ve been focusing on increasing visitor numbers from all of our key international markets, including the UK, so we’re delighted to have welcomed the largest number of British tourists ever to Taiwan in 2017.

“We are dedicated to maintaining this year-on-year growth into 2018 through our close involvement with members of the UK travel trade and continuing to highlight what makes our country such an incredible holiday destination.”

Currently sold by more than 50 tour operators in the UK, two new operators added Taiwan to their portfolio for the first time in 2017.

In order to further drive UK visitor numbers in 2017, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau worked closely with the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives, as well as providing face to face and online training for travel agents.

In 2018, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau will be focusing on the destination’s marine tourism highlights.

Surrounded by coastline and off-shore islands, Taiwan’s crystal-clear waters offer many opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving among vibrant coral reefs and tropical fish, while beautiful sandy beaches and ideal surfing conditions can be found at Kenting National Park at the country’s southernmost tip.


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 09:47AM

News: Etihad Airways introduces new baggage policy

News: Etihad Airways introduces new baggage policy

Etihad Airways introduces new baggage policy

Etihad Airways has introduced a new baggage policy tailored to varying customer requirements in the international markets it serves.

The changes allow for a simpler baggage structure as the allowance for all markets, excluding the US and Canada, is now based on total weight rather than the number of bags checked in.

Etihad Airways executive vice president commercial, Mohammad Al Bulooki, said: “In line with global best practice and market trends, Etihad Airways has developed a baggage policy that best caters to the differing needs of our guests around the world.

“The switch to a policy based on weight rather than the number of bags simplifies our allowance system and provides greater convenience and customer benefit while enhancing the travel experience.”

With the switch to a weight-based baggage policy, the majority of markets will be entitled to 23 kilogrammes of checked baggage on economy deal fares, 30 kilogrammes on Economy saver and classic fares, and 35 kilogrammes on economy flex fares.

Customers in all business class fare categories are entitled to 40 kilogrammes, and first-class customers enjoy a 50 kilogrammes allowance.

For full details visit the official website.


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 09:38AM

News: New chief financial officer for Oman Air

News: New chief financial officer for Oman Air

Oman Air has confirmed the appointment of Suleiman Al Ghannami as chief financial officer.

He will join the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman on February 1st as the airline continues to revise its network and expand its fleet.

Abdulaziz Al Raisi, acting chief executive, Oman Air, said: “I am very glad that through our extensive search, Oman Air has successfully finalised an Omani financial expert to fill in the post of chief financial officer.

“Suleiman comes with high calibre, significant financial expertise and extensive international experience in this sector and has a strong track record of proven success in leading teams to deliver financial success.

“We are fortunate to have him join Oman Air.”

Suleiman brings 13 years of professional and international experience to the role of Oman Air’s chief financial officer; he worked for Pricewaterhouse Coopers for seven years, with four of these years being in PwC’s international offices.

More recently he was employed for six years, until October 2017, at the Oman Drydock Company, where he was finance director.

Al Ghannami said: “It is a very prestigious role to be the chief financial officer of Oman’s national airline and I am confident that I have the right skills and expertise to deliver financial success. 

“I am excited and proud to join the airline at such a pivotal time and to play my part in its transformation into a performance-driven organization that is well-positioned for the future.”


via Breaking Travel News

February 1, 2018 at 09:29AM