Ritz – The Epitome of Luxury Hotels

Source: wocomo Travel

Cesar Ritz’ story is one of personal drama: a man who has it all and finally collapses. He loses everything in the end, his family, the hotels, and his mind. Only his brilliant opus survives. Ritz’ genius consisted in captivating every novelty in record time and in transforming it into his world of hotel business almost instinctively. The technical progress was the main inspiration of the ingenious inventor. Cesar Ritz was every bit like the fuming and effervescing locomotives of his time that pulled him across Europe, from capital to capital, to the hotels of the Ritz Company, resembling themselves huge machines.

British Airways-owner IAG lifts ownership restriction for non-EU investors boosting shares

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 17th Jan 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British Airways-owner IAG (ICAG.L) lifted a restriction on non-EU investors’ ability to buy its stock, helping boost its share price by more than 5%.

Last February, IAG, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, set the maximum level for ownership of its shares by non-Europeans at 47.5% in a bid to maintain its status as a European-owned airline.

IAG said on Friday that non-EU ownership had dropped to 39.5% and as such it was removing the cap which had been in effect for 11 months.

Shares in the company rose 5.3% to 672 pence at 0858 GMT, their highest level since September 2018.

Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska said the change meant a large overhang had now gone. “We view this news very positively,” he said.

Reporting by Sarah Young

Flybe boss Mark Anderson ‘focused’ on turning airline around

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 13th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Flybe boss Mark Anderson has told staff that he and the management team remain “focused” on turning the airline round.

Mr Anderson's comments came in an email to staff following reports that the airline is in crisis talks in an attempt to put together a rescue deal.

According to Sky News, Flybe, which has already been bailed out once, has been struggling to secure fresh finance.

In his email, Mr Anderson stressed that Flybe was continuing to operate as normal.

“All my energy, and that of our Leadership Team, is very focused on continuing to turn Flybe, soon to be Virgin Connect, around and deliver the heartfelt service that our customers expect,” he said.

“I do appreciate that the headlines some of you have already read are disturbing but I want you to know that we are determined to do everything we can to make this work.”

He told staff he was “extremely grateful” for their hard work and commitment.

In an earlier statement, Flybe said it was focusing on “providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned”.

Flybe, the UK's biggest regional carrier, added: “We don't comment on rumour or speculation.”

The reports come a year after Flybe was bought for £2.8m by a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group.

Since then, the consortium has invested tens of millions of pounds in the troubled carrier, but losses have continued to mount.

Tourism adviser and researcher Prof Annette Pritchard, of the Welsh Centre for Tourism Research in Cardiff, commented on Twitter that Flybe provided “a vital social and cultural link for many marginal economies”.

Based in Exeter, Flybe carries about eight million passengers a year from airports such as Southampton, Cardiff and Aberdeen, to the UK and Europe.

Its network of routes includes more than half of UK domestic flights outside London.

If the business collapses, more than 2,000 jobs will be at risk.

Worried travellers

Matthew Mills, a graphic designer based in Shropshire, recently booked flights for his family to Germany with Flybe.

He is also one of the 10,000 consumers still waiting to receive a refund from collapsed travel firm Thomas Cook on a holiday that was meant to take place in November.

“You don't know whether to laugh or cry,” he told the BBC. “We've used Flybe quite a bit in the past because we have family in Germany and we don't have many alternatives in the UK – if Flybe goes under, we'd be looking at 50% more in prices on flights to Germany, easily.”

Worried Flybe customers have taken to Twitter to express their concerns, saying they are still waiting for information on whether their flights will go ahead.

Union ‘appalled'

The BBC understands that EY has been lined up as administrators if Flybe were to go under.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said: “I am appalled that once again the future of a major UK airline and hundreds of jobs is being discussed in secret with no input from employees or their representatives.

“According to reports, the airline could have collapsed over the weekend, which would have been devastating news.”

Mr Strutton called on Flybe's owners and the government to talk to the union, saying staff had a right to know what was going on.

Analysis: Simon Gompertz

As long as Flybe carries on flying, there is no need to worry and certainly no reason to try to get your money back.

If the airline was to fail, however, all flights would most likely be cancelled. Those with paid-for bookings could find they lose their flights and their cash.

If your flight is part of a package deal covered by the ATOL scheme, then you should be protected and have the right to a re-booking or refund.

Otherwise you can try to retrieve the money from your credit card company, if that's how you paid. There is also a debit card chargeback scheme which can help.

Many travel insurance policies are not much use in these situations, unless you stumped up extra for the Scheduled Airline Failure option or something similar.

Those stuck overseas might be left hoping that the government will direct the CAA to step in, as it did when Monarch and Thomas Cook went under, to bring back stranded passengers for free.

Prof Loizos Heracleous, an aviation industry expert from Warwick Business School, said it would be “no easy task” for Flybe to attract new finance.

He added: “The aviation industry is an unattractive industry in terms of performance and returns on investment at the best of times.

“It is saddled with high-cost assets, namely planes, and key costs that fluctuate uncontrollably, mainly fuel, which accounts for around a third of total airline costs.

“On top of that, they face high regulation, often aggressive unions, low barriers to entry that increase competition, and high bargaining power of buyers.”

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said Flybe provided “valuable connectivity throughout the UK” and called on the government to intervene. He called Flybe “a strategically important business”.

The industry regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We do not comment on the financial situation of any of the organisations we regulate.”

Travelex foreign currency firm services begin again after ransomware cyber-attack

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 13th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Foreign currency firm restores some systems after £4.6m demand from hackers

The foreign currency firm Travelex says it is making good progress in recovering from an attack from ransomware hackers and is starting to switch its systems back on again.

As of noon on Monday, however, its global websites, including those aimed at UK and US customers, were still offline, as were the online travel money services of companies that use Travelex, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Tesco Bank and Asda.

Travelex was forced to take its websites offline after discovering the cyber-attack on New Year’s Eve. It later emerged that the ransomware gang responsible, Sodinokibi, had demanded £4.6m and was threatening to release customers’ personal data – including dates of birth and payment card information – into the public domain unless the company paid up.

Travelex said it had contained the virus and that its investigations showed that no customer data has been breached to date. It is in communication with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – which is part of GCHQ – and the Metropolitan police.

Tony D’Souza, the chief executive of Travelex, said: “We continue to make good progress with our recovery and have already completed a considerable amount in the background.”

He said the firm was now in a position to start restoring functionality at its partner and customer services, and that it would provide more information in the coming days.

With its online travel money service out of action, Travelex staff have been forced to use pen and paper to serve customers. Nor is the company able to sell or reload its travel money cards online.

D’Souza said: “We are confident, based on our efforts to date, that we will be able to restore our services and ensure the integrity and robustness of the network.”

The firm said it would start restoring customer-facing systems, beginning with those that allowed it to process orders electronically with banking partners and in its own stores.

“This follows the restoration of many of the internal capabilities necessary to support partner and customer services, which has been in progress since the beginning of last week,” it said.

By Rupert Jones

Jaguar Land Rover show signs of recovery after sales dip in 2019

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 10th Jan 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) posted a 6% fall in full-year sales on Friday after a challenging year in which its performance was hit by the weakening Chinese autos market and falling demand for diesel vehicles in Europe.

Retail sales stood at 557,706 vehicles in 2019, hit by a 13.5% slump in China, but in the last six months the firm reported double-digit growth in the country, with overall company sales up 1.3% in December.

“2019 was a year of two halves,” said Chief Commercial Officer Felix Brautigam.

“Over the last six months we saw a marked improvement in China, where intensive work with our retailers, combined with significant process and product improvements are starting to gain traction.”

At the start of 2019, JLR announced plans to cut around 10% of its workforce and it has been pursuing measures to reduce costs and improve cash flows by 2.5 billion pounds.

The company, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), returned to the black in the three months to the end of September 2019, posting a 156 million-pound profit.

JLR, like much of the car industry, has also faced the challenge of stepping up investment in zero and low-emissions vehicles as regulations tighten while simultaneously dealing with a drop in demand for some conventionally-powered models.

It has paired up with BMW (BMWG.DE) to jointly develop electric motors, transmissions and power electronics which should allow it to share some of the high costs of advancing the green technology.

Reporting by Costas Pitas

British Airways Boss Willie Walsh to step down

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 9th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

The 58-year-old former pilot, who was appointed boss of BA in 2005, will step down from his role leading IAG in March.

Willie Walsh, the British Airways boss who orchestrated its merger with Iberia to create International Airlines Group, is retiring.

The company said the 58-year-old would step down as chief executive of IAG in March – to be replaced by Luis Gallego, who currently runs Iberia.

Mr Walsh, a former Aer Lingus pilot, took over at BA in 2005, later becoming leader of the wider group – which today also includes the Irish carrier as well as low-cost brands Vueling and Level.

IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez said: “Under Willie's leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups.”

Mr Walsh said: “It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG.”

The announcement comes amid a dispute between BA and pilots' union Balpa.

Over the past year, BA has also been dealing with the fallout from a 2018 data breach affecting hundreds of thousands of customers that saw the UK information regulator propose a £183m fine.

Mr Walsh made his name standing up to unions and cutting costs – firstly at Aer Lingus where he took over in 2001.

He led British Airways into its merger with IAG in 2011.

The group is due to publish full-year results.

It warned in October that industrial action by BA pilots, together with other disruption, hit profits by €155m (£132m) in the third quarter of 2019.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Train operator Northern to be stripped of its rail franchise as fares across UK rise by 2.7%

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 2nd Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said “frustrated commuters will not have to wait long” before action is taken.

Train operator Northern is to be stripped of its rail franchise, the transport secretary has announced, as fares across Britain rose by an average of 2.7%.

Grant Shapps has said “frustrated commuters will not have to wait long” before action is taken, after the chaotic introduction of new timetables in May 2018 saw up to 310 trains a day cancelled.

Punctuality and reliability problems continue to blight the network.

Office of Rail and Road figures show just 55.6% of Northern trains arrived at stations within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to 7 December, compared with the average across Britain of 65.3%.

German-based Arriva holds the Northern franchise, which is due to run until March 2025.

Mr Shapps described services on the route as “really bad” and claimed passengers have “had a nightmare on that line” since 2016.

When asked if the firm would be stripped of its franchise, he replied: “The simple answer to the question is yes, it is going to be brought to an end.

“It's partially a legal process but frustrated commuters will not have to wait long”.

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said: “It's on record that the Northern franchise has faced several material and unprecedented challenges in the past couple of years, outside the direct control of Northern.

“The most significant of these is the ongoing, late delivery of major infrastructure upgrades.”

The announcement comes after the average cost of tickets across the UK rose by 2.7% from today.

Some commuters face a rise of more than £100 for annual passes despite fewer than two-thirds of trains being on time last year.

Fewer than half of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus.

Robert Nisbet, spokesperson for industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said rail companies have held average fare increases below inflation for the third year in a row “while continuing to deliver investment in new trains and extra services that will improve journeys for customers”.

He added that 2020 will see 1,000 extra weekly services and 1,000 more carriages added to Britain's rail fleet.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a new fund will be created to support trials of more flexible fares across the country as part of improvements focused on “putting passengers first”.

But Labour's shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald accused the government of failing to support public transport or tackling climate change, road congestion and air quality.

He said: “Today's average fare increase means ticket prices have risen by 40% since 2010.

“In contrast, rail fares in Germany were cut by 10% yesterday. Labour pledged to cut rail fares by 33% to encourage people to get out of their cars and get on the train.”

Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture, claimed fares are “outstripping people's incomes”.

He said: “Welcome to another decade of misery for rail passengers.

“How on earth is the government going to meet its climate commitments by pricing people off environmentally-friendly trains and on to our polluted and congested roads?”

Among the routes where the price of annual season tickets has increased by a three-figure sum are:

  • Reading to London (up £132 to £4,736)
  • Gloucester to Birmingham (up £118 to £4,356)
  • Glasgow to Edinburgh via any permitted route (up £116 to £4,200)

Passengers buying tickets for day trips have also been hit by the fares rise.

An off-peak return ticket from Dundee to Edinburgh has increased in price by 50p to £29.40, while an anytime return ticket from Gillingham to London via the HS1 route is up £1.20 to £45.40.

The increase in around 45% of fares, including season tickets, is regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.

This is predominantly capped at July's RPI inflation figure, which was 2.8%.

Other fare rises are decided by train companies.

Volkswagen starts settlement talks with German consumer groups over diesel scandal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 2nd Jan 2020) London, UK —

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) on Thursday said it was in talks to discuss a settlement with German vehicle owners who are suing the carmaker over excessive pollution caused by VW’s diesel cars.

In 2015 the carmaker admitted to using manipulated engine management software to mask excessive pollution levels in its diesel cars, sparking a raft of prosecutions and lawsuits that have led to at least 30 billion euros in legal costs and fines.

“Volkswagen and the Federation of German Consumer Organisations vzbv have agreed to enter into discussions regarding a possible settlement,” the carmaker said.

“The discussions are at a very early stage, and there is no guarantee that they will result in a settlement. Both parties have agreed that the discussions should remain confidential.”

German consumers have had less success than vehicle owners in the United States in securing compensation from VW because German cars did not lose their road worthiness certification in the wake of the diesel scandal.

In Germany VW’s diesel vehicles retained their road worthiness certification if customers agreed to an update of vehicle engine management software, leading VW to take a different approach to compensating consumers.

Reporting by Edward Taylor

15 Jobs That Will Thrive in the Future (Despite A.I.)

Source: Alux

This Alux.com video well try to answer the following questions: Which jobs will survive in the future? What will be the best paying jobs in the future? What are the best careers for the future? Which jobs will not be affected by Artificial Intelligence? Which jobs are safe from automation? Which will be the best paying jobs in the future? How to prepare for A.I.? What kind of jobs will people do in the future? Which are the fastest growing industries? Which industries will blow up in the future? What should you study if you want a job when you graduate?

Tesla deliveres its first cars made in China

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Tesla has delivered its first cars made in China, marking a major milestone for the electric vehicle maker.

Fifteen Model 3 sedans were handed over at the company's so-called “Gigafactory” near Shanghai.

It comes as Elon Musk's company aims to secure a significant slice of the world's biggest car market.

Tesla's move into the country comes as the trade war has forced other American companies to shift production out of China.

During a ceremony at the company's multi-billion dollar plant in Shanghai, 15 of its employees received cars they had purchased.

The event means deliveries of cars have started a little over a year after construction of the factory got underway.

California-based Tesla said that it wanted to start handing over vehicles before the Lunar New Year beginning on 25 January, and now plans to scale up deliveries from the start of 2020.

The Chinese-made Model 3, priced at $50,000 (£38,000) before subsidies, will compete with local electric car makers, including NIO and Xpeng Motors, as well as global brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

US technology giants Apple, Google, HP, and Dell have all reportedly started the process of moving production from China to other Asian countries.

That's as US tariffs on Chinese-made goods make them more expensive when they are imported into America, or companies have to absorb the cost themselves.

It also comes after intense pressure from US President Donald Trump for American companies to bring back manufacturing to the US. In August Mr Trump issued a demand for all US firms to move production out of China.

However, Tesla doesn't plan to export the cars it makes in China to the US, where they would be hit with tariffs. Instead it wants to sell the cars in China itself.

Previously Tesla was exporting all of the cars it sold in China from the US, which meant they were hit with tariffs in China.

The company isn't just expanding its manufacturing into China. In November, it revealed plans to build a huge European production facility on the outskirts of Berlin in Germany.

15 Steps to Become a Billionaire

Source: Alux

This Alux.com video well try to answer the following questions: How to get rich? How do you get rich? How do people invest? How to invest? What are the steps to getting rich? Why some people get rich and others don't? What are some proven ways of getting rich? How to make money? How to build wealth? How to create a business? How to start a business? How to get rich quick? How to get rich without being lucky? How to get rich book How to Get Filthy Rich Quick? How to get rich fast? What is the most effective yet efficient way to get rich? What is the easiest yet the most respectable way to become rich? What are the best legal ways to get rich? How long does it take to get rich? How do rich people make money? How do rich people get rich? How to get rich from zero? How to get rich starting with nothing? How to become a millionaire? How to become a billionaire? How could I get rich? I am desperate to get rich, what can I do? How can I get rich while I am still young? What are the fastest ways of getting rich? How to get rich without money? How to get rich when you're a teenager? What is the best way to get rich?

In The Era of Electric Cars Why Don’t We Have Electric Planes Yet?

Source: CNBC

Electric planes could revolutionize flight, from commuting in air taxis to making regional flights more affordable and long-haul flights more environmentally friendly. So in the era of electric cars, why are planes so far behind?

Travis Kalanick Uber co-founder to step down from board

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 25th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Uber's co-founder Travis Kalanick is to step down from its board at the end of the year.

The 43-year-old ousted the ride-hailing firm's original chief executive within a year of its creation, but was himself forced to stand down six-and-a-half years later in 2017 after a number of scandals.

He had, however, remained involved as one of its nine directors.

Mr Kalanick also recently sold off most of his shares in the company.

In the past two months he has liquidated about $2.5bn (£1.9bn) worth of stock, representing more than 90% of his earlier stake in the business.

“At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,” said Mr Kalanick in a statement issued by Uber.

“I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines.”

Mr Kalanick currently heads up City Storage Systems. The Los Angeles-based start-up buys up land and establishes kitchens for use by delivery-only restaurants, which operate via apps including Uber Eats.

‘Profound' legacy

The entrepreneur had previously declared: “I love Uber more than anything in the world.”

However, investors pressured him to step aside in the run up to the company's flotation following a series of controversies.

  • a report that another executive had obtained the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014, and then shared them with Mr Kalanick among others
  • hundreds of complaints from staff about harassment and bullying
  • a legal dispute with Google's parent company Alphabet over the alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars
  • an argument between Mr Kalanick and one of Uber's San Francisco drivers over fares, which was filmed and released to the media

Mr Kalanick had also repeatedly clashed with regulators, which had helped Uber overcome and sometimes ignore restrictions that would have otherwise prevented it entering some markets.

But there was a perception that the company's image had been tarnished as a consequence, and that his replacement – Expedia's former chief Dara Khosrowshahi – would be seen as a less risky bet by the markets once the firm had listed.

But Mr Khosrowshahi has paid his own respects following the latest announcement.

“Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber,” he said.

“I'm enormously grateful for Travis' vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member.”

Mr Khosrowshahi has faced issues of his own, including one of Uber's test self-drive cars killing a woman, and Transport for London (TfL) deciding not to renew the company's licence to operate in the capital.

Boeing boss ousted days after 737 MAX production grounded

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 24th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

All 737 MAXs were grounded in March after a plane crashed in Ethiopia, five months after another came down near Indonesia.

Boeing has ousted its boss six days after the company said it was suspending the production of 737 MAX aircraft following two fatal crashes.

The aerospace giant said Dennis Muilenburg had resigned as chief executive and board director with immediate effect.

Reuters news agency reported that Mr Muilenburg may be eligible for nearly $39m in severance. Boeing decline to comment on the figure or whether he would accept it.

Announcing the chief executive's departure, the company said: “The board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders.”

It follows a year of intense scrutiny and industrial setbacks triggered by the two crashes, the company said.

Chairman David Calhoun will serve as chief executive and president from 13 January, it added.

Last Tuesday, the US aircraft maker announced that it would temporarily halt production of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft in January.

The decision was widely seen as a humiliating admission that the fleet's fate lies in the hands of regulators after its own timetable to return the planes to service dragged by months.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said last week it would not grant clearance for the planes before 2020.

All versions of the 737 MAX were grounded worldwide in March – days after an Ethiopian Airlines plane came down outside Addis Ababa, and five months after a Lion Air flight suffered a similar fate near Indonesia.

A total of 346 people died in the crashes.

Mr Muilenburg has led the company since 2015 but his position has come under increasing pressure following the disasters and in October he was stripped of his role as chairman while remaining as chief executive.

Shares in Boeing rose after the announcement that he was departing.

Boeing has been working with US regulators to ensure the 737 MAX aircraft are safe – with modifications focusing on an anti-stall device called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) in the hope of returning the 737 MAX to service.

After announcing the suspension of the aircrafts' production, the company said it did not expect any job losses “at this time”, leaving the company under pressure to save costs elsewhere as it grapples a growing bill – last put at $9bn (£6.8bn).

That sum is expected to rise significantly.

Boeing has continued to produce 737 MAX jets at around 42 per month, while also purchasing parts from suppliers at a rate of up to 52 units per month.

Deliveries have been frozen until regulators approve the aircraft to fly commercially again, leaving the company scrambling to find space to store hundreds of planes.

Thomas Cook staff felt let down by benefits system

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 23rd Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

When Thomas Cook collapsed three months ago, staff like Betty Knight, who had worked as cabin crew for 12 years, thought they'd be able to fall back on the welfare system.

But she was left bewildered. When she needed help she struggled to get it. Her application for job seeker's allowance was repeatedly declined.

She's one of dozens who have contacted the BBC in the same situation.

“I've worked hard. I've done everything expected of me to contribute to our society, but when I needed the Department for Work and Pensions, I haven't been able to access that. It left me reeling.”

After being out of work for 11 weeks, Betty has now received around five weeks' of benefits.

Lots of her former Thomas Cook colleagues are in worse situations, telling us they have received nothing and have been poorly advised by their job centres. It stems from confusion over whether they are entitled to job seeker's allowance or universal credit as the tour operator's administration process remains ongoing.

Take Ian Begg who worked as a cabin manager for 14 years. “When we lost Thomas Cook we were just left to go out to pasture,” he says. “My treatment by the job centre has felt like I've been thrown out again. They made me feel not worthy of benefits.”

He was initially told to claim for universal credit which would have a five week processing time. During that five week period, he travelled to Manchester from his parents' house in Scotland for a weekly appointment at the job centre.

However, a day before the first payment was due, his claim was cancelled because he had received a one-off payment from the liquidators of Thomas Cook. He was then advised he should have applied for job seeker's allowance.

Mistakes mean claims being cancelled and long waits to recoup missed payments.

Other former staff have worse stories to tell but are afraid to speak out in case it affects their benefits claims.

Ian has worked all his life and, like Betty, expected to be able to access state support after he was made redundant. He's now given up, and is using his savings and support from his family to live on, before he starts a new job with another airline in 2020.

Rebecca, another former Thomas Cook worker, was heavily pregnant when the firm collapsed. Any prospect of receiving maternity benefits from the company vanished, so she applied for state support.

Eight weeks after applying, however, the claim was cancelled because she'd been sent the wrong paperwork. She's now waiting for a new application to be processed.

“Due to the stress of everything, and the lack of help, I have found myself on anti-depressants and unable to enjoy Christmas and time with my baby,” she says.

‘The system has failed us'

Ian Begg says he too suffered mental health problems following the firm's failure. “For about two weeks after the collapse, I couldn't even get dressed. I couldn't face the world and stayed indoors. I had anxiety and was depressed.”

Ian is managing to slowly move forwards, but many of his former colleagues are still having a tough time, he says, and the difficulties around accessing welfare support have made it worse. “It's wrong, the system has failed us.”

Betty Knight is in contact with hundreds of former colleagues through Facebook and WhatsApp support groups. They are a close-knit community.

One friend and her partner who both worked for Thomas Cook, say they were kicked out of their flat because the landlord knew they would struggle to pay the rent. They are now using their redundancy money to pay for a B&B. Betty says they feel trapped, unable to secure new accommodation or work.

She reports other cases of former colleagues made homeless and living in shelters after landlords refused to allow them to stay on while they tried to find new employment.

Some former Thomas Cook employees have fared better. Ian Houlihan was a Thomas Cook pilot for more than 20 years. “I've been lucky, my job centre in Chorley has been great. I've had access to training. But my other colleagues have been treated appallingly.”

Lots of staff talk about the huge disparities between what is on offer between different job centres.

Adele (not her real name) worked as cabin crew for 20 years. When she lost her job at Thomas Cook she was offered the opportunity of a job at Jet2, last week voted one of the UK's best airlines by Which? Magazine readers.

But, in line with its recruitment policy, Jet2 charges the applicant £700 to train on a four-week Jet2 course. Trainees don't receive any pay while on the course and the applicant fronts all costs. They then have to pass exams at the end to be guaranteed a job.

In some instances, job centres have given applicants £700 to complete this training but in other cases they have refused to pay. Adele says her job centre told her to borrow the money. “How can I?” she says. “I've been out of work for 12 weeks.”

Jet2 said this was its standard recruitment process and would not comment further.

The Department for Work and Pensions has apologised. “We are sorry if people have experienced delayed payments and urge them to stay in contact with their job centre so we can urgently fix their claims.

“We know that losing a job is a distressing time for people. When Thomas Cook collapsed we were ready on day one to help the 11,000 people who lost their jobs.

“Our dedicated staff have helped thousands of those affected, including through home visits to those unable to reach the job centre and by fast-tracking applications so people are supported to find new work or training as soon as possible.”

By Simon Browning

Best Top 10 Hotels To Spend Christmas

Source Alux

In this Alux.com video we'll try to answer the following questions: • Where should I spend Christmas?! • Where is the best place to spend Christmas?! • What are the best hotels to spend Christmas at?! • Which are the top hotels for a holiday choice?! • Where should I spend Christmas?!

Boeing considers freeze in production of 737 MAX

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 17th Dec, 2019) London, Uk – –

Sky's Ian King explains the multiple pressures on Boeing as the biggest exporter in the US considers slashing 737 MAX production.

It is impossible to overstate the impact of a freeze in production of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft.

Firstly, there are 12,000 people employed building the planes at Boeing's plant at Renton, Washington State, who would need to be redeployed on other work.

Boeing has other sites in the state, in the cities of Auburn and Everett, which could take on some of the affected employees but by no means all of them.

Then there are the implications for the supply chain.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported that production of the 737 MAX could be cut back or frozen, there are about 600 firms involved in the supply chain and hundreds more smaller subcontractors.

The expectation of some is that they will be asked to continue producing, in order to prevent some of them from suffering from disruption, with Boeing already apparently having provided some with financial support already.

The Seattle Times has reported that one of the most affected suppliers is Spirit AeroSystems, in Wichita, Kansas, which makes the fuselages for the 737 MAX and transports them to Washington State by train.

It has continued to produce the same volumes as it did before the planes were grounded, even though Boeing has reduced the number of planes being produced, on the basis that it is difficult to resume production at the previous level once it has been reduced.

The disruption to suppliers also extends beyond the United States. Another major supplier to the 737 MAX is CFM International, a joint venture between the US industrial giant GE and Safran, a French company.

Also hugely affected, of course, are the airlines that have ordered the 737 MAX.

In terms of orders placed, the most important of these by far is Southwest Airlines, which has ordered some 259 of the aircraft worth a total of $25bn.

It was also flying more of the planes than any other airline, some 34 in total, when they were grounded in March. Boeing agreed over the weekend to make a confidential compensation payment to Southwest over the weekend which has been put at some $600m.

Other airlines which placed significant orders for the 737 MAX include Flydubai, whose order for 237 planes is worth $23bn and Lion Air, the Indonesian carrier that was operating one of the aircraft that crashed in October last year with the loss of 189 lives. It has ordered 235 planes at a cost of $22bn.

Other significant orders have come from VietJet Air, SpiceJet, United Airlines and Ryanair, which has ordered 135 of the aircraft at a cost of $13bn.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, last week put the cost of the aircraft's grounding to be “more than” €100m a year and reiterated a warning on the disruption being caused to the airline's expansion plans.

He said Ryanair might not yet be flying any of the planes by next summer, even if US authorities had allowed them to take to the skies once again, due to European regulators taking longer to sign off on a return for them.

There is also an impact on the wider US economy because, as the biggest single US exporter, Boeing's failure to deliver as many aircraft to overseas airlines has also resulted in a widening of America's trade deficit for 2019.

That is something that Donald Trump will not want to see extended into a presidential election year and especially if a halt to production leads to job losses.

The latter, however, looks likely – firstly, because there is not sufficient work available for all of those workers to be switched and secondly, because Boeing needs to preserve cash.

So Mr Trump himself will be worried and there is a historic precedent, on this side of the Atlantic, that he may just have in mind.

In May 1970, shortly before that year's general election, the delivery of two 747 jumbo jets by Boeing to British Airways suddenly led the UK's trade deficit, after a run of good figures, to balloon to a then-shocking £31m.

Labour's Harold Wilson subsequently blamed this for his shock defeat to the Conservative Edward Heath.

The implications of a production freeze will, therefore, be felt far and wide. Ironically, due to Mr Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods, the US trade deficit had started to head in the right direction in recent months.

In the meantime, during the nine months since the 737 MAX was grounded, Boeing has continued to knock out the new aircraft, albeit at a rate of 42 per month since April, down from the 52 it was producing previously.

So inventory is stacking up. Including those aircraft completed since the 737 MAX was grounded, there are now an estimated 500 planes being stored around the world, including around 100 in Renton itself.

It is this factor that is likely to have convinced Boeing that it needs to freeze production of the 737 MAX.

Wall Street, meanwhile, is starting to have fresh doubts about Boeing's management.

A view is forming among investors and analysts that management is losing credibility because of the number of times the company has stated that the planes would be back in the air within a couple of months only for that not to happen. It is gaining a reputation for creating unrealistic expectations as a result.

That is why communication of any production freeze will be absolutely critical.

Boeing has, rightly or wrongly, convinced investors that it is cheaper to carry on producing new aircraft and storing them than it would be for production to be frozen with all the accompanying knock-on effects to its suppliers.

So any suspension to production is going to come as a shock and, accordingly, shares of Boeing, which had fallen by just over 22% since the beginning of March, fell by another 3% on Monday.

The longer this process drags on, the greater will be the concern over the dividend, which costs Boeing $1.2bn to pay to shareholders each quarter.

Payments to service its debts costs another $1.8bn each quarter.

Boeing set aside $5.6bn in July this year to compensate airlines for the late delivery of aircraft and the grounding of existing ones.

These kind of numbers are not trivial even for a company, like Boeing, with a stock market valuation of $192bn.

It feels as if a bad picture for Boeing is getting worse.

By Ian King

UK rail commuters told to check journey details as new timetable comes into effect

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 16th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Commuters told to check journey details on first weekday of new timetable

UK rail commuters have been urged to check their journey details on their way to work as the new railway timetable came into force.

Industry groups have promised more services, shorter journeys and new routes becoming possible across the country as a result of the changes.

These will include the first non-stop trains running between London and Bristol in decades, plus 1,000 extra services each week, according to the industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

The RDG has sought to reassure passengers over the new timetable, saying the industry had put “years of work into drafting, consulting and planning” for the changes.Advertisement

Robert Nisbet, the RDG’s director of nations and regions, has urged passengers to check their journey details in advance as many times are changing.

“Train operators and Network Rail will be working together to run a reliable service and respond quickly to any teething problems as people get used to the change,” Nisbet said.

Teething problems were in evidence when the timetable came into effect on Sunday, with Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales reporting a number of cancellations and delays.

Train timetables are changed twice a year, in May and December.

The infamous, botched change of May 2018 led to chaos, and passenger watchdog Transport Focus said travellers would be hoping for a smoother introduction with the latest changes.

The latest amendments represent the most comprehensive timetable change on the Great Western Railway network since the 1970s, taking advantage of Network Rail’s electrification of the line between London and Bristol, and the operator’s new intercity express trains.

Non-stop trains between London Paddington and Bristol Parkway will have journey times as short as one hour and eight minutes, shaving 12 minutes off the existing quickest services.

Major improvements are also being promised on the ScotRail network, with additional services in north-east Scotland and extra seats between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Tesco considers sales of its profitable Asian operations

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 9th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

The UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, is considering a retreat from markets in Asia with the sale of its profitable operations in Thailand and Malaysia.

Analysts say the 2,000 stores, which operate under the Tesco Lotus brand, could be worth more than £7bn.

The company's only other overseas stores, other than Ireland, are in its loss-making European unit.

Tesco said it was reviewing its Thai and much smaller Malaysian arms after interest from potential bidders.

In a statement, the retailer said it had had received “inbound interest”, but did not name the potential buyer or buyers. Tesco Lotus employs about 60,000 people.

The statement also said the review was at an early stage, and “no decisions concerning the future of Tesco Thailand or Malaysia have been taken”.

‘Trophy asset'

The businesses had combined revenues of £4.9bn in the year ending in February, making a profit of £286m – about a fifth of Tesco's total global profits.

Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said the Asian operation was a “trophy asset”, and was likely to achieve a knock-out price.

A valuation of £6.5bn to £7.2bn seemed “fair”, according to Bruno Monteyne, analyst at Bernstein.

Laura Lambie, senior investment director at Investec Wealth and Investment, told the BBC's Today programme that Thailand was an important market for Tesco.

While Tesco had already withdrawn from “more mature markets” such as the US, Japan and Turkey, it had recently announced plans to open another 750 stores in Thailand, she said.

Margins in Thailand were also higher, at 6%, compared with 3% for the UK, she added. “There will have to be a fairly high asking price for Tesco to be prepared to let it go.”

The announcement signals another potential pullback by Tesco from its once-ambitious global expansion.

If a sale does go ahead it would mean the company would be left with stores in the UK and Ireland, and an unprofitable division in central Europe. That unit covers the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Shrinking empire

Tesco has been shifting its focus as part of a turnaround programme launched five years ago.

The plan was in response to an accounting scandal, and in the face of competition from rival supermarket chains and online competitors.

The retail giant has shed several businesses across the world in recent years.

Tesco has withdrawn from the US, Japan, and China.

In 2015, it sold its South Korean unit for $6.1bn, and a year later offloaded its Kipa business in Turkey, the country's largest supermarket chain.

It has also been shedding assets in the UK to focus on its core grocery business. In 2016, it sold the Giraffe restaurant chain just three years after buying it for £49m.

In October this year, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis surprised investors by saying he would stand down “in the summer of 2020”.

He took over the top job at the company in 2014, shortly before it was revealed that the retailer had overstated its profits.