An informal agreement between members of European Parliament and the European Council Presidency would restart aviation emissions regulations on all European Union flights in 2017, rather than 2020 as proposed by the European Commission. EC previously agreed to "stop the clock" on full implementation of its controversial emissions trading system, which would have applied to all flights to, from and within the airspace of the European Economic Area (comprised of the 28 European Union member states, Norway and Iceland). Following an agreement reached last year by the International Civil Aviation Organization to formalize a global aviation emissions framework in 2016 and enact that framework in 2020, EC proposed to regulate in the interim only emissions from flights, or portions of flights, within EEA regional airspace. "Parliament could not accept the Council's wish to stop the clock until 2020," according to a statement from Peter Liese, a German member of Parliament representing the European People's Party. "We have the next ICAO assembly in 2016, and if it fails to deliver a global agreement, then nobody could justify our maintaining such an exemption for another four years." The new deal would need majority approval from European Parliament before advancing.
Alaska Airlines in February was the most punctual major U.S. airline,
with an on-time arrival rate of 86.2 percent, according to FlightStats. On
average, North American airlines delivered 70.1 percent
of their flights to the gate within 15 minutes of schedule. Among the eight
largest U.S.-based carriers, excluding regional partners, Delta (80.9 percent), US Airways (78.9 percent), American (77.9 percent),
Virgin America (75.9 percent), Southwest (73.2
percent) and United (73.1 percent) posted above-average on-time ratings. JetBlue (68.4 percent) posted a below-average rating, according to
Lufthansa in November will launch its new Premium Economy Class
on Boeing 747-8 aircraft and roll the product out to its entire long-haul fleet through summer 2015. In development
since late 2012, the new seats, "depending on the aircraft type," are up to 1.2 inches wider and provide about "3.9 inches of more room on the side due to each seat having its own wide armrest and a center console between the seats." Measuring 38 inches from seat back to seat back, "passengers have approximately one-and-a-half times as much room as compared to Economy Class," according to Lufthansa. Premium Economy passengers will be allowed two checked bags and access to Lufthansa's airport lounges for an extra €25. Onboard, Premium Economy passengers will be "greeted with a welcome drink and will find their own water bottle, as well as a high-quality amenity kit with practical travel accessories at their seat," according to Lufthansa. "Meals are presented on menus commensurate with the new travel class and served on porcelain tableware." Inflight entertainment screens also will be slightly larger than in standard coach. Lufthansa indicated that pricing will "be closer to Economy Class than Business Class," noting that a flight segment on the North Atlantic will run on average an additional €600 on top of an economy ticket.
Worldwide airline passenger traffic in January rose 8 percent year over year,
according to the International Air Transport Association. Representing a "strong start for passenger demand in 2014," the growth rate improved upon the 6.8 percent year-over-year increase recorded in December 2013. In North America, international airline traffic in January rose 3.5 percent year over year on 2.5 percent additional capacity. Domestic U.S. traffic rose 2.1 percent, with capacity up 0.2 percent. Year-over-year international traffic-growth rates in January were strongest among airlines in the Middle East (18.1 percent), Asia/Pacific (8 percent) and Europe (6.4 percent).
High-speed rail operator Eurostar reported sales and passenger growth for 2013 buoyed by "emerging stability in the U.K. corporate travel market."
Total passenger numbers increased 2 percent year over year to a record 10.1 million. Sales revenue of £857 million (US$1.4 billion) was up by 7 percent, or 5 percent at constant currency exchange rates. Business sales revenue specifically rose 6.2 percent. "After a period of economic uncertainty we are now starting to see more confidence in the business market," according to a statement from Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic. "In comparison with this time last year, when the overriding sentiment was still very cautious, there are more encouraging trends and in some sectors there is clearly a greater appetite to invest and look for business." The rail service provider, which links destinations in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, posted a 2013 operating profit of £54 million (US$89 million), up 4 percent from 2012.
ACTE's EMEA region joined four European travel management associations to form an advocacy group
that will "weigh in on the European debate on all subjects related, directly or indirectly, to the organization or management of corporate travel." According to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, the network, called the European Network of Associations for Corporate Travel, will not be used for commercial purposes, but as a "joint and open platform initiative to further the industry and act as an advocacy group and a voice of reason" with European institutions. In addition to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives' Europe, Middle East and Africa region, founding members include Spain's La Asociacion de los Decisores en Viajes de Empresa, France's Association Française des Travel Managers, the Belgian Association of Travel Management and Dutch group Cortas.
Illinois-chartered First American Bank warned customers not to use their FAB debit cards "or any other cards" in local taxis.
Taxi companies that use Taxi Affiliation Services and Dispatch Taxi to process card transactions were affected, including American United, Checker, Yellow and Blue Diamond and others, according to the bank's website. FAB in the Feb. 28 online statement said it reported the breach to MasterCard and made "repeated attempts" to deal with taxi-payment processors Bank of America and Bank of America Merchant Services to stop processing payments until the breach was resolved. However, Bank of America Merchant Services in an email to BTN
said that "at this stage in the investigation, it has not been determined that a data breach on a merchant or any of our systems has occurred." In the meantime, FAB is closing and reissuing compromised cards. FAB did not respond to a request for comment.