Cruise lines carried 20 million passengers last year, CLIA says

Cruise lines carried 20 million passengers last year, CLIA says

By Tom Stieghorst
The cruise industry carried more than 20 million passengers last year, according to an estimate released at a CLIA briefing in New York.

The industry’s global 2012 passenger count was 20.3 million, with 17.2 million sailing from North America.

CLIA estimated the 2011 global passenger base at 16.3 million this time last year.

For 2013, its projections call for slightly less than 21 million passengers, including 17.6 million sailing from North America.

CLIA President Christine Duffy said that 3,000 new travel agent members have affiliated with CLIA with the recent combination of global cruise trade groups into one worldwide network. That is in addition to 14,000 agent and agency members in North America.

2013 CLIA logoThe number of cruise line members has grown from 26 to 55, she said.

CLIA unveiled a new logo to represent the global association it has become.

Duffy said 167 new ships have been built since 2000 for the industry. Another 20 are in progress, CLIA marketing committee head Jim Berra said, representing an $8 billion investment.

Boeing vows to continue production of Dreamliner

Boeing vows to continue production of Dreamliner

By Ian Taylor


Boeing vows to continue production of DreamlinerBoeing intends to deliver more than 60 Dreamliners to airlines this year despite the aircraft being grounded since mid-January by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

That may offer little comfort to Thomson Airways as it awaits delivery of its first 787 next month.

The FAA grounded the aircraft following a fire on a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston and an emergency landing by an All Nippon Airways (ANA) 787 in Japan.

Boeing has suspended deliveries while investigations proceed in the US and Japan, focused on the lithium-ion batteries used as part of the 787’s power system.

However, Boeing chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney said yesterday: “Production of the 787 continues as planned. We remain confident in the integrity of the programme and the safety of the aircraft.”

He told analysts: “We will get to the bottom of this and restore confidence.”

McNerney was speaking as Boeing presented full year results and guidance for 2013, with the company reporting 2012 was its second-best year ever for orders and deliveries.

However, he did so as the two Japanese carriers involved revealed they had repeatedly changed the 787 batteries which are the focus of investigation.

ANA said it had changed the batteries 10 times because of problems in advance of the emergency landing this month.

McNerney refused to comment on speculation the aircraft could be grounded for an extended period as investigators have so far failed to identify the cause of the problem.

He said: “We can’t predict the outcome. We are making progress. We have every expert in the world looking at this issue. Our plan is to continue production of the 787.

“I can’t talk about particulars of the investigation. But I am confident we will identify the root cause of these incidents. When we have the answer we will act on it.”

Thomson Airways, part of Tui Travel, is awaiting news of the investigation with special interest. It is set to be the first UK airline to operate the 787 and was due to take delivery of its first Dreamliner in late February.

Boeing declined to comment on deliveries to specific customers, but a February delivery appears highly unlikely.

McNerney said: “We are limited in what we can say. We deeply regret the impact on customers.”

Thomson has also declined to comment on the delivery date until it receives notification of any changes from Boeing.

However, McNerney revealed Boeing plans to increase production of the 787 from the current five a month to seven a month by mid-2013 and to 10 a month by the end of the year.

More Problems for Boeings 787 Dreamliners

Thomson clients air frustration over expected Dreamliner delay

Thomson clients air frustration over expected Dreamliner delayA delay in delivery of Thomson Airways’ first Boeing 787 appears inevitable, with the Dreamliner grounded and investigators in the US and Japan unable to identify the cause of batteries overheating on two aircraft.

Thomson has said it had no details of any revised delivery dates, while Boeing is expected to issue fresh guidance today (Wednesday).

The carrier was due to receive its first Dreamliner in February and to start flying the aircraft on May 1.

Thomson clients expressed frustration at the lack of information, amid fears that they won’t fly on the 787 despite booking and paying a small premium.

David Stacey, who describes himself as “a long-time customer of Thomson” told Travel Weekly: “Thomson needs to offer customers the chance to switch or stick. It’s unfair.”

A spokesman for the airline said: “At the current time, Thomson Airways has not received any communication from Boeing regarding changes to delivery dates. Therefore we cannot comment on speculation of delays. Normal booking conditions apply for customers who wish to amend or cancel their holiday.”

Boeing said: “It is impossible to put a timetable on it. We have hundreds of experts working around the clock.”

A Boeing spokesman told Travel Weekly: “We are producing aircraft, but we’re not going to be delivering any 787s until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves measures to meet its air-worthiness directive.”

Investigations are under way in the US and Japan following a fire on a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston and an emergency landing in Japan by an ANA 787 when its main battery overheated. Both incidents involved new lithium-ion batteries used on the 787 as part of its innovative power system.

Officials in Japan ruled out a problem with the battery maker this week, while US regulators said they had made “no significant discoveries” since the aircraft was grounded in mid-January.

With attention shifting to the 787’s electrical system, analysts warned the grounding could be prolonged.


ANA replaced Dreamliner batteries 10 times before problems emerged

ANA replaced Dreamliner batteries 10 times before problems emergedLaunch customer All Nippon Airways repeatedly replaced batteries on Boeing 787 Dreamliners even before overheating problems emerged, according to a report overnight.

The disclosure prompted the US National Transportation Safety Board to call for Boeing to provide a full operating history of the lithium-ion batteries used on the grounded aircraft, according to the Associated Press.

The regulator made the call after becoming aware of battery problems at ANA that occurred before a battery fire in a 787 parked at Boston airport on January 7. Boeing has already collected some of the information, a spokesman said.

ANA said it had replaced batteries on its 787 aircraft some 10 times because they failed to charge properly or showed other problems, and informed Boeing about the swaps.

Japan Airlines also said it had replaced 787 batteries. It described the number involved as a few.

All 50 787s in service around the world remain grounded after an ANA flight made an emergency landing in Japan when its main battery overheated two weeks ago.

ANA spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka was quoted as saying the airline was not required to report the battery replacements to Japan’s transport ministry because they did not interfere with flights and did not raise safety concerns.

Having to replace batteries on aircraft is not uncommon and was not considered out of the ordinary, she said.

Japanese and U.S. investigators looking into the 787’s battery problems shifted their attention this week from the battery-maker to the manufacturer of a monitoring system. That company makes a system that monitors voltage, charging and temperature of the lithium-ion batteries.

The NTSB said yesterday that it was conducting a chemical analysis of internal short-circuiting and thermal damage of the battery that caught fire in Boston.