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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.

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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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The world’s most powerful passports

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(CNN) — It's been a two-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with both top contenders in Asia.

Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports.

That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 186.

Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 — but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observed in July, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, up five places to rank 15th.

"It's the strongest climber this quarter," Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University's Centre for Business Research says in the October release.

"While the UAE may not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia — the regional hegemon — in terms of military strength and economic power, the projection of its soft power is uncontested in the GCC."

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says in the July release: "With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress."

Japan has held onto the top spot throughout 2019.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The best passports to hold in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)

7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)

8. New Zealand (182)

Read More – Source

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The world’s longest-running airlines

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(CNN) — When we hear that an industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary, images of the industrial revolution might spring to mind, with its coal-powered steam machines, railways and chimneys.

But this will soon apply to a sector generally associated with cutting-edge technology and the modern world.

October 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the "royal" title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded.

The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry.

A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today.

Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form.

Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation.

1. KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 years old in October 2019. CNN Business Traveller celebrates with a visit to KLM's archives

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: May 1920

Passengers transported in the first year: 440

Passengers transported in 2018: 34.2 million

As a nation that once had the largest merchant fleet in the world, it seems fitting that the Dutch were among the first to set up a national airline that became a strong force to be reckoned with.

The need to connect Amsterdam to what was then known as the Dutch East Indies would certainly have been a powerful motivation to get KLM off the ground in the early days.

Although formally founded in October 1919, the new airline did not really take off until May 1920, when a four-seater De Havilland DH.16 made the inaugural flight to London's now defunct Croydon Airport.

In 1924, KLM launched a service from Amsterdam to Batavia (as Jakarta was then known), the world's longest air route at the time.

In 1946, it became the first European airline to begin scheduled flights to New York, using DC-4 aircraft.

Throughout its nearly hundred years of existence, KLM's commitment to innovation has been constant.

This doesn't just apply to its fleet either. The airline has also proved pioneering with its use of social media, introducing the first social media-driven flight schedule.

2. Avianca

Avianca, the oldest airline in Latin America and the second oldest airline in the world, is celebrating its centenary in 2019

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: 1919

Passengers transported in 2018: 30.5 million

Founded by German immigrants in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 1919, Avianca was originally named SCADTA and operated Junkers F13 aircraft, some of which were equipped with floats.

As the world moved closer to war In the late 1930s, SCADTA became a source of concern for the US government, who were worried about the security implications of the airline's links to Germany.

Pan American World Airways subsequently acquired a controlling stake in the company.

In 1949, SCADTA merged with fellow Colombian airline SACO (Servicio Aéreo Colombiano) and adopted its current name.

Today, after absorbing several airlines in neighboring countries, Avianca is one of the largest airline groups in Latin America, with a fleet of 173 aircraft and a network of subsidiaries that spans pretty much the whole continent.

3. Qantas

The Qantas logo is known as "The Flying Kangaroo."

Qantas

Year of foundation: 1920

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million

Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services."

As its name indicates, the initial goal of the airline was to service the tropical and sparsely populated lands of Northern Australia.

Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

Qantas was nationalized by the Australian government after World War II and reprivatized in the '90s.

Its kangaroo livery first appeared in 1944 and accompanied the airline during the airline's expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Today Qantas remains the de facto flag carrier of Australia as well as the country's largest airline and one of its best known brands globally.

4. Aeroflot

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Stanislav Sergeev/Alamy

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: July 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million

A flight from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod carrying six people (four passengers and two crewmen) on a Junkers F13 marked the start of what would turn out to be the Soviet Union's, and later, the Russian Federation's flag carrier.

Originally called Dobrolet, it was renamed Aeroflot in 1932, when the Soviet government decided to place the whole civilian aviation fleet under one single entity.

After World War II, Aeroflot became the largest airline in the world, as air travel was often the only means of transportation available to bridge the vast expanses of the Soviet Union.

In 1956, the airline introduced the Tupolev Tu-104, considered the first truly successful jet airliner.

During the Cold War years, Aeroflot operated the long range Il-62, which flew all the way to Cuba by way of Murmansk, in the Arctic, and the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144, the Soviet Union's answer to the Concorde.

In much the same fashion as the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was separated in the '90s and divided into a number of regional airlines, with some former Soviet republics beginning their own services.

The core of the airline then came under control of Russia and remains state-owned.

Aeroflot underwent a massive transformation during the first decade of the 21st century in terms of both service and fleet.

Bar its hammer and sickle logo, the Aeroflot of today bears little resemblance to its original conception.

5. Czech Airlines (CSA)

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: October 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million

Started as a national airline for the then newly founded country of Czechoslovakia, Czech Airlines' activity was interrupted by World War II and the airline was later reinstated by the post-war Communist government.

In 1957, CSA became the third airline, after BOAC and Aeroflot, to operate jet airliners when it put the Soviet-made Tupolev Tu104A into service.

The airline was also the first to operate a jet-only connection: Prague to Moscow.

During the Cold War years, CSA operated a remarkably large operation that included a fleet of up to 21 long range Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft as well as an extensive route network covering the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Unfortunately it also suffered two unfortunate firsts, becoming the first airline to suffer a mass hijacking, when three of its aircraft were diverted to West Germany by defectors in 1950.

It was also the first airline to lose a captain at the hands of a hijacker, in an incident during the 1970s.

Like many national airlines of the former Eastern Bloc, CSA was renamed, restructured and modernized during the '90s.

The airline is now majority-owned by Czech group Travel Service.

6. Finnair

The Finnish government has a  55.8% holding of Finnair.

The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair.

Courtesy Finnair

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: March 1924

Passengers transported in 2018: 13 million

For those who've ever wondered why Finnair's airline code is "AY", this is derived from the name it used before being rebranded to Finnair in 1953 — "Aero O/Y."

During its first 12 years, the airline operated only seaplanes, a logical choice given the many lakes and water inlets that cover the surface of Finland.

In 1983, it became the first European airline to fly non-stop to Tokyo, with DC-10 aircraft.

Five years later, Finnair was the only European airline with a direct flight between Europe and China.

This helped to position the airline as the shortest gateway between Europe and Asia, largely thanks to Helsinki's location atop the Great Circle route.

7. Delta Air Lines

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

DANIEL SLIM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: Read More – Source

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The world’s most powerful passports

0

(CNN) — It's been a two-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with both top contenders in Asia.

Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports.

That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 186.

Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 — but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observed in July, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, up five places to rank 15th.

"It's the strongest climber this quarter," Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University's Centre for Business Research says in the October release.

"While the UAE may not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia — the regional hegemon — in terms of military strength and economic power, the projection of its soft power is uncontested in the GCC."

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says in the July release: "With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress."

Japan has held onto the top spot throughout 2019.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The best passports to hold in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)

7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)

8. New Zealand (182)

Read More – Source

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The world’s longest-running airlines

0

(CNN) — When we hear that an industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary, images of the industrial revolution might spring to mind, with its coal-powered steam machines, railways and chimneys.

But this will soon apply to a sector generally associated with cutting-edge technology and the modern world.

October 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the "royal" title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded.

The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry.

A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today.

Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form.

Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation.

1. KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 years old in October 2019. CNN Business Traveller celebrates with a visit to KLM's archives

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: May 1920

Passengers transported in the first year: 440

Passengers transported in 2018: 34.2 million

As a nation that once had the largest merchant fleet in the world, it seems fitting that the Dutch were among the first to set up a national airline that became a strong force to be reckoned with.

The need to connect Amsterdam to what was then known as the Dutch East Indies would certainly have been a powerful motivation to get KLM off the ground in the early days.

Although formally founded in October 1919, the new airline did not really take off until May 1920, when a four-seater De Havilland DH.16 made the inaugural flight to London's now defunct Croydon Airport.

In 1924, KLM launched a service from Amsterdam to Batavia (as Jakarta was then known), the world's longest air route at the time.

In 1946, it became the first European airline to begin scheduled flights to New York, using DC-4 aircraft.

Throughout its nearly hundred years of existence, KLM's commitment to innovation has been constant.

This doesn't just apply to its fleet either. The airline has also proved pioneering with its use of social media, introducing the first social media-driven flight schedule.

2. Avianca

Avianca, the oldest airline in Latin America and the second oldest airline in the world, is celebrating its centenary in 2019

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: 1919

Passengers transported in 2018: 30.5 million

Founded by German immigrants in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 1919, Avianca was originally named SCADTA and operated Junkers F13 aircraft, some of which were equipped with floats.

As the world moved closer to war In the late 1930s, SCADTA became a source of concern for the US government, who were worried about the security implications of the airline's links to Germany.

Pan American World Airways subsequently acquired a controlling stake in the company.

In 1949, SCADTA merged with fellow Colombian airline SACO (Servicio Aéreo Colombiano) and adopted its current name.

Today, after absorbing several airlines in neighboring countries, Avianca is one of the largest airline groups in Latin America, with a fleet of 173 aircraft and a network of subsidiaries that spans pretty much the whole continent.

3. Qantas

The Qantas logo is known as "The Flying Kangaroo."

Qantas

Year of foundation: 1920

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million

Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services."

As its name indicates, the initial goal of the airline was to service the tropical and sparsely populated lands of Northern Australia.

Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

Qantas was nationalized by the Australian government after World War II and reprivatized in the '90s.

Its kangaroo livery first appeared in 1944 and accompanied the airline during the airline's expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Today Qantas remains the de facto flag carrier of Australia as well as the country's largest airline and one of its best known brands globally.

4. Aeroflot

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Stanislav Sergeev/Alamy

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: July 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million

A flight from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod carrying six people (four passengers and two crewmen) on a Junkers F13 marked the start of what would turn out to be the Soviet Union's, and later, the Russian Federation's flag carrier.

Originally called Dobrolet, it was renamed Aeroflot in 1932, when the Soviet government decided to place the whole civilian aviation fleet under one single entity.

After World War II, Aeroflot became the largest airline in the world, as air travel was often the only means of transportation available to bridge the vast expanses of the Soviet Union.

In 1956, the airline introduced the Tupolev Tu-104, considered the first truly successful jet airliner.

During the Cold War years, Aeroflot operated the long range Il-62, which flew all the way to Cuba by way of Murmansk, in the Arctic, and the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144, the Soviet Union's answer to the Concorde.

In much the same fashion as the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was separated in the '90s and divided into a number of regional airlines, with some former Soviet republics beginning their own services.

The core of the airline then came under control of Russia and remains state-owned.

Aeroflot underwent a massive transformation during the first decade of the 21st century in terms of both service and fleet.

Bar its hammer and sickle logo, the Aeroflot of today bears little resemblance to its original conception.

5. Czech Airlines (CSA)

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: October 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million

Started as a national airline for the then newly founded country of Czechoslovakia, Czech Airlines' activity was interrupted by World War II and the airline was later reinstated by the post-war Communist government.

In 1957, CSA became the third airline, after BOAC and Aeroflot, to operate jet airliners when it put the Soviet-made Tupolev Tu104A into service.

The airline was also the first to operate a jet-only connection: Prague to Moscow.

During the Cold War years, CSA operated a remarkably large operation that included a fleet of up to 21 long range Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft as well as an extensive route network covering the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Unfortunately it also suffered two unfortunate firsts, becoming the first airline to suffer a mass hijacking, when three of its aircraft were diverted to West Germany by defectors in 1950.

It was also the first airline to lose a captain at the hands of a hijacker, in an incident during the 1970s.

Like many national airlines of the former Eastern Bloc, CSA was renamed, restructured and modernized during the '90s.

The airline is now majority-owned by Czech group Travel Service.

6. Finnair

The Finnish government has a  55.8% holding of Finnair.

The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair.

Courtesy Finnair

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: March 1924

Passengers transported in 2018: 13 million

For those who've ever wondered why Finnair's airline code is "AY", this is derived from the name it used before being rebranded to Finnair in 1953 — "Aero O/Y."

During its first 12 years, the airline operated only seaplanes, a logical choice given the many lakes and water inlets that cover the surface of Finland.

In 1983, it became the first European airline to fly non-stop to Tokyo, with DC-10 aircraft.

Five years later, Finnair was the only European airline with a direct flight between Europe and China.

This helped to position the airline as the shortest gateway between Europe and Asia, largely thanks to Helsinki's location atop the Great Circle route.

7. Delta Air Lines

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

DANIEL SLIM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: Read More – Source

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The world’s most powerful passports

0

(CNN) — It's been a two-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with both top contenders in Asia.

Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports.

That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 186.

Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 — but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observed in July, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, up five places to rank 15th.

"It's the strongest climber this quarter," Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University's Centre for Business Research says in the October release.

"While the UAE may not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia — the regional hegemon — in terms of military strength and economic power, the projection of its soft power is uncontested in the GCC."

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says in the July release: "With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress."

Japan has held onto the top spot throughout 2019.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The best passports to hold in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)

7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)

8. New Zealand (182)

Read More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

cnn

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

The world’s longest-running airlines

0

(CNN) — When we hear that an industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary, images of the industrial revolution might spring to mind, with its coal-powered steam machines, railways and chimneys.

But this will soon apply to a sector generally associated with cutting-edge technology and the modern world.

October 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the "royal" title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded.

The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry.

A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today.

Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form.

Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation.

1. KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 years old in October 2019. CNN Business Traveller celebrates with a visit to KLM's archives

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: May 1920

Passengers transported in the first year: 440

Passengers transported in 2018: 34.2 million

As a nation that once had the largest merchant fleet in the world, it seems fitting that the Dutch were among the first to set up a national airline that became a strong force to be reckoned with.

The need to connect Amsterdam to what was then known as the Dutch East Indies would certainly have been a powerful motivation to get KLM off the ground in the early days.

Although formally founded in October 1919, the new airline did not really take off until May 1920, when a four-seater De Havilland DH.16 made the inaugural flight to London's now defunct Croydon Airport.

In 1924, KLM launched a service from Amsterdam to Batavia (as Jakarta was then known), the world's longest air route at the time.

In 1946, it became the first European airline to begin scheduled flights to New York, using DC-4 aircraft.

Throughout its nearly hundred years of existence, KLM's commitment to innovation has been constant.

This doesn't just apply to its fleet either. The airline has also proved pioneering with its use of social media, introducing the first social media-driven flight schedule.

2. Avianca

Avianca, the oldest airline in Latin America and the second oldest airline in the world, is celebrating its centenary in 2019

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: 1919

Passengers transported in 2018: 30.5 million

Founded by German immigrants in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 1919, Avianca was originally named SCADTA and operated Junkers F13 aircraft, some of which were equipped with floats.

As the world moved closer to war In the late 1930s, SCADTA became a source of concern for the US government, who were worried about the security implications of the airline's links to Germany.

Pan American World Airways subsequently acquired a controlling stake in the company.

In 1949, SCADTA merged with fellow Colombian airline SACO (Servicio Aéreo Colombiano) and adopted its current name.

Today, after absorbing several airlines in neighboring countries, Avianca is one of the largest airline groups in Latin America, with a fleet of 173 aircraft and a network of subsidiaries that spans pretty much the whole continent.

3. Qantas

The Qantas logo is known as "The Flying Kangaroo."

Qantas

Year of foundation: 1920

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million

Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services."

As its name indicates, the initial goal of the airline was to service the tropical and sparsely populated lands of Northern Australia.

Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

Qantas was nationalized by the Australian government after World War II and reprivatized in the '90s.

Its kangaroo livery first appeared in 1944 and accompanied the airline during the airline's expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Today Qantas remains the de facto flag carrier of Australia as well as the country's largest airline and one of its best known brands globally.

4. Aeroflot

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Stanislav Sergeev/Alamy

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: July 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million

A flight from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod carrying six people (four passengers and two crewmen) on a Junkers F13 marked the start of what would turn out to be the Soviet Union's, and later, the Russian Federation's flag carrier.

Originally called Dobrolet, it was renamed Aeroflot in 1932, when the Soviet government decided to place the whole civilian aviation fleet under one single entity.

After World War II, Aeroflot became the largest airline in the world, as air travel was often the only means of transportation available to bridge the vast expanses of the Soviet Union.

In 1956, the airline introduced the Tupolev Tu-104, considered the first truly successful jet airliner.

During the Cold War years, Aeroflot operated the long range Il-62, which flew all the way to Cuba by way of Murmansk, in the Arctic, and the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144, the Soviet Union's answer to the Concorde.

In much the same fashion as the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was separated in the '90s and divided into a number of regional airlines, with some former Soviet republics beginning their own services.

The core of the airline then came under control of Russia and remains state-owned.

Aeroflot underwent a massive transformation during the first decade of the 21st century in terms of both service and fleet.

Bar its hammer and sickle logo, the Aeroflot of today bears little resemblance to its original conception.

5. Czech Airlines (CSA)

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: October 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million

Started as a national airline for the then newly founded country of Czechoslovakia, Czech Airlines' activity was interrupted by World War II and the airline was later reinstated by the post-war Communist government.

In 1957, CSA became the third airline, after BOAC and Aeroflot, to operate jet airliners when it put the Soviet-made Tupolev Tu104A into service.

The airline was also the first to operate a jet-only connection: Prague to Moscow.

During the Cold War years, CSA operated a remarkably large operation that included a fleet of up to 21 long range Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft as well as an extensive route network covering the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Unfortunately it also suffered two unfortunate firsts, becoming the first airline to suffer a mass hijacking, when three of its aircraft were diverted to West Germany by defectors in 1950.

It was also the first airline to lose a captain at the hands of a hijacker, in an incident during the 1970s.

Like many national airlines of the former Eastern Bloc, CSA was renamed, restructured and modernized during the '90s.

The airline is now majority-owned by Czech group Travel Service.

6. Finnair

The Finnish government has a  55.8% holding of Finnair.

The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair.

Courtesy Finnair

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: March 1924

Passengers transported in 2018: 13 million

For those who've ever wondered why Finnair's airline code is "AY", this is derived from the name it used before being rebranded to Finnair in 1953 — "Aero O/Y."

During its first 12 years, the airline operated only seaplanes, a logical choice given the many lakes and water inlets that cover the surface of Finland.

In 1983, it became the first European airline to fly non-stop to Tokyo, with DC-10 aircraft.

Five years later, Finnair was the only European airline with a direct flight between Europe and China.

This helped to position the airline as the shortest gateway between Europe and Asia, largely thanks to Helsinki's location atop the Great Circle route.

7. Delta Air Lines

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

DANIEL SLIM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: Read More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

cnn

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

The world’s most powerful passports

0

(CNN) — It's been a two-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with both top contenders in Asia.

Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports.

That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 186.

Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 — but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observed in July, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, up five places to rank 15th.

"It's the strongest climber this quarter," Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University's Centre for Business Research says in the October release.

"While the UAE may not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia — the regional hegemon — in terms of military strength and economic power, the projection of its soft power is uncontested in the GCC."

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says in the July release: "With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress."

Japan has held onto the top spot throughout 2019.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The best passports to hold in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)

7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)

8. New Zealand (182)

Read More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

cnn

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

The world’s longest-running airlines

0

(CNN) — When we hear that an industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary, images of the industrial revolution might spring to mind, with its coal-powered steam machines, railways and chimneys.

But this will soon apply to a sector generally associated with cutting-edge technology and the modern world.

October 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the "royal" title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded.

The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry.

A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today.

Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form.

Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation.

1. KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 years old in October 2019. CNN Business Traveller celebrates with a visit to KLM's archives

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: May 1920

Passengers transported in the first year: 440

Passengers transported in 2018: 34.2 million

As a nation that once had the largest merchant fleet in the world, it seems fitting that the Dutch were among the first to set up a national airline that became a strong force to be reckoned with.

The need to connect Amsterdam to what was then known as the Dutch East Indies would certainly have been a powerful motivation to get KLM off the ground in the early days.

Although formally founded in October 1919, the new airline did not really take off until May 1920, when a four-seater De Havilland DH.16 made the inaugural flight to London's now defunct Croydon Airport.

In 1924, KLM launched a service from Amsterdam to Batavia (as Jakarta was then known), the world's longest air route at the time.

In 1946, it became the first European airline to begin scheduled flights to New York, using DC-4 aircraft.

Throughout its nearly hundred years of existence, KLM's commitment to innovation has been constant.

This doesn't just apply to its fleet either. The airline has also proved pioneering with its use of social media, introducing the first social media-driven flight schedule.

2. Avianca

Avianca, the oldest airline in Latin America and the second oldest airline in the world, is celebrating its centenary in 2019

Year of foundation: 1919

First flight: 1919

Passengers transported in 2018: 30.5 million

Founded by German immigrants in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 1919, Avianca was originally named SCADTA and operated Junkers F13 aircraft, some of which were equipped with floats.

As the world moved closer to war In the late 1930s, SCADTA became a source of concern for the US government, who were worried about the security implications of the airline's links to Germany.

Pan American World Airways subsequently acquired a controlling stake in the company.

In 1949, SCADTA merged with fellow Colombian airline SACO (Servicio Aéreo Colombiano) and adopted its current name.

Today, after absorbing several airlines in neighboring countries, Avianca is one of the largest airline groups in Latin America, with a fleet of 173 aircraft and a network of subsidiaries that spans pretty much the whole continent.

3. Qantas

The Qantas logo is known as "The Flying Kangaroo."

Qantas

Year of foundation: 1920

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million

Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services."

As its name indicates, the initial goal of the airline was to service the tropical and sparsely populated lands of Northern Australia.

Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

Qantas was nationalized by the Australian government after World War II and reprivatized in the '90s.

Its kangaroo livery first appeared in 1944 and accompanied the airline during the airline's expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Today Qantas remains the de facto flag carrier of Australia as well as the country's largest airline and one of its best known brands globally.

4. Aeroflot

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era.

Stanislav Sergeev/Alamy

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: July 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million

A flight from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod carrying six people (four passengers and two crewmen) on a Junkers F13 marked the start of what would turn out to be the Soviet Union's, and later, the Russian Federation's flag carrier.

Originally called Dobrolet, it was renamed Aeroflot in 1932, when the Soviet government decided to place the whole civilian aviation fleet under one single entity.

After World War II, Aeroflot became the largest airline in the world, as air travel was often the only means of transportation available to bridge the vast expanses of the Soviet Union.

In 1956, the airline introduced the Tupolev Tu-104, considered the first truly successful jet airliner.

During the Cold War years, Aeroflot operated the long range Il-62, which flew all the way to Cuba by way of Murmansk, in the Arctic, and the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144, the Soviet Union's answer to the Concorde.

In much the same fashion as the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was separated in the '90s and divided into a number of regional airlines, with some former Soviet republics beginning their own services.

The core of the airline then came under control of Russia and remains state-owned.

Aeroflot underwent a massive transformation during the first decade of the 21st century in terms of both service and fleet.

Bar its hammer and sickle logo, the Aeroflot of today bears little resemblance to its original conception.

5. Czech Airlines (CSA)

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: October 1923

Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million

Started as a national airline for the then newly founded country of Czechoslovakia, Czech Airlines' activity was interrupted by World War II and the airline was later reinstated by the post-war Communist government.

In 1957, CSA became the third airline, after BOAC and Aeroflot, to operate jet airliners when it put the Soviet-made Tupolev Tu104A into service.

The airline was also the first to operate a jet-only connection: Prague to Moscow.

During the Cold War years, CSA operated a remarkably large operation that included a fleet of up to 21 long range Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft as well as an extensive route network covering the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Unfortunately it also suffered two unfortunate firsts, becoming the first airline to suffer a mass hijacking, when three of its aircraft were diverted to West Germany by defectors in 1950.

It was also the first airline to lose a captain at the hands of a hijacker, in an incident during the 1970s.

Like many national airlines of the former Eastern Bloc, CSA was renamed, restructured and modernized during the '90s.

The airline is now majority-owned by Czech group Travel Service.

6. Finnair

The Finnish government has a  55.8% holding of Finnair.

The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair.

Courtesy Finnair

Year of foundation: 1923

First flight: March 1924

Passengers transported in 2018: 13 million

For those who've ever wondered why Finnair's airline code is "AY", this is derived from the name it used before being rebranded to Finnair in 1953 — "Aero O/Y."

During its first 12 years, the airline operated only seaplanes, a logical choice given the many lakes and water inlets that cover the surface of Finland.

In 1983, it became the first European airline to fly non-stop to Tokyo, with DC-10 aircraft.

Five years later, Finnair was the only European airline with a direct flight between Europe and China.

This helped to position the airline as the shortest gateway between Europe and Asia, largely thanks to Helsinki's location atop the Great Circle route.

7. Delta Air Lines

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US.

DANIEL SLIM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Year of foundation: Read More – Source

[contf]
[contfnew]

cnn

[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

The world’s most powerful passports

0

(CNN) — It's been a two-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with both top contenders in Asia.

Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports.

That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 186.

Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 — but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observed in July, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, up five places to rank 15th.

"It's the strongest climber this quarter," Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University's Centre for Business Research says in the October release.

"While the UAE may not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia — the regional hegemon — in terms of military strength and economic power, the projection of its soft power is uncontested in the GCC."

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says in the July release: "With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress."

Japan has held onto the top spot throughout 2019.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The best passports to hold in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)

7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)

8. New Zealand (182)

Read More – Source

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