Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is unveiled during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, on Jan. 13, 2018. (AFP/Jewel Samad)
Updated 14 January 2018

Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday

DETROIT: The Detroit Auto Show kicks off Sunday, with pickup trucks and SUVs expected to take center stage in a sign of their growing might in the US car market.
Sunday’s agenda for the 30th instalment of the annual show includes an appearance by US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, a Ford vehicle launch and panels and presentations with industry technology experts and gadflies.
General Motors got things off to an early start Saturday night, unveiling its revamped 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickups, billed as the “next generation of strong.”
A short video with twangy music and upbeat testimonials from Silverado owners was followed by the introduction of four of the eight Silverado models at different price points and with slightly different styling.
The Silverado was the second best-selling US vehicle in 2017 after the Ford F-series and ahead of the Ram 1500, in third position. All three are pickups.
“Everything’s just bigger here, so I think that’s what makes us just love our trucks,” said Chris Luce, 24, a Silverado owner from Brighton, Michigan who attended the launch.
Other carmakers seen unveiling pickups, SUVs and large “crossover” vehicles include Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota’s Lexus.
The show is expected to be light on electric cars and to be dominated by spiffed up versions of the bread-and-butter vehicles that dominate the US market.
US car sales fell modestly last year for the first time since the financial crisis but came in at a still-solid 17.2 million, well above the 16 million that many analysts consider good.
While the show is primarily an opportunity to ogle what’s coming next from Motor City, politics is certain to enter the discussion as well.
US carmakers are eyeing negotiations to revamp the North America Free Trade Agreement following President Donald Trump’s vows to cut a better deal for US companies and workers.
The just-enacted US tax cut bill, which will boost corporate profits and includes measures intended to encourage capital spending, will also be in focus.
The show is expected to draw some 700,000 people to the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, opening to the public on January 20 following press and industry days.

Emirates, South African Airways expand codeshare deal

Updated 18 December 2018

Emirates, South African Airways expand codeshare deal

  • Deal will improve connectivity between Dubai and Southern Africa
  • Emirates has been flying to South Africa since 1995 and the first codeshare agreement with SAA was signed in 1997

LONDON: Dubai’s flagship airline Emirates is to expand its codesharing agreement with South African Airways (SAA), aiming to improve connectivity between the emirate and locations across Southern Africa.

The expansion of the agreement will support the African airline’s turnaround plan which aims to make a profit by 2021.

SAA is grappling with financial difficulties, having posted a string of losses and forced to rely on government support. Having failed to make a profit since 2011, it is cutting staff numbers and looks to reduce its route network.

“It’s clear that SAA is struggling to survive and so it makes sense for them to coalesce their operations with the powerhouse that is Emirates as opposed to competing head to head, because they simply won’t cut it against them,” said aviation analyst Saj Ahmad at Strategic Aero Research.

“The deal also opens up the possibility of Emirates deploying more flights to places like Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as codesharing on other SAA-regional flights to points that Emirates doesn’t serve.”

Emirates has been flying to South Africa since 1995 and the first codeshare agreement with SAA was signed in 1997.

Under this deal, SAA is able to offer its customers seats on flights operated by Emirates between South Africa and Dubai. This currently includes four daily flights from Johannesburg, three daily flights from Cape Town and one daily flight from Durban.

The new agreement will see this codeshare expand across the airlines’ networks.

“We have seen great success with the codeshare agreement, having enabled greater connectivity to both SAA and Emirates customers, by offering more choice, flexibility and ease of connections to a wide range of cities via Dubai and across more points in Southern Africa,” said Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline.

“Increasing the scope of our agreement underpins the strong bonds we share with SAA and our belief that this enhanced partnership will enable further success and gain to the airlines and their customers,” he said.

SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana said: “Our route network and that of Emirates complement one another. The expansion of our partnership will further strengthen key focus areas of the implementation of our turnaround plan.”

The agreement will include the two airlines working to improve connecting times via Johannesburg, to make it easier for people to catch flights to popular regional destinations.