Virgins team up for US code share

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The ‘Virgins’ have announced a new code share agreement that will expand Virgin Australia’s network across the US. Subject to regulatory approval, the agreement will see Virgin Australia code share on Virgin America flights from Los Angeles to Portland, Washington, Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Seattle.The Australian carrier’s group executive of alliance, network and yield Merren McArthur expects the partnership to be approved within the coming months and said it will tap into the country’s fourth biggest source of international arrivals. “We have been focused on expanding our network in the United States and thanks to our alliance with Delta Air Lines, we already codeshare to 13 destinations across North America,” Ms McArthur said.“If approved, the agreement with Virgin America will add a further 8 destinations to our network, including important cities such as Washington, Boston, Chicago and Seattle.“We know that connectivity within the United States is extremely important to Australian travellers, with around 60% of guests travelling on to other destinations following their arrival in the country.”The code share partnership comes less than a week after Virgin Australia’s alliance partner, Etihad, announced a 4.99 percent acquisition of the company’s stake. last_img read more

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New lifeboat loading policy for cruise ships

first_imgPicture: Portland Pudgy Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and European Cruise Council (ECC) oceangoing member lines will implement an additional safety procedure regarding the loading of lifeboats as part of crew training, effective immediately.Exceeding current international regulatory requirements, the new “Lifeboat Loading for Training Purposes” policy is the result of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review launched post-Concordia. The policy requires the full loading of a lifeboat at least once every six months during crew training sessions. Lifeboats will be filled to capacity with crewmembers and lowered into the water to ensure complete familiarisation of lifeboat operations.Involvement by all crewmembers involved in operating or loading the lifeboats is mandatory.“The cruise industry continues to work on a global level to improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is our number one priority,” CLIA president and CEO Christine Duffy said.“Since January of this year and in keeping with our efforts to continuously improve operational excellence, the global cruise industry has voluntarily adopted seven wide-ranging safety policies.“We remain fully committed to exploring further enhancements in a number of areas that will add to the industry’s excellent safety record.”ECC executive David Dingle confirmed that the new policy has been verified by marine safety experts and underlines the organisation’s commitment to continuously improve safety for both passengers and crew.“We are determined to ensure that cruising remains the safest holiday choice,” Mr Dingle said.last_img read more

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Typhoon Utor sweeps flights off schedule

first_imgTyphoon Utor has caused Hong Kong to shut down and flights to be cancelled as it continues to spread across Asia Airlines have not been the only ones affected, as tour agencies also rushed to damage control their schedules. AirAsia was also forced to call off flights connecting Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Philippines to Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, with the airline saying it will continue to monitor the weather conditions and aim to schedule affected travellers to the next available flight. Malaysia Airlines had to cancel flights to and from Kota Kinabalu Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. The typhoon which has swept over Philippines and Hong Kong this week, is now battering other parts of Asia and continues to cause major flight disruptions along with other chaos.center_img Cathay Pacific had to cancel several flights to Taipei, Narita, Beijing, Singapore, Manila Bangkok and Incheon. Typhoon Utor, which has caused insurmountable damage in the Philippines with landslides and floods, forced the bustling city of Hong Kong to come to a grinding halt yesterday as the city’s central business district shut down. The severe storm has now made its way across other parts of Asia, forcing 158,000 people to evacuate southern China.last_img read more

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Sydney still number one destination for business events

first_imgSydney has once again been ranked Australia’s leading destination for conferences and professional meetings following the release of the Union of International Associations (UIA) 2014 International Meetings Statistics Report.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the results see Sydney ranked first in Australia and among the top 20 globally.“This is a tremendous achievement and reinforces Sydney’s appeal as one of the best places in the world to meet,” Mr Ayres said.“I applaud Business Events Sydney for securing major international events for our city, having delivered over $1 billion worth of economic impact for NSW over the past five years.“This is just another example of Sydney leading the way for the rest of the nation,” Mr Ayres added.Business Events Sydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith said results complement the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings which also placed Sydney as number one in the nation.“These results are just fabulous and better than many might have anticipated or expected. They really are a credit to the city – its can-do and collaborative spirit and reputation as a reliable place to do business,” Ms Lewis-Smith said.“It just reinforces that the government’s courageous decision to redevelop the city’s convention facilities at Darling Harbour was the right one.“We are a city that is open to and embraces big ideas and bold moves – this is where great things happen,” Ms Lewis-Smith concluded.Business Events Sydney has secured almost 120 events worth $277 million in new money for the NSW economy, including more than 20 events for International Convention Centre Sydney, opening in December 2016.Source = Business Events Sydneylast_img read more

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Etihad Airways collaborates with IBM

first_imgEtihad Airways and IBM has announced a ten-year technology services agreement worth approximately US$700 million.This will allow the airline to enhance guest experience, develop world-class infrastructure and security, and improve efficiency.The transformational agreement, one of the most important strategic collaborations by Etihad Airways, will provide access to the latest cloud-based technologies and services for the airline, its group companies and equity partners.IBM will deliver a range of secure and efficient technology services, allowing Etihad Airways and its partners to transform their IT infrastructure into global, flexible and agile cloud-based platforms to better serve their guests and employees.The agreement includes plans for the creation of a new cloud data centre in Abu Dhabi. The centre, to be developed and operated by IBM, will be one of the most sophisticated technology facilities in the Middle East.James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is a long-term, strategic partnership which will allow Etihad Airways and its partners to harness the latest technologies as we deliver our award-winning services. This is a game-changing agreement for Etihad Airways, for our partners and employees, and for Abu Dhabi.”IBM was selected due its global reach, its experience and alignment with Etihad Airways’ technology and innovation strategy of deploying cloud-first initiatives to simplify its technology systems, while offering greater capabilities for lower operational costs.The cloud, analytics, mobile, security and cognitive technologies will drive increased efficiencies and effectiveness for all Etihad Airways businesses, as well as for the Etihad Airways Partners.Martin Jetter, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services, said: “By partnering with IBM in this transformation journey, Etihad Airways is accelerating the move to new technologies such as cloud computing and cognitive.These technologies will help the airline to improve efficiencies and achieve its ambitious growth plans as a globally integrated aviation group.”Etihad Airways’ current data centre, IT infrastructure, applications and security operations will be migrated to the new data centre in Abu Dhabi, and disaster recovery will be managed at an IBM Cloud data centre in Europe.This approach will allow the airline to scale and manage its IT resources more efficiently, while ensuring business continuity. Fly EtihadSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

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First ever Latin America Travel Week announced for Australia

first_imgRio de JaneiroGrowing demand in Australia for holidays to South and Central America has paved the way for the first ever Latin America Travel Week from May 15-22, 2016, featuring free consumer expos and travel agent workshops in Sydney and Melbourne.Organised by the Australian Travel Association for Latin America (ATALA), the inaugural Latin America Travel Week will include evening travel agent workshops, with complimentary drinks and canapes, in Sydney from 6-8pm on Wednesday, May 18 and in Melbourne from 6-8pm on Thursday, May 19. At each workshop, one lucky, attending agent will win a luxury US$12,000 holiday to Peru or Chile including flights.Free travel expos for the public will be staged from 10am-4pm at the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday, May 15, 2016, and from 10am-4pm at the Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday, May 22, 2016. A B2B networking session will also be held for travel expo exhibitors and ATALA members in Sydney on May 17 and Melbourne on May 20.Sponsored by the LATAM Airlines group and Prom Peru, the consumer and travel trade event will bring together – for the first time – airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tour and travel operators as well as tourism bodies from Australia and Latin America – all showcasing 20 countries in South and Central America.Countries and regions from Latin America to be represented include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Galapagos, Falkland Islands, The Guianas, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as Central America, Cuba and Mexico. Cruises to Antarctica from Chile will also be featured.Latin America Travel Week is backed by major sponsors LATAM Airlines group and Prom Peru, with silver sponsors Turismo Chile and Ecuadorian tour operators, Metropolitan Touring and Latin Trails.Held less than three months before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August, the two Latin America Travel Agent Workshops will boast the theme – ‘The Changing Face of Latin America’ and will aim to address misconceptions about the region and update agents on product in the region. ATALA will host a presentation at the workshops and ATALA member organisations such as Latin America tourism boards, tour operators, accommodation groups and wholesalers will showcase their products.The agent workshop in Sydney will be held from 6-8pm at The Ivy Ballroom on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, and the Melbourne workshop for agents will be held from 6-8pm at the Intercontinental Hotel on Thursday, May 19, 2016.ATALA Chairman, Ted Dziadkiewicz, said the inaugural Latin America Travel Week were aimed at increasing awareness of Latin America as a travel destination.“More Australians are looking at South and Central America as holiday destinations with a sizeable increase in airline capacity in recent years, the Rio Olympics and more packaged tours and marketing all helping to fuel travel to Latin America,” Mr Dziadkiewicz said.“Direct flights from Sydney to Santiago only take 12.5 hours and cost around $1800 return while flights to LA take almost 14 hours. Flights from Melbourne to Santiago are also available via Auckland or Sydney.“There’s so much to see and do that we’ve gathered all the wonderful countries of Latin America and the multitude of life-changing experiences available in them and are showcasing them to the public and travel industry over seven days from May 15 to 22.“Australian agents keen to learn about an increasingly popular and fast-developing travel region are invited to attend our workshops and public expos during Latin America Travel Week. Register your interestSource = Australian Travel Association for Latin Americalast_img read more

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Sabre announces collaboration with Amazon Web Services

first_imgSabre announces collaboration with Amazon Web ServicesSabre announces collaboration with Amazon Web ServicesTravel technology leader Sabre Corporation is taking airline passengers to the clouds, announcing today that it will deliver even faster cloud-based flight availability using solutions built on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.The explosive growth of mobile and higher consumer expectations for faster online searches continue to raise the bar for airlines to deliver a seamless online shopping experience.Leveraging the AWS Cloud, Sabre will offer airline availability solutions that will help carriers increase booking rates and deliver even faster responses.Using Sabre’s new availability services in the cloud, airlines and their customers will benefit from faster shopping. And by relying on a single-source delivery of a cloud-based system, airlines can manage availability for different channels through one source.Working with Sabre, carriers will house their availability data in the AWS Cloud which can then be accessed via multiple shopping channels, whether carrier website, online or offline travel agency, or other source. The new cloud-based solution will be available to Sabre’s customers later this year.“AWS provides powerful cloud services to customers and is constantly innovating to deliver new services and features to meet its customers’ needs. We share that same philosophy at Sabre and choose collaborators that share our vision and commitment to innovation and customer deliverables,” said Tom Klein, president and CEO of Sabre.“As the world moves to a computing ecosystem dominated by mobile devices, speed and frictionless transactions are the expected norm, and the cloud delivers those benefits. Our customers use Sabre solutions because they want only the best, and the AWS relationship will further enhance our ability to deliver even faster and better offerings.”Sabre is the leading global technology provider to the $7 trillion travel industry and serves customers operating in 160 countries including airlines, hotels, travel agents and online travel service providers. The company’s technology processes over $120 billion of estimated travel spend and more than 1.1 billon system messages every year.“The AWS Cloud provides enterprises around the world with powerful benefits like agility, scalability and reliability so they can focus on their customers’ needs and driving further growth for their businesses,” said Mike Clayville, vice president, Worldwide Sales, AWS.“We’re excited to work together with Sabre as they build and grow their airline availability solutions on the AWS Cloud, offering their customers even better, faster technology travel solutions.” Sabre CorporationSource = Sabre Corporationlast_img read more

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Asia Escape Holidays 2016 Top Achievers trip

first_imgAsia Escape Holiday’s 2016 Top Achievers tripAsia Escape Holiday’s 2016 Top Achievers tripAsia Escape Holiday’s 2016 Top Achievers trip went off with a bang! Last week a group of agents were treated to what is being talked about as Bali trip of the year. A great time was had by all staying at Double-Six Luxury Hotel where the weekend started off with some relaxing in the sun, followed by a party at Double-Six Rooftop Bar and evening exploring Bali’s incredible night life.On Saturday tuxedos and cocktail dresses were donned as the Asia Escape Holidays Top Achievers Awards Night was held at Double Six’s Robert Marchetti Plantation Grill, to celebrate and recognise travel agents’ hard work that has been accomplished throughout the year. A night as fantastic as that one can only be followed with something just as special, formal wear was swapped for bathers and board shorts as a pool party was held at the Alila Seminyak Penthouse.Asia Escape Holidays would like to take the opportunity to thank all the agents for their strong support and everyone involved for making the trip an unforgettable experience. Managing director Mason Adams said “it will be tough to top that one”. However the 2017 Top Achievers Trip will be on Asia Escape Holidays’ 20th Birthday and is already being planned – do not miss it. Asia Escape HolidaysSource = Asia Escape Holidayslast_img read more

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Hotel Cheval named no1 small hotel in the United States

first_imgSource = Hotel Cheval Hotel Cheval CourtyardHotel Cheval named no.1 small hotel in the United StatesPaso Robles-based boutique luxury hotel receives top honours and three award wins from 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards for hotelsHotel Cheval, www.hotelcheval.com, today announced it has been recognized as the overall winner in the Top 25 Small Hotels in the United States category of the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice® awards for Hotels, ranking first out of 25. Travelers’ Choice award winners were determined based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travelers worldwide. In the 16th year of the awards, TripAdvisor has recognized 8,095 properties in 94 countries and eight regions worldwide.This year, the awards celebrate hotel winners in 10 categories. The hallmarks of Travelers’ Choice hotels winners are remarkable service, value and quality.2018 Awards won by Hotel Cheval include: #1 Small Hotel in the United States#8 Small Hotel in the World#8 Romance Hotel in the United States “We are incredibly honored to receive recognition as the #1 hotel in the US and a total of three awards from the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards,” said Jayne Christman, General Manager of Hotel Cheval. “We would like to thank the countless guests who shared their opinion of Hotel Cheval with their TripAdvisor reviews. This recognition reflects the hard work and dedication of our entire staff who make the guest experience their #1 priority every day.”“This year’s Travelers’ Choice awards for Hotels recognize thousands of exceptional accommodations that received the highest marks for overall experience, including service, amenities and value, from travelers worldwide,” said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications. “The global TripAdvisor community informed this list of winners that will inspire and help travelers find the hotel that’s right for them as they plan and book their next amazing trip.”For the complete list of Travelers’ Choice Hotel award-winners for 2018, as well as the latest reviews and candid traveler photos, visit: www.TripAdvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Hotels. Travelers can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #TravelersChoice. To see TripAdvisor traveler reviews and opinions of Hotel Cheval go to: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32861-d654198-Reviews-Hotel_Cheval-Paso_Robles_San_Luis_Obispo_County_California.htmlTravelers can read the latest reviews and compare prices from more than 200 sites to find the lowest prices on the right hotel for their trip at www.TripAdvisor.com.last_img read more

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Pacific Princess Return to Australia

first_imgPacific Princess Return to Australia B&W Photo Credit Henderson/Cremer CollectionPacific Princess Return to AustraliaPrincess Cruises has announced Pacific Princess will join its record 2020-2021 summer line-up in Australia, with the boutique ship offering local cruisers a range of unique itineraries and maiden calls during its four-month deployment.On sale Thursday July 11 for Princess Elite guests and available for general sale on Friday July 12, Pacific Princess’ program will include an epic 90-day roundtrip voyage from Sydney around South America, a 13-night cruise visiting ports on New Zealand’s north and south islands and a special 21-night sailing to remote locations in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.Across the program, the 670-guest ship will make 15 maiden calls, including the cruise line’s inaugural visits to Kaikoura and New Plymouth in New Zealand, Wewak and Gizo Island in the Soloman Islands and Madang in Papua New Guinea, as well as its first call to to New Zealand’s Stewart Island on a cruise from Australia.Revealing details of the deployment, Princess Cruises Senior Vice President Asia Pacific Stuart Allison said Pacific Princess’ return to Australia reflected strong demand for Princess Cruises’ holidays, with six Princess ships based Down Under for the first time ever over the 2020-21 summer, representing one-third of its global fleet.The December arrival of Pacific Princess will coincide with the 45th anniversary of Princess Cruises’ first roundtrip cruise from Australia, a voyage on the original Pacific Princess which starred in the popular TV series ‘The Love Boat’.Mr Allison said the cruise line planned to mark the anniversary on Pacific Princess’ first cruise of the season, its New Zealand voyage departing December 21, 2020.“Pacific Princess was christened in Australia and became a popular favourite amongst Australian cruisers, offering the first premium cruise experience in the region. We can’t wait to welcome her back to our shores and celebrate our 45th anniversary at the same time,” Mr Allison said.The addition of Pacific Princess means Australians will have an unprecedented choice of Princess ships sailing from their doorstep over the 2020-21 summer, from the cruise line’s smallest ship, the 30,277-tonne Pacific Princess, to two of its largest ships – the 143,700-tonne Majestic Princess and 142,200-tonne Regal Princess.With Sapphire Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess also sailing in local waters, Princess Cruises will further cement its position as Australia’s biggest cruise line, offering almost 25 per cent more beds across the summer than any other cruise line in Australia.Mr Allison said highlights of the new Pacific Princess’ program included:A 90-day circumnavigation of South America featuring more than 25 ports including five destinations new to Princess’ cruising from Australia –Santos, llhabela and Natal in Brazil, Guayaquil in Ecuador and the Caribbean Island of Grenada – as well as overnight visits to Buenos Aires, Lima and two days in Rio de Janiero at the start of Carnival. Overland options to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu will also be on offer. Sailing from Sydney on January 3, 2021, the cruise is priced from $22,499* per person twin share with an early booking benefit of up to $2,000 onboard credit per stateroom.A 21-night cruise to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands visiting remote destinations including Alotau and Conflict Islands and featuring the cruise line’s maiden visits to Madang, Wewak and Gizo Island. Departing April 3, 2021, fares start from $4299* per person twin share.A 13-night cruise to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful ports including Princess’ first cruise from Australia to Stewart Island in the south, and visits to Fiordland National Park, Dunedin, Akaroa, Kaikoura, Picton and New Plymouth. Fares for the voyage departing Sydney on December 21, 2020 start from $3199* per person.The program also includes a 24-night voyage from Sydney to Tokyo departing April 24, 2021 calling at ports in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan’s Okinawa Island with fares from $3499* per person.Pacific Princess has been voted the best small-mid sized ship by Cruise Critic cruisers in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.For more information, see a licensed travel agent; call 13 24 88 or visit www.princess.comSource = Princess Cruiseslast_img read more

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SoftBank confirms acquisition of ZO Rooms by OYO Rooms

first_imgOYO Rooms investor, Soft Bank has confirmed the much speculated acquisition of ZO Rooms by the budget hotel aggregator.SoftBank has listed the transaction in its most recent financial report. However, the Japanese investment company hasn’t disclosed the value of the acquisition.This acquisition will clearly put OYO Rooms on the top in this space with a significant margin. The acquisition comes after Zostel Hospitality, the promoters of ZO Rooms, failed to raise additional funds for further growth from their existing investors or bring in new investors. Zo Rooms raised roughly $35 million from Tiger Global and Orios Management in 2005.All of ZO Rooms listed properties have been transferred to OYO, with many ZO employees also having joined OYO already. While the details of the acquisitions are still awaited from the companies in question, there are reports that the acquisition formalities will be completed soon.last_img read more

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European Tourism witnesses growth in 2017

first_imgEuropean tourism figures have improved by two percent highlighting the continued attractiveness of its destinations. The continent welcomed 615 million international tourists in 2016, a two percent increase on 2015, despite various challenges.The outlook for 2017 is upbeat regardless of safety concerns, uncertain political situation and potential policy changes.As per the European Travel Commission’s latest report ‘European Tourism- Trends & Prospects’, the early months of 2017 saw destinations with double-digit growth in arrivals. Iceland (+54%) enjoyed the fastest growth supported by increased air capacity on transatlantic routes while Cyprus (+26%), Portugal (+25%) and Malta (+23%) proved their success in battling seasonality. Other top performers were Bulgaria (+19%), Finland (+18%), and Estonia (+13%). While Switzerland (+3%) reversed its past trend by taking advantage of its key position as a winter destination.Most destinations saw substantial growth from Europe’s largest source markets-Germany and France- fuelled by the recovery of the Eurozone.Several destinations reported a rebound in arrivals from Russia- Iceland (+157%) Cyprus (+122%) and Turkey (+88%). Overall, outbound travel from this market is projected to improve in 2017.Following a boost in U.S. tourist arrivals in 2016 (+6%), prospects for further growth looks high in 2017. Encouraging economic conditions and a strong U.S. dollar against European currencies are expected to entice more American travellers across the Atlantic.last_img read more

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Assam gets investment proposals of nearly INR 70000 crore

first_imgThe first-ever Global Investors Summit in Assam saw nearly INR 70,000 crores in investment commitments in various sectors including petroleum, telecom, health and tourism, said Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.” Nearly 200 initial pacts worth nearly INR 70,000 crores were signed at the Advantage Assam summit. It is a very good beginning. The response of the investors is very exciting and encouraging. I believe the investment commitments will make Assam a better economy,” added Sonowal.Among the private players, RIL Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani announced an investment of INR 2,500 crores in Assam in various sectors, including retail, petroleum, telecom, tourism and sports, creating jobs for at least 80,000 people over the next three years.SpiceJet Chief Ajay Singh has announced the plans of INR 1,250 crores of investments in Assam through seaplanes to boost the tourism sector besides connecting Lakhimpur and Jorhat under the recently launched central government scheme ‘UDAN’.Sonowal said the investments will provide ample employment opportunities to the youth of the state. “We hope that Assam will be the gateway for India to connect ASEAN countries,” he said.Media advisor to the Chief Minister, Hrishikesh Goswami, said tourism, which is one of the key focus areas of the government, saw an investment proposal to the tune of INR 736 crores and infrastructure sector saw a total investment proposal worth INR 2,347 crores.Other major companies announcing investments in Assam were BPCL (INR 350 crores), Essel Infraprojects (INR 6,000 crores), Star Cement (INR 2,100 crores), Infinity Infotech Parks (INR 1,000 crores) and Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India (INR 400 crores).Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day event. Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay, several union ministers, Chief Ministers of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, ambassadors and high commissioners of 16 countries, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekharan also attended the meet.last_img read more

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Gulf Air and Oman Air strengthen and expand codeshare agreement to include

first_imgGulf Air and Oman Air have expanded their existing codeshare agreement allowing passengers to benefit from the outstanding products and services offered by the two airlines. This will extend travel opportunities to fly beyond Muscat and Bahrain effective from the upcoming summer schedule.Oman Air places its ‘WY’ code on Gulf Air flights from Bahrain to Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan, Gassim in Saudi Arabia and Beirut in Lebanon. On the other hand, the extended codeshare agreement will see Gulf Air will place its ‘GF’ code on Oman Air flights from Muscat to Salalah and Khasab in Oman, Nairobi in Kenya, Zanzibar in Tanzania, Goa and Lucknow in India, Kathmandu in Nepal and Jakarta in Indonesia.Abdulaziz Al Raisi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Air commented, “Oman Air is very happy with the extension of this codeshare agreement with Gulf Air, which is a strategic and important partner for Oman Air. Through this codeshare, Oman Air offers its guests the opportunity to extend their travel from Bahrain to Tbilisi, Baku, Gassim and Beirut. The Gulf Air guests in return can travel to Oman Air’s destinations of Salalah, Khasab, Nairobi, Zanzibar, Goa, Lucknow, Kathmandu and Jakarta. We are sure the guests will find the award-winning services of Oman Air and the legacy services of Gulf Air a truly rewarding experience.”Commenting on the codeshare extension, Gulf Air’s Chief Executive Officer Krešimir Kučko said, “Gulf Air and Oman Air has been long-time partners and now we are celebrating many years of close partnership with an extension to what is already one of our strongest codeshare collaborations. The existing codeshare on the Bahrain-Muscat route has been receiving good feedback over the years allowing passengers to choose from a variety of frequencies every day. Gulf Air passengers can now explore more destinations beyond Muscat as they can fly on Oman Air to different destinations in Oman, Africa, India and the Far East.”last_img read more

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More Q2 Layoffs for Mortgage Professionals

first_img August 30, 2011 421 Views More Q2 Layoffs for Mortgage Professionals in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Bank of America Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Refinance Reverse Mortgage Service Providers Unemployment Wells Fargo 2011-08-30 Ryan Schuettecenter_img Share Mortgage brokers, originators, and other loan production personnel continue to face a tough jobs market as two mortgage giants slashed their payrolls, according to second-quarter employment numbers released by “”MortgageDaily.com””:http://www.mortgagedaily.com/. The mortgage Web site predicted that bad loans and invitingly low mortgage rates could create the pickup needed for lenders to hire more brokers and loan officers.[IMAGE]The “”_Second-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Employment Index_””:http://www.mortgagedaily.com/MortgageEmploymentIndex.asp?spcode=pr, which MortgageDaily.com uses to track new hires and layoffs, found the latter eclipsing the former by a net loss of 464 desks, with results showing 5,404 job losses, compared with 4,940 hires. The survey covered job gains and losses for mortgage brokers, loan originators, underwriting specialists, and processors.The results follow much worse numbers from the first-quarter over 2011, as mortgage giants pushed the eject button for 4,318 brokers and originators and signed new contracts with only 2,513 new personnel. [COLUMN_BREAK]The confidence-busting effect: a net loss of 1,805 jobs, all this after 740 new second-quarter jobs for brokers and officers over 2010.””Wells Fargo””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/ emerged from the pack of slash-friendly mortgage giants with the most job losses, as it wiped 2,500 personnel off its payroll over the second quarter. A MortgageDaily.com “”statement””:http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/29/3868708/weakening-mortgage-employment.html attributed Wells’ losses to decisions by the mortgage giant to gut its share of the reverse mortgage market. “”Bank of America””:https://www.bankofamerica.com/ and “”Kondaur””:http://kondaur.com/ gave the pink slip to hundreds of their own employees, with the former sending home 954 brokers and officers and the latter waving goodbye to only 161 nationally.””JPMorgan Chase””:http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Home/home.htm offered a sharp contrast to these gloom-and-doom numbers by picking up the jobs slack with 2,585 new hires, many of which occurred in Ohio, according to the statement. “”USBank””:http://www.usbank.com/index.html and “”MetLife””:http://www.metlife.com/ followed suit with 394 and 200 new hires, respectively.””Hirings could pick up as rates have recently fallen to record lows – sparking a refinance rally and boosting demand for loan originators, processors and underwriters as well as other production personnel,”” the Web site said in the statement. “”However, since some of the biggest lenders already made massive job cuts this year, this group might be reluctant to staff up too quickly,”” it added. “”Instead, small- to mid-sized mortgage bankers and brokers are likely to quickly capitalize on the building refinance wave.””The MortgageDaily.com statement concluded with another hopeful note, attributing “”additional recruiting by mortgage servicers”” over the next quarter to “”deteriorating delinquency and bloated foreclosure inventories.””last_img read more

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Illinois Reports Strong March Home Sales Statistics

first_img The “”Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR)””:http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/ has released March data that shows the strongest performance for home sales in the state since 2007.[IMAGE] In addition to the rise in homes sold during the month, the IAR also reported that median pricing in the state received a lift, breaking 20 months of price declines.Sales of single-family homes and condominiums rose 21.1 percent year-over-year in March, with a total of 9,575 properties sold. The total represents a solid uptick over numbers from March 2011, during which 7,904 homes were sold.Year-over-year, median home prices in Illinois stayed static at $130,000. The findings from March mark the first time in nearly two years that the median price didn’t display a decrease on a year-over-year basis.””There’s no doubt that these are strong numbers to open the spring selling season,”” said Loretta Alonzo, CRB, GRI, president of the IAR and broker/owner of “”Century 21 Alonzo & Associates””:www.century21alonzo.com/ in La Grange Park. “”To see such good sales numbers, coupled with a measure of price stability is encouraging news no matter what side of a real estate transaction you happen to be on.””Alonzo cited a drop in foreclosures and continued low interest rates for mortgages as the chief catalysts behind the positive statistics seen in March. The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the state’s North Central region was 3.99 percent during March, down from 4.86 percent one year prior.Over half of Illinois counties, 54 of 99, reported year-over-year home sales increases for March, and 67 or 99 counties recorded a rise in median pricing on a year-over-year basis. In the Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, home sales were up 23.8 percent year-over-year, with 6,590 properties sold in March.””Realtors are continuing to see an increase in the number of buyers looking to buy a home today, as rents are going up and interest rates are at an all-time low,”” said realtor Bob Floss, president of the “”Chicago Association of Realtors””:www.chicagorealtor.com/ and broker/owner of “”Bob Floss and Son Realty””:www.bobflossandson.com/. “”While we are still closely monitoring the impact of distressed properties now and those that may enter the market in the coming year, continued stabilization of the market will ultimately come from buyers looking to make a long-term investment in a community with the dollars they invest today.”” Share April 25, 2012 418 Views Illinois Reports Strong March Home Sales Statisticscenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Processing Service Providers 2012-04-25 Abby Gregorylast_img read more

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New Survey Forecasts Decline in June New Home Sales

first_imgNew Survey Forecasts Decline in June New Home Sales July 11, 2013 441 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Processing Purchase Loans Service Providers 2013-07-11 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img The “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) released another new monthly survey measuring mortgage loan application activity on new single-family properties for lenders affiliated with homebuilders.[IMAGE]The Builder Application Survey (BAS), unveiled on Thursday, was created to capture application trends as an early indicator of new home sales. While the MBA has a weekly survey measuring purchase application data, that index is more closely aligned with trends in existing-home sales, which are which are often reported 45 days or more after the initial contract signing and application.””In contrast, the Census Bureau’s estimate of new home sales is based on initial contract signings, which most often occur around the same time as the mortgage application,”” said Mike Fratantoni, VP of research and economics for the association. “”This is why we believe the new Builder Application Survey should track closely with, and predict, new home sales.””According to MBA, the inaugural survey for June 2013 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases declined 15 percent compared to May. The change doesn’t include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.By product type, conventional loans made up 67.3 percent of loan applications; loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) composed 17.4 percent, loans insured by Rural Housing Services (RHS) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made up 1.9 percent, and loans insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made up 13.4 percent. The average loan size for new home purchases was $283,000 in June, a decline of $795 from May.Using information from the survey and other assumptions regarding market coverage, MBA estimates that sales of new single-family homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 413,000 in June. On an unadjusted basis, the group estimates there were 39,000 new home sales. Sharelast_img read more

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GDP Growth Crawls Up in Third Estimate

first_img Bureau of Economic Analysis Commerce Department GDP IHS Global Insight 2014-09-26 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News The newest revised estimate from the Commerce Department shows economic growth expanded even more than previously thought in the second quarter, reflecting a sharp turnaround from the year’s opening months.In its third estimate, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Friday that gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annualized rate of 4.6 percent in the second quarter. The figure marks a step up from the bureau’s last estimate of 4.2 percent growth, which in turn was up from an advance guess of 4.0 percent.”With the third estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same,” BEA said, adding, “[I]ncreases in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports were larger than previously estimated.”GDP in the first quarter declined at an annual rate of 2.1 percent, dragged down by winter storms and diminished consumer activity.According to BEA, the turnaround in the second quarter largely reflected positive contributions from consumer spending, exports, private inventory investment, state and local government spending, and both residential and non-residential fixed investment.The price index for gross domestic purchases, a measure of prices paid by U.S. consumers, rose 2.0 percent in the second quarter, just slightly above the government’s second estimate and more than half a percentage point more than in the first quarter.Doug Handler, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, said the new data leaves the “central story of the second quarter” unchanged.”Economic growth remains on a sound footing, but the quarter’s weather-driven rebound from an abnormally low first quarter overstates the extent of this growth,” he said in a note.Based on the latest numbers, the firm maintained its prediction of growth in the 3.0–3.5 percent range for the third and fourth quarters. GDP Growth Crawls Up in Third Estimatecenter_img September 26, 2014 526 Views Sharelast_img read more

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The Thriving 55 SingleFamily Housing Market

first_img The 55+ single-family housing market is not only alive and well but is expected to continue in that path for the near term, according to a couple of recent surveys.The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)’s Housing Market Index (HMI) for the single-family 55+ market indicated that builders are more positive toward that segment. The HMI ticked up by one point in the second quarter to 57, marking the 9th consecutive quarter with a reading higher than 50. An HMI reading above 50 indicates that builders view conditions as good rather than poor.The 55+ HMI is based on a survey that asks builders about the conditions of current sales, prospective buyer traffic, and anticipated six-month sales for builders’ respective markets are good, fair, or poor. Within the 55+ single-family HMI, the only component to increase in Q2 was prospective buyer traffic, which jumped by four basis points from the previous quarter up to 42. The index reading for present sales remained flat at 61 from Q1 to Q2. For expected sales for the next six months, the index fell by two points over-the-quarter in Q2 but still remained high at 69.“Index results reflect gradual, steady growth in the 55+ housing market,” said Carmel Ford, economist with NAHB. “The market is benefiting from continued improvements in the overall housing market, a solid labor market, and historically low mortgage rates.”NAHB’s findings that builders are more positive about the single-family 55+ housing market is consistent with another survey conducted in late July by Freddie Mac, which found that many 55+ homeowners are going against conventional wisdom by working until a later age, aging in place, or buying a second or even a third home rather than selling their homes to Gen Xers, downsizing, renting, or moving to an age-specific community. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said that the 55 and over crowd “expect[s] to be an active part of our housing economy for quite a while longer.” August 4, 2016 595 Views 55 + Home Market Baby Boomers 2016-08-04 Seth Welborn The Thriving 55+ Single-Family Housing Marketcenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

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LendingHome Announces Fannie Mae Approval and New CFO

first_img in Headlines, News, Origination CFO Fannie Mae mortgage Robert Stiles Seller and Servicer Approval 2017-05-19 Brianna Gilpin Share LendingHome, a mortgage marketplace lender, announced Wednesday that they have received Fannie Mae’s seller and servicer approval while naming Robert Stiles, former CFO of Nationstar Mortgage, as its CFO.LendingHome said that Fannie Mae’s approval enables the expansion of its home financing business as well as the delivery of better outcomes to its customers. By working directly with Fannie Mae, LendingHome not only can streamline its operations and offer better loan pricing to its customers; it also can retain the servicing of its customers in-house so they can rely on LendingHome throughout the life of their loan.“Passing Fannie Mae’s stringent approval guidelines is no small feat, especially for a young company that started lending only three years ago,” said Matt Humphrey, co-founder and CEO of LendingHome. “This is a testament to LendingHome’s financial strength, leading ground-up technology platform, and the quality of our processes from end-to-end.”“LendingHome focuses on using technology innovation to create efficiencies and deliver a great customer experience,” said Jeff Walker, SVP and Customer Delivery Executive for Fannie Mae. “We’re pleased to welcome LendingHome as one of our lender partners and look forward to working with them toward our shared vision of a better mortgage process.”LendingHome also announced that it has named mortgage industry veteran Robert Stiles as its new CFO. They said that Stiles will be instrumental in leading LendingHome’s financial operations and taking the company through its next phase of business growth. As of April 2017, he reports to Matt Humphrey.”I’ve watched LendingHome closely over the past year and have admired its innovative ways that it serves both customers and investors, as well as its tech-focused approach to mortgages,” said Stiles. “LendingHome has tremendous opportunity to be very disruptive, and I look forward to contributing to its increasing success.”center_img LendingHome Announces Fannie Mae Approval and New CFO May 19, 2017 743 Views last_img read more

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