Boeing and battery maker clash over 787 fix

Boeing and battery maker clash over 787 fix

By Phil Davies

Boeing and battery maker clash over 787 fixBoeing and the Japanese company that makes lithium-ion batteries for 787 Dreamliner disagree about what should be included in a package of measures aimed at returning the aircraft to service.

Battery maker GS Yuasa Corporation believes the fix for the battery should include a voltage regulator that could stop electricity from entering the battery, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing government and industry officials.

Boeing proposed its fix to the US Federal Aviation Authority on Friday.

But on Thursday, Yuasa told the agency that its laboratory tests indicated a power surge outside the battery, or other external problem, started the failures on two batteries, according to the newspaper.

The FAA confirmed the meeting with Yuasa, but did not give any details. A Yuasa spokesman declined to comment.

A Boeing spokesman said that the investigation has not showed that overcharging was a factor and that the 787 had quadruple-redundant protection against overcharging in any case.

“Our proposal includes multiple layers of protection covering the known potential probable causes of the events,” he said.

He added that Boeing was co-ordinating with key suppliers.

Research finds two thirds of holidaymakers will book online

Research finds two thirds of holidaymakers will book online

By Ian Taylor

Research finds two thirds of holidaymakers will book onlineThe latest TNS consumer insight for Travel Weekly underlines the popularity of digital channels. Ian Taylor reports

Two thirds of UK adults planning an overseas holiday or break intend to book online this year, according to research for Travel Weekly.

A survey of more than 2,000 adults by TNS in early February suggests up to 20 million could book their travel online, compared with more than eight million with a high street agent or by phone.

Researchers found that 42% of respondents (including those not planning an overseas holiday) said they would book online, 12% on the high street and 5% by phone.

Of course, booking online does not have to mean going direct or buying from someone outside the trade. Few high street retailers fail to sell online; Tui Travel reported 37% of its summer 2013 bookings were made online up to early February and expects this proportion to increase this year.

However, the results confirm consumers are increasingly at ease booking all kinds of holidays – including package holidays – on the internet.

Young adults are clearly most at ease: 55% of 16 to 34-year-olds said they would book a holiday or break online, against 25% of over‑55s. The proportion of student online-travel bookers (60%) was three times higher than those of retired age (20%).

More than half (54%) of adults in better-off households expected to book online, as did a similar proportion (52%) of those with children living at home.

Londoners and those in the southeast showed a similar propensity to book on the internet (54%), while less than one-third did so in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Scotland and just 36% across the north – suggesting a digital divide.

However, the greatest variation in the survey results was in the proportion planning to take an overseas holiday, rather than how they would book it.

TNS found more than one third (36%) of respondents did not expect to go overseas in 2013 and a further 4% were undecided.

That suggests 60% intend to have a holiday abroad – a healthy market in light of previous research showing less than half the adult population (44%) are likely to go away in any year.

It is important to note people often express an intention to go abroad at this time of year but subsequently fail to do so – the young being especially prone to this.

February’s TNS survey found three-quarters of 16 to 24-year-olds planned an overseas holiday (and 56% intended to book online). Yet previous TNS research which asked 16 to 24-year-olds whether they had a holiday abroad in the past 12 months found 60% had not.

Almost half (48%) of adults over 55 said they were not planning an overseas holiday this year; neither were half the adults in less well-off households (47%).

Most adults with children did plan a holiday (68%), compared with 56% of those with no children. But the former appear more dependent on finding a cheap holiday – 38% of those with children identifying price as an important factor in whether they go away, against 28% of those without children.

TNS group director of travel Tom Costley noted “significant age variations” in online booking habits but said: “The proportion choosing to book via a high street agent does not vary to any significant extent, irrespective of age.”

He added: “It’s evident that being able to access a cheap price allows some to go on a holiday which might otherwise not be available to them.”

Royal Caribbean takes more relaxed stance on discounts

Royal Caribbean takes more relaxed stance on discounts

By Lee Hayhurst

Royal Caribbean takes more relaxed stance on discountsRoyal Caribbean Cruise Line has told agents it has decided to “relax its approach” to policing discounting after feedback from the trade.

Travel Weekly understands that since the start of the year the operator had been closely monitoring pricing and threatening to act against agents who continued to discount.

Questions have been raised about the legality of this sort of approach, as Travel Weekly reported on January 24.

One cruise agent, who asked not to be named, said: “Royal Caribbean has relaxed the rules and are no longer policing what people do.”

She added: “I’ve not noticed any immediate upturn in discounting levels.”

Another claimed the change came after an agent challenged Royal Caribbean over the legality of its attempt to maintain prices in the market. Royal Caribbean denied this, saying 
the change was part of its “consultative approach” to trade relations after it reduced commission to 
10% in January.

A spokeswoman said: “Based on some agency feedback we have decided to relax this approach.

“We have advised our agency partners and continue to work closely with them on promoting our brands.”

She added: “We encourage agents to continue to sell on value and maximise their earning potential. We are impressed with the results that our marketing campaigns, training and incentives have delivered and the enthusiasm from the trade.

“We will continue to invest significantly in driving consumer demand to agency partners, in addition to incentivising them directly.”

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