Grissys Tourism News

The World Of Travel: News, Views and Opinions

A 16 hour and 20 minute, non-stop flight from Doha to Auckland is launching this weekend and will be (for a very brief period) the longest flight in the world.

The flight, operated by Qatar Airways, is due to get airborne at 5.10 am local time and, after crossing 10 time zones, land in Auckland at 7.30 am on Monday.

In total the flight will cover 9,032 miles, beating the previous record from Emirates who launched a Dubai-Auckland route just a few short months ago. This new route is expected to retain the mileage record until 2018 when Singapore Airlines plan to launch a Singapore-New York route which will cover 9,529 miles.

However it will lose the time-record since the return flight from Auckland to Doha will, due to winds, take even longer than 16 hours and 20 minutes.

These long routes are made possible thanks to the new generations of plane now being manufactured. This route was due to launch earlier but had to wait due to demand for the Boieng 777’s which are being used.

Houston Transportation Shake-Up As Uber and Lyft Return

Three years ago Uber and Lyft pulled out of  Houston as they were forced to start fingerprinting and background check their drivers.  Nowthey are returning as the state of Texas has introduced new laws banning this requirement.

Houston is not the only city that introduced such requirements but Texas is, as far as we know, the first state to ban the requirement. This is going to lead to a major shake-up of Houston’s transportation industry.  This is a topic being discussed at a transportation management consulting roundtable in August.

The transportation industry in Houston is unique because of the way it is focused on serving the Oil and Gas industry and this is why the roundtable is being organised by Houston management consulting Firm Ionji Consulting.

But this is an issue that other cities are going to face.  Major cities have already faced this of course as Uber in particular has fought their way into the transportation sector, first as Taxis and then courier-type work and lately trucking.

The question is if they will continue to disrupt new areas of transport.

Norwegian Announce Transatlantic Flights Below €70

European low-cost carrier Norwegian are planning to offer Trans-Atlantic Flights from just €69 one-way. The flights between New York and the UK and Ireland are expected to begin in April 2017.

Norwegian said it could offer the cheap fares by using more fuel-efficient aircraft, and by flying to New York’s secondary airports, where fees are lower. The flights in question are likely to be from Edinburgh in Scotland and both  Shannon and Cork in Ireland.

The exact routes and timetable remain to be finalised as the airline is reviewing possible airports in New York.

“A number of airports are being looked at while we finalise our plans but smaller airports in the US present us with an opportunity to offer some ground-breaking fares to passengers in the UK, Ireland and the US.”

Norwegian currently offer transatlantic flights from €130 each way and have been fighting a battle to get flights between the US and Cork approved by authorities in the US.

Is 2017 The Year Low-Cost Air Travel Comes To South America?

The low-cost revolution has been slowly taking over the world. Starting in America with Herb Kelleher‘s Southwest Airlines it expanded to Europe as the EU liberalised the air market over that continent. The first to really appreciate the significance of this move were, arguably, Ryanair and EasyJet. Together these two airlines devastated the business model of the traditional flag carriers and introduced flying to millions for whom it had been out of reach. Ryanair is now, by one measure, the largest airline in Europe and various managers from the company went on to help launch the new generation of low-cost carriers in Asia.

While extra complexity in the region (compared to the two single-market environments of the US and Europe) makes life more difficult for these airlines they have still transformed travel within the area, particularly within the two big markets of Malaysia and India.

Now there are low-cost carriers trying to tie together individual transatlantic markets. But one area has remained relatively immune from the low-cost fever; South America. Will this change in 2017?

At the moment Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are the only countries in the region with established low-cost airlines. But the extra red-tape involved in flying between countries means that they run mostly domestic flights. And even these are at higher prices than in Europe.

Its this extra regulation that has led to the higher prices and lower number of flights.  Despite the importance of tourism to the region there has been no movement on reducing prices. But even without movement on regulation there may be changes afoot on routes and pricing.

A low-cost company called Flybondi is set to launch soon in Argentina with a dozen domestic routes. This is financed by the founder of Swiss low-cost airline FlyBaboo.

Another company, Viva (one whose primary shareholders is  Irelandia Aviation, the investment firm of Ryanair co-founder Declan Ryan) has just launched a new subsidiary, Viva Air Peru. This joins sister airlines in Mexico (VivaAerobus) and Colombia (VivaColombia) .

These are not the only straws in the wind and  Boeing is betting passenger numbers in the region will grow by 5.8 percent in the next two decades, said its president for Latin America, Donna Hrinak.

“The majority of these deliveries are expected to be in the single-class segment, reflecting the continued growth of low-cost carriers,” she said.

The one thing each of these expansions have though is that they are focused on single countries. Of course these are countries with large land-masses and populations so the benefits of low-cost flying can still be felt by millions. But cheap cross-border flights are still likely to remain elusive until the regions governments take a decision to ease regulations.