Will the Gulf’s flying gentry consider venturing below stairs?

Updated 29 December 2017

Will the Gulf’s flying gentry consider venturing below stairs?

The arrival of Emirates at Stansted, a hub for Ryanair, sets up some potentially interesting options as the luxury and budget ends of air travel respond to the shared experience of tougher competition.
While Etihad’s ill-fated codeshare alliance strategy failed to deliver on its ambitious hopes following the collapse of both Air Berlin and Alitalia, there is still considerable interest in codeshare combinations between big global carriers and their low-cost cousins serving regions from Europe to Asia — and that do not require vast investments.
There has been no hint from either Emirates or Ryanair of any desire for future collaboration, but Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has long held the belief that carriers such as his would eventually provide the spokes to the hub model.
“The low-fare airlines will be doing most of the feed for the flag carriers,” he told Bloomberg in a 2015 interview. He saw it as taking between five and 10 years for that to happen.
A similar process has already started in the Gulf with the tie-up between Emirates and sister low-cost carrier flydubai.
Last week easyjet’s Europe managing director also told a German newspaper that it had received “very many inquiries” from other airlines wanting to use his airline as their feeder.
The last year has seen upstart low-cost carriers from Norwegian Air to Wizz Air make encroachments into the long-haul market.
It all makes for an interesting global aviation market in 2018 which may see carriers with very different operating models and passenger expectations becoming unlikely bedfellows.


Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

Updated 27 November 2020

Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

  • Frustrated resort operators count the cost of holiday season restrictions

MEGEVE, France:  Megeve, in the foothills of Mont Blanc, was gearing up to welcome back skiers before Christmas after a COVID-19 lockdown was eased.

But France’s government — while allowing cinemas, museums and theaters to reopen from Dec. 15 — says its ski slopes must stay off limits until 2021, leaving those who make their living in the Alpine village frustrated and, in some cases, perplexed.

“When you’re outside, when you’re doing sport outdoors, that’s not the moment when you’re going to give COVID-19 to someone. COVID-19 is passed on in enclosed places,” said Pierre de Monvallier, director of ski school Oxygene, which operates in several resorts including Megeve.

Announcing a phased easing of the lockdown on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “impossible to envisage” re-opening ski slopes for Christmas and New Year, and that he preferred instead to do so during January.

“It felt like the door had been slammed in our face,” said Catherine Jullien-Breches, the mayor of Megeve, whose green slopes are generally covered with snow by mid-December.

“Unfortunately it’s a real drama for the economies of the villages and the winter sports resorts.”

People who live within 20 km of France’s Alpine resorts will able to visit from this weekend, but with the lifts staying shut, the main draw is missing.

“It’s like going on holiday on the Cote d’Azur and being told the sea is off limits,” said David Le Scouarnec, co-owner of Megeve’s Cafe 2 la Poste.

The problem for the resorts — and the hotels, restaurants, and workers who depend on them for their livelihood — is that their season is short, and they will have little time after the New Year to claw back lost revenue.

Other European authorities are wrestling with the same problem. Italy’s resorts regions are seeking approval for restricted skiing, but Austria, whose biggest cluster of the first wave of the pandemic was at the ski resort of Ischgl — where thousands were infected — is skeptical.

Prevarication cuts little ice, however, with Mathieu Dechavanne, Chairman and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, which operates cable cars at Megeve and other resorts.

He said who could not understand why the government allowed trains and metros to operate, but barred him from re-opening. “It’s like we’re being punished. We don’t deserve this. We’re ready.”