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Why Italy remembers Kobe Bryant ‘as a son, not as a star’

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It's where he watched his father Joe play in the country's basketball league and where he took the first steps to becoming a global superstar. Like the rest of the world, Italy is still struggling to come to terms with the news that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday.However, amid the tears, there is a determination to remember the legend's influence which transcended the sport of basketball. READ: The 24 moments that made Kobe Bryant a global superstarAC Milan, the Italian soccer club supported by Bryant, led the tributes ahead of its match against Torino Tuesday.Players wore black armbands, while a video showing pictures of Bryant and his daughter were played on the big screens in the San Siro stadium before kickoff.Milan's former captain Massimo Ambrosini, who made 489 appearances for the Rossoneri and represented the Italy's national team, said he was inspired by Bryant and was left in tears once the news had begun to sink in. "I was shocked, I couldn't believe it had happened. It was so strange that you cannot believe it," he told CNN. "He was such a big athlete, such a big human being." "The meaning he gave to the word obsession is something that made me feel very close to him. I lived my job like an obsession, every day was a chance to become better and better. I heard a lot of interviews with Kobe talking about that. "I started crying, not at the moment when I heard he was dead but when I heard again his words about obsession. It's terrible."READ: Kobe Bryant will be mourned for a whole week in Italy

'Fundamental piece of his formation'

During his time in Italy, Bryant bought into the country's culture and maintained a life long bond with the town of Reggio Emilia, where he moved with his family in the 1990s. The northern Italian town was where Bryant learned to speak fluent Italian and where he would spent almost every day playing basketball.Reggio Emilia has been particularly rocked by Bryant's sudden death but the town remains proud of just how successful their former "son" became. Such was his impact on the area, Mayor Luca Vecchi announced the square in front of the town's Basketball Center would be named in Bryant's honor."This town saw him growing up in the sports world, in basketball, in NBA, globally with the awareness that for him, Reggio Emilia wasn't a stop like any other, but a fundamental piece of his formation," Vecchi told CNN. "When at the end of his career Kobe Bryant showed up here in Reggio Emilia, I think that has been the moment during which the entire citizenship of the town understood the genuine depths of the connection." READ: The making of a global superstar in 24 picturesBryant's 'Cantine Riunite' youth team in the early 1990's in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Bryant is in the top row, third from the left.

'He had the Mamba mentality'

Bryant famously credits the town's youth team — Cantine Riunite — for developing his skills and many of his former teammates from that time still remember when a young Kobe first turned up to the team's training sessions. Due to his height and obvious ability, Bryant was often asked to play with the older boys but continued to stand out despite the age disadvantage."He was so good and at that age. It is very difficult for a kid to play with bigger guys but for Kobe, it wasn't. He was very good," childhood friend and former teammate Davide Giudici told CNN. He was born to play basketball, but for Kobe Bryant that was never enoughGiudici is left with fond memories of his short timRead More – Source

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Humanitarian actors call for $158 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine

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(Kyiv, 29 January 2020): The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Ms. Osnat Lubrani today launched an appeal worth of US$158 million to provide humanitarian aid and protection to 2 million most vulnerable people in the conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine in 2020. Onstage, she was joined by the Deputy Minister for European Integration of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Mr. Oleksii Illiashenko.

“Last year, we have witnessed a number of important developments: the resumption of talks in the Normandy Four format, the disengagement of forces in several areas, and the restoration of the wooden footbridge at the “Stanytsia Luhanska” crossing point have created a momentum that may help bring lasting peace,” Ms. Lubrani stated. “Yet, the conflict in eastern Ukraine is still active and continues to impact the lives of innocent civilians and produce significant humanitarian needs,” Ms. Lubrani emphasized. “Today, 3.4 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection to live a life with dignity in conflict-affected areas,” she added. “We still hope for the best and for progress on the political front – but until that is the case, the people of Donbas count on us.”

Ms. Lubrani also recognized the important progress achieved by the Government of Ukraine on addressing and preventing humanitarian needs. Deputy Minister for European Integration of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, Mr. Oleksii Illiashenko, highlighted that “The Government of Ukraine undertakes concrete measures to improve the lives of conflict-affected people both on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and Government-controlled areas. In 2019 and early this year, we have made several Governmental decisions to simplify the procedures for the crossing of the “contact line”. We have adopted a compensation mechanism for housing damaged or destroyed by the conflict. We also restored voting rights for internally displaced people who live in the Government-controlled areas,” Deputy Minister noted.

The United Nations and humanitarian partners have been on the ground in eastern Ukraine since 2014, mobilizing relief and protection worth more than half a billion U.S. dollars. Every year, humanitarian actors have been able to reach over 1 million people on both sides of the “contact line” with assistance and protection services.

The Humanitarian Response Plan – a strictly prioritized and comprehensive plan of action – lays out how 56 partners including UN agencies, national and international organizations aim to provide aid to 2 million most vulnerable civilians in 2020. The Plan encompasses different sectors including education, food, health, protection, shelter, water and sanitation.

“We appreciate that humanitarian actors have been standing by our side since 2014. As humanitarian needs are significant and urgent, the continued support of the humanitarian actors remains crucial,” Deputy Minister Illiashenko noted. “We join the call of the humanitarian community and ask donors to support the humanitarian response efforts in eastern Ukraine,” the Deputy Minister concluded.

“Without an end to hostilities, humanitarian needs are expected to remain high,” Ms. Lubrani continued. “Our response, therefore, plays a crucial role in saving lives and sustaining communities. We are thankful to our donors for their continued support, but we appeal for more funding as the Plan that we have presented today, can only make a difference if it is sufficiently funded.”

Read from source

Britain’s most prolific rapist sentenced to life in prison for 159 sexual offenses

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Reynhard Sinaga was found guilty of 159 counts of sexual offenses against 48 different men, and must serve 30 years before he is considered for release.Sinaga, 36, approached men in the early hours of the morning outside nightclubs in Manchester, offering them somewhere to sleep or more alcohol at his home.Once there he would drug them, then film himself raping them while they slept. Police found evidence linking him to assaults against as many as 190 different people. They said victims were often unaware they had been assaulted.Sinaga's attacks only came to light in 2017, when a victim woke up and fought him off before going to the police. Police believed he had been carrying out similar attacks for 12 years by that point.He was found guilty in four separate trials, the details of which can only now be published."Reynhard Sinaga is the most prolific rapist in British legal history," Ian Rushton, North West Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said. "His extreme sense of sexual entitlement almost defies belief and he would no doubt still be adding to his staggering tally had he not been caught."SinaRead More – Source

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Queen agrees on ‘period of transition’ for Harry and Meghan

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After a crisis meeting of senior royals at the Queen's Sandringham estate north of London, the Queen said she had agreed that Prince Harry and Meghan could split their time between the UK and Canada but that "complex matters" would have to be resolved. The monarch said she had ordered final plans to be drawn up in the next few days.The highly unusual meeting was called after the couple's bombshell announcement last week that they wished to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. The Queen was joined at the summit by Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry, while Meghan was due to have dialed in from Canada.In a statement after the meeting, the Queen said the family would have preferred the couple to "remain full-time working members of the royal family," but that they "respect and understand" Prince Harry and Meghan's "wish to live a more independent life."The Queen said the family had "very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family" during the meeting, adding that they are "entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family."There were "complex matters for my family to resolve," and no final agreement had been reached, particularly over Harry and Meghan's desire to become "financially independent.""There is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days," the Queen said in the statement.The meeting came on a tumultuous day for the royals. Before the meeting Princes William and Harry denied a UK newspaper story alleging that William's "bullying attitude" had caused the splits in the family. The story was "false," the princes said in a joint statement. "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful," the statement said.Monday's summit was the first time the senior royals have met since the Prince Harry and Meghan's shock announcement last Wednesday — leading to a mood of Read More – Source

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Are cell phone calls on airplane flights inevitable?

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(CNN) — Ah, holiday travel. Between huge crowds and weather delays, flying during this time of year is hectic. Now close your eyes and imagine the entire scenario with one additional annoyance: Loud talkers yammering into their cell phones at 35,000 feet.Don't worry — this potentially ear-splitting scenario isn't a reality yet. At least not in the United States. But it could be soon. Some even say it's just a year or two away.

The technology to support midair cell phone calls exists right now.

Just about every plane that offers WiFi has the bandwidth to support voice over the internet, and several international airlines allow voice calls on certain routes already. Still, at least on domestic US flights, voice calls are forbidden for four distinct reasons: flight attendants, public perception, concerns about safety and US law.

Airline officials won't even consider in-flight cell-phone calls until or unless they feel there is overwhelming demand from customers to provide the service, according to Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry analysis firm in San Francisco. Even then, airlines still may not cave in.

"No matter how you look at it, allowing cell phone calls on planes is controversial," he says. "These are precisely the kinds of issues airlines tend to avoid addressing unless they must."

Keeping cabins calm

Flight attendants already mediate many passenger disputes.

Shutterstock

Without question, flight attendants are the biggest barrier to allowing voice calls in the air.

Pretty much across the board, people who work in airplane cabins say the idea of allowing passengers unfettered in-flight phone use would lead to chaos, conflict and downright craziness in flight. As such, they oppose phone use vociferously.

Flight attendants are already tasked with managing overhead bin use, monitoring drink intake among unruly passengers and mediating fights between seat-recliners and passengers who don't recline.

Taylor Garland, spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, says her colleagues don't want to take on any more policing of passengers' social behaviors.

"We are strongly against voice calls on planes," she wrote in a recent email. In another, she doubled down with all caps: "NO CELL PHONES."

Flight attendants' opposition is significant.

They've had major influence on certain decisions regarding domestic passenger travel. In recent years, they've been at the forefront of efforts to get airlines to control unruly passengers. In the 1980s, they led the charge against cigarettes in cabins, which ultimately led to full-fledged bans on in-flight smoking by 2000.

On the issue of in-flight cell phone calls, flight attendants say that passengers inevitably would offend some neighbors by being too loud, and arguments would surely follow.

Cassandra Michele Brown, a flight attendant who works for Frontier Airlines, adds that unfettered cell phone use in midair likely would prevent passengers from complying with flight attendant instructions in the event of an emergency.

"At the end of the day, our job is to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds or less," says Brown, who is based out of Las Vegas.

"If you're a passenger on my flight, no matter how good you might be at multitasking, you're not going to be able to follow my step-by-step instructions to evacuate if you're focusing on your phone."

Passengers advocating for quiet

04 phones on planes talking on plane

Most passengers don't want to listen to their fellow travelers talk on their cell phones.

Shutterstock

Among the travel experts and the traveling public, feelings about allowing voice calls in the air are mixed.

Much like the flight attendants, a vocal contingent of passengers has emerged as opponents of loud noise, insisting that an open environment for in-flight cell-phone calls will create an "annoying" cacophony of chaos in the skies and undoubtedly trigger disagreements about what volume is appropriate.

Harteveldt, the analyst, is in this camp, and says research recently conducted by his firm estimates that less than 5% of all domestic air passengers want to use their cell phones in midair.

"I don't want to be forced to overhear someone else's conversation if it's avoidable," he says. "It's bad enough when you find yourself in that situation at a coffee shop or in a hotel lobby. In an airplane at cruising altitude, in a situation where you can't do anything or go anywhere to escape, it would be horrendous."

Other passengers say privacy also would be a concern, since even first-class passengers are packed tightly into airplane seats for the duration of most flights.

Business travelers, however, seem to be more utilitarian in their thinking.

Paul Forgue, a consultant who manages performance improvement for a global private equity portfolio company and travels 40 weeks a year, says he could see situations in which in-flight phone use could come in handy.

"For those work emergencies when you really need to have contact with someone, it would be fantastic to know you could pick up your phone and do that from the plane," says Forgue, who is based in San Francisco. "In those situations where you need to talk to a colleague about something you can't articulate via text or email, it'd be perfect — provided people don't take advantage."

One strategy Forgue says airlines could implement to allow in-flight cell phone calls: Special areas of the plane for those passengers who wish to use their phones and special areas for those passengers who do not.

This is the plan deployed by Amtrak and various commuter rail systems across the country. For the most part — save for the occasional abusers or overflow problems on crowded trips — it works.

Is the technology safe?

01 phones on planes cell-phone not talking

Newer planes are designed to not be affected by passengers' technology.

Shutterstock

The story of in-cabin calls from personal electronic devices is a colorful saga that goes back decades.

In the 1980s and 1990s, when cellular technology became mainstream, use on planes went relatively unchecked. If you're 40 or older, you probably remember the seatback handsets available to anyone with the swipe of a credit card for upwards of $4 or $5 per minute. These essentially were early public cell phones.

Even after the turn of the millennium, cell phone calls were mostly unregulated; victims of the 9/11 terror attacks were able to call their loved ones from the hijacked airplanes before the planes crashed.

The rise of smartphones changed everything.

As phones became more sophisticated, industry insiders worried about the possibility of a phone's radio transmitter interfering with certain equipment in the cockpit and therefore rendering some of the equipment unreliable.

Many of these concerns were stoked by published papers about the potential effects of electromagnetic interference to flight navigation and communication systems. The gist of those reports: Some devices had the potential to interfere with unshielded cockpit instruments, and that such interference could in worst-case scenarios affecting the regular operation of the plane.

Airline experts subsequently have noted that this was an issue with older devices on older aircraft.

Seth Miller, an industry analyst and the owner of the PaxEx.areo blog, said newer phones operate at much higher frequencies, and newer planes are designed to not be affected by the amount of electronics that passengers bring when they fly.

"There was one documented example of something affecting depth [instruments] in one very specific old (airline) model when under certain circumstances, says Miller. "But nobody was able to determine with certainty if it was a phone leaking radio frequency when it shouldn't have been — or an instrument screen not being shielded from certain frequencies when it should have been."

"The reality is that new technology and new equipment have all but eliminated this problem," says Miller. "There's no longer any technical reason for people to not use cell phones on planes."

Internationally, in fact, a handful of airlines have inked deals with third-party vendors to offer and allow satellite-based internet services that support voice calls via cell phones. Some of these include British Airways, Emirates and Etihad.

Viasat, a communication company based in Carlsbad, California, is one of those vendors. Don Buchman, theRead More – Source

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‘Hamlet’ in the skies? The story behind Taiwan’s newest airline

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(CNN) — Debuting its first flights in January 2020, Taiwanese start-up STARLUX Airlines could be the first new player in 30 years to upend the island's duopoly aviation market.

And even before the carrier, dubbed Taiwan's first luxury boutique airline, set its first aircraft into the air, it's been creating a stir.

Eleven minutes after opening ticket sales online on December 16, the Taipei-based carrier sold out all seats on its first three flights — Taipei-Macau, Taipei-Penang and Taipei-Danang.

But both aviation watchers and the general public are abuzz for another reason: A succession drama involving STARLUX founder Chang Kuo-wei that's so juicy he's being referred to as the aviation industry's "Prince Hamlet" by local media.

Chang Kuo-wei founded STARLUX Airlines after being ousted from his family business, EVA Airways.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

This Shakepearean tale took root in 2016, when Chang Yung-fa, founder of Taiwan's Evergreen Group and airline EVA Airways, passed away at the age of 88, sparking a battle over who would take over one of the island's biggest family-run conglomerates.

Chang, 49, who had been the chairman of EVA since 2013, revealed that his late father had named him the successor of parent company Evergreen in his will.

A well-loved figure in the aviation industry, known for his outspokenness and expertise, the son had experience working for EVA Airways as both an aircraft technician and a pilot.

But being the youngest son and the only child of Chang Yung-fa's second wife, Chang Kuo-wei's promotion ignited a family feud. He was soon ousted from EVA as chairman at a board meeting called by fellow family members.

A few months later, he announced that he was going to launch his own airline — STARLUX Airlines.

"He doesn't think that he's 'Hamlet'"

Local media have called it a Hamlet-like retaliation plan.

The anticipation of the new airline's launch has grown as both EVA Airways and China Airlines, Taiwan's two main airlines, have been plagued by strikes and internal conflicts.

But according to the team at STARLUX, Chang isn't out for retribution.

"He doesn't think that he is 'Hamlet'," K.W. Nieh, STARLUX's chief communication officer, tells CNN Travel. "This has nothing to do with revenge."

"Because of his passion for aviation, Chang merely wants to build an ideal airline that reflects his style after breaking from the shackles of Evergreen Group. He is building STARLUX to fulfill the expectations of his late father."

CNN Travel has reached out to EVA Air for comment.

Homegrown luxury airline

Starlux Airlines

Local designer Sean Yin is behind STARLUX's crew uniforms.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

Whether or not Taipei-based STARLUX can outdo the other major players on the island remains to be seen, but it's certainly upped Taiwan's aviation game.

The airline is introducing a new generation of passenger aircraft, including the A321neo and A350-1000, "both debuting for the first time in Taiwan," says Nieh.

Indeed, STARLUX is the first Taiwanese airline to be equipped with A321neos — all 10 of them will be delivered by the end of 2021. STARLUX signed Taiwan's largest single Airbus purchase agreement, purchasing 17 A350XWB aircraft in March 2019.

Chang himself piloted STARLUX's first A321neo to Taipei from Hamburg last month.

"The fleet will grow to 27 aircraft by the end of 2024 and 50 by the end of 2030," adds Nieh.

The interior of the narrow body cabin, designed by BMW's Designworks studio, is fitted with sleek seats, leather headrests and inflight entertainment systems across all classes.

Economy class seats will feature a 10.1-inch 720p screen while business class seats — equipped with narrow-body seats that can recline into an 82-inch fully flat bed — will offer a 15.6-inch 1080p inflight entertainment system.

Free Wi-Fi with basic access (texting only for economy passengers) will be offered for both classes on all STARLUX flights — also a first in Taiwan.

Local touches abound as well. A unique cabin scent — with notes of woods, leather and florals — has been created by Taiwan-grown fragrance brand P.Seven. The airline's crew uniform, which bears themes of retro-futuristic travel in the 40s and 50s, is the product of local designer Sean Yin.

No fare war: STARLUX will charge more than competitors

Starlux Airlines

Positioning as a boutique airline, STARLUX aims to capture the higher-end market.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

Aspiring to be the Emirates of Asia, STARLUX vows to provide premium service, too.

At a recent press event, Chang said STARLUX Airlines will not start a fare war. Instead, its tickets will be reasonable but more expensive than its competitors.

"We consider flying as an enjoyable part of the journey," adds Nieh. "We offer top-notch and exquisite services. It differentiates STARLUX from other companies in the market.

"We position ourselves as a boutique airline, targeting the higher-end market. We have introduced the most advanced aircraft models with the latest aviation technology and seats. We offer exquisite service items so the fare will be slightly higher than the other airlines."

According to aviation expert CK Law, senior adviser of the Department of Aviation Policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, this unique positioning is a clever move for STARLUX.

"Many new airlines have been tapping into the low-cost sector in the market, particularly in this part of the world," says Law.

"That's definitely the major trend. There should be reasonable demand for the high-end passenger segment of the market."

But he expects the new airline will still have an impact on airfares in the long run.

"From the passengers' point of view, there will be new and substantial benefits for them to have new choices and possible new fare reductions in the longer term. There'll be competition for better services on the plane," says Law.

Potential cut-throat competition

Both EVA Airways and China Airlines, the two major airlines of Taiwan, have been affected by strikes in 2019.

Both EVA Airways and China Airlines, the two major airlines of Taiwan, have been affected by strikes in 2019.

PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images

Taiwan has been enjoying healthy passenger growth numbers as well as flights in recent years.

Boeing has estimated that Taiwan's aviation demand will be stronger than the Northeast Asia region's annual average — 2% over the next two decades — as a whole.

But is there enough space to accommodate another major airline?

"A new full-service airline would definitely introduce a lot of new competition to a traditional aviation market like Taiwan," says Law.

"Whether the new airline or even the existing airlines can survive because of this will mainly depend on how fast the market will grow and whether the new demand coulRead More – Source

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Are cell phone calls on airplane flights inevitable?

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(CNN) — Ah, holiday travel. Between huge crowds and weather delays, flying during this time of year is hectic. Now close your eyes and imagine the entire scenario with one additional annoyance: Loud talkers yammering into their cell phones at 35,000 feet.Don't worry — this potentially ear-splitting scenario isn't a reality yet. At least not in the United States. But it could be soon. Some even say it's just a year or two away.

The technology to support midair cell phone calls exists right now.

Just about every plane that offers WiFi has the bandwidth to support voice over the internet, and several international airlines allow voice calls on certain routes already. Still, at least on domestic US flights, voice calls are forbidden for four distinct reasons: flight attendants, public perception, concerns about safety and US law.

Airline officials won't even consider in-flight cell-phone calls until or unless they feel there is overwhelming demand from customers to provide the service, according to Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry analysis firm in San Francisco. Even then, airlines still may not cave in.

"No matter how you look at it, allowing cell phone calls on planes is controversial," he says. "These are precisely the kinds of issues airlines tend to avoid addressing unless they must."

Keeping cabins calm

Flight attendants already mediate many passenger disputes.

Shutterstock

Without question, flight attendants are the biggest barrier to allowing voice calls in the air.

Pretty much across the board, people who work in airplane cabins say the idea of allowing passengers unfettered in-flight phone use would lead to chaos, conflict and downright craziness in flight. As such, they oppose phone use vociferously.

Flight attendants are already tasked with managing overhead bin use, monitoring drink intake among unruly passengers and mediating fights between seat-recliners and passengers who don't recline.

Taylor Garland, spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, says her colleagues don't want to take on any more policing of passengers' social behaviors.

"We are strongly against voice calls on planes," she wrote in a recent email. In another, she doubled down with all caps: "NO CELL PHONES."

Flight attendants' opposition is significant.

They've had major influence on certain decisions regarding domestic passenger travel. In recent years, they've been at the forefront of efforts to get airlines to control unruly passengers. In the 1980s, they led the charge against cigarettes in cabins, which ultimately led to full-fledged bans on in-flight smoking by 2000.

On the issue of in-flight cell phone calls, flight attendants say that passengers inevitably would offend some neighbors by being too loud, and arguments would surely follow.

Cassandra Michele Brown, a flight attendant who works for Frontier Airlines, adds that unfettered cell phone use in midair likely would prevent passengers from complying with flight attendant instructions in the event of an emergency.

"At the end of the day, our job is to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds or less," says Brown, who is based out of Las Vegas.

"If you're a passenger on my flight, no matter how good you might be at multitasking, you're not going to be able to follow my step-by-step instructions to evacuate if you're focusing on your phone."

Passengers advocating for quiet

04 phones on planes talking on plane

Most passengers don't want to listen to their fellow travelers talk on their cell phones.

Shutterstock

Among the travel experts and the traveling public, feelings about allowing voice calls in the air are mixed.

Much like the flight attendants, a vocal contingent of passengers has emerged as opponents of loud noise, insisting that an open environment for in-flight cell-phone calls will create an "annoying" cacophony of chaos in the skies and undoubtedly trigger disagreements about what volume is appropriate.

Harteveldt, the analyst, is in this camp, and says research recently conducted by his firm estimates that less than 5% of all domestic air passengers want to use their cell phones in midair.

"I don't want to be forced to overhear someone else's conversation if it's avoidable," he says. "It's bad enough when you find yourself in that situation at a coffee shop or in a hotel lobby. In an airplane at cruising altitude, in a situation where you can't do anything or go anywhere to escape, it would be horrendous."

Other passengers say privacy also would be a concern, since even first-class passengers are packed tightly into airplane seats for the duration of most flights.

Business travelers, however, seem to be more utilitarian in their thinking.

Paul Forgue, a consultant who manages performance improvement for a global private equity portfolio company and travels 40 weeks a year, says he could see situations in which in-flight phone use could come in handy.

"For those work emergencies when you really need to have contact with someone, it would be fantastic to know you could pick up your phone and do that from the plane," says Forgue, who is based in San Francisco. "In those situations where you need to talk to a colleague about something you can't articulate via text or email, it'd be perfect — provided people don't take advantage."

One strategy Forgue says airlines could implement to allow in-flight cell phone calls: Special areas of the plane for those passengers who wish to use their phones and special areas for those passengers who do not.

This is the plan deployed by Amtrak and various commuter rail systems across the country. For the most part — save for the occasional abusers or overflow problems on crowded trips — it works.

Is the technology safe?

01 phones on planes cell-phone not talking

Newer planes are designed to not be affected by passengers' technology.

Shutterstock

The story of in-cabin calls from personal electronic devices is a colorful saga that goes back decades.

In the 1980s and 1990s, when cellular technology became mainstream, use on planes went relatively unchecked. If you're 40 or older, you probably remember the seatback handsets available to anyone with the swipe of a credit card for upwards of $4 or $5 per minute. These essentially were early public cell phones.

Even after the turn of the millennium, cell phone calls were mostly unregulated; victims of the 9/11 terror attacks were able to call their loved ones from the hijacked airplanes before the planes crashed.

The rise of smartphones changed everything.

As phones became more sophisticated, industry insiders worried about the possibility of a phone's radio transmitter interfering with certain equipment in the cockpit and therefore rendering some of the equipment unreliable.

Many of these concerns were stoked by published papers about the potential effects of electromagnetic interference to flight navigation and communication systems. The gist of those reports: Some devices had the potential to interfere with unshielded cockpit instruments, and that such interference could in worst-case scenarios affecting the regular operation of the plane.

Airline experts subsequently have noted that this was an issue with older devices on older aircraft.

Seth Miller, an industry analyst and the owner of the PaxEx.areo blog, said newer phones operate at much higher frequencies, and newer planes are designed to not be affected by the amount of electronics that passengers bring when they fly.

"There was one documented example of something affecting depth [instruments] in one very specific old (airline) model when under certain circumstances, says Miller. "But nobody was able to determine with certainty if it was a phone leaking radio frequency when it shouldn't have been — or an instrument screen not being shielded from certain frequencies when it should have been."

"The reality is that new technology and new equipment have all but eliminated this problem," says Miller. "There's no longer any technical reason for people to not use cell phones on planes."

Internationally, in fact, a handful of airlines have inked deals with third-party vendors to offer and allow satellite-based internet services that support voice calls via cell phones. Some of these include British Airways, Emirates and Etihad.

Viasat, a communication company based in Carlsbad, California, is one of those vendors. Don Buchman, theRead More – Source

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‘Hamlet’ in the skies? The story behind Taiwan’s newest airline

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(CNN) — Debuting its first flights in January 2020, Taiwanese start-up STARLUX Airlines could be the first new player in 30 years to upend the island's duopoly aviation market.

And even before the carrier, dubbed Taiwan's first luxury boutique airline, set its first aircraft into the air, it's been creating a stir.

Eleven minutes after opening ticket sales online on December 16, the Taipei-based carrier sold out all seats on its first three flights — Taipei-Macau, Taipei-Penang and Taipei-Danang.

But both aviation watchers and the general public are abuzz for another reason: A succession drama involving STARLUX founder Chang Kuo-wei that's so juicy he's being referred to as the aviation industry's "Prince Hamlet" by local media.

Chang Kuo-wei founded STARLUX Airlines after being ousted from his family business, EVA Airways.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

This Shakepearean tale took root in 2016, when Chang Yung-fa, founder of Taiwan's Evergreen Group and airline EVA Airways, passed away at the age of 88, sparking a battle over who would take over one of the island's biggest family-run conglomerates.

Chang, 49, who had been the chairman of EVA since 2013, revealed that his late father had named him the successor of parent company Evergreen in his will.

A well-loved figure in the aviation industry, known for his outspokenness and expertise, the son had experience working for EVA Airways as both an aircraft technician and a pilot.

But being the youngest son and the only child of Chang Yung-fa's second wife, Chang Kuo-wei's promotion ignited a family feud. He was soon ousted from EVA as chairman at a board meeting called by fellow family members.

A few months later, he announced that he was going to launch his own airline — STARLUX Airlines.

"He doesn't think that he's 'Hamlet'"

Local media have called it a Hamlet-like retaliation plan.

The anticipation of the new airline's launch has grown as both EVA Airways and China Airlines, Taiwan's two main airlines, have been plagued by strikes and internal conflicts.

But according to the team at STARLUX, Chang isn't out for retribution.

"He doesn't think that he is 'Hamlet'," K.W. Nieh, STARLUX's chief communication officer, tells CNN Travel. "This has nothing to do with revenge."

"Because of his passion for aviation, Chang merely wants to build an ideal airline that reflects his style after breaking from the shackles of Evergreen Group. He is building STARLUX to fulfill the expectations of his late father."

CNN Travel has reached out to EVA Air for comment.

Homegrown luxury airline

Starlux Airlines

Local designer Sean Yin is behind STARLUX's crew uniforms.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

Whether or not Taipei-based STARLUX can outdo the other major players on the island remains to be seen, but it's certainly upped Taiwan's aviation game.

The airline is introducing a new generation of passenger aircraft, including the A321neo and A350-1000, "both debuting for the first time in Taiwan," says Nieh.

Indeed, STARLUX is the first Taiwanese airline to be equipped with A321neos — all 10 of them will be delivered by the end of 2021. STARLUX signed Taiwan's largest single Airbus purchase agreement, purchasing 17 A350XWB aircraft in March 2019.

Chang himself piloted STARLUX's first A321neo to Taipei from Hamburg last month.

"The fleet will grow to 27 aircraft by the end of 2024 and 50 by the end of 2030," adds Nieh.

The interior of the narrow body cabin, designed by BMW's Designworks studio, is fitted with sleek seats, leather headrests and inflight entertainment systems across all classes.

Economy class seats will feature a 10.1-inch 720p screen while business class seats — equipped with narrow-body seats that can recline into an 82-inch fully flat bed — will offer a 15.6-inch 1080p inflight entertainment system.

Free Wi-Fi with basic access (texting only for economy passengers) will be offered for both classes on all STARLUX flights — also a first in Taiwan.

Local touches abound as well. A unique cabin scent — with notes of woods, leather and florals — has been created by Taiwan-grown fragrance brand P.Seven. The airline's crew uniform, which bears themes of retro-futuristic travel in the 40s and 50s, is the product of local designer Sean Yin.

No fare war: STARLUX will charge more than competitors

Starlux Airlines

Positioning as a boutique airline, STARLUX aims to capture the higher-end market.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

Aspiring to be the Emirates of Asia, STARLUX vows to provide premium service, too.

At a recent press event, Chang said STARLUX Airlines will not start a fare war. Instead, its tickets will be reasonable but more expensive than its competitors.

"We consider flying as an enjoyable part of the journey," adds Nieh. "We offer top-notch and exquisite services. It differentiates STARLUX from other companies in the market.

"We position ourselves as a boutique airline, targeting the higher-end market. We have introduced the most advanced aircraft models with the latest aviation technology and seats. We offer exquisite service items so the fare will be slightly higher than the other airlines."

According to aviation expert CK Law, senior adviser of the Department of Aviation Policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, this unique positioning is a clever move for STARLUX.

"Many new airlines have been tapping into the low-cost sector in the market, particularly in this part of the world," says Law.

"That's definitely the major trend. There should be reasonable demand for the high-end passenger segment of the market."

But he expects the new airline will still have an impact on airfares in the long run.

"From the passengers' point of view, there will be new and substantial benefits for them to have new choices and possible new fare reductions in the longer term. There'll be competition for better services on the plane," says Law.

Potential cut-throat competition

Both EVA Airways and China Airlines, the two major airlines of Taiwan, have been affected by strikes in 2019.

Both EVA Airways and China Airlines, the two major airlines of Taiwan, have been affected by strikes in 2019.

PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images

Taiwan has been enjoying healthy passenger growth numbers as well as flights in recent years.

Boeing has estimated that Taiwan's aviation demand will be stronger than the Northeast Asia region's annual average — 2% over the next two decades — as a whole.

But is there enough space to accommodate another major airline?

"A new full-service airline would definitely introduce a lot of new competition to a traditional aviation market like Taiwan," says Law.

"Whether the new airline or even the existing airlines can survive because of this will mainly depend on how fast the market will grow and whether the new demand coulRead More – Source

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Are cell phone calls on airplane flights inevitable?

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(CNN) — Ah, holiday travel. Between huge crowds and weather delays, flying during this time of year is hectic. Now close your eyes and imagine the entire scenario with one additional annoyance: Loud talkers yammering into their cell phones at 35,000 feet.Don't worry — this potentially ear-splitting scenario isn't a reality yet. At least not in the United States. But it could be soon. Some even say it's just a year or two away.

The technology to support midair cell phone calls exists right now.

Just about every plane that offers WiFi has the bandwidth to support voice over the internet, and several international airlines allow voice calls on certain routes already. Still, at least on domestic US flights, voice calls are forbidden for four distinct reasons: flight attendants, public perception, concerns about safety and US law.

Airline officials won't even consider in-flight cell-phone calls until or unless they feel there is overwhelming demand from customers to provide the service, according to Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry analysis firm in San Francisco. Even then, airlines still may not cave in.

"No matter how you look at it, allowing cell phone calls on planes is controversial," he says. "These are precisely the kinds of issues airlines tend to avoid addressing unless they must."

Keeping cabins calm

Flight attendants already mediate many passenger disputes.

Shutterstock

Without question, flight attendants are the biggest barrier to allowing voice calls in the air.

Pretty much across the board, people who work in airplane cabins say the idea of allowing passengers unfettered in-flight phone use would lead to chaos, conflict and downright craziness in flight. As such, they oppose phone use vociferously.

Flight attendants are already tasked with managing overhead bin use, monitoring drink intake among unruly passengers and mediating fights between seat-recliners and passengers who don't recline.

Taylor Garland, spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, says her colleagues don't want to take on any more policing of passengers' social behaviors.

"We are strongly against voice calls on planes," she wrote in a recent email. In another, she doubled down with all caps: "NO CELL PHONES."

Flight attendants' opposition is significant.

They've had major influence on certain decisions regarding domestic passenger travel. In recent years, they've been at the forefront of efforts to get airlines to control unruly passengers. In the 1980s, they led the charge against cigarettes in cabins, which ultimately led to full-fledged bans on in-flight smoking by 2000.

On the issue of in-flight cell phone calls, flight attendants say that passengers inevitably would offend some neighbors by being too loud, and arguments would surely follow.

Cassandra Michele Brown, a flight attendant who works for Frontier Airlines, adds that unfettered cell phone use in midair likely would prevent passengers from complying with flight attendant instructions in the event of an emergency.

"At the end of the day, our job is to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds or less," says Brown, who is based out of Las Vegas.

"If you're a passenger on my flight, no matter how good you might be at multitasking, you're not going to be able to follow my step-by-step instructions to evacuate if you're focusing on your phone."

Passengers advocating for quiet

04 phones on planes talking on plane

Most passengers don't want to listen to their fellow travelers talk on their cell phones.

Shutterstock

Among the travel experts and the traveling public, feelings about allowing voice calls in the air are mixed.

Much like the flight attendants, a vocal contingent of passengers has emerged as opponents of loud noise, insisting that an open environment for in-flight cell-phone calls will create an "annoying" cacophony of chaos in the skies and undoubtedly trigger disagreements about what volume is appropriate.

Harteveldt, the analyst, is in this camp, and says research recently conducted by his firm estimates that less than 5% of all domestic air passengers want to use their cell phones in midair.

"I don't want to be forced to overhear someone else's conversation if it's avoidable," he says. "It's bad enough when you find yourself in that situation at a coffee shop or in a hotel lobby. In an airplane at cruising altitude, in a situation where you can't do anything or go anywhere to escape, it would be horrendous."

Other passengers say privacy also would be a concern, since even first-class passengers are packed tightly into airplane seats for the duration of most flights.

Business travelers, however, seem to be more utilitarian in their thinking.

Paul Forgue, a consultant who manages performance improvement for a global private equity portfolio company and travels 40 weeks a year, says he could see situations in which in-flight phone use could come in handy.

"For those work emergencies when you really need to have contact with someone, it would be fantastic to know you could pick up your phone and do that from the plane," says Forgue, who is based in San Francisco. "In those situations where you need to talk to a colleague about something you can't articulate via text or email, it'd be perfect — provided people don't take advantage."

One strategy Forgue says airlines could implement to allow in-flight cell phone calls: Special areas of the plane for those passengers who wish to use their phones and special areas for those passengers who do not.

This is the plan deployed by Amtrak and various commuter rail systems across the country. For the most part — save for the occasional abusers or overflow problems on crowded trips — it works.

Is the technology safe?

01 phones on planes cell-phone not talking

Newer planes are designed to not be affected by passengers' technology.

Shutterstock

The story of in-cabin calls from personal electronic devices is a colorful saga that goes back decades.

In the 1980s and 1990s, when cellular technology became mainstream, use on planes went relatively unchecked. If you're 40 or older, you probably remember the seatback handsets available to anyone with the swipe of a credit card for upwards of $4 or $5 per minute. These essentially were early public cell phones.

Even after the turn of the millennium, cell phone calls were mostly unregulated; victims of the 9/11 terror attacks were able to call their loved ones from the hijacked airplanes before the planes crashed.

The rise of smartphones changed everything.

As phones became more sophisticated, industry insiders worried about the possibility of a phone's radio transmitter interfering with certain equipment in the cockpit and therefore rendering some of the equipment unreliable.

Many of these concerns were stoked by published papers about the potential effects of electromagnetic interference to flight navigation and communication systems. The gist of those reports: Some devices had the potential to interfere with unshielded cockpit instruments, and that such interference could in worst-case scenarios affecting the regular operation of the plane.

Airline experts subsequently have noted that this was an issue with older devices on older aircraft.

Seth Miller, an industry analyst and the owner of the PaxEx.areo blog, said newer phones operate at much higher frequencies, and newer planes are designed to not be affected by the amount of electronics that passengers bring when they fly.

"There was one documented example of something affecting depth [instruments] in one very specific old (airline) model when under certain circumstances, says Miller. "But nobody was able to determine with certainty if it was a phone leaking radio frequency when it shouldn't have been — or an instrument screen not being shielded from certain frequencies when it should have been."

"The reality is that new technology and new equipment have all but eliminated this problem," says Miller. "There's no longer any technical reason for people to not use cell phones on planes."

Internationally, in fact, a handful of airlines have inked deals with third-party vendors to offer and allow satellite-based internet services that support voice calls via cell phones. Some of these include British Airways, Emirates and Etihad.

Viasat, a communication company based in Carlsbad, California, is one of those vendors. Don Buchman, theRead More – Source

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‘Hamlet’ in the skies? The story behind Taiwan’s newest airline

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(CNN) — Debuting its first flights in January 2020, Taiwanese start-up STARLUX Airlines could be the first new player in 30 years to upend the island's duopoly aviation market.

And even before the carrier, dubbed Taiwan's first luxury boutique airline, set its first aircraft into the air, it's been creating a stir.

Eleven minutes after opening ticket sales online on December 16, the Taipei-based carrier sold out all seats on its first three flights — Taipei-Macau, Taipei-Penang and Taipei-Danang.

But both aviation watchers and the general public are abuzz for another reason: A succession drama involving STARLUX founder Chang Kuo-wei that's so juicy he's being referred to as the aviation industry's "Prince Hamlet" by local media.

Chang Kuo-wei founded STARLUX Airlines after being ousted from his family business, EVA Airways.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

This Shakepearean tale took root in 2016, when Chang Yung-fa, founder of Taiwan's Evergreen Group and airline EVA Airways, passed away at the age of 88, sparking a battle over who would take over one of the island's biggest family-run conglomerates.

Chang, 49, who had been the chairman of EVA since 2013, revealed that his late father had named him the successor of parent company Evergreen in his will.

A well-loved figure in the aviation industry, known for his outspokenness and expertise, the son had experience working for EVA Airways as both an aircraft technician and a pilot.

But being the youngest son and the only child of Chang Yung-fa's second wife, Chang Kuo-wei's promotion ignited a family feud. He was soon ousted from EVA as chairman at a board meeting called by fellow family members.

A few months later, he announced that he was going to launch his own airline — STARLUX Airlines.

"He doesn't think that he's 'Hamlet'"

Local media have called it a Hamlet-like retaliation plan.

The anticipation of the new airline's launch has grown as both EVA Airways and China Airlines, Taiwan's two main airlines, have been plagued by strikes and internal conflicts.

But according to the team at STARLUX, Chang isn't out for retribution.

"He doesn't think that he is 'Hamlet'," K.W. Nieh, STARLUX's chief communication officer, tells CNN Travel. "This has nothing to do with revenge."

"Because of his passion for aviation, Chang merely wants to build an ideal airline that reflects his style after breaking from the shackles of Evergreen Group. He is building STARLUX to fulfill the expectations of his late father."

CNN Travel has reached out to EVA Air for comment.

Homegrown luxury airline

Starlux Airlines

Local designer Sean Yin is behind STARLUX's crew uniforms.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

Whether or not Taipei-based STARLUX can outdo the other major players on the island remains to be seen, but it's certainly upped Taiwan's aviation game.

The airline is introducing a new generation of passenger aircraft, including the A321neo and A350-1000, "both debuting for the first time in Taiwan," says Nieh.

Indeed, STARLUX is the first Taiwanese airline to be equipped with A321neos — all 10 of them will be delivered by the end of 2021. STARLUX signed Taiwan's largest single Airbus purchase agreement, purchasing 17 A350XWB aircraft in March 2019.

Chang himself piloted STARLUX's first A321neo to Taipei from Hamburg last month.

"The fleet will grow to 27 aircraft by the end of 2024 and 50 by the end of 2030," adds Nieh.

The interior of the narrow body cabin, designed by BMW's Designworks studio, is fitted with sleek seats, leather headrests and inflight entertainment systems across all classes.

Economy class seats will feature a 10.1-inch 720p screen while business class seats — equipped with narrow-body seats that can recline into an 82-inch fully flat bed — will offer a 15.6-inch 1080p inflight entertainment system.

Free Wi-Fi with basic access (texting only for economy passengers) will be offered for both classes on all STARLUX flights — also a first in Taiwan.

Local touches abound as well. A unique cabin scent — with notes of woods, leather and florals — has been created by Taiwan-grown fragrance brand P.Seven. The airline's crew uniform, which bears themes of retro-futuristic travel in the 40s and 50s, is the product of local designer Sean Yin.

No fare war: STARLUX will charge more than competitors

Starlux Airlines

Positioning as a boutique airline, STARLUX aims to capture the higher-end market.

courtesy Starlux Airlines

Aspiring to be the Emirates of Asia, STARLUX vows to provide premium service, too.

At a recent press event, Chang said STARLUX Airlines will not start a fare war. Instead, its tickets will be reasonable but more expensive than its competitors.

"We consider flying as an enjoyable part of the journey," adds Nieh. "We offer top-notch and exquisite services. It differentiates STARLUX from other companies in the market.

"We position ourselves as a boutique airline, targeting the higher-end market. We have introduced the most advanced aircraft models with the latest aviation technology and seats. We offer exquisite service items so the fare will be slightly higher than the other airlines."

According to aviation expert CK Law, senior adviser of the Department of Aviation Policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, this unique positioning is a clever move for STARLUX.

"Many new airlines have been tapping into the low-cost sector in the market, particularly in this part of the world," says Law.

"That's definitely the major trend. There should be reasonable demand for the high-end passenger segment of the market."

But he expects the new airline will still have an impact on airfares in the long run.

"From the passengers' point of view, there will be new and substantial benefits for them to have new choices and possible new fare reductions in the longer term. There'll be competition for better services on the plane," says Law.

Potential cut-throat competition

Both EVA Airways and China Airlines, the two major airlines of Taiwan, have been affected by strikes in 2019.

Both EVA Airways and China Airlines, the two major airlines of Taiwan, have been affected by strikes in 2019.

PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images

Taiwan has been enjoying healthy passenger growth numbers as well as flights in recent years.

Boeing has estimated that Taiwan's aviation demand will be stronger than the Northeast Asia region's annual average — 2% over the next two decades — as a whole.

But is there enough space to accommodate another major airline?

"A new full-service airline would definitely introduce a lot of new competition to a traditional aviation market like Taiwan," says Law.

"Whether the new airline or even the existing airlines can survive because of this will mainly depend on how fast the market will grow and whether the new demand coulRead More – Source

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