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Old October 24th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #81
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Airlines, resorts hope to keep numbers up over holidays amid global financial crisis
24 October 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - Minneapolis business manager Roque Rossetti plans to make his annual trip home to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for Christmas. The 35-year-old said the sagging economy gave him no second thoughts about shelling out $1,200 for the ticket.

"If I wait longer, I'd probably pay more, and I might not end up going," he said. But, he added, "I'm secure. I don't have kids or a wife. My house is paid for."

Several carriers have said that advance bookings show their planes are expected to be as full as or fuller than a year ago over the late fall and winter holidays -- largely because they have taken so many seats out of the air, a decision that was made when fuel prices were soaring. In fact, travelers who have not booked flights for the holidays could find it more difficult and expensive than usual to find the flights they want, when they want them.

Because of the capacity cuts, fuller planes do not mean more people will be flying. It also may be tougher for ski resorts and sunny vacation destinations to keep their numbers up, though some are offering promotions to lure holiday travelers who may be hesitant to open their wallets amid an uncertain economy.

"I think the consumer now has a lot of things on their mind -- they're concerned about the economy, they're concerned about the election, but I think they have already made the decision about what they are going to do over Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Arne Haak, chief financial officer of discount carrier AirTran Airways.

Haak said the carrier -- a unit of Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran Holdings Inc. -- has not seen a slowdown in bookings over the holidays.

"In fact, Christmas looks very, very good," he said.

The picture is similar at Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., an executive said.

"I think it might be the newness of the information," Ed Bastian, Delta's chief financial officer, said of travelers' response to the economic crisis.

He said most consumers are still trying to figure out what the crisis means to them. Bastian said Delta's domestic advance bookings for the holidays show stronger occupancy rates on a year-over-year basis and are in line with the carrier's expectations, though he noted capacity cuts may be playing a role in that. On the international side, he said November-December occupancy rates based on advance bookings are down, though he noted Delta is increasing capacity on overseas flights.

At American Airlines, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., its occupancy rate based on advance bookings for the fourth quarter is down about 2 percentage points year-over-year, Chief Financial Officer Tom Horton said. That's "not outside of the norm you might see varying from year to year, but remember we are taking capacity out of the system," Horton said. The fourth quarter, which includes the holidays, is traditionally a slow period for airlines.

While he would not offer specifics for the holiday season itself, Horton suggested the carrier was not expecting a big drop-off in sales during the time period.

"I don't see anything unique to the holiday period right now," Horton said.

A big change may be that, with the economy suffering, people are looking for better deals.

During a recent stop at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Georgeann Becker, 60, an attorney from a suburb of Denver, said she and her husband paid for a plane ticket for their daughter to fly home from New York to visit them this Christmas. Her daughter shopped around at the online travel sites and found a cheaper ticket than their travel agent, at around $350, which the Beckers are paying.

"I don't know that we're necessarily holding back. I think you do go out of your way to find the cheapest ticket," Georgeann Becker said.

Esmeralda Perez, a spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, said travelers appear to be waiting to book their vacations until closer to the holidays.

The island's hotels and resorts are being more aggressive with promotions and packages than in past years to lure last-minute guests, she said. The government-sponsored Puerto Rico Tourism Co. has doubled its advertising and marketing spending as well.

Perez said the election in November may also be adding to the broader economic uncertainty. In past election years, she said hotels have seen a surge of holiday bookings after the election.

Cayman Islands Tourism Minister Charles Clifford said cutbacks by carriers within the U.S. have pushed up fares to the islands. In response, Cayman Airways is adding nonstop service from Washington and Chicago to the British dependency beginning in December.

Ski.com, which books vacations at 80 resorts in the western U.S., Canada, Europe and South America, has seen sales slip compared to last year, said spokesman Dan Sherman.

As of September, Vail Resorts Inc. Chief Executive Rob Katz said the number of Colorado season passes sold was down 8.4 percent. Advance lodging bookings through central reservations were down 17.7 percent in room nights over the same period last year.

Recently, the company announced a slate of new promotions, including offering a free night to guests who book a five-night stay or more on dates around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other major holidays in 2009.

Katz expects the company's marketing message to penetrate following the election. "I think we will potentially see a different environment by Thanksgiving than what we're seeing today."

Andy Wirth, the chief marketing officer of resort owner Intrawest ULC, said consumers seem to be favoring ski destinations within driving distance this year, although he noted that airline capacity has held steady at the three airports that service its western resorts.

He is optimistic about a major marketing push planned for shortly after the election in November. "The destination skiing customer is a very resilient customer base," he said.

Alain Brochu, a vice president of Intrawest's Mont Tremblant in Quebec, said the resort is seeing increased sales from promotions targeted to individual travelers so far this season. He said one strong seller is the $129 pass, good for 3 days of skiing.

"Preliminary results indicate that adapting to the market rather than trying to change it has generated good response," he said in an e-mail.

Airlines are not sure how long demand will hold up for them, and several expressed concern recently that demand will drop off in 2009 as the realities of a recession set in for more travelers.

AirTran's Haak said "obviously that is something we're going to keep an eye on."
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Old October 26th, 2008, 06:23 AM   #82
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Asian airlines brace for worse turbulence next year: analysts
25 October 2008
Agence France Presse

Asia's aviation sector is hurting from a sharp descent in passenger numbers but the full impact of a deepening global financial crisis is not likely to be felt until next year, analysts said.

Small carriers will be particularly vulnerable as people curtail travel plans, they added, predicting some airlines will not make it through.

"The biggest challenges right now are weakening passenger demand, particularly for first and business class travel, and continuing uncertainty about the global economic outlook," said Andrew Herdman, director-general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

"The next 12-18 months will be extremely difficult times for airlines and some won't survive the current crisis," said Herdman, whose AAPA represents 17 airlines in the region.

Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst with credit rating agency Standard and Poor's, said he expects some airlines to defer aircraft orders or return leased planes as they reduce routes and flight frequencies.

"The weakest ones will not be able to maintain the business," he said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said passenger volumes for Asia Pacific carriers dropped 6.8 percent in September, much sharper than the average 2.9 percent decline worldwide.

Asian airlines also carried 10.6 percent less cargo in September, worse than the drop in Europe and North America, as trade volumes fell sharply, IATA said.

"The deterioration in traffic is alarmingly fast-paced and widespread," IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement.

"We have not seen such a decline in passenger traffic since SARS in 2003," he added, referring to the health scare that grounded travellers in Asia.

Analysts fear that unlike during the SARS period, which lasted for a few months, the current crisis will last for a year or more.

Losses for global airlines this year may exceed IATA's earlier projection of 5.2 billion US dollars, with another further 4.1 billion dollars in losses seen in 2009.

Business class travel, a major cash-spinner for airlines, has become an early casualty of the crisis, especially with retrenchments and belt-tightening in the financial sector, analysts said.

Leisure travel is also suffering as tourists stay home or travel to nearer destinations.

Singapore Airlines said it carried 1.6 percent fewer passengers in September from a year ago.

Singapore's Changi Airport said it handled 2.89 million passengers in September, down 0.4 percent from last year -- the first decrease in monthly traffic since February 2004, the airport operator said.

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific said passenger numbers in September dropped 0.7 percent year-on-year, while Australia's Qantas said the number of international passengers it carried fell an annual 6.4 percent in August.

"People in the source countries are beginning to say: 'Well, let's rethink what we're going to do for the holidays,'" said John Koldowski, an analyst with Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association.

"It will take a little bit of time because some have already booked their tickets. But if this progresses, we're going to see a much deeper contraction for 2009."

Tourism-related industries like hotels are likely to suffer as well.

"What we're finding out is that people are shifting the way they travel. Instead of travelling business they travel economy; instead of staying at a five-star hotel, they stay at a three-star hotel," Koldowski said.

Business travellers have become more prudent with entertainment expenses as well, he said, adding: "The longer the crisis goes, the tougher it's going to be."

Some analysts said the crisis could force a consolidation of the industry, but others argue that pride could get in the way of cross-border mergers for national flag-carriers.

Earlier this month, India's largest domestic airline, Jet Airways, struck an alliance with arch-rival Kingfisher Airlines involving code-sharing, ground-handling and route rationalisation to avert collapse.

Herdman of AAPA said a key factor in surviving the current crisis is a strong balance sheet because of the tight credit situation.

"In this environment, it's almost impossible to raise equity and the cost of debt is rising," he said. "The airlines best placed to survive are those with good cash reserves."
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Old October 30th, 2008, 07:07 AM   #83
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Aviation industry is facing biggest crisis in its history amid fears of a global recession
29 October 2008

PARIS (AP) - A three-day aviation industry conference opened Wednesday in Paris with some executives warning that the battered business is not likely to see brighter fortunes until 2010 at the earliest.

The World Air Transport Forum, uniting a variety of industry players, began as airlines are battling volatile fuel prices, tighter credit conditions and diminishing passenger traffic amid the global economic slowdown.

"We are facing probably the worst crisis our industry has ever faced," said Yanik Hoyles, British Airways' general manager for Europe. Others said conditions could worsen if recessions break out in North America and Europe, as expected.

Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said 2009 will be the "real telling year."

"We are not anticipating any kind of pickup until the summer of 2010 but who knows? It may not even be then," he said.

The outlook has changed dramatically since last year's World Air Transport Forum, when the industry expected to make a profit of at least $5.2 billion in 2008, said Pierre Jeanniot, the conference chair.

Now the International Air Transport Association is forecasting airline losses may exceed $5.2 billion this year.

The industry "is flying through the most threatening skies it has ever encountered and the storm is not over," said Jeanniot, a former CEO of Air Canada.

Traffic declined 2.9 percent in September from a year earlier, the first time since Asia's outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003 that global passenger traffic has shrunk, according to IATA.

A recent easing of global oil prices has brought relief to airlines but executives expressed fears that prices could be pushed back up. Oil prices have fallen by about 57 percent since peaking near $150 a barrel in mid-July.

Jeffrey Shane, a former U.S. Transportation undersecretary, said the crisis may require regulators to rethink rules prohibiting foreign ownership of national airlines and limiting slot availability at airports.
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Old November 1st, 2008, 07:03 PM   #84
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Friday, October 31, 2008
Airlines seen facing winter survival battle

PARIS (Reuters) - European airlines face a cut-throat battle to survive the winter as recession threatens the recipe many have used to ride out a spike in oil prices -- sharing the pain with consumers by slapping on fuel surcharges.

Airline bosses at a conference ending on Friday heard warnings that the slump in confidence after the banking crisis left no choice but to cut costs, merge or go bust.

"Consolidation will be very strong in coming months either through players merging or disappearing. That's overdue," said Air France-KLM Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

Delegates at the World Air Transport Forum said the only question was whether a major flag carrier would fold. Small Danish low-cost carrier Sterling this week joined a list of more than two dozen carriers that have gone bust this year.

"Everyone is saying I will wait for my colleague to collapse first, just to give me a bit of oxygen for a few months," said Marc Rochet, head of all-business-class airline l'Avion, recently swallowed by British Airways Plc .

Still, some airlines put a brave face on the crisis with upbeat growth targets, saying the rebound may be strong if they can hold on until 2010. One expert accused them of bluffing.

"Nobody wants to be the first to give bad news. Everyone is lying to each other," Ralph Kaiser, head of corporate travel payments system UATP, told delegates.

Air traffic historically tends to grow at twice the level of gross economic product, but global international traffic fell in September for the first time in five years.

Industry icon Bob Crandall, the former American Airlines chief credited with introducing changes such as yield management, said the correlation between growth and traffic was unlikely to be re-established and the industry must brace for a long crisis.

"My prediction is the world's financial difficulties will be much worse than most of us think," he said.

DEBT CURE

Many airlines are losing money in an industry which, at the best of times, has rarely been able to generate fat margins.

"Those who come out will be those who enter the crisis with solid finances and low debt," Spinetta said.

Air France-KLM is vying with Lufthansa for a stake in rescued Alitalia, following a state spin-off of bad assets, and until recently was eyeing Austrian Airlines .

Alitalia , weeks away from running out of cash as it seeks to escape insolvency, received a lift on Friday when four unions agreed a conditional deal with local investor group CAI, assembled to rescue the Italian flag carrier. But doubts remained over whether unions would sign up.

Airlines were pummeled by record oil prices which peaked at around $150 a barrel in the summer before dropping back below $70.

Many imposed fuel surcharges, but the recent traffic drop and abrupt economic slowdown could bar their escape route.

"In July everyone said their costs were out of control. They were able to pass on fuel costs, but now it is not certain they will be able to and that is going to increase pressure," Bjorn Naf, chief executive of Bahrain's Gulf Air told the forum.

Long-term, unless oil collapses, the industry faces the challenge of persuading consumers to pay higher prices.

"We are in a hiatus and that is why there is so much drama going on in the industry," Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Steve Ridgway told Reuters in an interview this week.

Although such price tags spell misery for Western airlines and consumers, airlines and airports from the oil-fired Gulf drew a contrast with growth in their region, saying it would be sustained by the diversification of their economies.

The head of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths, called the financial crisis a "blip" that will not deter the southern Gulf emirate from plans to build the world's largest airport -- covering twice the size of the territory of Hong Kong.

"People (in the global airline industry) will continue merging or go bankrupt and disappear. But Gulf carriers will keep growing and weather the storm," Gulf Air's Naf said.

Non-OPEC Bahrain, a relatively minor oil producer situated 30 minutes' drive from Saudi Arabia's wealthy Eastern Province, aims to carve a niche for its still loss-making airline with fast transit times. Three billion people can be reached in five hours' flying time from the Gulf using new planes, Naf said.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #85
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Boeing sees global air cargo traffic tripling by 2027
4 November 2008
Agence France Presse

US aerospace giant Boeing forecasted Tuesday that global air cargo traffic would grow 5.8 percent annually over the next two decades, tripling an industry that has proved resilient to economic shocks.

"Air cargo traffic will grow over the long term despite current near-term market weakness and worldwide economic uncertainty," Boeing said, noting that the industry had shown strong recoveries from previous economic downturns.

"We've seen market contraction during the middle of this year for the first time since late 2003; however, history tells us that the air cargo market returns robustly when the economy strengthens," Jim Edgar, regional director of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in the statement.

The US company cited the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s, the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, and the pneumonia-like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak that killed almost 800 people in 32 countries in 2002-2003.

"Air cargo remains crucial to globalization," said Edgar, who also contributed to the company's biennial forecast, released at the International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.

Boeing predicted that air cargo traffic will have tripled by 2027, underpinned by long-term economic growth, freighter fleet renewal and moderating fuel prices.

According to the Boeing estimates, the global economy will grow "just higher" than 3.0 percent on average over the next 20 years, said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

"Asian production fundamentals -- including abundant raw materials and low-cost labor -- remain solid, and China will remain a source of strong economic growth with substantial industrialization and related investment," Tinseth said.

The Asian air cargo market growth was expected to continue to lead all global traffic routes, with domestic Chinese and intra-Asian markets expanding by 9.9 percent and 8.1 percent per year, respectively.

Between 2007 and 2007, Boeing predicted the worldwide freighter fleet would grow to 3,890 aircraft from 1,950. The biggest cargo planes, such as the Boeing 747 and 777, would account for 35 percent of the total fleet, compared with 26 percent currently, and transport 74 percent of the world's freight.

Boeing forecast that more than 75 percent of the 3,360 freighters joining the fleet -- 2,500 airplanes -- would come from passenger-to-freighter modifications as the industry grows.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 05:40 AM   #86
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Brazil's Embraer cuts delivery forecast for 2009

SAO PAULO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has reduced its delivery forecast for 2009 to 270 jets from a previous estimate of 315 to 350 planes.

Embraer also said in a statement late on Friday that it expects to invest a total of $450 million next year. In the first nine months of 2008, Embraer spent a total of $407 million in investments.

Earlier this week, Embraer said it has not received any order cancellations because of the global financial crisis, which has restricted the availability of credit and is slowing economic growth around the world.

But the company warned that the scarcity of credit would likely force some clients to request delays on delivery.

Embraer delivered 48 jets in the third quarter, compared with 47 in the year-earlier period and 52 in the second quarter of this year.

Embraer, short for Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica, is the world's leading producer of regional jets seating up to 120 passengers. It also makes luxury business jets and military aircraft.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 03:14 AM   #87
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Airlines could cut more flights
Post-holiday travel falloff expected to be sharp

11 November 2008
USA Today

More cuts in airline schedules may await travelers after the holidays -- there are early signs that the usual after-Christmas falloff in travel could be deeper than airline managers had expected.

With conventional fare sales and an overall 10% reduction in domestic flying capacity already in place for the December holidays, U.S. airlines aren't worried that the sliding economy will produce the kind of bah-humbug Christmas season retailers fear.

But come Jan. 5, when all the family vacationers, New Year's revelers and college football fans have gone home, and corporations' austere 2009 travel budgets take effect, all bets are off.

Signs of weakening demand:

*Continental Airlines last week sharply reduced its forecast for a key benchmark of revenue growth for November. It now expects a 4% to 6% increase from a year ago in revenue per seat per mile flown instead of growth in the "low to mid-teens." Continental is the only U.S. airline that publishes such a forecast, but history has shown it to be a reliable gauge of industry trends.

*A Southwest Airlines official says Continental's outlook conforms with her airline's. Tammy Romo, Southwest's vice president of financial planning, says trends have worsened in the month since the airline announced a 5% cutback in January flying capacity -- a big reversal for an airline that's grown steadily for 34 years.

"We have seen signs of weakness in our recent booking and revenue trends," Romo says.

*American Express, one of the largest corporate travel agencies, forecast three weeks ago that 2009 coach fares typically paid by business travelers could range from down 3% to up 5%, depending on the length and severity of the U.S. economic downturn. Now it looks like the lower end of that forecast will prove most accurate because business travelers increasingly are seeking cheaper fares aimed mainly at leisure travelers, says AmEx spokeswoman Tracy Paurowski.

So how will airlines react?

In the past they turned to widespread price cutting. But this year's fare and fee hikes, along with recent drops in fuel prices, put profits in sight in 2009.

During earnings conference calls with analysts and reporters last month, executives at several airlines hinted their bias is toward further capacity cuts if demand weakens more. Officials at Delta, now the world's biggest carrier, have dropped the strongest such hints.

"Managing your capacity is critical to controlling your revenues," spokeswoman Betsy Talton says.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 05:06 AM   #88
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Thanksgiving air travel projected to fall-ATA

NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The number of passengers traveling with U.S. airlines over the Thanksgiving holiday period will drop about 10 percent from last year as a weak economy hits consumer spending and carriers cut back flights.

Thanksgiving remains the busiest travel time for U.S. airlines, but the 2008 season will see a decline in passengers for the first time in seven years, according to the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the trade body for the leading U.S. airlines.

The ATA said on Wednesday the number of passengers will drop from about 26 million to roughly 24 million over the 12-day Thanksgiving travel season from Nov. 21 through Dec. 2.

Thanksgiving itself is celebrated on Nov. 27 this year.

The trade association expects the three busiest travel days will be Sunday, Nov. 30; Monday, Dec. 1, and Wednesday, Nov. 26, respectively. Planes are projected to average close to 90 percent full on these days.

ATA Chief Executive James May said the weaker economy is hurting consumer spending and airlines have cut back their schedules in response to economic pressures.

This could help ease congestion. "With fewer flights operating, that should provide some relief to the air traffic management system," said May.

"Make no mistake -- the airports will be busy and many flights will be 100 percent full," added May.

The ATA said it is hoping the U.S. Government will once again open up military airspace to help further ease congestion.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 04:23 PM   #89
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ANALYSIS-Business travel growth expected to slow in 2009

NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) - It's not quite the death of the salesman, but growth in business travel will likely slow down significantly in 2009 as cash-strapped U.S. companies cut back on unnecessary trips by executives.

The trend has worrying implications for U.S airlines, hotel and car hire companies, as well as the other industries that rely on the business traveler.

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) remains reasonably optimistic, predicting that the number of business trips will continue to expand next year -- but at a slower pace than the annual growth from 2004 through 2007.

"This year we saw a slowdown in the growth of business travel -- in 2009. We will see a continuation of that slowdown," said NBTA CEO Kevin Maguire.

"In some companies, we are already seeing major cutbacks in travel, while other companies have higher travel budgets in place for 2009," said Maguire.

The NBTA said the tough economic conditions are forcing companies to change the way they think about business travel.

One big change is that traveling on behalf of a company will no longer be seen as a perk, Maguire said in an interview.

"Business is business -- do you send people on trips for purposes other than accomplishing business goals? Not any more," said Maguire.

"The economy is tough -- bottom lines are very, very important and the perk issue is really not a factor any more," Maguire said.

MEANER BEAN COUNTERS

The NBTA expects corporate bean counters to become even meaner in 2009.

Its research predicts company travel managers will step up cost-containment strategies by reducing nonessential travel and using data that allows them to access automated hotel information that flags out-of-policy spending.

Other companies will simply stop sending executives to meetings that involve travel costs.

"We are already starting to see companies cancel meetings and cancel participation in conferences," said Maguire. "You will see more companies go to webcasting and teleconferencing and videoconference. You can do a conference for much less than sending bodies to a meeting."

Some companies in the travel industry have already positioned themselves to limit their overall exposure to the slowing domestic economy.

U.S. airlines have increasingly been turning to international routes, which can often be more profitable. Delta Air Lines Inc is to add 15 new routes between the United States and what it called the world's fastest growing economies in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc , operator of the W, Sheraton, and St. Regis brands, last month reported lower quarterly profit and said it would slash costs and jobs and scale back capital spending.

However, Starwood was quick to stress that it derives about 55 percent of its management and franchise fees and 45 percent of its owned hotel earnings from outside the United States, positioning it better than some rivals.

HALF-EMPTY HOTELS

For hotel companies that do rely mostly on the United States, it could be a tough 2009.

Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers expects that a key measure of the U.S. hotel industry's health, revenue per available room (RevPAR), will fall 5.8 percent next year, following this year's estimated 0.8 percent decline.

That would be the industry's first back-to-back decline in the widely watched measure since 2001-2002.

PwC said demand for hotels in 2009 is forecast to fall by 2 percent which, when coupled with an increase in supply, is expected to reduce occupancy levels to 58.6 percent, the lowest rate of occupancy since 1971.

What's more, the slowdown could put pressure on the corporate rates that hotel companies can charge for 2009.

Many corporate rates in hotels are negotiated a year in advance, so some companies may feel they are paying too much right now with prices negotiated when the economy was stronger.

That means current negotiations for 2009 corporate hotel rates have been tough, said hotel industry veteran Bjorn Hanson of New York University.

"Some (corporate) travel managers were saying, 'We paid too much in 2008, we want some of it back in 2009,' and others were saying '2008 is behind us, but we just want a very small increase for 2009.'"

Either way, it doesn't bode well.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 05:18 PM   #90
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Asian airlines suffer rapid decline in passengers, cargo: AAPA
25 November 2008
Agence France Presse

Asia-Pacific airlines are being hit with a sharp fall in passengers and cargo traffic as the global economic crisis bites, an industry group warned Tuesday.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said passenger numbers slipped 4.1 percent in October, while air cargo demand slumped 11 percent.

"In recent months, Asia Pacific airlines have been facing a rapid decline in both passenger and cargo demand as a result of the global economic slowdown," said AAPA director-general Andrew Herdman.

The association said the average international passenger load factor for October fell 3.1 percentage points to 73.1 percent.

And despite a 7.5 percent reduction in cargo capacity, the average international cargo load factor for the month fell 2.6 percentage points to 65.4 percent.

"AAPA member airlines carried 119 million international passengers in the first 10 months of 2008, in line with last year, but passenger numbers are now falling," Herdman said.

"Airlines around the world are facing extremely difficult market conditions, with expectations of even tougher times ahead in 2009," he said.

"Asia Pacific airlines are moving quickly to adjust capacity in line with expected demand, and redoubling efforts to reduce costs throughout the business."
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Old November 27th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #91
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IATA Warns Aviation In Critical Condition
27 November 2008

LONDON (Dow Jones)--The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Thursday said international air traffic in October fell for the second consecutive month and warned the airline industry is in a dangerous condition.

International passenger traffic, or revenue passenger kilometers, declined by 1.3% compared to the same month a year ago, a smaller decline than the 2.9% drop in September.

IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani said, "The gloom continues and the situation of the industry remains critical."

The October load factor, which measures how many of the airline's available airplane seats it filled with paying passengers, was 75%, about two percentage points lower than last year.

Whilst the drop in oil prices are a relief to airlines, Bisignani said, "recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability. The slight slowing in the decline of passenger traffic is likely only temporary."

IATA cautioned the cargo market had not yet bottomed out. It said international air freight traffic contracted 7.9% in October, the fifth consecutive month of "increasingly severe drops."

"The deepening slump in cargo markets is a clear indication that the worst is yet to come," Bisignani added.

A sharp drop in Asia-Pacific exports impacted the regions' carriers as its international freight traffic fell 11%. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 45% of the international cargo market.

Latin American carriers saw the largest decline of 11.4%.

But if carriers across the board were seeing a decline in passenger traffic, then European carriers were bucking the trend.They saw traffic move into positive territory with 1.8% growth in October.

Despite both the U.S. and European economies heading into recession, transatlantic traffic growth was flat for the month. But IATA said it expected further declines in international traffic for both regions' carriers.

North American carriers saw international passenger traffic decline by 0.8% in October compared to last year, slightly ahead of 0.9% drop reported in September.

Asia-Pacific carriers, which represent 31% of global international passenger traffic, saw passenger traffic fall by 6.1%, an improvement from the 6.8% decline reported in September. IATA said capacity reduction of 2.3% was not enough to keep pace with waning demand, and as a result load factors for the region's carriers fell to 72.2%.

Over the year, the weakest market for both intercontinental and regional travel was Africa. It saw the largest decline with international traffic dropping 12.9% in October. It is the only region where traffic weakened from September.

With the global economic downturn forcing the financial services industry to restructure, IATA urged a drive for efficiency.

Bisignani said, "Policy makers must also understand that change is needed in air transport. Unlike the finance industry, airlines are not asking for handouts. Commercial freedom, efficiency and a fair treatment in taxes are needed."

IATA represents some 230 airlines, comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 05:16 AM   #92
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TABLE-U.S. airlines November traffic data

CHICAGO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The following table lists November mainline operational data for the 10 largest U.S. airlines by passenger traffic, compared with the same month a year earlier:

Code:
          ----Traffic----    ---Capacity---    --Load factor--
           RPMs   pct chg     ASMs  pct chg     pct     Change
American      9.53     -14.5    12.45     -9.3    76.6   -4.6 pts
Delta*        8.91      -4.9    11.50     -5.3    77.4   +0.3 pts
United        7.47     -17.0     9.71    -14.2    76.9   -2.7 pts
Continental   5.86     -10.7     7.53     -7.8    77.8   -2.6 pts
Northwest*    5.67      -7.4     7.08     -4.7    80.1   -2.3 pts
Southwest     5.26      -8.3     8.33     +0.4    63.2   -6.1 pts
US Airways    4.26      -6.9     5.48     -6.1    77.7   -0.7 pts
JetBlue       1.90      -7.8     2.51     -6.3    75.7   -1.3 pts
AirTran       1.33      -6.6     1.76     -7.1    75.8   +0.4 pts
Alaska**      1.40      -6.9     1.83     -6.8    76.7    0.0 pts
NOTES: Traffic is measured in billions of revenue passenger miles, the distance traveled by paying passengers.

Capacity is measured in billions of available seat miles, reflecting the number of seats available for sale and the length of the flights.

Load factor is the percentage of seats occupied by paying passengers and change is in percentage points.

*Figures for Delta and Northwest, which have merged, include data for regional affiliates.

**Alaska Airlines doesn't include unit Horizon Air.

All data are from the airlines.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 07:32 AM   #93
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Financial crisis tipped to cut cost of air travel
6 December 2008
Agence France Presse

The price of air tickets should start coming down soon because of the world financial crisis, experts are predicting, while ruling out a plunge that would endanger the health of airlines.

"If you keep prices too high you're going to lose more passengers," said Geoff van Klaveren, of Exane BNP Paribas, against a background of both companies and tourists cutting back on air travel.

Cut price airline Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary forecast a reduction in an average ticket of between 15 and 20 percent by the end of March, and claims to be attracting passengers from more conventional companies like British Airways.

Most airlines nowadays use the yield management system, whereby prices are adjusted by computer on an almost daily basis in line with demand, starting relatively low then rising if a particular flight fills up, or falling if it does not.

"However, company profit margins are narrow, and they cannot really engage in a price war," commented Didier Brechemier, a consultant with Roland Berger.

Few airlines have yet adopted an aggressive pricing strategy, as they try to recover from the massive cost of fuel which neared 150 dollars a barrel in mid-July, forcing them to slap surcharges on tickets.

While oil has now fallen to a third of this level, companies have held back from price-cutting at the same rate, while from time to time announcing a reduction in the surcharges since September.

At the same time they have adopted other tricks to keep the money coming in, such as the introduction by the leading European airline, Air France-KLM, of a 50-euro charge on economy class seats located near the emergency exits, where passengers enjoy more legroom.

The same company is also introducing an extra class between business and economy which will come into effect towards the end of next year, and Brechemier predicted that others would follow suit.

"This project is perfectly matched to the crisis, and we are in a hurry to put it into effect," said Air France-KLM boss Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, noting that it would allow businessmen to continue travelling in reasonable comfort while saving money.

The global airline industry -- forecast to lose 4.1 billion dollars this year by industry body IATA -- is also fast consolidating in a bid to reduce costs by achieving economies of scale.

Last week, German airline Lufthansa announced a takeover offer for loss-making rival Austrian Airlines (AUA) and Irish low-cost airline Ryanair made a 748-million-euro cash offer for national rival Aer Lingus.

British Airways said Tuesday it was "exploring a potential merger" with Australian rival Qantas Airways as part of a broad tie-up.

BA is also in talks with Spanish airline Iberia and American Airlines.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #94
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Airlines head for $2.5 bln global loss in '09 -IATA

GENEVA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Global airlines are heading for less drastic losses in 2009 than initially feared thanks to sharp falls in fuel prices but the industry remains in a "sick" state, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

Overall revenues are expected to fall for the first time since 2002, with air cargo transport -- viewed as a barometer of the global economy -- declining more sharply than passenger traffic, the industry body said.

IATA scaled back its estimate for total losses in the sector next year to $2.5 billion from the $4.1 billion it had forecast in September, based on a reduced average oil price of $60 per barrel. It also trimmed expectations on 2008 losses to $5.0 billion from $5.2 billion.

But its 230 members, which represent 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic, still face a bumpy ride.

"The outlook is bleak. The chronic industry crisis will continue into 2009. We face the worst revenue environment in 50 years," said IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani.

The "ferocity of the economic crisis" has overshadowed gains made from restructuring and greater fuel efficiency in recent years, he said. "The industry remains sick."

Passenger traffic is forecast to fall 3 percent next year, the first drop since 2001, while cargo is predicted to be 5 percent lower in 2009 after contracting an estimated 1.5 percent this year, according to the Geneva-based body.

Revenue is seen 6 percent lower at $501 billion, against an estimated $536 billion this year.

Air cargo traffic, which makes up 35 percent of goods traded internationally, is continuing its decline, Bisignani said.

Its 7.9 percent decline in October, the fifth consecutive month of increasingly severe drops, was a clear indication that "the worst is yet to come" for airlines and the slowing global economy, IATA said.

European member airlines are expected to post losses of $1 billion next year, ten times higher than in 2008, it said.

North America is expected to be the only region making a profit in 2009, but only some $300 million, less than 1 percent of members' revenue, it said.

"An early 10 percent domestic capacity reduction in response to the fuel crisis has given the (North American) region's carriers a head start in combating the recession-led fall in demand," IATA said in a statement.

Asia-Pacific carriers will see losses more than double to $1.1 billion in 2009 from an estimated $500 million in 2008. Airlines in the region, which accounts for 45 percent of the global cargo market, will be disproportionately hit by the decline in trade, it said.

Oil prices have tumbled from a peak above $147 a barrel in July to around $44 as the economic downturn has slashed demand.

The oil price fall is not fully reflected in the IATA figures because of hedging, according to IATA Chief Economist Brian Pearce.

Some of the benefits of lower spot prices for fuel were being delayed into 2010, as hedging means many airlines are locked into higher than spot prices, Pearce told reporters.

IATA's forecasts for 2009 were all based on an average price of $60 a barrel for oil for a total bill of $142 billion, some $32 billion lower than this year.

Asked about the impact on Boeing and Airbus sales, Pearce said: "I would think that some of these orders and deliveries are likely to be at least deferred and some cancelled."

Bisignani also forecast 300,000 to 400,000 job losses over the coming year in the aviation and travel industry, which IATA says employs some 32 million people worldwide.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #95
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International air traffic slumps in Nov: IATA
30 December 2008
Agence France Presse

Struggling airlines hit more trouble in November, with passenger numbers down and freight plunging by a "shocking" 13.5 percent, the worst drop since the September 11 terror attacks, IATA said Tuesday.

Profits at Asia-Pacific carriers, which saw the sharpest downturn in demand as the global economic crisis deepened, are expected to be "disproportionately" affected by the plunge in cargo traffic, the aviation industry group added.

"The 13.5 percent drop in international cargo is shocking ... By comparison, this is the largest drop since 2001, in the aftermath of September 11," IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani said.

International air passenger traffic in November was down 4.6 percent from a year earlier, marking the steepest fall in the past three months.

In October, passenger traffic was down 1.3 percent after a drop of 2.9 percent in September, the International Air Transport Association noted.

Asia-Pacific carriers were hurt most, with a 5.1 percent cut in capacity unable to offset a 9.7 percent decline in passenger numbers.

North American airlines saw traffic slump 4.8 percent, hit by "the near collapse of the investment banking sector and consequent reductions in business travel."

Even Middle Eastern airlines, which typically posted double-digit jumps in passenger traffic before the crisis, saw growth shrink to just 5.6 percent.

Meanwhile, international cargo traffic in November experienced its largest drop since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"As air cargo (accounts for) 35 percent of the value of goods traded internationally, it clearly shows the rapid fall in global trade and the broadening impact of the economic slowdown," said Bisignani.

Freight traffic shrank 16.9 percent for the Asia-Pacific airlines which account for almost half of all air cargo carried.

"As freight accounts for a larger percentage of revenues for the Asia-Pacific carriers, fourth quarter profits for the region's carriers will be disproportionately impacted by the downturn in the global air freight market," IATA said.

Latin American, North American and European carriers also posted double-digit falls in freight traffic.

ABN Amro aviation analyst Sandy Morris described cargo traffic at the moment as "dismal," but he added: "I should imagine that we are probably somewhere near the bottom now."

Morris was also more upbeat about the passenger sector, saying that if domestic traffic was taken into account, then overall demand was "certainly weakening but not precipitously.

"The irony is that despite weakening demand, many airlines will be in better financial shape in 2009," he said, explaining that sharply lower fuel prices would more than compensate for fewer passengers.

Fuel prices skyrocketed as oil soared above 140 dollars in July before plummeting to around 40 dollars now as the global economic downturn saps demand.

IATA said earlier this month that it expects the industry to lose 2.5 billion dollars (1.9 billion euros) in 2009 due to the economic crisis after losses of some 5.0 billion dollars this year.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 06:38 AM   #96
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European Air Traffic To Fall 3% In 2009 - Eurocontrol
26 January 2009

PARIS (Dow Jones)--Air traffic in Europe is expected to contract by 3% in 2009 after being virtually flat in 2008, reflecting the general economic slowdown, according to a Eurocontrol press release.

With businesses and private travelers reining in their spending, especially in Western and Central Europe, airlines will be cutting back on capacity this year, after traffic - as measured by the number of flights - grew 3% annually on average over the last six years, the Brussels-based European air traffic management organization Eurocontrol said.

Last year, the number of flights in Europe rose just 0.1%, the slowest growth rate in five years. Eurocontrol said traffic fell steeply toward the end of last year, with a 7% drop in overall air traffic in December alone, and three-quarters of the European countries saw declines.

For all of 2008, Italy, the U.K. and Spain experienced traffic declines of 2.7%, 1.7% and 2.1%, respectively. Traffic continued to grow in Eastern Europe, however.

Low-cost airline traffic saw its first drop in 15 years, with 4,600 flights a day in November 2008, down 6.1% on year. Business aviation traffic in December was down 16% on year.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #97
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Airlines face tough 2009 as freight collapses-IATA

GENEVA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - International air freight traffic plunged 22.6 percent in December compared to a year earlier, an "unprecedented and shocking" free fall that signals a broader slump in world trade, industry data showed on Thursday.

The International Air Transport Association said airlines faced one of their toughest years ever, with cross-border passenger traffic dropping 4.6 percent year-on-year in December, even after a boost from advance bookings of holiday travel.

The data is also bad news for the broader global economy -- in value terms, a third of world trade is in goods sent by air.

"Keep your seatbelts fastened and prepare for a bumpy ride and a hard landing," warned IATA Director-General Giovanni Bisignani.

"The 22.6 percent drop in international cargo traffic in December puts us in uncharted territory and the bottom is nowhere in sight," Bisignani, previously chief executive of Air Italia, added.

All regions showed major declines in international freight traffic, according to IATA. Asia-Pacific carriers, who make up 45 percent of the air cargo market, were hit hardest.

"The collapse in the airline industry's freight business is a reflection of 20-30 percent declines in export and import volumes being reported across Asia, North America and Europe as the global recession plumbs new depths in December," it said.

$2.5 BILLION LOSSES LOOM

Global airlines are set to post $2.5 billion in losses in 2009 after suffering a $5 billion loss last year, according to IATA whose 230 member airlines account for 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic. Its figures do not include domestic traffic.

Its projections remain based on a fuel price of $60 per barrel, a decline of 3.0 in passenger volumes and a drop of 5.0 percent in cargo traffic.

They came a day after a gloomy outlook from the International Monetary Fund which sees the global economy at a virtual standstill, forecast to grow just 0.5 percent in 2009.

For the full year of 2008, international air cargo traffic was down 4 percent, while international passenger traffic posted modest gains of 1.6 percent, according to the Geneva-based body.

Despite year-end holiday travel, carriers struggled to keep pace with falling demand in December, when the passenger load factor fell to 73.8 percent, meaning one in four seats was empty, it said.

"Airlines are struggling to match capacity with fast-falling demand. Until this comes into balance even the sharp fall in fuel prices cannot save the industry from drowning in red ink," said Bisignani.

Business travel -- driven largely by international trade and services -- has slumped since the financial turmoil began in September. It shrank further in November with the number of passengers travelling on premium tickets dropping by 11.5 percent year-on-year, according to IATA data earlier this month.

Revenues from premium tickets are a key source of profitability for airlines.

IATA called on Thursday for major structural changes to the beleaguered industry whose revenues it said were expected to contract by $35 billion to $501 billion.

"We don't want bail-outs. But we need to change the ownership rules. Almost every other business has the freedom to access to global capital and the ability to merge across borders where it makes sense. To manage this crisis airlines need the same management tools," Bisignani said.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 03:47 AM   #98
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Asian airlines trim down for expected hard landing
1 February 2009
Agence France Presse

Asian airlines are cutting routes and taking other measures to avoid flying half-empty planes during a travel slump caused by the global economic crisis, analysts and industry players say.

With most projections saying the world economy will worsen before it starts to recover, airline job cuts could come next, analysts said.

Carriers are also expected to seek alliances and other forms of cooperation to ride out the turbulence whipped up by a global financial storm that originated in the United States, the world's biggest economy, they added.

"It's going to get worse before it gets better... and airlines are making preparations to try to ride this out," Standard and Poor's aviation analyst Shukor Yusof told AFP.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), one of Asia's major carriers, has announced the suspension of some international flights affecting routes to India, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe.

In a sign that even elite passengers are feeling the pinch, SIA's non-stop, all-business class service to New York and Los Angeles will be trimmed to 10 flights a week from 14.

"We don't want to be flying half-empty planes around the world any longer than we have to, because it increases our cost burden at a time when we can least afford that," said SIA spokesman Stephen Forshaw.

Japanese carriers Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways said they were slimming down by suspending or reducing flights and switching to smaller planes.

JAL, Asia's biggest airline, said it was decreasing flights from Tokyo to New York, Bangkok and Seoul beginning in late March. It will suspend services from the western city of Osaka to London.

JAL also plans to reduce the number of seats on other routes such as Tokyo to Sydney, Chicago and Los Angeles by introducing smaller aircraft.

All Nippon Airways, the country's second biggest carrier, said it would stop using jumbo 747s on flights from Tokyo to Paris and Frankfurt later this year. It would also introduce smaller planes between Tokyo and Washington.

"2009 is shaping up to be one of the toughest years for international aviation," International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief Giovanni Bisignani said in his latest assessment.

"Keep your seatbelts fastened and prepare for a bumpy ride and a hard landing."

The Asia-Pacific region was the industry's booming market in recent years but international passenger traffic carried by the region's airlines fell 9.7 percent in December over the previous year, the sharpest decline in any region, IATA said.

Only carriers in Latin America and the Middle East saw an increase.

Asia-Pacific airlines, which account for 45 percent of global cargo, also registered the steepest fall in freight traffic, a 26 percent decline last month, said IATA, the industry's trade organisation.

This is worse than the 22.6 percent fall in cargo traffic worldwide, the IATA figures showed.

"I'm expecting the inevitable -- which is job cuts. It's looking more and more likely because of the degradation in the traffic numbers both for passengers and cargo," Yusof, of Standard and Poor's, said.

He said airlines would eventually have to deal with a surplus of wide-bodied aircraft made idle from a lack of passengers.

SIA has the option of selling, leasing or parking surplus planes, its spokesman said.

But SIA says it will push through with all its current orders, including 13 Airbus A380 superjumbos -- the world's largest passenger plane -- 18 A330s and 20 Boeing B787-9s, so that it can retire older aircraft.

In Australia, national airline Qantas grounded 10 aircraft and cancelled plans to lease two new planes in November. It halted all planned domestic growth for both Qantas and budget offshoot Jetstar.

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific is also under severe pressure after passenger numbers dropped 0.3 percent year-on-year in December despite an aggressive marketing campaign, following a 2.2 percent drop in November.

Cathay Pacific's revenue manager Tom Owen said the airline had been forced to cut ticket prices to keep December figures respectable.

Cathay's cargo business has been hit even harder, dropping 23.9 percent year-on-year in December. The firm has delayed a new cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport by two years.

Taiwan's two major carriers, China Airlines and EVA Airways, said recently introduced direct air links to mainland China had cushioned the impact of the economic slump.

"The 22 weekly flights to major mainland cities are very profitable," China Airlines senior vice president Roger Han said.

For those less fortunate, one option is consolidation, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation consultancy said in an analysis.

It predicted that full-service airlines and some low-cost carriers "will attempt to forge new relationships this year", ranging from operational mergers to full equity transactions.

But it warned that most such attempts are likely to fail because the industry is heavily regulated.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #99
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there was a thread about monthy passenger traffic of airports. Does anyone know where I can find it?
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Old February 10th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #100
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A European one is here.

If that's not the one, and the last post in the thread was more than a month ago, it may have been sent to the archives.
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