News: NYC & Company: City remains safe following terror attack

News: NYC & Company: City remains safe following terror attack

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NYC & Company president Fred Dixon has said the city remains safe following the deadliest terrorist incident in the US tourism capital since the September 11th attacks in 2001.

Eight people were killed and 12 injured when the driver of a truck hit people on a cycle path in Lower Manhattan yesterday.

Five friends from Argentina were among those killed.

A 29-year-old man, an Uzbek immigrant, was shot and injured by police as he left the vehicle.

He is under arrest.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo subsequently revealed a note was found inside the truck referring to the Islamic State militant group.

Following the incident, Dixon said: “We are deeply saddened by the terrible attack and are thankful and reassured by the swift actions of the NYPD and first responders.

“Our deepest sympathies are with all the victims and their families.

“It is profoundly disheartening to learn of the five Argentineans and the Belgian who were among those who lost their lives, and other visitors who were injured or affected who were simply here to experience and enjoy this incredible City.

“We condemn this senseless act of violence here and those in other destinations around the globe. We are a strong, united and resilient community.

“New York City remains a safe and welcoming destination for leisure visitors and meetings delegates, and we encourage travellers to continue with their plans here and elsewhere.”

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November 1, 2017 at 04:08PM

Focus: Breaking Travel News investigates: Fairmont Dubai

Focus: Breaking Travel News investigates: Fairmont Dubai

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“My friends say if I get more than a mile from a Fairmont, I get a nosebleed,” jokes a guest sitting next to me in the Gold Lounge at Fairmont Dubai.

A colourful example, maybe, but a neat illustration of the dedication the brand can inspire.

Fairmont Dubai itself is the case in point – an institution in United Arab Emirates hospitality.

Celebrating its 15th year in 2017, the venerable property has watched Dubai develop from a small pearl fishing village into the global metropolis it is today.

From its enviable position on the Sheikh Zayed Road, it offers a lesson to all the new upstarts; an institution of unmatched sophistication.

Modelled after an Arabic wind tower, or barajeel, the 34-story property features 248 guestrooms and a further 146 suites, luxury penthouses, and residential apartments.

The design is a blend of contemporary chic and more traditional touches, with a stunning lobby ushers guests into the world of delights within.

Arriving on weekday night this autumn, the service is immaculate, even at 02:00 – perhaps explaining why the hotel has just taken the Middle East’s Leading Hotel Service Award at the World Travel Awards.

Within moments I am up in my one-bed suite, enjoying a moment of relaxation.

Here the polished granite floors and soft fabrics are united to create a soothing atmosphere, complemented by stunning panoramic views of the city.

All guest rooms at Fairmont Dubai feature well-appointed bathrooms, in-room business facilities, and a separate chaise lounge sitting area.

Everything the culture guest would expect is on offer – from a huge flat-screen television and super-fast Wi-Fi, to an espresso coffee machine – as well as a few things you might not.

Each Fairmont Gold Suite comes with free suit pressing, while personalised Rose 31 toiletries are a unique touch.

Upstairs, Fairmont Gold is a hotel-within-a hotel, designed to meet the needs of the most discerning corporate or leisure guest.

Exclusive features include discreet and attentive concierge service, a dedicated check in and check-out area; a private lounge with drinks and canapés; and a complimentary breakfast.

The Gold Lounge, with views over the city below, is a real treat, and is a perfect place to while away the evening.

Guests are also greeted by name, even on arrival for the first time.

The concierge confides: “A week before you arrive, we know who you are, we know all of our guests; we are a family.”

But all this luxurious leisure is just one side of the coin, as the Fairmont Dubai is also built for business!

The multi-use complex is just minutes from Dubai’s key attractions, shopping facilities, golf clubs and beaches and is directly linked to the Dubai International Convention Centre by a dedicated covered walkway.

This makes it the perfection location for hospitality travellers attending the annual Arabian Travel Market.

Away from the convention centre, Dubai is a city full of adventure and surprises.

Its diversity provides visitors with a wide range of experiences from beautiful undulating sand dunes to unspoiled beaches, to the excitement of a bustling nightlife.

Trade is the lifeblood of this traditionally Arabic and tolerant society, where business and commerce bring the best and brightest from across the world to help build Dubai’s future.

The city is also expanding away from its luxury routes to offer more to travelling families and those on a budget.

As Dubai Tourism chief executive, Issam Kazim, recently told Breaking Travel News: “There is a Dubai that has proved remarkably popular, featuring the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah.

“But there is a lot more to the destination.

“Tradition is something we will be focusing on moving forward, the spice markets, the textile markets, things people can go and explore.
For those with a little more time to spend at the hotel, there are few better places to relax than the spa.

This unique destination is designed to inspire, nourish, and guide guests on a journey to find their personal energy in a location that reflects their cultural and environmental surroundings.

By combining proven methodology for relaxation and rejuvenation, all experiences are designed to soothe, pamper, de-stress and invigorate the mind and body.

The spa covers over 40,000 square feet and offers two distinct experiences.

One being the dedicated spa facility which has a luxurious Romanesque feel throughout, with separate male and female sections, which both feature an opulent Jacuzzi area with Turkish Hammam inspired steam rooms, invigorating ice shower, two relaxing footbaths and a total of seven private treatment and relaxation rooms.

The second location offers state of the art health club facilities.

With so much on offer, you will never want to leave.

In a town full of close imitations of luxury, false approximations, third-tier facsimiles, Fairmont is something real, something timeless, and something to be envied.

More Information

The first international property for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Dubai opened in February 2002 and is managed on behalf of the private office of Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.

From the stunning architectural design, unrivalled accommodation and facilities to the warm and engaging service, it has become a distinctive landmark on the ever-evolving city skyline and the Middle East flagship property for the company.

Find out more about the hotel on the official website.

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November 1, 2017 at 03:49PM

Trump Accuses Clinton of Deliberately Losing Election So He Could Be Impeached

Trump Accuses Clinton of Deliberately Losing Election So He Could Be Impeached

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In what might be his most startling
allegation against his former election opponent, Donald Trump on Wednesday
accused Hillary Clinton of deliberately losing the 2016 election just so
that he could be impeached.

“How could one of the most experienced politicians in history lose to
the most unfit candidate ever?” Trump asked reporters. “Crooked Hillary
lost on purpose because she wanted me to be impeached.”

Explaining Clinton’s motives for intentionally sabotaging her quest for
an office she had coveted for decades, Trump said, “Hillary Clinton is
more than a nasty woman. She is an evil woman, and her sick mind is
capable of anything.”

Trump said that instead of reporting the “fake story” of his campaign’s
collusion with the Russians, the media should focus on Clinton’s
“diabolical scheme to lose the election.”

“I don’t know if Hillary Clinton lost the election on her own,” Trump
said. “Maybe she asked the Russians to help her lose. But the fact is,
Hillary Clinton deliberately plotted to put me in the White House, and
the American people should be very angry about that.”

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November 1, 2017 at 03:16PM

Limited-Time Only: Transfer Amex Points to JetBlue With a 25% Bonus

Limited-Time Only: Transfer Amex Points to JetBlue With a 25% Bonus

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For a limited time only, American Express is offering a 25% bonus when you transfer Membership Rewards to JetBlue’s TrueBlue program. Through November 30, 2017, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to JetBlue at a rate of 250:250 — or 1:1.

To take advantage of the offer, log in to your Amex account and head to the transfer points section of the Membership Rewards page. Ensure that your Amex and JetBlue accounts are linked, and initiate a transfer. Keep in mind that according to the terms and conditions, transfers must be in increments of 250 points and there’s a minimum transfer of 250 points.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.31.25 AM

As always, we never recommend transferring points speculatively — no matter the program. Once your points have been transferred to a program, there’s no reversing that decision in order to get them back. However, if you’re sitting on a large stash of Amex Membership Rewards points and have some upcoming travel that you could book with JetBlue, this 25% bonus makes now a good time to initiate a transfer.

Keep in mind that JetBlue’s TrueBlue program is revenue-based, so the amount of points needed for a redemption depends on the ticket’s cash price. At best, you’ll be getting a 1:1 ratio on your Membership Rewards to TrueBlue transfer. Even with this 25% transfer bonus, there may be better uses for your Amex points — they’re worth 1.9 cents each compared to TrueBlue’s 1.3 cents apiece according to TPG’s latest valuations.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this transfer bonus, keep in mind that you must do so by November 30, 2017, at 12:00am MT (December 1 at 2:00am ET).

Featured image by Robert Alexander / Getty Images.

H/T: Running With Miles

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November 1, 2017 at 03:15PM

Halloween in New York Goes on After a Terror Attack

Halloween in New York Goes on After a Terror Attack

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In retrospect, New York City had been fortunate over the past few years.
While deadly attacks attributed to ISIS-inspired individuals have
occurred in Orlando and San Bernardino; in European cities like
Barcelona, Brussels, London, Manchester, and Nice; and have become
common in places like Baghdad and Kabul—where at least seven people were
killed in a suicide
attack
on Tuesday—New York had been largely spared. The most serious incident
of the past decade came last September, when a radicalized immigrant
from Afghanistan named Ahmad Khan Rahimi planted two homemade pipe bombs
in Chelsea, another one in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and several more in
Elizabeth, New Jersey. Thirty-one people were injured by Rahimi’s
devices. Mercifully, no one died.

Yet everyone in the city who still remembers 9/11 lives with the
awareness that another large-scale attack is possible. Fears intensified
this spring, when a speeding car jumped a sidewalk in Times Square,
killing one person and injuring more than twenty others. In an effort to
prevent deliberate vehicle attacks—the kind that ISIS and other
terrorist groups have been encouraging in recent years—the city has been
installing bollards and concrete barriers near busy intersections and
public plazas. Recently, I met an architect whose firm had been hired to
design permanent and less unsightly obstructions. But, of course, you
can’t protect an entire metropolis. Not on a crisp Halloween afternoon
when the streets were full of people, and school kids were rushing home
to go trick-or-treating.

We now know that just after three o’clock on Tuesday, a rented Home
Depot truck veered off the West Side Highway near Houston Street,
entered a bike path that runs north-south along the western edge of
Manhattan, and struck a bicyclist. As passersby looked on in horror, the
driver carried on south for sixteen blocks. By the time he crashed to a
halt near Chambers Street, eight people were dead or fatally wounded,
and more than a dozen others were injured.

In the immediate aftermath, details were scant. Cops shot the driver
close to Stuyvesant High School, and the first reports suggested that
the school was somehow involved in the attack. The school was on
lockdown, and some friends of mine whose daughter is a student there had
an anxious time of it until they managed to contact her and confirm she
was O.K. Not knowing what was really happening, and worrying that the
subways might be halted, I texted my eleven-year-old daughter, who
attends middle school in another part of Manhattan. To my delight, she
texted right back, saying that she was already back in Brooklyn,
where we live.

When other people are dead or suffering, it can feel selfish to
personalize things. But this is human nature. Once both of our daughters
were safely home, my wife and I decided not to mention the attack to
them, and to go ahead with trick-or-treating as if nothing had happened.
Evidently, this was a common course of action. The streets in our
neighborhood were alive with Halloween revellers, as were those in other
neighborhoods. (Stu Loeser, a former spokesman for Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, posted a photograph of families gathered in costume at the
corner of Duane Street and Hudson Street, just three blocks from where
the truck ended up.) As we made our way from stoop to stoop, I ran into
a couple of friends who were also out with their kids. Both of them
blanched at my mention of the attack and said they were trying their
best to ignore it.

By the time we got home and finished dinner, the Internet was full of
the kind of responses to the attack that have become familiar from the
aftermath of attacks in other cities: dedicated hashtags, statements of
sympathy and solidarity from politicians and celebrities, a pledge to
beef up immigration controls from President Donald Trump. Reports had
also filled in some details about the alleged attacker, Sayfulio Saipov,
an immigrant from Uzbekistan who reportedly left a suicide note in the
Home Depot truck claiming that he carried out the attack in the name of
ISIS.

To those of us who spent the early evening trick-or-treating, surrounded
by happy children, the composition of this note failed to offer a
convincing explanation for mass murder. Even though we might have a
conceptual awareness of what Islamic radicalization is, and we might
follow the latest developments about the U.S.-aided military forces
campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we cannot emotionally
understand what drives a twenty-nine-year-old man to ram a truck into
innocent civilians, ignoring their screams as he keeps his foot down and
eyes ahead for other potential victims.

One thing we do fully comprehend is that, after something of a delay,
the vehicle attack—a terror tactic so simple and yet so hard to defend
against—has been exported to the United States. Even as we celebrate the
resilience of New York Halloween-goers, there is no denying that this is
an alarming development.

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November 1, 2017 at 02:55PM

Can Technology Make Meetings and Events Safer?

Can Technology Make Meetings and Events Safer?

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IMEX Group

IMEX America 2017 was held in Las Vegas. one week after one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history took place in the same city at an open-air concert. IMEX Group

Skift Take: It’s not something a lot of people want to think about, but with large gatherings increasingly becoming a target for violent attacks, meeting and event planners have to step up their security tools and protocols.

— Deanna Ting

Held just one week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, attendees at this year’s IMEX America event were unified in their message: We stand behind Las Vegas.

But mixed in among the 5,500 attendees and 3,200-plus exhibitors at the Sands Expo and Convention Center’s 2,000-square-foot exhibition hall was a new and unusual sight: K-9 units, named Zeus and Hunter, both from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

“Talking to the security team at the Sands, it’s not just that [the dogs] make people feel safer, but it is preventative as well, to a degree,” said IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer. “They said that dogs in particular can be a real deterrent to people” wishing to do harm.

The K-9 units were just part of a stepped-up security effort at this year’s IMEX America. IMEX America planners and the Sands security team tightened security by hiring additional unarmed and armed guards, and increasing random bag searches. These extra steps were in addition to the usual security procedures in place, including camera feeds monitored by the Sands security staff and badge reviews for restricted backstage areas.

“We have a robust security plan and we go through that with the Sands every year, regardless. The Sands has a very good and large security team, and multiples types of security as well, which I think is important,” said Bauer. “But obviously, as a result of the event, we did sit down and go through what their day-to-day operations are and then what enhancements we make anyway for the show, and then we did add a few things.”

Beyond Bag Checks: Security Technology

No doubt it can be challenging for facilities and venues to adapt to current and emerging threats and there are some technologies in place that are aimed at making events safer. Today, magnetometers and even bag X-rays are the norm at major sporting events and festivals. Security cameras are a part of everyday life. And badges enabled with RFID (radio-frequency identification) and facial recognition technology are gaining ground as ways to restrict access to certain areas, even providing live information on who is at the event and where they are at any given time.

Experts say event and meetings security and the technology employed is continually evolving and will likely evolve even more rapidly after the Las Vegas attack.

One company, Shooter Detection Systems, has seen an uptick in interest for its products, particularly the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detector. The Guardian system uses acoustics and infrared technologies to detect gunfire and immediately relays this information via floor plan map to key security personnel. When fully integrated with a building security system, the Guardian System calls up surveillance cameras in the incident area, initiates lock-down procedures, sends mass notification alerts to desktops and mobile devices, and provides immediate notification to first responders, all within less than a second.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries since Vegas for demonstrations,” said SDS CEO Christian Connors. The Guardian system is already in commercial use in several schools, courtrooms, private offices, a major sports stadium, and at least one airport with four more planned in the coming months. The system is also in place in “a couple of” convention centers “and we expect at least one more this year and a couple maybe next year,” Connors said. SDS also conducted a live fire demonstration for a few Las Vegas casinos less than a year ago, Connors said.

For security reasons and customer privacy, Connors will not divulge exactly where or in what facilities the Guardian systems have been installed, but he did say that, so far, with up to 17 million hours of customer use time and testing, there has not been a single false alert.

Preparing for the Unexpected

Nevertheless, security technology continues to lag behind traditional, visible security measures and even situational awareness. “Technology doesn’t provide all the answers to everything. I’m in favor of technological solutions, but let’s be careful to identify the problem, which is easy access to things that cause significant harm,” said Steve Adelman, vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, an Arizona-based organization dedicated to promoting “life safety first” throughout all phases of event production and execution.

Still, in light of continuing attacks on gatherings of people and the need for planners to provide an increasing sense of safety, event security could be the next burgeoning market for technology companies. “We had a number of new technology exhibitors at IMEX and also IMEX Pitch exhibitors, but I’m not sure to be honest that any of them dealt with security,” said IMEX Group’s Bauer. “We haven’t really explored that yet, I have to say. Maybe that’s part of the future in the event space.”

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November 1, 2017 at 02:06PM

Launching Our New Weekly Newsletter: Airline Innovation Report

Launching Our New Weekly Newsletter: Airline Innovation Report

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Skift Take: We’re excited to debut the Skift Airline Innovation Report. We hope it will become an essential tool in keeping abreast of and deciphering developments in the ever-changing global airline industry.

— Dennis Schaal

We’ve covered airlines from day one at Skift, but today we take our coverage and analysis to the next level with the launch of our weekly Skift Airline Innovation Report.

The newsletter, which will pop into your inbox on Wednesdays, will be written and curated by Skift airline business reporter Brian Sumers, and it revolves around the business of airline innovation.

We will look closely at the technological, financial, and design trends at airlines and airports that are driving the next-gen aviation industry.

This is Skift’s eighth newsletter honing in on the business of travel and restaurants. The Skift Airline Innovation Report will highlight original reporting, exclusive interviews, and analysis that you’ll get nowhere else.

The Skift Airline Innovation Report will offer insights on need-to know developments in passenger experience, ancillary services, revenue management, loyalty, technology, marketing, airport innovation, the competitive landscape, startups, and changing passenger behavior.

We kicked off the inaugural Skift Airline Innovation Report today with a one-on-one interview with Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac in New York City.

Stories Like These

Looking at Sumers’ recent coverage of airline innovation, you can look forward to more analysis and stories like these in upcoming issues of the weekly Skift Airline Innovation Report:

Subscribe to the Airline Innovation Report

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November 1, 2017 at 02:06PM

Interview: Air France-KLM CEO on Millennials and Unions of All Kinds

Interview: Air France-KLM CEO on Millennials and Unions of All Kinds

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Air France

CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac has helped stabilize Air France-KLM in slightly more than a year leading the company. Air France

Skift Take: Is there a tougher job in the airline industry than making Air France more nimble? It’s an airline that prides itself on its systems and procedures. But to compete forcefully in the 21st century, an airline must take chances. Air France needs to be more, in that regard, like its Dutch sibling, KLM.

— Brian Sumers

Editor’s Note: Following our previous CEO interview series in online travelhospitality, and destinations, as well as our CMO series across verticals, we’ve launched another series, this time focused on the CEOs of leading airlines outside of the United States.

Airlines_CEO_logo2To better understand the challenges facing airlines in an age of fluctuating oil prices, rapid growth, and changing passenger expectations, our Future of Passenger Experience series will allow leaders in the industry to explain their best practices and insights. Read the rest of the series here.

This is the latest interview in the series.

You might say Air France hit its nadir in October 2015, when photographs and videos emerged of the airline’s head of human relations, nearly shirtless after protestors yanked at his clothing, being boosted over a fence by security officers. They were helping him escape from a mob, upset the airline planned to fire nearly 3,000 flight attendants, pilots and ground crew employees.

Executives said they had no choice. Even more than other top European airlines, including British Airways and Lufthansa, Air France is burdened with high costs, and management complained unions had shown little interest in allowing it to be more nimble against legacy airlines and low-cost carriers.

At the time, Air France was profitable, but not by much. Its margin in 2015 was 2.8 percent, less than the 3.9 percent recorded by sister company KLM. The French and Dutch airlines combined in 2004, the first merger in a wave of airline consolidation that would sweep Europe and the United States, though they retain separate brands, and each has its own CEO. When the merger closed, Air France-KLM was the world’s largest airline company by revenue. It’s now fifth.

During the past 13 years, KLM has generally outperformed Air France, not only on financial metrics, but also for innovation. KLM is often among the first airlines to introduce features like biometric boarding, WeChat Pay, and chatbots for customer service, while Air France often lags.

Last summer, amid deteriorating relations between management and labor, Air France-KLM’s CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, left to left to run IATA, an industry trade group, and the company’s board hired Jean-Marc Janaillac to address some of these structural problems. Janaillac, who is French, had not worked for an airline since 2000, when he was chief operating officer of the now-defunct French carrier AOM.

Hs most recent job made him a strong candidate. He had led Transdev, a train and bus company, where he also dealt with difficult unions, and by most accounts, he performed well. Like his predecessor at Air France-KLM , Janaillac was charged with cutting costs and making the company more competitive. He called his restructuring plan, introduced last year, “Trust Together.”

Early returns are encouraging. Though he hasn’t won all the labor concessions he sought, Air France is launching a new lower-cost brand called Joon later this year. Janaillac said the brand should help Air France compete better against Gulf and low-cost carriers.

Air France-KLM remains profitable. For the first half of the year, Air France-KLM reported a net profit of 151 euros, or about $176 million. But KLM, the smaller of the two airlines, is still the better-performing business. At Air France, in the first half of the year, operating margin was 0.8 percent, while at KLM it was 6.1 percent.

We spoke with Janaillac on October 24 at Air France-KLM’s New York office. We asked him about challenges at Air France, and how management can meld the cultures of Air France and KLM to make the company more cohesive. We also asked about the business case for Joon, and why it’s taking Air France so long to retrofit its Airbus A380s.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Skift: Air France and KLM merged in 2004, but to customers, and even for many employees, they’re still two distinct airlines, each with a CEO. When airlines in the Americas merge, they tend to consolidate around one brand. But not in Europe. Why?

Jean-Marc Janaillac: I think consolidation does not have same meaning in Europe as in the States. In the States, you had a real integration when Delta bought Northwest or when American merged with US Airways. One airline disappears and it is a real merger and integration. We were the first between Air France and KLM to make this European consolidation 13 years ago. And it’s not really a total integration, for legal reasons, for [reasons related to] traffic rights to certain countries, for social reasons and also political reasons. It is very difficult to have a flag carrier disappear. I am not sure I will see the day, even when I’m retired, when Air France and KLM will disappear and we will be called Flying Blue. 

Skift: Over the summer, an internal report about company culture leaked. According to reports, your French employees may suspect KLM workers are too capitalistic. And the Dutch employees migt think French employees are too bureaucratic. Is it true?

Janaillac: It’s a large and interesting question. Of course, we are two countries with different experiences, cultures and histories.

It means that in everyday work, you have to understand the culture of each other. Air France is a company where there are many engineers, and where the security of the flight is very important. They tend to have very strong organization with lengthy preparation periods so that everything is very precise. Whereas at KLM, they are more in the spirit of test and learn — though not for safety, of course.

But the culture of Air France, which had been [appropriate for] flight operations, has become the general culture of the company. There is this difference but people are changing.

Skift: Can you share an example of how Air France is getting more nimble?

Janaillac: Before, Air France used to spend two years — I’m exaggerating a little — to decide whether to fly to this destination, and studying and making market studies. They would launch the flight, and if it works, OK. If it doesn’t work, they don’t stop, because they had spent so much time studying. They would wonder, “why is it wrong?’’

Now, Air France is doing the same thing KLM is doing. Because when you launch a flight, it’s not like building a factory. You can always change it.

[Janaillac said Air France recently started being more efficient with how it schedules its airplanes. That gave route planners an opportunity to start new flights, and they approached the task differently than before.]

They decided to launch new destinations. They spent four months to study new destinations, and they launched the flights. I would say two-thirds were OK, and one-third were not OK. Now, they are going to stop [the underperforming routes.]

Skift: For your two legacy airlines, cabins look and feel different. Service and food is different too. Why?

Janaillac: The motto of KLM is, “Dutch at Heart and the one of Air France is, “France in the Air.” It means there are two cultures and they are different. I think it’s important to keep this kind of specific flavor for each airline. And it’s not only the color of the seats, but also some amenities that can be a bit different. People know it’s going to be different. But it must be consistent. If you take the seats for example, they are nearly the same. The food is different, because people don’t want the same food. But you cannot have too much difference between the two services. It’s about how we try to package and manage the differences.

[Editor’s note: Air France and KLM use the same frequent flyer program, called Flying Blue.]

Skift: You’re part of tangled web of airlines that invest in each other. Delta and China Eastern each own 10 percent of Air France-KLM. Meanwhile, you’re buying  31 percent of Virgin Atlantic. And you have several joint ventures with airlines, where you share revenues. What’s the point of the Sky Team alliance when some of its members have close relations and others don’t?

Janaillac: I think SkyTeam will have … some airlines with commericial links through a joint venture or links through having shares owned between us. And around that, we’ll have a number of other airlines where there is not a system of joint ventures, but where passengers will get big advantages. For example, SkyPriority all over the world is really something very important for our clients. I think it’s very possible to have a two-level system because they are not at all conflicting. It gives value to frequent flyers.

Skift: If there’s one complaint I hear most often about Air France it’s that your Airbus A380s have an outdated onboard product, including angled-flat business class seats flying on premier routes, such as New York and Los Angeles to Paris. Why?

Janaillac: It’s because refurbishment of the A380 costs a huge amount of money. We didn’t have really the financial capacity to do it as quickly as we would have wished. But we have taken the decision and we are going to launch the refurbishment program for the A380, putting our new first class, our new business class and our new economy class. It will begin in 2020.

Skift: Why not until 2020? Passengers want it today.

Janaillac: I know. But we already have new planes [with new seats]. The 787 that are already here, and the A350 that are going to arrive in 2019 are going to have our new seats. And we are refurbishing the A330s and the rest of the 777s. We have decided to do the refurbishment of this part of the fleet before beginning the A380.

Skift: At Air France, you’re launching a new lower-cost airline in December called Joon. The marketers say it’s designed for millennials. What’s the plan?

Janaillac: The first goal was to be able to have a resistance to the Gulf carriers, which we feel are being unfair. But they are there, and we need to find a way to resist their competition, especially to Southeast Asia, where they are very strong. And the second thing is we also have fierce competition from low-cost airlines in the European battlefield.

Air France has done much since last year to try to reduce costs. For example, 10,000 jobs have been eliminated within the company. But it was not enough, and we have to reduce costs further.

When I arrived a bit more than a year ago, we studied what we could do, and we arrived at the conclusion that it was impossible to ask the actual cabin crew to make substantial cost reduction. The solution was to create a new airline with different rules that would be doing the same business as Air France is doing. It was rather an economy necessity.

But from this economic necessity, we thought it was good not to make a kind of Air France Blue or Air France White or whatever, but to have a bit different positioning. We thought that we should have a product, which, in terms of offer, is quite close to the one of Air France — for example we have two classes in medium haul and we are going to three classes in long-haul, with full flat seats in business class. It’s the same kind of product [as Air France] but with different items that are more related to the way people are living today and what they are asking for. It means it will be more digital. We are going to make it a laboratory in terms of marketing, in terms of pricing. The food is going to be organic, and so on.

We took the demands of this population of millennials, and adapted to them. But it’s not only for millennials, of course. It’s there to attract all the majority of the population, but with different feeling and marketing. For example, the uniform of our cabin crew is going to be quite French, but at the same time, it will be a bit more casual than the classical uniform on Air France.

Skift: Will my parents feel comfortable flying Joon?

Janaillac: Yes. I will feel comfortable. And I’m of the same generation as your parents. We don’t want to to be only attracting millennials. But we think that, even for people of my age, we are influenced by new behavior in the world, and even if we don’t have exactly the same patterns and desires and needs when we are buying things or traveling, we are still influenced by this same things. And digital is everywhere also. So it’s more general than an airline for millennials. It’s more about a lifestyle.

Skift: Whoever is marketing Joon seems to be having fun. The introductory press release said, “Joon is a fashion brand, a rooftop bar, an entertainment channel, a personal assistant … and Joon does flying too!” What did you tell your employees you wanted from this new brand?

Janaillac: We told them that we had to reduce costs. It’s not only from new contracts, but the planes are going to fly more. We will make economies in the ground services, and we are going to use more digital, and so on. That was our first goal.

Afterwards, the idea was to try to change a bit the image [of Air France]. Many people think, for example, that Air France is more expensive on the medium-haul routes than low-cost carriers. Very often, we have the same prices. But it’s not in the mind of the people. By changing the marketing, it’s also possible to enlarge our clientele and not to deter people from watching the tariffs of Air France.

Skift: How much of this is about avoiding past mistakes? Did Air France and KLM underestimate threats from short-haul low-cost carriers years ago?

Janaillac: I was not in the industry at the time, but the industry was pretty arrogant. They thought, ‘We are not in the same world, and we are not doing the same business.’ And they totally missed the rise of the low-cost carriers and now they are 50 percent of all travels within Europe.

We don’t want to do the same mistakes for low-cost long haul. We are watching very closely what they are doing and trying to offer solutions to compete and not to say, ‘It’s not the same business, and we don’t have the same clients, and so on.’ The main lessons we learned from that period is that you must be quite cautious and aware that this is a new kind of product, and this new way of selling. It’s something you must watch.

Skift: Many airlines fear competition from long-haul, low-cost airlines like Norwegian Air. But there’s some question whether the long-haul, low-cost market is potentially as large as the short-haul one. Will airlines like Norwegian ever be as powerful as Ryanair and EasyJet?

Janaillac: We are not that sure that this there a business model that will replace what we have in the long haul. There are several factors. The fact is that when you are an executive, you can accept to fly EasyJet for one or two hours before getting to a meeting. [For long-haul,] if you have to have to spend the night on the plane and have a meeting afterward, it’s better to have a real business class seat so you can sleep and be fit when you arrive.

So is there a market? What is the size of the market? That remains to be seen. Is it a systematic business model? We don’t know yet. But contrary to what we did some years ago, we do consider that we have to carefully react in as many ways as possible. It’s exactly what we are doing.

Skift: In coach on Joon, you won’t serve free food, or even free soda. If customers accept it, might you do the same on Air France and KLM?

Janaillac: For Joon, on the medium haul, business will be as today, and we will have warm meals. For economy, we are going to serve free drinks like coffee, water and orange juice, but afterward if people want to eat or drink something else, they are going to pay. It means we are testing this new way of pricing and marketing. It has been very difficult [to do] at Air France because of the image and the size and so on. But it’s the task and the duty of Joon to be a laboratory where we can test new ways and marketing proposals.

Skift: You had asked Air France’s unions for concessions to start Joon, but you didn’t get everything you wanted. You called the agreement with labor a, “balanced compromise.” Are costs low enough for the airline to succeed?

Janaillac: When I announced a year ago on the third of November the plan to our board, there was a representative for our pilots and a representative for our cabin crews, and both of them told me, ‘It’s crazy. You will never succeed.’ So first, it took some time, of course. And some commentators, especially in the French press, are always a bit critical, said, ‘It’s crazy.’ So we didn’t reach the same kind of organization we had sought.

Now, the cost for flying at Joon is 15 to 18 percent less than the one of Air France. It’s not that huge but it really makes a difference. The goal is to reduce the cost, but not reduce the yield, the unit revenue. If you lower the cost by this amount, and keep roughly the same unit revenue, what was loss making can be a break even. It’s exactly what we are trying to do.

Skift: Where will Joon fly, both now and in the future?

Janaillac: In Europe, we are beginning next December with flights [from Paris] to Berlin, Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto. It’s a mix of business and also leisure, and visiting friends and relatives, kind of destinations.

For the long-haul, we are going to begin next May. First we are going to open two new routes with Joon. One is Fortaleza in Brazil. [Air France-KLM] is going to make kind of a hub in Brazil with Gol, our partner, and we would not be able to open Fortaleza with the Air France cost. And the second, which is quite remarkable, is the reopening of the flight to Mahe in the Seychelles. It is a very popular destination for European people. It’s an upscale destination that Air France was obliged to drop because of the competition from Emirates, which is flying I don’t know how many A380s to the Seychelles.

[Editor’s note: Mahe is mostly a 777 route for Emirates now, with flights two to four times each day from Dubai.]

Joon gives us the opportunity to fight back against Emirates with lower costs. We have not yet decided the other destinations that will be served by Joon but it will be a combination of Southeast Asia and, to ensure a good utilization of the fleet, you must have eastbound and westbound destination in order to have the maximum hours flown by the plane. We have Fortaleza and we are looking at other destinations in the western part of the world.

Skift: Does that mean Joon is coming to the United States?

Janaillac: We haven’t decided yet.

Skift: You’ve been so overt with marketing to millennials. But it strikes me that a route like Mahe can only succeed if you persuade wealthier and older leisure travelers to switch from Emirates, which brands itself as a luxury airline, to Joon. Will they?

Janaillac: They can always choose the competition but Joon is going to be marketed by Air France and it’s going to be a codeshare with Air France, so it’s going to be a reassurance for our customers. I see what you mean, calling it an airline for millennials. But the reactions we have right now, after launching, is that people — and even people from my generation — find it different and are quite interested to see it. It’s a bit more in the spirit of Virgin Atlantic, meaning not exactly in the mainstream, but being more of a challenger.

When I presented the Trust Together project in November [2016], I said that Air France-KLM should stop seeing itself as one of the biggest airline groups in the world. That’s what we used to be, when the merger was done 13 years ago. But we are now a challenger. When you are a challenger, you take a bit more risk and don’t always follow the evident solution in the mainstream.

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November 1, 2017 at 02:06PM

Wanderlust: Where to Relax (and What to Eat) in Formentera

Wanderlust: Where to Relax (and What to Eat) in Formentera

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Kiosko 62

This Platja de Migjorn beach shack is sleepy Formentera at its finest. There’s reggae on the stereo and just a few tables, all shaded by a palm-frond awning and army netting that flutters in the breeze. A tiny kitchen turns out hamburgers and chicken skewers, along with cold beers and punchy gin-and-lemon cocktails. Patrons, meanwhile, get a view of the ombré shallows (and the barely clad swimmers enjoying them). Platja de Migjorn, west of Gecko Hotel & Beach Club.

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The mise-en-place for Catalan lobster at 10.7.

Credit
Luis DÍaz DÍaz

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A staircase at 10.7.

Credit
Luis DÍaz DÍaz

10.7

A white rectangular box perched high above the striped umbrellas on the eastern end of Platja de Migjorn, this beach bar channels Ibiza-style glamour, with prices to match. The ceviche may not be fully authentic Spanish fare, but it’s perfectly citrusy and piquant, and pairs well with icy rosé. After a long lunch and a dip in the sea below, diners often return for sunset cocktails.

Molo47

Giorgio Armani’s former personal chef, the dashing Antonio D’Angelo, opened this trendy restaurant, which, with its artful amuse-bouches (e.g. octopus tempura with jalapeño mayo) and graphic, braided-rope furniture by Kettal, wouldn’t feel out of place in Manhattan. Standouts from the menu, which unites Italian and Japanese culinary techniques (D’Angelo is also the executive chef at Nobu Milan), include Wagyu beef wrapped in paper-thin ravioli with caramelized onions, and a succulent, charcoal-smoked bonito with artichoke that arrives billowing steam. Diners can sit ringside at the chef’s table, or choose a perch on the terrace and watch the yachts come and go.

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Decorative surfboards in El Pilar de la Mola.

Credit
Luis DÍaz DÍaz

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Sunbathers at Caló des Mort, in Formentera’s Migjorn area.

Credit
Luis DÍaz DÍaz

SHOP

Balafia

In an airy space in Sant Francesc Xavier, this 12-year-old boutique stocks elegant, vacation-friendly clothes, accessories and furniture. Parisian textile designer Annie Barbaret and fellow French émigré Pascale Morel source them from small designers all over Europe, as well as from fair-trade enterprises in Rwanda and Bangladesh. Along with embroidered cotton tunics by Corsican label Mare di Latte, you’ll find brightly patterned Wayuu bags, women’s and children’s swimsuits and woven hammam towels. 011-34-659-397-181.

Iemanya

Instead of the biweekly hippie market at El Pilar de la Mola, which lately offers more key chains and tourist T-shirts than artisanal crafts, visit this boutique in Sant Francesc Xavier. Run by Claudia Rossi Liacho, an Argentine woman who arrived in Formentera in the early 1980s, the shop is draped to the rafters with maximalist tribal cotton and silk textiles and accessories from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, featuring floral block prints and needlepoint beasts and birds in vibrant pinks, greens and blues. It’s easy to lose hours happily rifling through the intricately embroidered and mirrored suzanis, camel blankets, caftans and colorful pompom bracelets. Avenida de Portossaler 13, Sant Francesc Xavier.

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November 1, 2017 at 01:42PM