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Exclusive: Virgin Atlantic won"t restart flights until August if UK introduces quarantine - source

Virgin Atlantic will not be able to resume passenger flights until August at the earliest if Britain introduces a 14 day quarantine for travellers, according to a source at the airline......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

Exclusive: Virgin Atlantic won"t resume flights until August if UK introduces quarantine - source

Virgin Atlantic will not be able to resume passenger flights until August at the earliest if Britain introduces a 14-day quarantine for travellers, according to a source at the airline......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

See 32 pitch decks that some of the hottest proptech startups used to raise millions from top VCs like SoftBank and a16z

Even in a cooling market, real-estate-tech firms are essential as home-buying and building management move online. Here's how founders raised money. Cove.tool cofounders (from left) Daniel Chopson, Sandeep Ahuja, and Patrick Chopson built a platform that drastically cuts down the amount of time it takes to analyze a building's energy efficiency. They raised $5.7 million.Cove.tool Proptech was never hotter than 2021, where it raised a record of $30 billion. VC investment fell by 38% in 2022, but the technological transformation of real estate continues. These pitch decks reveal how 32 different startups pitched their visions and products to investors. Real estate's technological transformation was well underway before the pandemic drove it into hyperspeed. Early innovators like Zillow showed that there was a place for real estate on the internet, while investments from firms like SoftBank showed that big money was paying attention.But when COVID reshuffled the deck, and interest rates were at record lows, the sector exploded with interest, and record investment. Now, interest rates are rising, and some of proptech's stars have sunk, layoffs have abounded, and investment was down 38% in 2022. But startups and venture capital continue to drive real estate tech's ambitions forward, backing companies that 3D-print carbon-neutral homes, bring home-buying transactions entirely online, and that make it easier than ever to become a landlord of all — or part — of a property.Insider has collected 32 pitch decks that successful firms have used to raise funding from VCs and private-equity firms.Check out the full collection below. Residential real estateAndrew Luong (left) and Justin Kasad, who raised a $39 million Series A for their single-family rental startup Doorvest.DoorvestThe residential real-estate market surged into the beginning of 2022, with low interest rates driving record-high home price appreciation. Renting got a lot more expensive, too, with and everyone started flocking to invest in apartment buildings. Then, as the Fed began to pump the brakes, housing has cooled, cutting valuations for any company focused on the residential space.However, this sector has been a major focus for proptech companies such as those that help investors purchase and manage homes from afar, tools for residential brokers and leasing agents, and digital closing companies that digitize paper-heavy real estate transactions.Individual real-estate investors now have a way to compete with the big guys. Here's the 12-page deck one startup used to raise $39 million to make that happen.See the pitch deck a real-estate startup used to raise $27 million from SoftBank to build the world's largest housing company — without owning any homesHere's the investor deck that helped the real-estate startup Divvy raise a $30 million series A led by Andreessen HorowitzThe online mortgage broker Morty used this pitch deck to raise a $25 million Series B and enable more homebuyers to skip the traditional mortgage processHere's the presentation digital closing startup Endpoint used to nab $40 million from its parent company, title giant First AmericanA real-estate listings startup trying to rival Zillow used this pitch deck to raise $25 million for its super-powered home search websiteFlyhomes turns home buyers into cash buyers in a wild housing market. Check out the pitch deck it used to raise $150 million in fresh funding.Real-estate startup Immo scoops up single-family homes from sellers then turns them into rental investments. Check out the 26-slide pitch deck it used to raise $75 million.Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck that property-tech startup Ownwell used to raise a $5.75 million seed round from investors like First Round CapitalHere's the pitch deck that Playhouse used to raise $2.8 million to become a 'TikTok for real estate'This property startup buys homes directly from sellers in as little as a week. Check out the 19-page pitch deck it used to raise $65 million.Commercial real estate Nick Gayeski, cofounder and CEO of Clockwork Analytics, which raised $8 million for its platform that monitors building ventilation.Clockwork AnalyticsThe pandemic laid bare the necessity of a technological transformation of commercial real estate. Remote work has changed professional workers' relationship to the office forever. E-commerce adoption has skyrocketed, but consumers also were starved for in-person interactions and increased their time at restaurants. Data of all sorts became increasingly more important in order to keep a competitive advantage over other struggling commercial landlords, and processes that used to take place on email or even in pen and paper are now taking place on dedicated pieces of software.As building costs rise, this startup says real-estate developers can save millions by ditching spreadsheets. Here's the 12-slide pitch deck it used to raise $25 million.See the pitch deck the air-purification startup Wynd used to raise $10 million to help Marriott guests breathe easierVergeSense, an office-sensor startup that tracks employees' movements, just nabbed $9 million. From social distancing scores to real-time occupancy alerts, here's its pitch deck.See the pitch deck a startup that monitors building ventilation used to raise $8 million during the pandemicAn exclusive look at the 19-slide pitch deck a real-estate-investing startup aimed at millennials and Gen Zers used to raise a total of $9 millionHere's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceCheck out the 9-slide pitch deck this ex-Googler used to raise $15 million for SME property tech startup KeywayThis entrepreneur is giving landlords and homeowners a chance to buy their own personal power plants. See the pitch deck he used to raise millions.Construction techMosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad works on ways to build homes faster and cheaper. He raised $14 million last year.MosaicThe pandemic boosted traditional construction companies' interest in the high-tech corner of the sector. Startups that make digital tools to manage worksites from afar suddenly became indispensable, while the current housing shortage brought even more attention to companies that are developing ways to build homes faster and more cheaply.A construction-tech startup that's developed a faster way to model a building's energy efficiency used this 13-page pitch deck to nab $5.7 millionOpenSpace, a startup that wants to be the telemedicine of construction, used this 24-page pitch deck to nab $15 million from investors including Menlo VenturesRead the 19-page pitch deck an online construction-parts marketplace trying to compete with Amazon used to raise millionsSee the pitch deck that lured investing powerhouse Tiger Global to lead a $30 million round for a startup trying to revolutionize construction spendingHere's the 21-slide pitch deck construction-tech startup Mosaic used to lay out its vision for the future of homebuilding and nab $14 million from backers including Andreessen HorowitzAs building costs rise, this startup says real-estate developers can save millions by ditching spreadsheets. Here's the 12-slide pitch deck it used to raise $25 million.Plentific helps big landlords source contractors for repairs. We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck it used to raise $100 million for expansion and acquisitions.Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck the proptech platform Wreno used to raise a $5 million seed roundShort-term rentals and hospitalityFounder and CEO Roman Pedan raised $30 million for his short-term rental startup Kasa.KasaThe short-term rental market saw an explosion in the early days of the pandemic, as those looking for a place to wait out quarantine in comfort competed with those looking for a safer family vacation, driving up occupancy. Suddenly, investing in vacation-rental properties that could be listed on Airbnb or Vrbo became extremely attractive, and regular people could take advantage of the cheap capital to do so.Things have since swung in the other direction, with supply outpacing demand, making some say the gold rush is over. However, short-term rental is here to stay, with companies that help people buy, manage, and invest properties finding plenty of customers — and investors. A Latin American short-term rental startup just raised $48 million in a Series A led by a16z. Here's the deck it uses to pitch institutional landlords it looks to partner with.See the 26-page pitch deck Kasa Living used to raise $30 million while other short-term rental startups were foldingHere's the pitch deck that Koala, a startup bringing an Airbnb-style marketplace to the wonky timeshare industry, used to raise $3.4 millionSee the pitch deck a startup used to raise $5 million to help people invest in shares of vacation homes for as little as $100Regular people can pay for a day pass to swim in pools at Ritz-Carlton hotels. Here's the pitch deck ResortPass used to raise $26 million from investors like The Points Guy, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba.See the pitch deck a startup used to raise $4 million to buy, sell, and manage short-term-rental propertiesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 17th, 2023

Instil Bio Reports Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results and Provides Corporate Update

Manufacturing update on voluntary pause of DELTA-1 trial of ITIL-168 in advanced melanoma expected in Q1'23 Reprioritization of resources with enrollment deferred in DELTA-2 trial of ITIL-168 First patient with non-small cell lung cancer dosed with ITIL-306, the first engineered TIL therapy using CoStAR Platform, with plans to share clinical data in 2023 Appointment of cell therapy pioneer Dr. Robert Hawkins as Head of Research and Development, and resignation of Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Zachary Roberts Company confirms cash runway into 2025 with anticipated sale-leaseback transaction of its Tarzana manufacturing facility DALLAS, Nov. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Instil Bio, Inc. ("Instil") (NASDAQ:TIL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing tumor infiltrating lymphocyte, or TIL, therapies for the treatment of patients with cancer, today reported its third quarter 2022 financial results and provided a corporate update. Third Quarter 2022 Highlights and Anticipated Milestones: DELTA-1 manufacturing and regulatory update: As previously announced, enrollment in DELTA-1 was voluntarily paused following the observation of decreased rates of successful manufacturing of ITIL-168. Our ongoing investigation of the manufacturing failures identified a central source of contamination in the cell media. In conjunction with this pause, we are also evaluating opportunities to increase the robustness of our manufacturing process. In addition, in October 2022, we notified the FDA and other regulatory agencies that an unplanned review of the data for the initial patients that had been dosed with ITIL-168 in the DELTA-1 trial was conducted in order to review risk-benefit. This review was inconclusive because the response data were not mature. Subsequently, the Data Safety Monitoring Board's prespecified review found no safety concerns. We plan to discuss next steps for the DELTA-1 trial with the FDA and other regulatory agencies, and after such discussions, or as a result of our ongoing investigation of our manufacturing process, we may be required to modify, delay or restart our ITIL-168 clinical development program. We plan to provide an update on our ITIL-168 clinical development program in the first quarter of 2023. DELTA-2 clinical update: The Company is deferring enrollment in the DELTA-2 study to focus resources toward higher-priority clinical programs. First patient dosed in Phase 1 dose escalation study of ITIL-306, Instil's first CoStAR-TIL: Instil recently announced dosing of the first patient with non-small cell lung cancer in the Phase 1 dose escalation study of ITIL-306 for the treatment of multiple solid tumors. The ITIL-306 product contained the target dose of approximately 1 billion CoStAR-TILs in addition to unmodified TILs. The CoStAR platform introduces a genetic modification which is designed to enhance the activity of TILs within the tumor microenvironment. The Phase 1 trial of ITIL-306 excludes the high-dose interleukin-2 regimen after ITIL-306 infusion. The Company remains committed to the CoStAR platform and expects to report initial clinical data from the trial in 2023. Appointment of Head of Research and Development: Instil announced the appointment of Robert Hawkins, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., as Head of Research and Development. Dr. Hawkins is a world-renowned oncologist and biotechnology innovator, with a focus on development of novel cell and gene therapies. Dr. Hawkins was the founder and CEO of Immetacyte Ltd., a cell therapy company spun out of the University of Manchester where Dr. Hawkins served as Professor of Medical Oncology. Immetacyte Ltd. generated the foundational TIL technology and clinical data on which Instil was founded. Resignation of Chief Medical Officer: Instil announced that, pursuant to a separation agreement, Zachary Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of the Company, has resigned effective November 11, 2022 to pursue other opportunities. The company appreciates Dr. Roberts' contributions and wishes him the best in his future endeavors. Company confirms cash-runway into 2025 with anticipated sale-leaseback transaction of its Tarzana manufacturing facility Third Quarter 2022 Financial and Operating Results: As of September 30, 2022, we had $303.3 million in total cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities, comprised of $41.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and $262.2 million in marketable securities, compared to $454.1 million in total cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities, comprised of $37.6 million in cash and cash equivalents and $416.5 million in marketable securities as of December 31, 2021. The Company expects that its cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of September 30, 2022 will enable it to fund its operating plan into 2025 upon completion of the anticipated sale-leaseback of its Tarzana, CA manufacturing site. Research and development expenses were $39.7 million and $120.3 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022, respectively, compared to $29.1 million and $64.7 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, respectively. General and administrative expenses were $17.0 million and $49.3 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022, respectively, compared to $14.0 million and $37.1 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, respectively. INSTIL BIO, INC.SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA (Unaudited; in thousands, except share and per share amounts) Selected Balance Sheet Data   September 30, 2022   December 31, 2021 Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities $ 303,287   $ 454,099 Total assets $ 532,741   $ 609,983 Total liabilities $ 122,153   $ 54,784 Stockholders' equity $ 410,588   $ 555,199 Statements of Operations   Three Months EndedSeptember 30,   Nine Months EndedSeptember 30,     2022       2021       2022       2021   Operating expenses:               Research and development $ 39,660     $ 29,064     $ 120,334     $ 64,674   General and administrative   16,989       13,960       49,325       37,134   Total operating expenses   56,649       43,024       169,659       101,808   Loss from operations.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 14th, 2022

12 Things No One Tells You About Early Retirement

Retiring from your profession is something that will happen sooner or later. When your hair becomes too gray, and you can no longer keep up with the amount of work that needs to be done, you will most likely be on your way out of the company, on your way to enjoying your golden years […] Retiring from your profession is something that will happen sooner or later. When your hair becomes too gray, and you can no longer keep up with the amount of work that needs to be done, you will most likely be on your way out of the company, on your way to enjoying your golden years at home, in a retirement community or getting busy with your garden. Early retirement is a different story, though. It’s not common among today’s professionals, especially in the current economic landscape. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. There is more than one reason why only a small percentage of the working class retire early, and if you are one of the few people who plan on doing it soon, there might be some things you’re not aware of. That’s why in this post, I’ll explain 12 things you must consider before deciding to retire early. You need to have enough money to fund your healthcare. One benefit of working is that your company sometimes covers part or all of your healthcare needs. This is especially helpful if you are on constant medication or have a family member or dependant who relies on one. Even without this benefit, having a stable source of income still provides a way to set aside funds for your healthcare. Early retirement will strip you of this benefit, and it can be rather costly to shoulder the expenses. In the US, the average person spent $12,100 on healthcare in 2020. The government does provide some help to ease this dilemma, but it will not be available for early retirees until they reach the age of 65. Depending on the age you plan to retire, this could possibly mean shouldering decades’ worth of health-related expenses, and it will not be light on your pockets. So, you’ll need to do some good planning and have a large enough emergency fund set aside just for those expenses. It might not be as difficult as it seems to live steadily. While early retirement is generally seen as expensive in the long term, it may not be the case for everyone. If you have been a prudent worker and have saved enough for your plan to take off, secured alternate sources of income, and considered the impact of inflation, you are more than ready to leave your workspace and settle for good. Also, retiring does not necessarily mean that you have to let go of any earning opportunity. Nowadays, there are many ways for you to earn passive income while having the time of your life. Investing in stocks, cryptocurrencies, or making a living out of your passion are some things you can do to still have an inflow of resources even after retiring early. Additionally, you can adopt wise money-saving decisions to help manage your finances, like budgeting, tracking your expenses daily, taking advantage of coupons and promos, and avoiding making impulsive purchases, especially those that are costly. You must think of ways to pay your mortgage or rent. Unless your decision to retire early from work is amplified by the fact that you no longer need to make monthly payments for your home, you need to think of ways to cover your mortgage payments. They can get expensive, especially when you no longer have a steady stream of income, and future repairs can also be an additional burden. You also have to consider property taxes, as they might increase depending on how the economy performs in the following years. It’s much better to expect the worst when it comes to these things, as having inadequate funds can put you in a tough predicament in the future. Early retirement is only practical if you make a decent passive income. Even if you have decided to free yourself from the shackles of unreasonable work hours and tedious responsibilities, the world will not stop charging you from living. Expenses will continue to pile up, you will need to eat, pay your bills, and as cliche as it sounds, enjoy yourself and be happy. All of these things will require money, and the need for money calls for a way to earn it. Unless you have millions, your savings can only get you so far in life, even if you manage them wisely. Therefore, you still technically need to exert some effort to earn money. But if you’re looking for a leisurely retirement sipping margaritas in a tropical paradise without lifting a finger, that will only happen if you manage to produce passive income. You don’t necessarily need to earn enough to cover 100% of your expenses, but at least enough to lower withdrawals from your savings to help make them last for the rest of your life. If you don’t make passive income, you’ll have to get back in the saddle. Perhaps a different arrangement, like a remote or work-from-home job you can do part-time, could be enough, or you may even need to go back to full-time. This is why, in many cases, retiring early from work isn’t so much retiring as it is replacing one type of work with another unless you are a son of a billionaire or an heir to generational wealth. Money will not be your top priority if you retire early. While it is still a factor you need to consider when planning your retirement, money will not play as big of a role in your journey after leaving work as it did when you were still working a nine-to-five. People who retire early want to be free from being slaves of the corporate world, and that is what they focus on. It will make no sense to retire early only to live the rest of your life worrying about money, will it? No one tells you this when you’re about to retire, and it will either dawn on you the moment you decide to pass your resignation letter or arrive as a late realization. However, this may put you in a tricky spot if you don’t plan your retirement adequately because you DO need to worry about money. You don’t want to live a couple of blissful years of happy retirement in complete denial only to be hit by the reality that you no longer have any money and need to get back to work. You’ll be stronger and healthier and have more time to enjoy the things you like. One drawback of retiring at an old age is while you do have all the time and freedom in the world, your age will simply hinder you from enjoying that freedom. If you retire early, you will have the best of both worlds as you’ll have both the time and the energy to do anything you want and more. Retiring in your twenties or thirties means you’ll actually be able to tick off all the things on your bucket list–travel to Greece, get a dog, visit a museum, write a book, or finish reading all the books that have been collecting dust in your room. Before you know it, you’ll be out of things to do, so make sure to write a long bucket list. You’ll have to pay hefty fees to access your retirement fund. Retirement funds are intended for people retiring at the normal retirement age, not for early retirement. Depending on the investment vehicle you chose when you started saving and how mature your retirement fund is when you actually retire, you’ll probably have to pay early withdrawal fees. For example, if you purchased a 10 or 20 years deferred annuity but want to make a withdrawal within the growth period, most insurers will charge a strong fee that becomes lower the more you wait. Additionally, if you paid for your annuity with money from a 401(k) and plan to withdraw before turning 59½, you’ll have to pay an early withdrawal penalty fee of 10% on your withdrawal to the IRS. So, retiring early can be quite expensive if not done right. It will take time for you to adjust to your new retirement life. One of the reasons for retiring early is to be free of the routine lifestyle when you were still clocking a nine to five. This will obviously change once you retire, and adjusting can be challenging. It varies with every person—for some, it might only take a couple of days; for others, it could be a couple of months, maybe even a year. You mustn’t feel pressure to adjust, though, because you have all the time in the world to change your routine or even abandon the thought of having one. Allow yourself to make the transition no matter how long it takes because deadlines are but a thing of the past when you retire early from work. Your definition of “early” retirement depends entirely on you. Unlike the normal retirement at a qualifying age—usually 60 years and older—early retirement depends entirely on your own timeline. This means that you do not have to give in to any external pressures and make the call when you feel you can finally afford it. If early retirement for you is not having to work by the time you turn 30, then you can do so when you reach that age. You just have to make sure that you have planned your whole life ahead, not just in terms of money, but in terms of the things you want to do. That’s also your call to make; you are the only one to blame if everything goes awry and retiring early does not work out for you. It is a double-edged sword, but for the most part, it’s the first manifestation of your freedom. Early retirement doesn’t always work. Pun aside, early retirement is not everyone’s cup of tea, and even if it were, it might not be the best option for everyone. At a superficial level, leaving your work while you’re still young sounds like a promising dream for everyone. However, it may entail long-term consequences that might not sit well with some. Aside from the financial problems that may arise, there’s also the possibility of losing control over your life. Early retirement does have its perks. You can give attention to things you had not paid any mind to when you were still working; take the time to rest; enjoy your favorite hobbies when you’re young instead of delaying them until you can’t enjoy them anymore, and you can have fun in general. But if you have all these things checked and you’re still asking yourself, “what’s left for me to do?” it might be a sign that retiring early might not have been the best decision to make. This is a consequence of our needs and priorities, which are summarized in Abraham Maslow’s pyramid. Retiring early can eliminate an important source of satisfaction of our “belongingness” needs because when working in any organization, we feel we belong to something bigger. It can also hinder our ability to grow and find self-fulfillment, which can leave us in a state of disappointment when we reach the end of our lives. Early retirement gives you a go signal for a fresh start. Just as there is no right time to retire early from work, there is also no limit as to when you wish to do a start-over with your life. One of the best things about retiring early is you can restart everything and live life with a clean slate. This time, you have both the control and resources you need to make your life what you want it to be. In addition, you also get to decide what path you will take after retirement — do you want to go back to school? Set up an art studio? Focus on your passion for baking? You can do any or all of these things when you retire early. You don’t have to explain why, and all you need to do is live your life the way you want to live it. You will have to weigh out your options. While you think that you virtually have full control over your life, early retirement will still compel you to weigh your options and make wise decisions to make sense of your retirement. You’ll have to let go of some opportunities to utilize others, and the choice of prioritizing your happiness will also sometimes require you to trade off some other form of convenience. The Bottom Line Early retirement is a decision that is yours and yours to make, and if you have no idea of what is in store for you when you decide to do it, then the things discussed above will give you a glimpse of the reality that it entails. Like many other things in the world, retiring from work at an early age comes with certain perks and drawbacks, and you must consider them both before making your decision. It is up to you to decide the terms and date of your retirement, but how it plays out will ultimately depend on your choices once you take that leap of faith. Article by Jordan Bishop, Due About the Author Jordan Bishop discovered the power of credit cards at a young age. His first splash into travel hacking came with the wildly viral launch of Yore Oyster, which landed him national media attention and more than a million frequent flyer miles. He leveraged that opportunity to help tens of thousands of people save millions of dollars on flights, all while globetrotting the world......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 25th, 2022

As Asia Welcomes Back Foreign Travel What Is Market Sentiment For Travel And Leisure Stocks

After nearly three years of ongoing travel bans, lockdowns and mandatory quarantines due to the pandemic, the majority of Asian and Southeast Asian countries have now scrapped their last remaining travel restrictions in a bid to welcome back foreign and international travelers. While several countries reopened at the start of summer, some nations were not […] After nearly three years of ongoing travel bans, lockdowns and mandatory quarantines due to the pandemic, the majority of Asian and Southeast Asian countries have now scrapped their last remaining travel restrictions in a bid to welcome back foreign and international travelers. While several countries reopened at the start of summer, some nations were not as lenient, keeping much of their border restrictions in place and imposing a limit on the amount of daily passenger arrivals. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Asia Opens Up Tourism The latest insight reveals that roughly 21 Asian and Southeast Asian countries have now fully reopened for tourism, with some still having minimal travel requirements in place for foreign visitors. China remains mostly closed. With the region now welcoming back tourists, travel merchants and corporate travel groups are eager to restart the local tourism industry as the pandemic demolished Southeast Asia’s $390 billion tourism industry and erased millions of jobs. In Brunei Darussalam, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam it’s estimated that nearly 1.6 million tourism-related jobs were lost during the height of the pandemic, with further estimates suggesting the number could be much higher. Trampled by the pandemic, several nations have since reinstated new travel policies in hopes of rebounding their local tourism industry. Yet, the optimisation of recovery has been met with experts suggesting some nations could face long-term ecological and environmental issues due to over tourism. Back in 2018, former Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte managed to close off the white sand island of Crimson Boracay for six months in an effort to rehabilitate the natural environment. After reopening,  the island has kept some sustainability measures in place, yet in April this year,  exceeded its daily visitor count multiple times, conly creating more problems for authorities. Despite prices up for nearly everything, from airline tickets, lodging, restaurants and transportation - pent-up consumer demand has surpassed expectations by far this year. In recent weeks, Thailand, the second largest among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) unveiled its target of welcoming back more than 30 million foreign tourists in 2023, an optimistic figure that’s still below pre-pandemic levels. The government has been eager to kickstart the country’s tourism sector which represented 20% of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019. Thailand lifted all its travel restrictions on July 1, 2022. The semi-autonomous Chinese city - Hong Kong - recently dropped its hotel quarantine requirements in September, later followed by Taiwan resuming visa free entry for U.S. and European citizens. For much of the region in slow recovery mode, travel and leisure stocks endured positive change of course in recent weeks on the back of reports that nations are further easing restrictions. Early September revealed positive growth for travel stocks in Southeast Asia, as the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.16%, and the Topix Index gained 0.75% after Japan announced reports of waiving its travel restrictions. In recent days, stocks were trading upwards as the Wall Street rally continued. By October 14, both the Nikkei 225 and the Topix gained 3.25% and 2.35%, respectively. The Han Seng Index in Hong Kong jumped by 1.93%, while the Shanghai Composite was up 1.84% at market close. Local economic rebound has been slow, but steady despite ongoing challenges. Market data suggests that as countries reopen for tourism, a much needed economic injection, red-hot inflation, soaring interest rates and higher travel costs could dampen optimism. Yet, these challenges won’t hinder consumers from taking to the skies, as pent-up demand and revenge travel fueled a summer of travel chaos largely spread across the U.S. and Europe. Although an exodus of the travel season is now behind us, Leeny Oberg, Finance Chief at Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) commented on the state of travel and leisure in the country at the moment. According to Oberg, “We are not seeing any signs of any demand pullback at this point. People want to get out there and travel.” But on the stock market, higher prices reflected in overall better performance. Airline Stocks Rise Asian airline carriers have made a steady return in recent months. The Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (HKG:0293) announced in May 2022 it would rehire hundreds of previously laid-off cabin crew ahead of its recovery agreement. Share prices have been steadily gaining in recent months, with August experiencing positive growth with the airline posting a 17% rise in revenue for the first half of the year. In post earrings, stocks were up by 0.94%, and investors are hopeful that talks with Boeing to refresh its fleet could drive up passenger count for next summer. ANA Holdings (TYO:9202), the Japan-based aviation giant has seen share prices march upward in recent months with year-to-date (YTD) performance gaining 16.13%. Solid performance comes after the recent announcement of the Japanese government scrapping its COVID-related restrictions and welcoming back foreign travel. Asian airline group Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SGX:C6L) has recently started a private discussion with Tata Group for a possible integration of Vistara and Air India. The deal would see the company growing its fleet, and operating more connecting flights to India. YTD share performance has gained 0.60%, but the airline carrier is confident in the upcoming holiday season to make a rebound on the stock market. Corporate hotel group Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H) has also been a solid performer so far, with prices soaring by 23.7% in the last year. This is a significant performance against the overall industry decline of 3.9%. The company has experienced positive growth in recent months, and last year's performance has increased 2023 full-year estimates by 42.1%. Japanese-based Oriental Land (TYO:4661) has managed to regain strong revenue performance after witnessing a 33.45% jump in its annual revenue, a major boost after two years of berish performance. Overall stock performance has been regaining traction, with YTD prices jumping 3.80%. Oriental is poised for a strong long-term increase over the coming months as travelers return to the region. Hotel group, Pan Pacific (TYO:7532) has held strong revenue performance between 2019 and 2022, despite the pandemic seeing the company having to limit its operations in some of its more popular tourist destinations. For investors though, the outlook on share performance has been largely positive, with YTD prices up by more than 60%. September and October saw prices come down slightly, but the company has been working on improving its topline by updating its guest packages and hiking prices due to operational cost increases. Despite the surrounding possibility of a recession and consumers trying to cut back on irregular spending, other contenders such as Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL), Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD), and Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) are all in a comfortable position after the turbulent summer season. This rebound has allowed major travel and leisure corporations to regain losses experienced throughout the last two years, and build a suitable safety net in case of any sudden market turndowns. Company Expansions On top of this, with borders now reopened, and travel back in full swing, companies can continue their expansion of operations in newer and foreign markets. This would allow them the opportunity to pick up where they left off just before the pandemic shut everything down. Expansion, domestic growth, and adding new services and products means that companies can increase their capacity and dominance in their respective industry. Investors might have fled the market in a flurry to shield themselves from the possibility of major market downturns, but there are still some opportunistic possibilities left in the forgotten travel and leisure sector. Though the industry is not completely recovered, and will still need to revolve its tight labor market conditions, it’s shows that with persistence, and a bit of grit, even the most hard-hit sectors can make a comeback Even as the market starts to iron out the choppy conditions, going forward we could see investors slowly but surely changing their direction, as travel and leisure rebuilds itself on the traditional market and re-instill bullish investor sentiment......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 20th, 2022

The Talented Mr. Pottinger: The US Intelligence Agent Who Pushed Lockdowns

The Talented Mr. Pottinger: The US Intelligence Agent Who Pushed Lockdowns Authored by Michael Senger via 'The New Normal' Substack, In 1948, the US House of Representatives received a tip from a man named Whittaker Chambers that several federal officials had been working for the communists. One of these officials was more than happy to appear before Congress to clear his name—a leading State Department and United Nations representative named Alger Hiss. The rakish Hiss was the exemplary American statesman: Polite, pedigreed, well-spoken, and a Harvard man to boot. During the 1945 United Nations conference, the Chinese delegation had proposed the creation of a new international health organization. After the Chinese failed to get a resolution passed, Hiss recommended establishing the organization by declaration, and the World Health Organization was born. In Congress, Hiss coolly denied the allegations and denounced his deadbeat accuser for the libelous claims. The House came away newly reassured that the State Department was in excellent hands. (Spoiler alert: He was then and always had been a communist.) The next year, intelligence leaks from the federal service led to the Soviet Union’s first successful nuclear test, ending the security afforded by America’s nuclear monopoly 15 years earlier than experts expected. Shortly thereafter, Kim Il-Sung and Chairman Mao used the cover of Soviet nuclear weapons to invade South Korea. The ensuing war claimed over 3 million lives and resulted in the permanent recognition of the nation of North Korea. Around this time, a little-known Congressman from California’s 12th district named Richard M. Nixon pressed Chambers for more information. Chambers reluctantly led Tricky Dick to a package of State Department materials he had hidden in a pumpkin patch—including notes in Hiss’s own writing. Alger Hiss became the most high-level American official ever convicted in connection with working for the communists. 2022 To be honest, I barely knew who Matt Pottinger was until I read that he’d appointed Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator in her bizarrely self-incriminating memoir Silent Invasion, which reads like it was written by the Chinese Communist Party itself. There’s little information about Pottinger’s role in Covid online. Yet Pottinger is portrayed as a leading protagonist in three different pro-lockdown books on America’s response to Covid-19: The Plague Year by the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright, Nightmare Scenario by the Washington Post’s Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Chaos Under Heaven by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin. Pottinger’s singularly outsized role in pushing for alarm, shutdowns, mandates, and science from China in the early months of Covid is extremely well-documented. Pottinger’s enormous influence during Covid is especially surprising not only because of his absence from online discussion about these events, but because of who he is. The son of leading Department of Justice official Stanley Pottinger, Matt Pottinger graduated with a degree in Chinese studies in 1998 before going to work as a journalist in China for seven years, where he reported on topics including the original SARS. In 2005, Pottinger unexpectedly left journalism and obtained an age waiver to join the US Marine Corps. Over several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pottinger became a decorated intelligence officer and met General Michael Flynn, who later appointed him to the National Security Council (NSC). Pottinger was originally in line to be China Director, but Flynn gave him the more senior job of Asia Director. Despite being new to civilian government, Pottinger outlasted many others in Trump’s White House. In September 2019, Pottinger was named Deputy National Security Advisor, second only to National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. Pottinger is best known as a China hawk, but a smart and sophisticated one. He’s been ahead of the curve in calling out China’s increasingly aggressive geopolitical stance, articulating this challenge with near-perfect eloquence. As Politico writes, “While hawks like Bannon love his tough views toward China, even Democrats call his views basically mainstream. Still, some foreign policy experts…wonder what a nice guy like him is doing in a place like this.” “He’s a very effective bureaucratic player, which is saying something because he’s never had a policy job before,” the New York Times agreed. “Matt has an extraordinary sense of caution that, ‘Let’s not push something unless the president clearly has approved it.’ This is different from other members of White House staff,” the Washington Post admired. While many Trump administration officials have floundered since Trump left the White House, “things are going well for Pottinger,” Vox gushed. “[T]hat subject matter expertise—plus the patina afforded by resigning on January 6—has helped Pottinger, a former journalist, expertly navigate the post-Trump landscape. He even emerged as the White House hero of the initial Covid-19 chaos in New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright’s chronicle of The Plague Year… One reason that Matt Pottinger was welcomed back into the establishment is that, unlike some of Trump’s unconventional appointees, he had already been a part of the elite.” From the center-right to the center-left and the far right to the far left, it’s tough to find anyone on the Beltway short on praise for Matt Pottinger. Everything about Pottinger is silky smooth. Between the lines of glowing coverage are not-so-subtle winks and nudges that he’d make an excellent candidate for higher office. 2020 1. Ratcheting Up Alarm via “Asymptomatic Spread” In January 2020, Pottinger unilaterally called meetings and ratcheted up alarm about the new coronavirus in the White House based on information from his own sources in China, despite having no official intelligence to back up his alarmism, breaching protocol on several occasions. In Washington, Matt Pottinger was first made aware of the new coronavirus after China’s CDC Director called US CDC Director Robert Redfield to report it on January 3, 2020. According to Pottinger, he grew increasingly alarmed due to the rumors he saw on Chinese social media. As Wright reports: He was struck by the disparity between official accounts of the novel coronavirus in China, which scarcely mentioned the disease, and Chinese social media, which was aflame with rumors and anecdotes. Pottinger therefore authorized the first interagency meeting on the coronavirus based on these social media reports. There was no official intelligence to prompt the meeting. On January 14, Pottinger authorized a briefing for the NSC staff by the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, along with CDC director Redfield. That first interagency meeting to discuss the situation in Wuhan wasn’t prompted by official intelligence; in fact, there was practically none of that. On January 27, 2020, Trump’s staff attended the first full meeting on the coronavirus in the White House Situation Room. Unbeknownst to those in attendance, Pottinger had unilaterally called the meeting. Others urged calm, but Pottinger immediately began pushing for travel bans. As Abutaleb writes: Few people in the room knew it, but Pottinger had actually called the meeting. The Chinese weren’t providing the US government much information about the virus, and Pottinger didn’t trust what they were disclosing anyway. He had spent two weeks scouring Chinese social media feeds and had uncovered dramatic reports of the new infectious disease suggesting that it was much worse than the Chinese government had revealed. He had also seen reports that the virus might have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. There were too many unanswered questions. He told everyone in the Sit Room that they needed to consider enacting a travel ban immediately: ban all travel from China; shut it down… [Pottinger] spent several days calling some of his old contacts in China, doctors who would tell him the truth. And they had told him that things were bad—and only going to get worse. Pottinger’s discourse was measured but he conveyed the gravity of the threat. He said that the virus was spreading fast. He said that dramatic actions would need to be taken, which was why the government should consider banning travel from China to the United States until it had a better understanding of what was going on. As he continued, people sat up in their chairs. This was not the “we’ve got everything handled” message that Azar had conveyed just minutes earlier. As Wright documents, the health officials thought travel restrictions would be futile. Predictably, the public health representatives were resistant, too: viruses found ways to travel no matter what. Moreover, at least 14,000 passengers from China were arriving in the U.S. every day; there was no feasible way to quarantine them all. These arguments would join a parade of other public health verities that would be jettisoned during the pandemic. Among those present, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney appears to have been the only one to express skepticism of Pottinger’s information. As Abutaleb writes: Mulvaney intervened to wrap things up. He could tell that Pottinger and a few others were calling for a dramatic change, one that was an anathema to his libertarian instincts. He was pretty skeptical of Pottinger’s “sources” in China, too. They weren’t going to be setting US policy based on what someone had heard from their “friend” thousands of miles away. Mulvaney reiterated that they would reconvene the next day to discuss matters again before anything was settled. He warned attendees not to leak any details of the meeting to the media. The next morning, January 28, 2020, Pottinger says he spoke to a doctor in China who told him the new coronavirus would be as bad as the 1918 Spanish flu, and that half the cases were asymptomatic. As Rogin writes: The next morning, Pottinger had a conversation with a very high-level doctor in China, one who had spoken with health officials in several provinces, including Wuhan. This was a trusted source who was in a position to know the ground truth. “Is this going to be as bad as SARS in 2003?” he asked the doctor, whose name must remain secret for his own protection. “Forget SARS in 2003,” the doctor replied, “this is 1918.” The doctor told Pottinger half the cases were asymptomatic and the government must have known all about it. Later that same day, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien brought Pottinger into the Oval Office, where he seized the first opportunity to repeat to the President what the doctor in China had told him that morning. “This is the single greatest national security crisis of your presidency and it’s now unfolding,” O’Brien told the president. “It’s going to be 1918,” Pottinger told Trump. “Holy fuck,” the president replied. Wright goes into more detail on this meeting, in which Pottinger interjected to alarm the President: Later that day, the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, brought Pottinger into the Oval Office, where the president was getting his daily intelligence briefing. Far down the list of threats was the mysterious new virus in China. The briefer didn’t seem to take it seriously. O’Brien did. “This will be the biggest national security threat you will face in your presidency,” he warned. “Is this going to be as bad or worse than SARS in 2003?” Trump asked. The briefer responded that it wasn’t clear yet. Pottinger, who was sitting on a couch, jumped to his feet. He had seen enough high-level arguments in the Oval Office to know that Trump relished clashes between agencies. “Mr. President, I actually covered that,” he said, recounting his experience with SARS and what he was learning now from his sources—most shockingly, that more than half of the spread of the disease was by asymptomatic carriers. China had already curbed travel within the country, but every day thousands of people were traveling from China to the U.S.—half a million in January alone. “Should we shut down travel?” the president asked. “Yes,” Pottinger said unequivocally. That same day, Pottinger and the White House staff reconvened in the Situation Room. Pottinger recalls that he’d been especially inspired into action by Xi Jinping’s lockdown of Wuhan and by the hospital that the CCP claims to have built in 10 days, but did not actually build. As Abutaleb reports: A few hours later, Pottinger and other government officials filed back into the Situation Room. Pottinger knew he was going to be outnumbered. Mulvaney and his allies didn’t want to allow the NSC to do anything that might be too disruptive. Blocking travel from China would be an unprecedented intervention. And over what? Five cases of the sniffles in the United States?… On January 23, China announced that it was locking down Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. The shutdown was extended to several more cities in the coming days, with travel prohibited inside much of the country. Tens of millions of people were effectively locked in their homes. The Chinese were rapidly building an entire hospital in Wuhan that was completed within days. Everyone in the country was wearing a mask. People in hazmat suits took passengers’ temperatures before anyone was allowed into the subway. China had gone from reluctantly admitting that there had been a few cases of person-to-person spread to shutting down the world’s second largest economy. If the virus had brought the world’s most populous country to a standstill, some top US officials, especially Pottinger, knew they should be doing more. As Deputy National Security Advisor, Pottinger was supposed to “avoid arguing forcefully for any particular outcome,” so he brought Peter Navarro to make his arguments for him. Abutaleb continues: But as deputy national security advisor, Pottinger was in an awkward position. He was supposed to be chairing the meeting, which meant that his job was to solicit input from others in the room and avoid arguing forcefully for any particular outcome. That fact tied his hands. He needed someone else to make the more pointed parts of his argument for him. Someone who would stand up to everyone else in the room unflinchingly. He knew just the person: a reviled troublemaker named Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council… Pottinger’s plan to use Navarro as his mouthpiece seemed to work initially, but then Navarro kept going. And going… They needed to ban travel, and they needed to do it now. Pottinger had been waiting for an opening. He told his colleagues that he had come across some alarming information: Chinese officials were no longer able to contact trace the virus. In other words, it was so widespread that they couldn’t determine where people had contracted it. And he relayed the Chinese suspicions about asymptomatic spread: people who seemed perfectly healthy were transmitting the virus, not just in China but potentially everywhere, including in the United States. Once again, Mulvaney was skeptical of Pottinger. Three months prior, Navarro had been caught citing himself as an expert source using the pseudonym “Ron Vara”: Mulvaney couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. Pottinger and Navarro had nearly pulled off a policy ambush. “Look,” Mulvaney told someone at the meeting, “I’ve got Pottinger with a friend of his in Hong Kong as a source. I’ve got Navarro, who makes up his sources, and then on the other side of the equation I’ve got Kadlec and Fauci and Redfield, three experts, who say not to shut down flights just yet.” A health expert pointed out that the statistic Pottinger had reported from the doctor in China about asymptomatic spread couldn’t be true. One of the government health experts pulled Pottinger aside. The stat Pottinger had cited, the one about half of all people with the virus being asymptomatic, there’s just no way that can be true, the person said. No one has ever heard of a coronavirus similar to SARS or MERS whose spread can be driven in part by asymptomatic carriers. That would be a game changer. On February 1, Mulvaney tried to rein Pottinger in. As Rogin reports: Concerned about the political implications, Mulvaney tried to rein in Pottinger. He took O’Brien aside and told him, “You’ve got to get Pottinger under control.” Pottinger was too young, Mulvaney said, and too immature to be deputy national security adviser. Mulvaney was among the most skeptical of all the White House officials that the virus threat was real. In late February, as the markets tanked, Mulvaney said the media was exaggerating the threat in an effort to bring down President Trump, calling it the “hoax of the day.” As he prepared the White House’s first budget to respond to the emerging crisis, Mulvaney pegged the total cost at $800 million. (Mulvaney was pushed out in early March.) 2. Pottinger’s Crusade for Universal Masking In February 2020, Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, began a months-long campaign to popularize universal masking and travel quarantines in response to the coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China. Beginning in February 2020, Pottinger began a crusade for Americans to adopt universal masking in response to the new coronavirus based on recommendations from his own sources in China. As Abutaleb writes: Back in February, Matt Pottinger had relayed what he had hoped would be received as good news by the Coronavirus Task Force. His contacts in China had found a way to significantly slow the virus’s spread: face coverings. Pottinger began wearing a mask to work in early March to convince his White House colleagues to take up the practice. A mask, however, could significantly stem transmission, Pottinger argued. If people’s noses and mouths were covered, they would emit far fewer respiratory droplets, lowering the risk of infecting others. Pottinger began wearing a mask to work in early March. But he didn’t wear a simple cloth face covering; he wore what other White House aides thought was a gas mask. He looked like a lunatic, some snickered, and it reinforced his reputation as an alarmist. One staffer described him as “being at a hundred” as early as January (on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of concern). Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, pushed for mask mandates in the White House and for staff to be quarantined if they traveled outside Washington. Having lived in China during the SARS outbreak, he saw the importance of the speed with which Asian countries had mobilized. In early February, he recommended that NSC staffers who traveled outside Washington—even to other parts of the United States—quarantine before returning to work. He also wanted NSC staff to telework when possible, limit in-person meetings, restrict the number of people who could be in a room at one time, and be required to wear masks. That struck many White House aides as absurd. There were just a handful of known cases at the time; the virus was barely a blip on most people’s radars. No one else was changing their workplace standards… Pottinger urged the adoption of universal masking as had been ordered by “governments in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.” Pottinger pointed to a handful of Asian countries where the use of face coverings was universal. The governments in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong had ordered their citizens to wear masks with seemingly indisputable results. Pottinger saw no “downside” in universal masking, though there was no data and research to show it was effective. Pottinger’s heart sank as he saw the tweet and the ensuing messages. What was the downside in having people cover their faces while they waited for more data and research about how effective masks might be? Pottinger proposed delivering a mask to every mailbox in America. As Wright reports: Pottinger and Robert Kadlec, an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services, came up with an idea to put masks in every mailbox in America. Hanes, the underwear company, offered to make antimicrobial masks that were machine washable. “We couldn’t get it through the task force,” Pottinger told his brother. “We got machine-gunned down before we could even move on it.” Masks were still seen as useless or even harmful by the administration and even public health officials. Matt Pottinger’s crusade for the adoption of universal masking based on information from his own sources in China is especially peculiar because, as of the time of this writing, though there are hundreds of pictures of Pottinger online, there does not appear to be a single one in which he is wearing a mask anywhere on the Internet. 3. Popularizing Shutdowns In January 2020, Pottinger popularized shutdowns within the White House using a dubious study on the 1918 flu pandemic comparing outcomes between Philadelphia and St. Louis, a month before this study received any significant media attention. If you live in the United States, you probably remember the ludicrous study that made the rounds among major media outlets in March 2020 comparing outcomes in Philadelphia and St. Louis during the 1918 Spanish flu. According to the study, St. Louis canceled its annual parade, closed schools, and discouraged gatherings in 1918, while Philadelphia did not, so Philadelphia was punished when thousands of residents died of flu over the coming weeks. Therefore, these media outlets argued, it somehow logically followed that we should shut down the entire United States economy in 2020. One man who was several weeks ahead of media outlets in citing this claptrap was Matt Pottinger. As Wright reports, Pottinger began popularizing the idea of shutdowns within the White House by circulating this study among his White House colleagues on January 31, 2020. Matt Pottinger handed out a study of the 1918 flu pandemic to his colleagues in the White House, indicating the differing outcomes between the experiences of Philadelphia and St. Louis—a clear example of the importance of leadership, transparency, and following the best scientific counsel. 4. Appointing Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Beginning in January 2020, Pottinger began petitioning for Deborah Birx to be appointed as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. Birx then embarked on a months-long scorched earth campaign for lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. On January 28, 2020, Pottinger began to reach out to Deborah Birx to have her come to the White House to lead the response to the Coronavirus. As Birx recalls in her book: On January 28, after meeting with Erin Walsh to solidify the planning and schedule for the upcoming African Diplomatic Corps State Department meeting, I received a text from Yen Pottinger. Aside from being the wife of my friend Matt, the deputy national security advisor, Yen was also a former colleague at the CDC and a trusted friend and neighbor… Matt had apologized for the short notice and said he hoped we could meet face-to-face. Yen arranged so that I could meet him in the West Wing, and once we were both there, Matt got to the point quickly. He offered me the position of White House spokesperson on the virus. Abutaleb goes into more detail on Birx’s relationship with Pottinger. Pottinger was married to one of Birx’s subordinates who’d developed a widely-used HIV test at the CDC. [Birx] made a number of powerful connections along the way. When she became head of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS, one of her subordinates was a bright virologist named Yen Duong, who developed a widely used HIV test while working at the agency. Duong would eventually marry a Wall Street Journal reporter turned marine named Matt Pottinger, a connection that would eventually bring Birx into Trump’s orbit. According to Pottinger and Birx, he pleaded with her over several weeks to head the Coronavirus Task Force, and she reluctantly agreed. The hero we didn’t need. As Birx recalls in her book: It is March 2, 2020. I’ve just flown in overnight from South Africa to take on the role of response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a job I didn’t seek but felt compelled to accept. I’m physically tired but mentally alert. After weeks of urging from Matthew Pottinger— President Trump’s deputy national security advisor, a task force member himself, and the husband of a former colleague and friend of mine—I finally gave in to Matt’s request that I come on board to help with the response to the coronavirus outbreak… Matt Pottinger, was one of the good ones in the Trump White House. A former journalist turned highly-decorated U.S. Marine who served as an intelligence officer for part of his time, Matt had deep experience in China (including during the 2002–2003 SARS outbreak there) and was fluent in Mandarin. Matt took a position in the National Security Council in the earliest stage of the Trump administration, while still serving in the Marine Reserves. As documented in her bizarre tell-all book, which received uniquely excellent reviews from Chinese state media, Birx then embarked on a months-long, largely clandestine, scorched-earth crusade to orchestrate lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. These lockdowns ultimately killed tens of thousands of young Americans while failing to meaningfully slow the spread of the coronavirus everywhere they were tried. By her own admission, she lied, hid data, and manipulated the president’s administration to drive consent for lockdowns that were stricter than the administration realized until finally stepping down soon after breaking her own travel guidance to visit her family for Thanksgiving in November 2020. No sooner had we convinced the Trump administration to implement our version of a two-week shutdown than I was trying to figure out how to extend it. Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread was a start, but I knew it would be just that. I didn’t have the numbers in front of me yet to make the case for extending it longer, but I had two weeks to get them. However hard it had been to get the fifteen-day shutdown approved, getting another one would be more difficult by many orders of magnitude. In October 2020, while visiting Utah, Pottinger admired his handiwork in appointing Birx. Wright reports: Utah had just hit a record high number of new cases. On the ride, an alarm sounded on Pottinger’s cell phone in the saddlebag. It was an alert: “Almost every single county is a high transmission area. Hospitals are nearly overwhelmed. By public health order masks are required in high transmission areas.” Pottinger thought, “Debi must have met with the governor.” 5. Promoting Mass Testing Sometime in February 2020, Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, appears to have promoted within the White House the idea of mass testing for the coronavirus. Wright recounts: At a Coronavirus Task Force meeting, Redfield announced that the CDC would send a limited number of test kits to five “sentinel cities.” Pottinger was stunned: five cities? Why not send them everywhere? He learned that the CDC makes tests, but not at scale. For that, you have to go to a company like Roche or Abbott—molecular testing powerhouses which have the experience and capacity to manufacture millions of tests a month. Using the standard PCR cycle thresholds of 37 to 40 later provided in the testing guidance published by the WHO, approximately 85% to 90% of these cases were false positives, as later confirmed by The New York Times. 6. Endorsing Remdesivir In March 2020, Pottinger appears to have endorsed use of the drug remdesivir as a possible Covid therapy based on information from a doctor in China. Wright reports: In the early morning of March 4, as Matt Pottinger was driving to the White House, he was on the phone with a source in China, a doctor. Taking notes on the back of an envelope while holding the phone to his ear and navigating the city traffic, Pottinger was excited by all the valuable new information about how the virus was being contained in China. The doctor specifically mentioned the antiviral drug remdesivir. The health outcomes of remdesivir remain unknown, but no benefit to the mortality of its recipients has been proven. 7. Pushing Intelligence to Believe Covid Came From a Lab Pottinger has continually promoted the idea that the coronavirus came from a lab, and specifically prodded the US intelligence community to do the same, regardless of evidence, while urging the global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. In January 2020, Pottinger began directly prodding the CIA to look for evidence that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, China. As the New York Times disclosed: With his skeptical—some might even say conspiratorial—view of China’s ruling Communist Party, Mr. Pottinger initially suspected that President Xi Jinping’s government was keeping a dark secret: that the virus may have originated in one of the laboratories in Wuhan studying deadly pathogens. In his view, it might have even been a deadly accident unleashed on an unsuspecting Chinese population. During meetings and telephone calls, Mr. Pottinger asked intelligence agencies—including officers at the C.I.A. working on Asia and on weapons of mass destruction—to search for evidence that might bolster his theory. They didn’t have any evidence. Intelligence agencies did not detect any alarm inside the Chinese government that analysts presumed would accompany the accidental leak of a deadly virus from a government laboratory. But Mr. Pottinger continued to believe the coronavirus problem was far worse than the Chinese were acknowledging. Though the CIA did not return any evidence to support his theory, Pottinger has continued to promote the conclusion that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab, despite quietly admitting that the virus was not man-made or genetically modified. As CBS reported in its interview on February 21, 2021: MARGARET BRENNAN: U.S. intelligence has said COVID, according to wide scientific consensus, was not man-made or genetically modified. You are not in any way alleging that it was, are you?  MATT POTTINGER: No. Much of the initial alarm that Covid might be a supervirus from the Wuhan lab arose because of the frightening videos of Wuhan residents spontaneously dying in January 2020, and because Xi Jinping decided to shut down Wuhan, where the lab was. However, all of those videos were soon proven fake, and US intelligence has confirmed that the virus was spreading in Wuhan by November 2019 at the latest. A growing body of research suggests that the virus did not start either in the Wuhan lab or the Wuhan wet market, and a number of studies from various continents have shown that the virus was also spreading undetected all over the world by November 2019 at the latest, many months before lockdowns began. Covid’s origins remain a mystery, and leading scientists and policymakers were nowhere near transparent enough about their panic that the virus might have come from a lab in early 2020. However, given that the national security community has quietly admitted Covid is not genetically modified, it began spreading undetected globally many months before lockdowns, and it did not cause Wuhan residents to spontaneously die, the question of whether Covid came from the lab would appear to be a moot point from a national security perspective. Furthermore, in my book and elsewhere, there is a growing body of evidence that the CCP used a variety of clandestine means to promote the idea that Covid came from a lab, both to stoke fear and to mislead the western intelligence community from the CCP’s well-documented campaign for global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. Likewise, Pottinger has continually promoted the idea that Covid came from a lab, and prodded the intelligence community to do the same, while urging the adoption of China’s virus containment measures. Pottinger’s credulousness in sharing and promoting scientific concepts and policies from China including asymptomatic spread, universal masking, quarantines, shutdowns, and remdesivir further belies the notion that the fixation on the Wuhan lab serves any legitimate national security interest. In summary, as Deputy National Security Advisor, Matt Pottinger played a singularly outsized role in shaping America’s disastrous response to Covid by taking the following actions: Throughout January 2020, Pottinger unilaterally called White House meetings unbeknownst to those in attendance and breached protocol to ratchet up alarm about the new coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China, despite having no official intelligence to back up his alarmism. Despite having no background in science or public health, beginning in February 2020, Pottinger embarked on a months-long campaign to urge the adoption of universal masking and travel quarantines in response to the coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China. However, there does not appear to be a single picture of Pottinger wearing a mask anywhere on the Internet. Pottinger popularized the idea of shutdowns within the White House using a questionable study on the 1918 flu pandemic comparing outcomes between Philadelphia and St. Louis, a month before this study received any significant attention from media outlets in 2020. Pottinger specifically courted Deborah Birx to serve as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, who then embarked on a months-long campaign for lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. Despite having no background in science or public health, Pottinger appears to have promoted the idea of mass testing for the coronavirus. Pottinger appears to have endorsed use of the drug remdesivir as a possible Covid therapy based on information from a doctor in China. Pottinger has continually promoted the conclusion that the coronavirus came from a lab, and specifically prodded the US intelligence community to do the same, regardless of evidence to support that conclusion, while simultaneously urging the global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. In Pottinger’s speeches, he often discusses the need for more grassroots populism in China. Pottinger may have simply been overly-trusting of his sources, thinking they were the little people in China trying to help their American friends. But why did Pottinger push so hard for sweeping Chinese policies like mask mandates that were far outside his field of expertise? Why did he so often breach protocol? Why seek out and appoint Deborah Birx? Pottinger’s zealousness in endorsing these sweeping policies is even more bewildering because it’s widely known in the intelligence community that the CCP’s primary focus is on information warfare—“superseding their cultural and political values” to those of the west and undermining the western values that Xi Jinping sees as threatening, outlined in his leaked Document No. 9: “independent judiciaries,” “human rights,” “western freedom,” “civil society,” “freedom of the press,” and the “free flow of information on the internet.” Though political conditions in China have deteriorated rapidly, Pottinger is supposed to know that—that’s why he had the Top Secret security clearance and the big job in the National Security Council. In fact, we know how rapidly conditions in China have deteriorated in part because Matt Pottinger is the one who told us. The only reason anyone accepted all this information and guidance from these Chinese sources is that it came through Pottinger. I certainly can’t pass judgment. But from where I’m sitting, it looks like we’ve been struck by a smooth criminal. *  *  * Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. Want to support my work? Get the book. Already got the book? Leave a quick review. The New Normal is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/23/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 24th, 2022

Crisis Or Hiccup? Assessing The Logistics Impact Of China Lockdowns

Crisis Or Hiccup? Assessing The Logistics Impact Of China Lockdowns By Eric Kullisch of FreightWaves.com A mixed bag of circumstances and time horizons are creating diverging narratives about whether shipping delays stemming from the shutdown of Shanghai and other Chinese cities are getting better or presage massive supply chain gridlock. The Yangshan Deepwater Container Terminal at the Port of Shanghai, where trade flows have slowed because of citywide COVID restrictions There is no sign that Shanghai’s lockdown is easing anytime soon. Footage on social media shows steel fences being installed on public roads and inside residential compounds to keep people from traveling to other districts and moving in neighborhoods. On Monday, the Shanghai Health Commission reported 2,472 new positive cases of COVID-19, up from 1,401 the previous day. Total daily case levels exceed 30,000. Fifty-two people died Monday of COVID, according to the China Daily.  While some cities in China, including Guangzhou are loosening COVID restrictions, rising COVID cases in Beijing are sparking fears the Chinese capital and other cities could join Shanghai, Suzhou and other major cities in lockdowns. Kunshan, a technology manufacturing hub west of Shanghai, has extended a lockdown, which began on April 2, to April 28. Several districts in Hangzhou, home to e-commerce giant Alibaba, began a lockdown on April 23, with mass testing being carried out for three days. Based on current trends, China watchers say lockdowns won’t begin to ease until mid-May or possibly June as the government maintains its zero-COVID policy. In some ways the logistics situation sounds manageable. The Port of Shanghai, the largest container shipping gateway in the world, has remained in operation. Wait times for export loadings are only about two days and the 12 days it takes to pick up an import box is below wait times for other COVID-related disruptions in China since 2020, as American Shipper reported Thursday. The daily number of vessels waiting for a berth has actually fallen since the lockdown began nearly four weeks ago and there is limited congestion from redirected cargo at other ports.  But snapshots of current throughput don’t measure how much deferred cargo is piling up in warehouses or will be churned out by factories working overtime to make up for lost time. A key reason cargo isn’t stacking up at the port is that the vast majority of truck drivers are restricted from freely moving around Shanghai and making deliveries at marine terminals. Many logistics professionals remain concerned that a huge wave of cargo will be released once the lockdowns are lifted and swamp the handling capacity of local and overseas ports, compounding pressure on the traditional peak shipping season, according to logistics analysts. Shippers that haven’t placed orders yet could miss getting their goods in time for big shopping events such as back to school, Halloween and Christmas. “Shipping is being very materially disrupted. In 2021, we calculated about six weeks were needed to recover/get back to normal flows for every week of shutdown. Given this effective shutdown is in its third week, we can expect three months or more before flows are restored to normal levels,” Michael Zimmerman, leader of the analytics practice for the Americas at consulting firm Kearney, told FreightWaves. Shanghai’s industrial output fell 7.5% in March, the city’s statistics bureau said. Reduced manufacturing output and limited truck access to the port and airport have decreased air and ocean export volumes over the past month. The slowdown in imports has prevented key raw materials from reaching manufacturers and many companies have either shut down or are operating at severely constrained levels.  Export-oriented businesses that rely on global sources for raw materials will not be able to fully recover until logistics networks increase their capacity. There is a high risk that many industrial, technology, and automotive companies with suppliers in Shanghai and Kunshan will have to halt operations due to component shortages, should the current lockdowns in both cities continue into the month of May, says Everstream Analytics, which uses artificial intelligence to help companies predict supply chain threats. Factory shutdowns due to COVID are higher now in Shanghai than any comparable period in China. At least 11 Apple suppliers have been impacted by the lockdown, Everstream reported in an update. Foxconn, a key Apple supplier, halted production at plants in Shanghai and Kunshan. Shanghai authorities last week gave 660 companies the green light to restart operations. But ongoing restrictions prevent many workers from reaching the plants and many are functioning with less than half their workforce, according to various reports. The plants must have workers staying in a closed bubble environment. “Production will ramp up as imports increase and logistics services improve, but will not fully catch up until June or July,” said Andrea Huang, senior director of supply chain at Overhaul, a provider of supply chain visibility and risk management software, in an email. While the Port of Shanghai continues to operate, port productivity has decreased 20% to 30% and some carriers are not calling the port. Shipping delays are impacting intra-Asia trade, as well as North America and Europe trade lanes, according to international logistics and trade finance companies monitoring the situation. When the Yantian terminal in Shenzhen went under quarantine a year ago productivity was slashed by 80%, but in that case the restrictions applied specifically to the port and not the city itself. On Monday, Maersk announced a dozen blank sailings for its AE1 service to the Port of Ningbo, citing accumulating bottlenecks on its Asia-North Europe network. It is also rerouting cargo cargo where possible to mitigate delays and avoid bunching and adjusting barge and rail capacity to help off-set landside issues.  Several carriers are skipping Shanghai as a port of call until mid-May.  The Alliance (ONE, Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming) had canceled 36 voyages to Shanghai as of April 14, said Zimmerman. The lockdown has also led to significant shortages of 40-foot containers and diversion of 20-footers to other Chinese ports. Many carriers, including Maersk, ONE, Hapag-Lloyd, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, have suspended accepting new refrigerated and dangerous goods cargo to Shanghai, due to insufficient storage space at Shanghai’s port for such specialized containers. Maersk said it resumed booking dangerous goods at the Port of Shanghai on Friday as yard density begins to improve. According to FreightWaves’ SONAR, ocean demand out of Chinese ports to the U.S. dropped 31% between April 6 and 15. Other factors, including lower consumer demand, could also be involved, experts say. Real U.S. retail sales are down from last year as inflation squeezes pocketbooks and people spend more on services. FreightWaves SONAR shows ocean volume decline in recent weeks from Shanghai to California. Ocean freight bookings from China to the U.S. are about the same as last year at this time, according to Customs data compiled by SONAR. “If shippers are really nervous about not getting a lot of goods they should in theory be increasing their bookings” as they did after manufacturing shut down because of the Wuhan outbreak in 2020, said Luke Falesca, enterprise account director for SONAR on last week’s episode of #WithSONAR. “There’s not the same panic as when ports shut down in the past.” Drewry Shipping Consultants reports container volumes from Shanghai to Los Angeles and Shanghai to New York are down 17% and 16%, respectively, since the beginning of the year. Airport troubles Freight shipments through airports arguably are being jammed more than at ports, but also are subject to rapidly shifting dynamics. Since March, inbound airfreight has experienced 10 to 20 days delay due to airport customs closures in Shanghai and quarantine rules at other major airports. Outbound volumes have also declined. Once the lockdown eases, airfreight will pick up pace, with courier services taking a bit longer to recover, said Huang.  Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has extended its embargo on all imports and exports at Shanghai Pudong International Airport until May 6 due to the local COVID restrictions that forced the airline to cancel all flights to the city.  Many passenger and cargo airlines continue to cancel flights in and out of Shanghai. Cargolux, for example, stopped operating there until Monday. Cargo terminals at Shanghai’s airport have suspended on-site X-ray security testing and testing service for chemical goods, according to a recent customer update from Crane Worldwide Logistics. Air cargo diverted from Shanghai is disrupting freight operations at other Chinese airports, causing a shortage of pallets for exports, Chicago-based AIT Worldwide Logistics reported.  Meanwhile, Shenzhen International Airport imposed a daily import cap of 250 tons, including 125 tons for perishable and temperature-controlled cargo from April 21 to 27. During this period, the terminal won’t accept dangerous goods, loose cargo or cargo destined for Shanghai, the logistics provider said. While air cargo operations are functioning at the Shenzhen and Guangzhou airports, shipping and logistics giant Maersk warned customers that lead times for reserving space on aircraft are now two to three weeks due to the increased volume diverted from Shanghai.  Import operations are suspended in Nanjing.  AIT Worldwide Logistics reports that Air China’s terminal is back to normal operations, but China Southern’s terminal remains closed at Guangzhou airport. In Qingdao, air imports must be stored in the terminal for 10 days following disinfection. Wuhan has a three- to four-day backlog of air cargo because truck deliveries are suspended to cities facing outbreaks. Tianjin, in north China, is also preventing truck movements to cities with rising case counts. Tyler Durden Sun, 05/01/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 1st, 2022

A Ukrainian refugee says Putin"s propaganda machine is turning Russians into "zombies"

Tetiana Gladchenko, who fled Dnipro, Ukraine, last month and now lives with her sister in the US, told Insider that Russian news is "crazy lying." Tetiana and Art Gladchenko.Jake Epstein/Insider Tetiana Gladchenko, a Ukrainian refugee, told Insider she regularly keeps up with news on the war. She said that she can't watch Russian news because it's "propaganda" and "crazy lying." After the war began, Russia shut down independent media and imposed strict censorship.  A Ukrainian refugee said Russian President Vladimir Putin's propaganda machine is turning Russian civilians into "zombies."Tetiana Gladchenko, 46, and her son Art, 11, fled their home in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro last month, a dayslong journey that consisted of a 27-hour-train ride, a second, shorter train, and two flights to get from the Polish capital Warsaw to Boston. Since early March, Gladchenko and Art have lived with her sister in a town just south of Boston.Gladchenko said she has constantly kept up to date with the latest news on Russia's war against Ukraine — especially news on eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, where Russian forces have launched a renewed offensive.  She said, however, that she can't read Russian news about the war because of the "propaganda." "Only Russian news we can't hear physically because they lie — every single news lying — like, extremely lying … crazy lying," Gladchenko told Insider through translations from her sister.She described Russian news coverage as "completely different" from what was happening in Ukraine."They are propaganda and they are making their people like zombies," Gladchenko said. "Physically, I can't listen [to] that news."Since Putin's February 24 televised war declaration on Ukraine, Russia has pushed misinformation and propaganda as a way to craft the narrative back home.  Independent news outlets were shut down, and harsh censorship laws were introduced. International news and social media sites were also blocked, leaving Russian citizens with state-run news outlets as the exclusive source of information.  Russia has also tried to spin its narrative by claiming that many of the atrocities it is accused of committing are a hoax, despite overwhelming evidence from satellite imagery and local testimonies that refutes the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Western leaders have urged Russian citizens to seek ways to access independent news from outside the country — like downloading VPNs — as a way to skirt around the censorship.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 21st, 2022

Get Ready For The Next Supply Chain Shockwave

Get Ready For The Next Supply Chain Shockwave By Eric Kulisch of FreightWaves Concern is growing that the spread of COVID cases and city lockdowns in China will have massive downstream effects for global supply chains that could dwarf previous disruptions since the start of the pandemic. The Yangshan Container Terminal in Shanghai. Import cargo is piling up with shuttle trucks restricted from pick ups by a strict COVID lockdown. Last May, the huge Yantian container terminal at the Port of Shenzhen throttled down to 30% of normal productivity for a month to stamp out a handful of positive cases there. Hundreds of thousands of shipments that couldn’t enter the port accumulated in factories and warehouses, and many vessels skipped the port to avoid waiting seven days or more at anchor. It took weeks after the port reopened to clear the cargo backlog. The effects cascaded to the U.S. and Europe, resulting in port traffic jams, transit times triple the norm and missed retail deliveries for the holidays. The difference this time is that an entire metropolis — and highly interconnected global trade center — is essentially shut down. Not since the initial 2020 COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan have lockdowns been this extensive in China. “It’s probably worse than Wuhan,” said Jon Monroe, an ocean shipping and supply chain expert who runs a consulting firm. “You’re going to have a lot of pent-up orders. It’s going to be an overwhelming movement of goods” that will drown shipping lines and ports once the lockdowns are lifted. Freight is piling up Twenty-five million people in Shanghai have been sequestered for 18 days. Chinese authorities this week slightly eased the restrictions, dividing the city into three categories based on previous screenings and risk levels. People can wander outside their apartment buildings but are encouraged to stay home in neighborhoods with no positive COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. Those in high-risk areas must still shelter at home. Spanish financial services firm BBVA predicts Chinese authorities will stick to the “zero-COVID” strategy and lockdowns until at least June. Other China observers say it could take even longer to meet China’s infection standard. Shanghai is one of the largest manufacturing centers in China, with heavy concentrations of automotive and electronics suppliers. It is home to the largest container port in the world and a major airport that serves inbound and outbound air cargo. Exports produced in Shanghai account for 7.2% of China’s total volume and about 20% of China’s export container throughput moves through the port there, according to the BBVA report.  Most warehouses and plants are closed, nine out of 10 trucks are sidelined, the port and airport have limited function, shipping units are stranded in the wrong places, and freight is piling up.  More and more, the logistics impacts are rippling beyond the contagion epicenter. A chart from FreightWaves SONAR database shows a significant downturn in ocean export volume from Shanghai to the U.S. this month. Impacts spread beyond Shanghai Export containers that were already at the Port of Shanghai when the lockdown started are making it onto vessels, but most goods booked on outbound vessels are stranded at warehouses because shuttle trucks can’t make pickups or deliveries. Truckers require special permits, which are only good for 24 hours, as well as negative COVID tests to get in and out of the city or enter certain zones, according to logistics providers. Checking COVID certificates has led to huge traffic jams at the port. The French logistics provider Geodis reports that truck drivers in the Shanghai area are being forced to wait up to 40 hours at certain highway entrances. Trucking rates have soared because of the limited supply, and shippers are waiting three to five days for cargo to get picked up, according to San Francisco-based Flexport. Reduced manufacturing output, along with limited truck access to the port and airport, are causing a significant drop in air and ocean export volumes. Less demand is translating to lower freight rates. In response to the lack of labor and cargo, air carriers have announced widespread cancellations, and some ocean carriers are skipping Shanghai port calls. Several shipping lines have also begun offloading refrigerated containers at other ports along their voyage because the storage area with electric plugs is too crowded in Shanghai. Customers face extra port fees and delays routing the cargo to its intended destination. Maersk, the second-largest container vessel operator, said Thursday it has stopped accepting bookings to Shanghai for refrigerated cargo, some types of gas and flammable liquids. More omissions are expected and liner companies may temporarily idle vessels or cancel some outbound Asia sailings altogether, according to Crane Worldwide Logistics and other service providers. Asia-U.S. East Coast rates have fallen 7% since the outbreaks in March, said freight booking site Freightos, which also publishes an ocean rate index. “But even if the lockdown persists and demand drops significantly, ocean carriers will likely reduce capacity which could keep rates from plummeting, just as they were able to do in the first few months of the pandemic when ocean volumes fell significantly but transpacific rates declined by less than 15% and were about level year on year,” it said. The supply chain is backing up like water behind a dam. When water is released, the landscape gets flooded. At Shanghai Pudong airport, ground handling companies are operating with skeleton staff.  Shanghai Eastern Airlines Logistics, a cargo terminal operator, ceased bulk loading of containers after a positive COVID case, which will further slow cargo processing, said Dimerco, a Taiwan-based freight forwarder. Airlines report that Pactl, which operates three other cargo terminals, has suspended acceptance of dangerous goods and temperature-controlled cargo because the warehouse is full. Flexport said in a market update that 80% of commercial freighter services have been canceled and airlines are considering shifting operations to nearby airports. Qatar Airways announced that freighter flights will remain canceled until next Thursday, saying “the latest COVID-19 restrictions announced by local authorities limit our ability to operate flights in and out of Shanghai with sufficient cargo loads.” Freight forwarders have been rerouting cargo to alternative airports such as Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Beijing, as well as the Port of Ningbo, but those facilities are beginning to feel congestion effects themselves. Rates to ship from those locations are increasing. Flights at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport are reduced by 50%, according to Geodis. Most inbound cargo there is transit cargo to other cities, such as Shanghai — which is compounding backlogs because the cargo isn’t allowed to move to the final destination. That means logistics companies can only clear shipments that customers can pick up in Zhengzhou.  Dimerco advises that Zhengzhou airport is not accepting loose cargo – only palletized shipments – because of labor challenges. And it has just implemented a 14-day closed-loop program in which workers live on-site to minimize the potential for virus transmission, forcing the logistics provider to pivot again and reroute shipments to other airports, including back to Shanghai’s second airport – Hongqiao International. Everstream Analytics, which helps companies manage supply chain risk, predicts U.S. and Canadian automotive assembly plants will quickly face delays and disruptions because the lockdowns will affect shipping of parts such as seats, tires, engines, bodies and brakes. Ships delayed at port of Hong Kong and Yantian Shipping schedules in South China are being impacted by irregular feeder vessels and large barge services, creating delays for transoceanic vessels at the ports of Hong Kong and Yantian, according to a situational update from supply chain data platform project44. Both ports have been coping with disruptive COVID restrictions for months. Nearby manufacturing hubs in Vietnam and Cambodia are already suffering from a shortage of Chinese components for their manufacturing industries, project44 reported. And pharmaceutical companies in India, which source 70% of their active ingredients from China, are facing limited supplies. FreightWaves SONAR data from project44 shows import containers at Shanghai waiting about a week to be cleared. The dwell time has increased since a citywide lockdown went into effect in late March. Ocean shipping delays from the top three Chinese ports to Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam had already doubled to more than 12 days during the first quarter, before the Shanghai lockdown fully materialized, according to project44 data. Ocean freight expert Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, summed up the situation on his LinkedIn page this way: “Until this situation is resolved — which appears next to impossible when matching the omicron variant with zero-tolerance — we should expect drops in export demand, port omissions and more blank sailings in the near term future as well as Shanghai-bound cargo increasingly being discharged elsewhere.” COVID lockdowns spread Meanwhile, COVID infections are spreading beyond Shanghai, according to news reports and logistics companies. The southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, for example, has started mass COVID testing, introduced travel restrictions and shifted schools to online learning — steps that often portend a wider lockdown. The city of Kunshan — an important production center for electronics near Shanghai — is closed down until April 19. Part of Taicang, another manufacturing area in Jiangsu province, is also locked down. A surge of new COVID cases is hitting the coastal cities of Dalian and Tianjin in the north, Ningbo in the east, and Xiamen and Dongguan in the south.  Ningbo officials ordered residents in two downtown districts to sequester at home, but so far the seaport is not affected. Nantong is on a partial lockdown until April 15. Port operations have been severely impacted, with logistics companies diverting shipments to Nanjing. Zhangiagang is also under partial lockdown until April 19, resulting in slower port operations and some factory closures.  Many shippers are exercising contingency plans and using alternative import/export gateways when possible, but road transport is increasingly difficult. The outbreaks have led to a virtual ban by authorities on truck drivers from high- and medium-risk areas transporting cargo to low-risk areas. That includes transporting cargo from Shanghai and Kunshan to the Port of Ningbo. No cargo will be accepted if drivers have been to medium- or high-risk areas within the last 14 days or the factory is located in medium- or high-risk areas, said UPS Supply Chain Solutions in a customer update.  As of Friday, Dalian, Tianjin, parts of Beijing, Shanghai, and Dongguan are all in high- and medium-risk areas. Dimerco said in a notice that traffic control for road transportation is getting more strict and it is difficult to secure trucks to bring freight to Shanghai or alternative ports. Lockdowns ease U.S. supply chain strains before flood of cargo The slowdown in China exports should provide temporary relief to congestion-plagued U.S. ports on both coasts, as well as in Europe, but logistics experts say the breather is likely to be followed by a tsunami of deferred cargo once the lockdowns are lifted. The cargo volume will far exceed the handling capability of the ports, with containers jamming up terminals faster than they can be transferred to inland transport and pushing vessels into long queues at sea. Delta Air LInes President Glen Hauenstein said on an earnings call Wednesday that once the Shanghai restrictions are lifted, the airline expects a boom in cargo bookings that more than offsets the current export lag. A mass quarantine that lasts until June could mean the drawdown of backlogged air and ocean freight pushes into the peak shipping season, as more volume enters the system.  “Even with air and ocean ports open, the length of the shutdown could make this iteration the most significant logistics disruption since the start of the pandemic,” Freightos said in its update. Tyler Durden Tue, 04/19/2022 - 16:50.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 19th, 2022

Omicron Confirmed In One-Third Of US States As First Cases Confirmed In Russia, Thailand

Omicron Confirmed In One-Third Of US States As First Cases Confirmed In Russia, Thailand Summary: Dr. Fauci says travel restrictions to be reviewed daily First omicron cases discovered in Russia, Thailand EU weighs canceling travel restrictions White House prepares to order new jabs to treat omicron (if necessary) 17 US states report at least one case of omicron Omicron nears 1,000 confirmed cases South Africa considers vax mandate Omicron involved in Hong Kong quarantine outbreak Two hippos in Belgium catch COVID More than a dozen COVID cases identified on cruise ship docked in Louisiana China warns travel won't restart for a long time US averages more than 100K COVID cases per day for first time since Oct. 6 * * * After telling Americans over the weekend that omicron would likely be milder than delta, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's de facto COVID czar, also said the US will re-evaluate its latest travel restrictions on South Africa daily until they're eventually withdrawn. South Africa, which first warned the world about omicron over the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, was infuriated by the flurry of retaliatory travel bans imposed by western nations. Increasingly, these nations are beginning to rethink their decision-making and whether they might have jumped the gun. After all, we have frequently heard it will be another 10 days or so before we learn more about omicron as researchers analyze the new variant. That hasn't stopped international health authorities from identifying new cases of omicron in Russia and Thailand, or NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio from moving ahead with his latest attempts to coerce all New Yorkers to get the jab. De Blasio on Monday officially imposed his vaccination mandate to apply to private employers, while extending the requirement that patrons show proof of vaccination to all children between the ages of 5 and 11, who have only recently been approved by the FDA. Both measures won't take effect until Dec. 27. Over in Brussels, the EU's top bureaucrats are mulling whether to ease travel restrictions on southern African nations inspired by the omicron variant fears. That would be a major victory for political correctness over "the science". Just in case the world does eventually need them, the White House is preparing to fast-track authorization of revamped COVID vaccines, even if omicron does turn out to be more of a dud than the "COVID-21" scenario that many fear. Vaccine makers have said they won't know if new jabs are necessary until they have had a closer look at the data. Source: NYT CDC Director Walensky said that omicron has been found in at least 15 US states, although delta remains the most dominant variant in terms of sheer numbers, since practically every new case diagnosed in the US today is from delta. Data out of South Africa hasn't shown the uptick in hospitalizations and deaths that epidemiologists have touted as a potential sign that omicron does pose a threat, which should come as a relief to anybody panicking about omicron's potential impact: if anything, the next wave of COVID is looking to be about as mild as the flu. Churches, schools and other organizations have started cancelling planned events in South Africa as case numbers continue to rise, as they have since before omicron was discovered.  All told, South Africa has confirmed 228 cases of omicron of the 984 confirmed cases of omicron globally. The US has confirmed 40 cases in 17 states, while the Brits have confirmed 248 cases of omicron - even more than South Africa - so far. Back in South Africa, President Ramaphosa's government is considering a nationwide vaccination mandate. But some companies are going ahead with the mandate plans without the president's push. On Monday, the South African telecom conglomerate MTN announced that it would require all employees to be fully vaccinated by January or they would be fired. Circling back to the Sunday Shows in the US, the CDC's Walensky echoed Dr. Fauci's cautious comments about omicron, saying "what we don’t yet know is how transmissible it will be, how well our vaccines will work, whether it will lead to more severe disease" on ABC’s "This Week" on Sunday. Here are some more omicron-related headlines from around the world: Thailand has detected its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in a U.S. citizen who had travelled to the country from Spain late last month, a health official said on Monday, per Reuters. Russia has also discovered its first case of omicron. With infections in 17 states, according to the CDC, omicron has spread to more than one-third of US states. The omicron variant has been identified in two coronavirus cases in a Hong Kong quarantine hotel where scientists believe the virus spread through the air in a hallway. Two hippos in Belgium that vets noticed were “expelling snot” have been placed in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus, the Antwerp zoo said. More than a dozen COVID cases have been identified on a cruise ship that docked in New Orleans on Sunday, health officials said, underscoring the obstacles the cruise-line industry continues to face after more than a year of restrictions and setbacks. As part of its effort to maintain its "Zero COVID" policy, China announced that international flights would be kept at 2.2% of pre-COVID levels during the winter. Since August, it has almost entirely stopped issuing new passports, and it has imposed a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals. Returning to China also requires mountains of paperwork and multiple COVID-19 tests. Finally, the US is averaging more than 100K new COVID cases each day for the first time in two months as delta remains dominant despite all this talk of omicron. On Sunday, the 7-day average was more than 118K new cases per day. The last time this number topped 100K was Oct. 6, when the country was averaging over 101K new cases a day. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 11:19.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 6th, 2021

From dedicated check-in desks to chauffeured cars, here are the perks Big Tech enjoys for spending hundreds of millions on air travel each year

Big Tech spends hundreds of millions of dollars on air travel each year and airlines use every tool in their belt to keep them happy and loyal. Delta Air Lines check-in for Amazon and Microsoft employees in Seattle.Alexei Oreskovic/Insider Companies that spend millions of dollars on air travel are given incredible perks from airlines. One such perk is top-tier frequent flyer status that comes with free upgrades, lounge access, and chauffeurs. Amazon and Microsoft even have dedicated check-in counters at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Loyalty has its perks, especially when loyalty means spending hundreds of millions of dollars on airline tickets every year.Business travel is a leading revenue source for airlines and the top corporate spenders are frequently given extra benefits in exchange for their continued business. Some of the perks go way beyond what even the most frequent individual traveler could ever hope to receive.Tech companies are among the top spenders on airline travel given as Big Tech giants have offices and facilities around the world. China, for example, is a top destination for Silicon Valley-based firms like Apple.United Airlines, in 2018, revealed that Apple was buying 50 business class seats every day on flights to Shanghai, China. Apple's business with United at the time was worth more than $150 million in revenue.Airlines, however, lost a big chunk of that revenue during the pandemic as international borders started to close in January 2020. Cost-minded leisure travelers tend not to spend as much as business flyers and are less likely to pay for premium cabin travel or costly last-minute fares when vacationing. When big business does return to the skies, these are the perks that will likely await them.Expedited access to elite statusWelcome email for Delta Silver Medallion status.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderEmployees that travel enough will often earn elite status with an airline that gives them extra privileges when flying. "The basic idea is you get to bypass a lot of the hassles," Brett Snyder, founder of the aviation blog CrankyFlyer, told Insider. Acquiring elite status requires loyalty to a particular airline to the tune of a few thousand dollars in purchased tickets and tens of thousands of miles flown. But airlines can also offer elite status memberships to corporate travelers as a "sweetener" in a contract even before the first flight, Snyder said.Most of the perks will come from having that elite status but airlines can still go above and beyond for top corporate clients. Dedicated check-in lanesDelta's Sky Priority check-in area at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderFor some companies, spending millions of dollars on travel means never having to wait in line at certain airports. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for example, Delta Air Lines has dedicated check-in desks for Amazon and Microsoft employees. While check-in counters are becoming obsolete given improvements to self-serve kiosks and airline mobile applications, employees can use them to quickly check their bags or have airline staff assist with any flight issues. The scheme isn't replicated at every Delta airport for Microsoft and Amazon employees but they will still likely have access to priority check-in areas. Business travelers often earn elite status on the airlines they frequent and can often use priority check-in lanes as a result, especially when traveling in a premium cabin, as Insider found when testing out the lowest tier of Delta's elite status. Some US airlines have private check-in areas altogether for elite status holders and premium cabin travelers, away from the main check-in desks, such as Delta's Sky Priority check-in area at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Access to invite-only programsAmerican Airlines' first class check-in at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderWhile elite status is a common perk of frequent business travel, the highest echelons of those programs are reserved for an airline's top spenders. Attaining membership in the unlisted programs is the dream of any frequent traveler and top corporate clients may be given an allotment of memberships for their top travelers. American Airlines has ConciergeKey, United Airlines has Global Services, and Delta Air Lines has 360°."These are highly coveted programs, there's a mystery to them," Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider.Even if a member of these programs purchases the cheapest economy ticket on a given flight, they will still reap the benefits of complimentary lounge access, priority check-in lanes, early boarding, and a host of other secretive amenities that airlines won't discuss publicly. Airlines have different requirements for who is invited into their programs and limits on the number of memberships they can distribute each year, according to Harteveldt. Companies seeking to get memberships for their flyers would have to spend a significant amount on yearly air travel, with spend requirements varying from city to city. "Delta 360° is an annual, invitation-only program for our top SkyMiles Members, offering an exclusive suite of benefits and services even beyond Diamond Medallion Status," Delta writes on its website. "An invitation into Delta 360° is based on your overall investment with Delta. If you're selected to join, we'll contact you directly."A certain number of memberships are then given to corporate travel managers to distribute to employees, Harteveldt explained, with airlines being incredibly mindful of how many are allocated.Lounge accessAmerican Airlines' Admirals Club at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderAirline lounges are exclusive hideaways that offer private and comfortable seating when waiting for a flight, as well as complimentary snacks, beverages, and food items. Corporate customers flying internationally in business class will often have access to these lounges included in their tickets. Airlines will also give complimentary lounge memberships to their most frequent flyers. On American, for example, executive platinum status holders can choose to receive an Admirals Club membership as one of their free perks.ConciergeKey, Global Services, and Delta 360° members also receive complimentary lounge access for their respective airlines, according to, Harteveldt, Upgraded Points, and SFGate. Airside transfers in a luxury Porsche, General Motors, or Mercedes Benz vehiclesAn American Airlines Cadillac for ConciergeKey members.First Class Photography/Shutterstock.comMembers of the ConciergeKey, Global Services, and Delta 360° programs need not worry about running from one flight to another when passing through an airline hub with a tight connection. Rather, they'll be escorted down to the ramp and driven to their next flight in a luxury vehicle.American will chauffeur passengers in a luxury General Motors vehicle while United transfers its passengers in a Mercedes-Benz and Delta in a Porsche, according to Upgraded Points. [not sure this blog is reputable enough to cite on its own] Cadillac was formerly American's vehicle manufacturer of choice for airside transfers until the switch was made to GM, the airline confirmed to View from the Wing. [caddy is owned by GM — so need different wording here]It's a "surprise and delight" perk, Snyder said, that isn't guaranteed for everyone with a short layover. Airlines may also be more accommodating to passengers on delayed flights by holding their connections, Harteveldt said, depending on the customer and corporate client. Priority BoardingFlying on American Airlines during the pandemic.Thomas Pallini/InsiderElite status holders are often among the first passengers to board a flight, whether they're seated in a premium cabin or not. ConciergeKey members, for example, can board ahead of first class customers and active duty military members even if they've booked a basic economy ticket, according to American's boarding priority list.Early boarding gives flyers first pick at overhead bin space and more time to get settled before the rest of the plane boards.  Better opportunities for first class upgradesFlying Delta One on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400.Thomas Pallini/InsiderComplimentary upgrades to first class are among the most valuable perks for an elite status holder. A single upgrade can be worth more than the price of a ticket and instantly elevate a travel experience, especially on longer flights. In many frequent flyer programs, any elite status holder can request an upgrade and they'll accommodate if there is a seat available. But oftentimes, there ends up being people that don't make the cut because there aren't enough seats available for all elite status holders. Corporate travelers, however, have a better shot at upgrades because airlines consider a variety of factors when determining who to upgrade. The level of elite status and how much a traveler's company spends with the airline in a given year are also taken into consideration. "Generally, if you have all things being equal, the person who works for a large corporate account that may have a major business relationship with an airline would likely get the nod for the upgrade ahead of the person who is an individual traveler," Harteveldt said. An airline also might give a certain number of upgrade coupons to a corporate client that can be used to get a premium cabin seat, Harteveldt added. Drink coupons and free snacksFlying Delta One on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400.Thomas Pallini/InsiderNot all of what corporate clients get are grand gestures, however, and sometimes a free drink can make the difference. Coupons for a complimentary alcoholic beverage are sometimes included in a corporate contract, according to Harteveldt, and offered on certain fares geared towards business travelers.Airlines like Delta and American also offer complimentary alcoholic beverages in their extra legroom sections, which companies may be willing to purchase for their employees. Southwest Airlines' "Business Select" fare also comes with a free drink coupon.Some US airlines aren't currently offering alcohol in regular economy sections until the pandemic subsides but the perk will likely return. Some airlines also might offer complimentary meals or snacks to corporate flyers even if they're sitting in economy on domestic flights. American offers Executive Platinum status holders a complimentary snack and an alcoholic drink in economy, Snyder said. Dedicated reservation linesA Delta Air Lines employee.ReutersAirline hold times have markedly increased as airlines sought to shed their staff during the pandemic. Travelers can find themselves waiting on hold for hours.Elite status holders, however, have special phone numbers to use when calling the reservations desk with shorter hold times, and corporate travelers with elite status can also use them. Some companies were so important to airlines, however, that special phone lines were created just for their employees. "In the past, some airlines would create basically special toll-free numbers for their largest corporate accounts where the employees would call in and get a dedicated sub-group of agents within a reservations office so that they were served faster," Harteveldt said. Harteveldt noted that the perk likely doesn't exist anymore and those phone lines have been merged into the dedicated lines for top frequent flyers. "If you put somebody into the higher tiers of a frequent flyer program, they're going to get expedited service anyway," he said. Travel agents, however, including those with corporate accounts, still have lines to many airline reservation desks, Snyder said. "It's for the travel planners, the people that are doing the work," he said. Free or discounted extra legroom seatsA Delta Comfort+ seat.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderNot all companies pay to fly their employees in a premium cabin on every flight but airlines can help make the economy experience more enjoyable by offering favorable rates on extra legroom seats, according to Harteveldt. Delta's "Comfort+" seats, for example, offer extra legroom as well as complimentary alcohol and premium snacks. Some airlines also offer complimentary upgrades into extra legroom sections for their elite status holders. Airlines also block certain regular economy seats that don't offer extra legroom but have a more preferable location in the cabin. Snyder says that corporate clients may be given advance access to those seats ahead of the public. Waived checked bag feesA United Airlines check-in counter.United Media LibraryA basic perk of earning elite status is getting a complimentary checked baggage allowance, which can save travelers and their companies money when a trip requires checked baggage. Companies may also be able to negotiate lower fees for checked baggage, Harteveldt said. More flexibility for corporate travelersFlying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMany US airlines have abandoned change fees for domestic flights but tickets can still be restrictive. The nature of corporate travel, however, requires additional leeway that airlines are willing to give to high-spending clients. "You get much more flexibility as a corporate [client]," Snyder said, noting that some airlines have a system for clients where points can be redeemed for perks. Common perks include things like name changes on tickets, flight changes, and converting non-refundable tickets into refundable tickets. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

I went behind the scenes with Singapore Airlines to see how it"s massively upgrading the onboard experience on the world"s longest flights

Singapore Airlines has teamed up with a spa where a week-long stay will set a visitor back $10,000 to make its 19-hour flights more enjoyable. Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/Insider Singapore Airlines has turned to the Golden Door Spa to give its ultra-long-haul flights an upgrade. Golden Door chef Greg Frey Jr is crafting a brand-new menu based on items served at the spa.  Singapore Airlines currently flies three of the top 10 longest flights in the world.  Singapore Airlines is a recognized leader in aviation when it comes to flying the longest commercial flights in the world.Soos Jozsef/Shutterstock.comWhile an airline might have one or two routes than rank in the top 10 longest in the world, Singapore Airlines has three. In 2018, the airline took its place on the throne with the relaunch of non-stop flights between Singapore and Newark, in addition to non-stop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSome changes were made during the pandemic, including limiting US flights to a single route between Singapore and Los Angeles. Slowly but surely, though, routes that were lost were added back and others were amended, with Newark being temporarily replaced with New York.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInside the new world's longest flight: What it's like to fly on Singapore Airlines' new route between Singapore and New YorkSingapore is reopening to the world with its new "vaccinated travel lane" program and travelers booking non-stop flights from the US will be able to skip quarantine if they meet the requirements. And waiting for them onboard will be an entirely new offering come January.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines is now partnering with the Golden Door Spa in San Marcos, California to craft a new onboard wellness and dining offering, comparable to what the wealthy experience during their visits to the spa.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines is partnering with the ultra-exclusive Golden Door spa to redefine luxury on the world's longest commercial flightsInsider went behind the scenes with Singapore Airlines in Golden Door's California kitchen to see how airline and spa chefs are working together for a brand-new culinary experience onboard the world's longest air journeys.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInside the Golden Door Spa, the California retreat loved by the wealthy that's $9,950 for a week's stayChef Greg Frey Jr is the executive chef at Golden Door. His job is to ensure that spa-goers not only enjoy their meals but that the food being served contributes to the overall wellbeing of the guests.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIt's a delicate balance between controlling portions and crafting a meal that will satiate enough so that guests aren't asking for more. He jokes that his job is to ensure that patrons aren't sneaking off to the local In-N-Out Burger amidst a wellness retreat.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/Insider"The food is not meant to be very overarching, very high-end, and very fancy," Frey told Insider. "I'm here to feed you not to starve you."Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderHelping bring Frey's creations to the airline world is Antony McNeil, Singapore Airlines' global food & beverage director, along with the executive chefs of the airline's contracted catering facilities.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAwaiting us in the Golden Door kitchen were around 20 menu items that Frey had crafted under the partnership. Some of the dishes can be found on the Golden Door menu during one of its week-long programs while others were crafted specifically for Singapore Airlines.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/Insider"There are some dishes that are on here that are created solely for our partnership, but there are many of these that are big favorites for our guests," Frey said.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe Golden Door's signature dish, served like clockwork every Sunday, is the miso-glazed black cod. For the spa-goers, it provides energy for the next morning to take on the day's activities while for airline passengers, it could give them the energy to take on the day after a long flight to the US or Singapore.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMeal choices are very deliberate in that each ingredient serves a purpose. It's a skill that Frey has spent the better part of the last decade honing while at Golden Door.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSome of the other dishes that Golden Door spa-goers will enjoy over the course of the week that may soon find their way onboard Singapore Airlines planes include the portobello meatballs in an heirloom tomato sauce with risotto…Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSmoked fennel duck with chow-chow sauce…Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCitrus grilled shrimp salad with ginger balsamic dressing...Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd blue crab tower with wheatberry salad.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTravelers on the non-stop flights between Singapore and the US spend as much as 19 hours on the plane, giving them ample time to try a variety of the menu items across the three meal services.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFrey sources the ingredients for his meals from the Golden Door's multi-acre garden just beyond the main resort area. Insider toured the garden, as well, and found a cornucopia of produce intended to feed the 40 weekly Golden Door visitors.Inside the Golden Door Spa and Resort.Thomas Pallini/Insider"I want to go out and see what are the ingredients and then those formulate and percolate into an idea," Frey said. "Until I have that plate in my hand and I'm actually putting these things together, I really have no idea what it's going to look like."Inside the Golden Door Spa and Resort.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFrey's journey to learn the ins and outs of airline food required visiting one of Singapore Airlines' contracted catering facilities and go onboard the Airbus A350-900 ULR being used for the flights. Luckily, aviation runs in the chef's blood as Frey's father worked as a pilot and mother as a flight attendant, both for Trans World Airlines.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut even with the differences in cooking, Frey says that cooking for an airline isn't much different than cooking for a clientele paying $10,000 per week for a spa visit.Inside the Golden Door Spa and Resort.Thomas Pallini/Insider"How much did I have to really change from what I'm doing here at the Golden Door? Very, very little," Frey said. "This is taking what we do here at the Door and curating it for the airline."Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA focus on nutrition also doesn't rule out desserts and sweets, it just means they'll be healthier than, say, an ice cream sundae.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderChocolate chip mint cookies, spiced apple cake, persimmon pudding cake, and ginger snap cookies are just some of what passengers will soon enjoy.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines stressed that the food items on display were still technically in development, even though they looked ready to serve onboard.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTo that point, two of Singapore Airlines' own executives had concerns that the sauce for one of the dishes was too sweet, and questioned whether it could be toned down or balanced out with the accompaniments.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut that's all part of the process to ensure guests will have the best culinary experience possible.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe investment in food and wellness gives passengers another reason to pay the premium attached to the non-stop services, most of which only offer business class and premium economy class seating.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCountless airlines fly between the US and Singapore, but not all are offering the level of wellness that Singapore Airlines hopes to.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe difference between the Golden Door and Singapore Airlines' previous wellness partner, Canyon Ranch, is that Frey's methods aren't as calculated.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/Insider"We're not focusing so much on calories and calorie count, we just want you to eat well," McNeil said, noting that traditional Singapore Airlines fare will still be offered through pre-order programs like "book the cook."Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderGiving travelers the freedom to choose their own preferences on the ultra-long-haul flights is paramount to Singapore Airlines' executives.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/Insider"The purpose of this relationship is to develop a robust and a very flexible wellness program," Betty Wong, Singapore Airlines' division vice president of in-flight services and design, told Insider. "We want to make sure that these options are available, but at the end of the day, the choice is yours."Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPicky eaters can rejoice as that flexibility means there will be no shortage of options onboard. "If you want [to eat] a burger, eat a burger," McNeil said.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFrey and McNeil worked in tandem during our visit, complementing each other's actions as they moved around the kitchen, resulting in beautifully plated dishes that tasted as wonderful as they looked.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe challenge for both chefs is making sure that the items look and taste the same at 35,000 feet as do on the ground in San Marcos.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/Insider"The only thing I did keep in mind was just in the challenges of [airline] catering versus [at the Golden Door]," Frey said. Airline food is cooked to a certain point prior to a flight and then finished off on the airplane, spending time in cold storage in between.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIf Frey gets it right, Singapore Airlines might find itself with a similar return rate to that of the Golden Door. "65% of the clients that come once here come back another 10 times in their life," Frey said. "I see most people at least once more."Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInsider had the opportunity to try some of the menu items and found each was bursting with flavor and perfect for in-flight cuisine.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe new Singapore Airlines and Golden Door collaboration will take flight in January 2022 on the Singapore-Los Angeles route before being expanded to San Francisco and New York flights.Inside the Golden Door spa.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2021

The 31 most popular products Insider readers bought in 2021 - from a book on how to get rich to teeth whitening strips

From first-aid kits to personal finance books, these are the products that defined 2021 and were the most popular purchases of the year. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Amazon; Walmart; Rachel Mendelson/Insider 2021 had a tough act to follow, but there was no shortage of events that determined what we bought. Along the way, we found and recommended the best products and services to help see you through. Here are the 31 products that were the most popular with our readers this year. While we'd all hoped that the pandemic would history by now, it continued to dictate many of the products and services we considered and recommended, and moreover, the ones you bought throughout 2021.And as we all spent more time indoors self-isolating, new hobbies continued to crop up for many. From bread baking to taking online academic courses, people got creative when it came to entertainment. Of course, we also stuck to some classic solutions like streaming our favorite shows and listening to podcasts.Through all the twists and turns 2021 brought, our Insider Reviews team strove to bring readers timely and helpful information. Whether it was finding the best deals on AirPods, reviewing face masks, or building a comprehensive guide to the best thermometers based on expert advice, we helped our readers navigate these challenging times. From cockroach traps to umbrellas and steaming devices to dog collars, these are the products that you bought most, and to some degree the ones that defined 2021 AD.Here are the most popular products of 2021: Halo Life Face Mask Lily Oberstein/Insider Made with breathable, soft bamboo fabric that doesn't cause moisture to build up from your breath, Halo's Nanofilter mask comes with removable filters that only require changing every 200 hours (give or take). It also has a replaceable latex nose pad under the pinchable clip to give you a tight and comfortable fit, especially with glasses on (no fogging!). Plus, it's black so it matches everything.Read our guide: The CDC recommends everyone wears a face mask indoors regardless of vaccination status — here are 22 we swear by A rechargeable vibration dog-bark collar DogRook Instead of emitting a shock, the Dog Rook Bark Control Collar vibrates when it detects barking. When your dog barks, the collar will administer a short beep, then a longer beep, then a beep plus vibration (there are seven different vibration settings). Once the collar reaches the seventh level, it enters a one-minute hibernation mode.Read our guide: The best bark collars and deterrents A microfiber duster Amazon It's no surprise that people spent a lot of time cleaning at home this year, so it also comes as no surprise that our home-product expert's top-recommended duster was one of our readers' most-bought products. The specific appeal of this particular duster from OXO? A removable and washable head means less waste and no extra expenditures.Read our guide: The best dusters we tested in 2021 A travel umbrella Amazon Complete with a lifetime warranty, the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella — our favorite in our guide — is supported by nine resin-coated fiberglass ribs, which is what keeps it open and sturdy compared with most other six- and eight-rib umbrellas. And, at under one pound and less than a foot in length when collapsed, it's among the lighter offerings on the market, too.Read our guide: The 5 best umbrellas of 2021 An economical mousepad Simon Hill/Insider A mousepad can really tie your home office together, and at $10, the Razer Gigantus V2 hardly breaks the bank for such a major improvement. Our expert favored this one for its balanced surface, speed, and precision as well as the option for different sizes.Read our guide: The 6 best mousepads of 2021 A best-selling guide to personal finance Amazon Ramit Sethi's "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" was first published in 2009 and has just recently been updated. In addition to really helpful beginner investing and money management advice, our former personal finance correspondent and Master Your Money expert, Tanza Loudenback, CFP, likes how Sethi introduces the concept of building a "Rich Life" for yourself and how to identify and get over your money hangups. "It's always relevant," Loudenback says.Read our recommendation: 4 personal finance books that changed my relationship to money for the better A personal breathalyzer Ariana DiValentino/Insider The BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer was our tester's favorite of the six they tried this year. It puts out the most accurate readings and competed with much pricier options. Readers also bought a similar number of BACtrack's more professional-grade option, the BACtrack S80 Professional Breathalyzer.Read our full guide: The 5 best breathalyzers to confirm your blood alcohol content is low enough to drive Our top-recommended first-aid kit Amazon The First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Kit packs 299 doctor-recommended supplies into a compact, soft-sided case about the size of a hardcover book. Neatly organized within, you'll find all the tools needed to assess and treat everything from a scraped finger and a heavily bleeding gash to a mild headache or high fever.Read our guide: The 5 best first aid kits of 2021 for outdoor adventures, home emergencies, and full disaster prep A premium streaming service You can stream Hulu on most devices. Ted Soqui/Contributor/Getty Images Hulu offers a wide variety of shows and movies you can stream at home with short ad breaks for just $5.99 per month. Unlike Netflix, you'll be able to keep up with shows within as little as 24 hours after they've aired, so there's no waiting an entire year for a show's season to be released. If you want to skip the ads, you can upgrade to premium for $11.99.Read our review: I pay $12 a month for the ad-free version of Hulu even though it costs twice as much as a basic subscription, and I have no regrets An online course from Yale Coursera Coursera tops our list of one of the best services we ever tested, and prices for its online courses start at, well, free.We took Yale University's free course online, The Science of Well-Being, which teaches you how to be happier. It became the most popular class ever taught at Yale, and it struck a chord with online users, too. Available on Coursera, you can audit it entirely for free or choose to pay $49 for a certificate of completion.Read our review: Yale's most popular class ever is available free online — and the topic is how to be happier in your daily life A gift card that comes with nearly endless options Amazon An Amazon gift card is about as good as cash these days, considering Amazon sells just about everything. In lieu of more personally aligned gift cards (which can be tricky to choose), an Amazon gift card is about as safe as it gets, letting them shop everything from clothes and kitchen gadgets to skincare and tech all in one easy place.Read more: 42 gift cards you can deliver right to their inbox for a last-minute gift that still feels personal A discreet solution for dealing with pests Amazon For dealing with common, small roaches, Combat's Max 12-month roach-killing bait stations are your best bet. Based upon our expert interviews, these are the quickest and easiest way to do away with the scuttling foes.The black discs are compact, discreet and can easily be placed in drawers, under the fridge, behind the toilet, and just about anywhere else you might have an issue, and each of the 18 stations is effective for a year in most circumstances.Read our guide: The best roach killers and traps A strong lightning cable for your phone Amazon A good phone charger is a daily necessity. We named this cable from Anker our top overall pick and it looks like our readers agree as it was a top reader purchase this year. The Anker PowerLine Lightning cable is the best cord for most people thanks to its durable design, fast charging speed, and excellent price point. Anker's cables are also among the best products we've ever tested.Read our guide: The best charging cables A heavy-duty garden hose nozzle Connie Chen/Insider We name Gardenite's Heavy-Duty, 10-Pattern Metal Watering Nozzle the best you can buy and refer to it as "the Swiss Army Knife of nozzles" because it does it all. Our tester liked its 10 spray patterns, easy adjustments, strong metal and rubber construction, and comfortable handle. And, throughout all of our testing, it hasn't ever leaked once.Read our guide: The best garden hose nozzles Compression socks for extra support Amazon SB Sox's Lite Compression Socks are our top pick of compression socks for those on a budget. Compression socks are one of those garments that seem gimmicky but science actually backs up their biggest claimed benefit: improving your circulation.Good compression socks provide strong pressure from the ankle to the upper calf, giving your legs the extra support they need during rigorous exercise, long-haul flights, or long workdays. Thinner and lighter than many of our other picks, SB Sox's design compresses only a little less than our other recommendations but costs about one-fifth of the price of our top pick.Read our guide: The best compression socks Unlimited tunes on Amazon Amazon Services like Spotify often garner more attention, but if you have an Amazon Prime account, then you already have access to basic Prime Music for free, which is a great way to further take advantage of paying for a Prime membership.On the other hand, you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited, which comes with 50 million songs. Prime members can get it for $7.99 a month, while non-members will pay $9.99 a month to use it. Between music, podcasts, and more, you won't have any trouble finding ways to get your money's worth — clearly, our readers haven't.Read our review: Amazon's Music Unlimited streaming service offers surprisingly great value for Prime members — here's what it's like to use An entry-level smart speaker Amazon Amazon's Echo Dot series is always popular with our readers year after year. While our tech experts find the Echo Dot 3 to be the best value, readers favored the newer Echo Dot 4.Currently priced at $49.99, the Echo Dot 4 may be an entry-level smart speaker, but it's tough to beat when it comes to quality for the price. Plus you still have the capability to talk to Alexa (with the same microphone built into its bigger siblings) and its small size can be a serious asset since it fits just about anywhere.Read our guide: The best Amazon Echo smart speakers and smart displays A straw that makes any water potable Amazon LifeStraw is a must-have for campers and most other outdoor enthusiasts because it allows you to drink from pretty much any water source without needing to treat it. It's easy to use and a worthy addition to any camping packing list or emergency kit. Many of us at Insider Reviews keep them in our camping kits, daypacks, and car trunks, and judging by how many of you have bought them year in, year out, it seems our readers do, too.Read our review: Why the $20 LifeStraw water filter deserves a place in any emergency kit An improved version of the classic Airpods Crystal Cox/Business Insider Apple's Airpods Pro improve on previous designs in several ways, so it's no surprise that our readers bought them up this year. Our tech wizzes on the Insider Reviews team emphatically recommend them over other models for their adjustable ear tips, active noise cancellation, better sound quality, and water- (and sweat-) resistances.Read our review: I've been using Apple's new AirPods Pro to see if they live up to the hype, and the verdict is a resounding yes — here's why A brush to easily clean your grill Kona Most people don't enjoy the task of cleaning the grill, but both we and our readers find that Kona's 360 Clean Grill Brush makes it an immensely less loathsome chore. We mince no words when we call it your best bet based on our testing because it works in all directions to scrape away bits of food and built-up soot on the top, sides, and the bottom of the grill.Read our guide: The best grill brush and cleaning tools A customizable pillow Coop Home Goods Our top overall pick for the best pillow after thorough testing, Coop Home Goods' The Original Pillow is ideal for just about any type of sleeper. What sets this pillow apart is the fact that the fill amount is adjustable so you can easily customize it to your preferred sleeping needs. In addition to being praisingly reviewed by verified buyers on Amazon, this pillow is also a favorite among our staff and one of the best products we've ever tested.Read our review: This memory foam pillow is a hit with everyone I know — it can be customized to support many sleeping positions A cost-effective teeth whitening solution Amazon Crest's 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips are another popular item with our readers year after year because they're an effective, dentist-recommended way to get whiter teeth without breaking the bank. Plus, since they use simple strips, you won't have to deal with any uncomfortable mouth trays. They're also our top choice in our guide to the best teeth whitening kits.Read our guide: The best teeth whitening kits Amazon's best, and most waterproof Kindle Amazon If you're on the hunt for a relatively affordable reader, the basic Kindle is all you need, but the Kindle Paperwhite (note, there is a newer Kindle Paperwhite out now) is a worthy upgrade and was the most popular e-reader with our readers this year. Apart from access to thousands of books anytime, anywhere in one slim and easily transportable place, you also get three months of Kindle Unlimited for free when you purchase.Read our review: Amazon's entry-level Kindle is a great ereader for people on a budget who want to get into ebooks Guards to protect your furniture from cat claws Amazon We must have a lot of cat-loving fans because Furniture Defender's Cat Scratch Deterrents are high on the list of items you all bought most this year.The clear covers are easy to put over couch ends and won't be too unsightly, but they will keep your furniture looking pristine, no matter how much your feline housemates may try to do what they do. They're not one of our top picks in our guide, but we do recommend them highly.Read our guide: The best products to protect your furniture from cat scratching A small but mighty 4K streaming device Amazon In a sea of streaming devices, the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote is our recommendation for the best Alexa-compatible one and a handy little device streams video in 4K straight to your TV. Some version or another of the Fire TV Stick always makes this list and it's not difficult to see why: its small size keeps it inconspicuous also makes it easy to take on the go so you always have your streaming preferences saved and at your fingertips.Read our guide: The best media streaming sticks and devices An affordable skincare mask that works wonders Target There are a lot of fancy skincare products on the market that will cost you. But this Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask has been an internet favorite at just $8, and our readers buy mountains of it every year (many rely upon it so much that they opt for the two-pound tub). We put it to the test and had incredible results, especially when mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar.Read our review: This $8 clay mask is one of the most popular beauty products across the internet, and it's the only thing that has helped clear up my skin Tax help that could save you thousands Turbotax Most of us need some professional help when it comes to the complicated system that is filing taxes. While TurboTax isn't the cheapest service out there, we found it was well worth the money and the best option after putting several products to the test (and you all have proven it's far and away the most popular).Read our review: I tried 4 online tax programs, and TurboTax saved me thousands of dollars Environmentally-friendly toilet paper Grove Hoarding toilet paper may have been more of a 2020 thing, but many of you chose to continue to purchase it online and/or preemptively stock up for the next shortage. For the eco-conscious, Seventh Generation's 100% Recycled Extra Soft and Strong Bath Tissue is the best toilet paper you can buy for the environment based on our research.Read our guide: The best toilet paper Wallet-friendly toilet paper Staples Meanwhile, for those on a budget, Scott is your best bet based upon our guide, and it remained a top purchase among readers in 2021, too. It features 1,000 sheets per roll and gets the job done without hurting your wallet. Read our guide: The best toilet paper Jumbo toilet paper roll Quill While these professional jumbo rolls are typically found in, say, a stadium bathroom, if you seriously want to stock up at home without having to buy multiple rolls, these 1,000-foot Brighton Professional Two-Ply rolls from Quill are a good option, and it would seem some people still seriously wanted to stock up. As supply chain issues continue to loom, there's plenty of wisdom in that.They're not a top pick in our guide to the best toilet paper, but we still find them well worthy of your pantry if you happen to have the space.Read our guide: The best toilet paper A thermometer to check for fevers Amazon Another top product that got bought up quickly due to the pandemic, iProven's DMT-489 Forehead and Ear Thermometer is always good to have on hand at home or in any first-aid kit and as reliable as they come. After rigorous testing and consulting with experts, this is our top choice for the best thermometer you can buy.Editor's note: This product is selling out fast due to COVID-19 and is currently out of stock.Read our guide: The best thermometers to check for fevers Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 9th, 2021

Singapore Airlines is partnering with the Golden Door spa for billionaires to redefine luxury on the world"s longest commercial flights

Insider went behind the scenes with Singapore Airlines at Golden Door. A week's stay costs $9,950 and discerning guests include Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts. Singapore Airlines operates three of the 10 current longest flights in the world, including the leader between New York and Singapore. Soos Jozsef/Shutterstock.com Singapore Airlines has chosen Golden Door Spa as its new wellness partner for the world's longest flights. Golden Door is crafting a new in-flight menu as well as exercises, stretches, and sleeping techniques. Wealthy celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts frequent the opulent California spa. Singapore Airlines is bringing one of the world's most exclusive spas to the skies in a new partnership with Golden Door. Travelers on ultra-long-haul flights between Singapore and the US will soon experience a new Golden Door-inspired offering that will provide a holistic approach to wellness. The transition from wellness partner Canyon Ranch marks the next phase for Singapore Airlines in flying the longest flights in the world. Located in San Marcos, California, Golden Door has been voted "world's #1 spa" by Condé Nast Traveler and its guests include billionaires and celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts. A week's stay at the spa is priced at $9,950 but Singapore Airlines passengers will now get a taste of the Golden Door experience while traversing the globe. Inside the Golden Door spa. Thomas Pallini/Insider "Golden Door is now here to help us add on to a lot more of the softer aspect of our wellness program," Betty Wong, Singapore Airlines' division vice president of in-flight services and design, told Insider.Golden Door Executive Chef Greg Frey Jr. is working in the kitchen with Singapore Airlines Director of Food and Beverage Antony McNeil to adapt the spa's menu to the onboard environment. Meals play an important role on the airline's longest journeys as they serve not only to satiate but also to entertain, pass the time, and contribute to a traveler's well-being.Frey serves as Golden Door's culinary mastermind and has revolutionized the concept of "spa food" for his discerning guests. The 600 acres of California outdoors on which Golden Door sits serves as Frey's workspace and garden, with rows of fresh produce in a two-acre garden that feeds the 40 weekly spa-goers. Inside the Golden Door spa. Thomas Pallini/Insider Some of what will be served on flights are identical to what Golden Door guests are eating, with meal options including a signature black cod served over forbidden rice with edamame puree as well as a portobello meatball in an heirloom tomato sauce with risotto.Golden Door isn't as focused on calorie counting as it is on using freshly grown ingredients in the right portion sizes. Dessert options on the flight will include Golden Door's signature ginger snap cookies, chocolate mint chip cookies, and gluten-free spiced apple cake.Singapore Airlines favorites, such as lobster thermidor, will still be available through the "book the cook" meal pre-order program as well as other in-flight dining programs. It's part of the airline's strategy to give passengers the freedom to enjoy the flights as they desire. Inside the Golden Door spa. Thomas Pallini/Insider "The purpose of this relationship is to develop a robust and a very flexible wellness program," Wong said. "We want to make sure that these options are available, but at the end of the day choice is yours." Beyond the dining experience, Golden Door is also crafting in-flight exercises and stretches for passengers to improve their well-being. Benefits including improvements in circulation, flexibility, and alertness upon landing.Specially crafted beverages and new sleeping techniques will also be introduced to aid in passenger hydration, relaxation, and rejuvenation on the ultra-long-haul journeys. Kathy Van Ness, chief commercial officer at Golden Door, likens the role of the spa to that of Singapore Airlines: both only have a short period of time to make an impact on a guest. "Even seven days, we have to change those people's lives," Van Ness said of Golden Door. "By the time they depart, they have to feel a remarkable difference in their health." Inside the Golden Door spa. Thomas Pallini/Insider It's important, according to Van Ness, that flyers disembark with a better understanding of how to "pause." And a 19-hour flight between New York and Singapore is time enough to learn that important skill. Singapore Airlines operates three of the 10 current longest flights in the world, including a new longest route by distance during the pandemic between New York City and Singapore. Travelers will now have the benefit of the Golden Door wellness problem as well as the time savings offered by the non-stop flights flown by Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft. Scheduled to debut in January 2022, the partnership comes as Singapore opens to vaccinated Americans and eliminates quarantine for travelers arriving on certain flights. Singapore Airlines' non-stop flights from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as some one-stop flights from Seattle, are included in the Vaccinated Travel Lane program. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

The most important Alexa voice commands you can use with your Amazon Echo

You can use Alexa commands to play music, check the weather, order food, and even turn on your living room lights. You need to know Alexa's commands to use it. Gabriel Gurzo/Shutterstock You can use Alexa commands to play music, check the weather, order food, and even turn on your lights. Before giving a command, you need to say the "wake word" - by default, it's just "Alexa." Alexa has dozens of different commands, but some are only available on certain devices. Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories. While it might just look like a chunk of plastic, the Amazon Echo - and the Alexa assistant inside of it - can be pretty useful. But to get the most value out of your Echo, you need to know how to talk to Alexa.If you're new to Alexa or just want a primer on what the digital assistant can do, here's a roundup of the most common and useful commands.Note: The commands listed here aren't the only ones that exist. The commands you can use will vary depending on what kind of Amazon Echo you have, and Alexa can usually understand slight wording changes.The essential Alexa commandsBefore you can use any of these commands, you need to wake Alexa with the "wake word." By default the word is just "Alexa" - so if you want to turn up the volume for example, you'll say "Alexa, volume up."You can change the wake word using the Alexa app on your smartphone.Volume and pausingAlexa, stop: This stops whatever activity Alexa's performing.Alexa, pause/continue: Some activities, like playing music, can be paused and resumed later. Alexa, mute/unmute: This mutes or unmutes whatever audio Alexa is playing. Alexa, louder/softer; set the volume to six; turn down the volume: You can change your Amazon Echo's volume in a variety of ways. Alexa commands can be useful in the kitchen. Juan Ci/Shutterstock Timers and alarmsAlexa, set a one-hour timer: Creates a simple timer. You can set it for any amount of time.Alexa, cancel the one-hour timer: Cancels the timer before it's complete.Alexa, set a 10-minute timer and name it "eggs": Useful for situations like cooking in the kitchen, when you might need several timers at once - naming them makes it easy to tell them apart. Alexa, how much time is left: Alexa will report how much time is left on each timer that's currently running. You can also check on a specific timer by saying something like "Alexa, how much time is left on the 'eggs' timer?"Alexa, set an alarm for 8 a.m.: You can quickly set an alarm. If you don't specify a.m. or p.m., Alexa will ask you to clarify. Alexa, wake me every day at 6 a.m. to music: This sets up a recurring alarm clock with a random selection of music.Alexa, stop: Once a timer or alarm goes off, say this to stop it.General questions Alexa, how do you spell [word]?: Ask Alexa to spell a word for you. Alexa, how do you boil an egg?: Alexa can answer all sorts of general interest, cooking, and trivia questions for you.Alexa, how many ounces are in a cup: You can convert quantities between any two sets of units - feet to meters, pounds to kilograms, and so on. You can also ask for specific conversions, like "How many grams are in 10 ounces?"Alexa, what's 15% of 400?: You can ask for help with common math problems.Alexa, roll an eight-sided die: You can use Alexa as a replacement for dice or just to generate a random number. You can ask for any sided die, including ones that couldn't possibly exist (Alexa, roll a 10,000-sided die.")Alexa, flip a coin: Gets heads or tails. The Amazon Echo can answer most basic questions. Charles Brutlag/Shutterstock News and weatherAlexa, play the Flash Briefing: This plays a curated news summary you can customize in the Alexa app's settings.Alexa, play the news: If you specify a news source in Alexa's settings, you can hear a longer-form news report. Alexa, what's the weather?: Hear a weather report. You can also ask for the weather at a specific time, like "this weekend," or for a certain location. Alexa, what's the traffic/what's my commute?: Get traffic information between the home and work locations you've specified in the Alexa app.Playing mediaAlexa, play some music: Alexa starts streaming music from the default music source specified in the Alexa app.Alexa, play/pause/restart/skip: You can control your music playback by asking Alexa almost any media control command. Alexa, play [artist name/album title]: You can ask Alexa to play a specific artist or say "play the album [album name] to hear that specific record. You can also specify which device to play it on, like "Alexa, play The Beatles in the kitchen."Alexa, play [selection] on [music service]: The combinations are almost limitless. You can ask Alexa to play an artist on Spotify, a playlist on Pandora, a radio station on TuneIn, or an audiobook or podcast on Audible, for example. Alexa, what song is playing?: You can find out the name of a song if you're currently playing a track via Amazon Music. Shopping and purchasesAlexa, track my order/where's my stuff: Find out the status of any open Amazon orders.Alexa, add olive oil to my cart: You can add items to your Amazon shopping cart. Alexa may ask for more details to choose a specific product. Alexa, what are your deals?: Ask for today's list of top Amazon deals. Alexa, buy this song/buy this album: If you're listening to Amazon Music, you can instantly buy the music you're listening to. Echo Show commandsOnly Amazon Echo Show owners can use these commands. The Echo Show has a screen, which introduces a whole host of new commands. Juan Ci/Shutterstock Alexa, show me my calendar: Displays your meetings and appointments in whatever calendar you've connected to the Alexa app. Alexa, show me my photos: Displays photos from your personal photo library. Alexa, show me pictures of dogs: You can ask Alexa to find photos of any subject and it will fetch them from the web. Alexa, show me a recipe for apple cobbler: Alexa can find and display recipes from the web. Alexa, show me cat videos on YouTube: You can't ask Alexa to find a specific video, but you can ask Alexa to search for videos by topic or subject.How to play podcasts on your Alexa-enabled smart speaker by connecting a Spotify, Apple, or Amazon accountHow to use Alexa Care Hub to help monitor and contact older relatives or friendsHow to play podcasts on your Alexa-enabled smart speaker by connecting a Spotify, Apple, or Amazon accountBluetooth speakers vs. smart speakers - the differences, pros and cons, explainedRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, "Unexpected" Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is "New Normal"

Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, "Unexpected" Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is "New Normal" Just yesterday we warned that a "Power Supply Shock Looms" as the energy crisis gripping Europe - and especially the UK - was set to hammer China, and just a few hours later we see this in practice as residents in three north-east Chinese provinces experienced unannounced power cuts as the electricity shortage which initially hit factories spreads to homes. People living in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces complained on social media about the lack of heating, and lifts and traffic lights not working. Northeast China's Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province has been through a sudden and unexpected power curb. Meanwhile, dozens of provinces across the country are also facing power curb due to govt's pursuit to cut carbon emission even though the supply for coal remain adequate. pic.twitter.com/cX2h0x6s8Q — Source Beijing (@SourceBeijing) September 26, 2021 Local media in China - which is highly dependent on coal for power - said the cause was a surge in coal prices leading to short supply. As shown in the chart below, Chinese thermal coal futures have more than doubled in price in the past year. There are several reasons for the surge in thermal coal, among them already extremely tight energy supply globally (that's already seen chaos engulf markets in Europe); the sharp economic rebound from COVID lockdowns that has boosted demand from households and businesses; a warm summer which led to extreme air condition consumption across China; the escalating trade spat with Australia which had depressed the coal trade and Chinese power companies ramping up power purchases to ensure winter coal supply. Then there is Beijing's pursuit of curbing carbon emissions - Xi Jinping wants to ensure blue skies at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February, showing the international community that he's serious about de-carbonizing the economy - that has led to artificial bottlenecks in the coal supply chain. Whatever the reason, it's just getting started: as BBC reported, one power company said it expected the power cuts to last until spring next year, and that unexpected outages would become "the new normal." Its post, however, was later deleted. At first, the energy shortage affected factories and manufacturers across the country, many of whom have had to curb or stop production in recent weeks. In the city of Dongguan, a major manufacturing hub near Hong Kong, a shoe factory that employs 300 workers rented a generator last week for $10,000 a month to ensure that work could continue. Between the rental costs and the diesel fuel for powering it, electricity is now twice as expensive as when the factory was simply tapping the grid. “This year is the worst year since we opened the factory nearly 20 years ago,” said Jack Tang, the factory’s general manager. Economists predicted that production interruptions at Chinese factories would make it harder for many stores in the West to restock empty shelves and could contribute to inflation in the coming months. Three publicly traded Taiwanese electronics companies, including two suppliers to Apple and one to Tesla, issued statements on Sunday night warning that their factories were among those affected. Apple had no immediate comment, while Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. But over the weekend residents in some cities saw their power cut intermittently as well, with the hashtag "North-east electricity cuts" and other related phrases trending on Twitter-like social media platform Weibo. The extent of the blackouts is not yet clear, but nearly 100 million people live in the three provinces. In Liaoning province, a factory where ventilators suddenly stopped working had to send 23 staff to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. There were also reports of some who were taken to hospital after they used stoves in poorly-ventilated rooms for heating, and people living in high-rise buildings who had to climb up and down dozens of flights of stairs as their lifts were not functioning. Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several months, though it later withdrew the advice. One video circulating on Chinese media showed cars travelling on one side of a busy highway in Shenyang in complete darkness, as traffic lights and streetlights were switched off. City authorities told The Beijing News outlet that they were seeing a "massive" shortage of power. Social media posts from the affected region said the situation was similar to living in neighboring North Korea. The Jilin provincial government said efforts were being made to source more coal from Inner Mongolia to address the coal shortage. As noted previously, power restrictions are already in place for factories in 10 other provinces, including manufacturing bases Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu. Of course, a key culprit behind China's shocking blackouts is Xi Jinping's recent pledge that his country will reach peak carbon emissions within nine years. As a reminder, two-thirds of China’s electricity comes from burning coal, which Beijing is trying to curb to address climate change. While coal prices have surged along with demand, because the government keeps electricity prices low, particularly in residential areas, usage by homes and businesses has climbed regardless. Faced with losing more money with each additional ton of coal they burn, some power plants have closed for maintenance in recent weeks, saying that this was needed for safety reasons. Many other power plants have been operating below full capacity, and have been leery of increasing generation when that would mean losing more money, said Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Energy Policy Studies at Xiamen University. “If those guys produce more, it has a huge impact on electricity demand,” Professor Lin said, adding that China’s economic minders would order those three industrial users to ease back. Meanwhile, even as it cracks down on conventional fossil fuels, China still does not have a credible alternative "green" source of energy. Adding insult to injury, various regions have been criticized by the government for failing to make energy reduction targets, putting pressure on local officials not to expand power consumption, the BBC's Stephen McDonell reports. And while the blackouts starting to hit household power usage are at most an inconvenience, if one which may soon result in even more civil unrest if these are not contained, a bigger worry is that the already snarled supply chains could get even more broken, leading to even greater supply-disruption driven inflation. As Source Beijing reports, several chip packaging service providers of Intel and Qualcomm were told to shut down factories in Jiangsu province for several days amid what could be the worst power shortage in years. The blackout is expected to affect global semiconductor supplies - which as everyone knows are already highly challenged - if the power cuts extend during winter. The NYT confirms as much, writing today that the electricity shortage is starting to make supply chain problems worse. The sudden restart of the world economy has led to shortages of key components like computer chips and has helped provoke a mix-up in global shipping lines, putting in the wrong places too many containers and the ships that carry them. Nationwide power shortages have prompted economists to reduce their estimates for China’s growth this year. Nomura, a Japanese financial institution, cut its forecast for economic expansion in the last three months of this year to 3 percent, from 4.4 percent. It is not clear how long the power crunch will last. Experts in China predicted that officials would compensate by steering electricity away from energy-intensive heavy industries like steel, cement and aluminum, and said that might fix the problem. State Grid, the government-run power distributor, said in a statement on Monday that it would guarantee supplies “and resolutely maintain the bottom line of people’s livelihoods, development and safety.” Maybe China should just blame bitcoin miners for the crisis to avoid public anger... alas, it can't do that since it already banned them and drove most of its technological innovators out of the country. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2021

Airline Stock Roundup: RYAAY"s Bullish View for Traffic, AAL, JBLU in Focus

Ryanair (RYAAY) expects fiscal 2022 traffic in the range of 90-100 million compared with 27.5 million in fiscal 2021. Gol Linhas (GOL) boosts its liquidity position. In the past week, Ryanair Holdings RYAAY raised its 5-year traffic growth forecast from 33% to 50%. The European carrier now expects traffic to grow to more than 225 million guests per year by March 2026 compared with 200 million predicted earlier.The Latin American carrier Gol Linhas GOL was also in the news in the past week when it extended its agreement with American Airlines AAL. American Airlines will acquire a 5.2% stake in Gol Linhas. However, American Airlines’ alliance with JetBlue Airways JBLU seems to have run into rough weather with the Justice Department and officials in six states reportedly filing a lawsuit against the alliance on antitrust grounds.Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories1.Ryanair, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), expects fiscal 2022 traffic in the range of 90-100 million compared with 27.5 million guests in fiscal 2021.The carrier aims to take delivery of 210 Boeing 737 aircraft over the next five years. The company expects these planes, which would lower costs and reduce emissions, to accelerate its post-COVID growth.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.2. Under this extended deal, Gol Linhas will receive an equity investment of $200 million (R$1.05 billion) from American Airlines. This additional liquidity is expected to strengthen Gol Linhas’ balance sheet. The new agreement expands beyond the terms of the existing codeshare partnership (which has been in place since February 2020) between the carriers. As a result of the code sharing pact, passengers of either carrier can purchase tickets of the connecting flights using one reservation. American Airlines, through this exclusive codeshare agreement, expects to increase commercial cooperation with the Brazilian carrier to accelerate growth and create a more seamless experience for customers.3. According to an update from the White House, travel restrictions on air passengers from countries like China, India, Britain and other European nations into the United States will be eased from November this year. Per White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, foreign nationals will have to be fully vaccinated when they fly to the United States in November. They will have to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding. Further, the travelers have to test negative for the coronavirus, which they have to undergo within three days of their flight. Zients ruled out the need to quarantine for the fully-vaccinated passengers.The development is a major positive, especially for the Delta-variant-hit U.S. airlines. Many of the carriers expect third-quarter 2021 results to be dented by the spread of the Delta strain in the United States. Their bearish third-quarter views were discussed in detail in the previous week’s write-up. 4. The Justice Department believes that the alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue will reduce competition, leading to higher fares. Per Attorney General Merrick Garland, “In an industry where just four airlines control more than 80% of domestic air travel, American Airlines' alliance with JetBlue is, in fact, an unprecedented manoeuvre to further consolidate the industry."American and JetBlue vowed to fight the lawsuit and continue with their alliance unless directed otherwise by a court. The partnership was announced last year. JetBlue and American Airlines already started coordinating on flights in the Northeast. Garland is, however, of the view that “It would result in higher fares, fewer choices, and lower quality service if allowed to continue.”5. United Airlines UAL is expanding its footprint in Africa with a new service between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria, set to be launched on Nov 29, subject to government approval. The airline will operate three weekly flights between the U.S. capital and the popular African destination. This is the company’s first ever nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and Nigeria.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the past six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe table above shows that the airline stocks have traded in the green over the past week, aided by the announcement from the White House pertaining to the easing of international travel curbs. The NYSE ARCA Airline Index has increased 3.5% over the past week to $94.23. Over the course of six months, the sector tracker has decreased 6.6%.What's Next in the Airline Space?Investors will await more updates on the American Airlines-JetBlue partnership in the coming days. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY): Free Stock Analysis Report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL): Free Stock Analysis Report American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

AAR Reports First Quarter 2022 Results

First quarter sales of $455 million, up 14% over the prior year First quarter GAAP diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.31 compared to a loss per share of $(0.40) in Q1 FY2021 Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.52, up 206% from $0.17 in Q1 FY2021 First quarter cash flow from operating activities from continuing operations of $18 million WOOD DALE, Ill., Sept. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AAR CORP. (NYSE:AIR) today reported first quarter Fiscal Year 2022 consolidated sales of $455.1 million and income from continuing operations of $11.2 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. For the first quarter of the prior year, the Company reported sales of $400.8 million and loss from continuing operations of $13.9 million, or $0.40 per diluted share. Our adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2022 were $0.52 compared to $0.17 in the first quarter of the prior year. Current quarter results included net pretax adjustments of $9.9 million, or $0.21 per share, primarily due to a previously disclosed customer contract termination and related asset impairment charges. Consolidated first quarter sales increased 14% over the prior year quarter. Our consolidated sales to commercial customers increased 53% over the prior year quarter primarily due to the recovery in the commercial market from the impact of COVID-19. Our consolidated sales to government customers decreased 17% primarily related to timing as the prior year quarter included significant activity across both our U.S. Marine Corps C-40 and U.S. Air Force pallet contracts. On a sequential basis, consolidated first quarter sales increased 4% over the fourth quarter. Our consolidated sales to commercial customers increased 17% over the fourth quarter while consolidated sales to government customers decreased 10%. Sales to commercial customers were 59% of consolidated sales compared to 44% in the prior year's quarter reflecting the recovery in the commercial market from the impact of COVID-19. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, we announced several new contract awards including: Exclusive distribution agreement with Arkwin Industries covering its broad line of engine actuation and commercial aviation products, which complement our existing engine parts offerings Firm, fixed price contract from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration for the conversion and delivery of a Boeing 737-700 aircraft Extension of our long-term, component support agreement with Volotea, a growing low-cost carrier in Spain, for its fleet of Airbus narrowbody aircraft utilizing our logistics centers in Europe "We had a very strong start to the year across our commercial business. We saw robust performance in our MRO operations and continued recovery in our parts activities. We also secured new government and commercial program contract awards while adding another exclusive new parts distribution agreement, which we expect to contribute to our long-term growth," said John M. Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer of AAR CORP. Gross profit margins increased from 12.1% in the prior year quarter to 14.2% in the current quarter and adjusted gross profit margin increased from 13.0% to 16.1%, primarily due to the favorable impact from our actions to reduce costs and increase our operating efficiency. Expeditionary Services profitability increased significantly from 10.8% to 19.0% reflecting the sale of the Composites business in the prior year quarter and improved execution in the Mobility business. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased from $45.3 million to $49.3 million mainly due to restoration of temporary compensation reductions. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent of sales decreased from 11.3% to 10.8% due to the favorable impact from our cost reduction actions. Operating margin increased from 0.8% in the prior year quarter to 3.3% in the current quarter and adjusted operating margin increased from 2.5% to 5.5%, primarily due to the favorable impact from our actions to reduce costs and increase our operating efficiency. Sequentially, our adjusted operating margin increased from 5.2% in the fourth quarter to 5.5% in the current quarter. In conjunction with the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, we have concluded our activities in country under our WASS and U.S. Department of Defense contracts. The operations related to our activities in Afghanistan contributed revenue of $67 million in Fiscal 2021. Holmes continued, "I am extremely proud of our WASS team and their work in Afghanistan. Our team played a vital role in helping to evacuate over 2,000 U.S. Embassy personnel over a 36 hour period. This was a very difficult operation in a challenging environment but all of our flights were completed successfully and once our mission was accomplished, all of our AAR team members were safely evacuated. We are very grateful for their service." Net interest expense for the quarter was $0.7 million compared to $1.6 million last year. Average diluted share count increased to 35.7 million from 35.0 million in the prior year quarter. Cash flow provided by operating activities from continuing operations was $17.5 million during the current quarter compared to $39.8 million in the prior year quarter, which included $48.5 million related to our receipt of funding from the CARES Act through the Payroll Support Program. Excluding our accounts receivable financing program, our cash flow provided by operating activities from continuing operations was $25.9 million in the current quarter. Holmes concluded, "Our continued focus on driving operating efficiency and working capital management led to another quarter of sequential margin improvement and strong cash flow. Looking forward, while the U.S. exit from Afghanistan will impact our government business in the near term, we are encouraged by the strong pipeline of offsetting government opportunities such as the recent contract award from the Department of Energy. In our commercial markets, the timing of the recovery has been impacted by the Delta variant, but as we continue to see demand increase, particularly in our parts activities, we expect continued growth and operating margin expansion." Conference Call Information                                         AAR will hold its quarterly conference call at 3:45 p.m. CT on September 23, 2021. The conference call can be accessed by calling 866-802-4322 from inside the U.S. or +1-703-639-1319 from outside the U.S. A replay of the conference call will also be available by calling 855-859-2056 from inside the U.S. or +1-404-537-3406 from outside the U.S. (access code 8294140). The replay will be available from 7:15 p.m. CT on September 23, 2021 until 10:59 p.m. CT on September 29, 2021. About AAR AAR is a global aerospace and defense aftermarket solutions company with operations in over 20 countries. Headquartered in the Chicago area, AAR supports commercial and government customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Expeditionary Services. AAR's Aviation Services include parts supply; OEM solutions; integrated solutions; maintenance, repair, overhaul; and engineering. AAR's Expeditionary Services include mobility systems operations. Additional information can be found at www.aarcorp.com. Contact: Dylan Wolin – Vice President, Strategic & Corporate Development and Treasurer | (630) 227-2017 | dylan.wolin@aarcorp.com This press release contains certain statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which reflect management's expectations about future conditions, including but not limited to (i) the ability of our latest distribution, government and commercial programs contract awards to support continued long-term growth,(ii) the impact of our continued focus on driving operating efficiency and working capital management on sequential margin improvement and cash flow, (iii) the impact on our government business in the near term of the recent U.S. exit from Afghanistan, (iv) the impact of the strong pipeline of offsetting government opportunities on our future results and (v) our expectations regarding continued growth and operating margin expansion. Forward-looking statements often address our expected future operating and financial performance and financial condition, or sustainability targets, goals, commitments, and other business plans, and often may also be identified because they contain words such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "likely," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "seek," "should," "target," "will," "would," or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. These forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs of Company management, as well as assumptions and estimates based on information available to the Company as of the dates such assumptions and estimates are made, and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those anticipated, depending on a variety of factors, including: (i) factors that adversely affect the commercial aviation industry; (ii) the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel, worldwide commercial activity and our and our customers' ability to source parts and components; (iii) a reduction in the level of sales to the branches, agencies and departments of the U.S. government and their contractors (which were 44.7% of total sales in fiscal 2021); (iv) non-compliance with laws and regulations relating to the formation, administration and performance of our U.S. government contracts; (v) cost overruns and losses on fixed-price contracts; (vi) nonperformance by subcontractors or suppliers; (vii) changes in or non-compliance with laws and regulations that may affect certain of our aviation and government and defense related activities that are subject to licensing, certification and other regulatory requirements imposed by the FAA, the U.S. State Department and other regulatory agencies, both domestic and foreign; (viii) a reduction in outsourcing of maintenance activity by airlines; (ix) a shortage of the skilled personnel on whom we depend to operate our business, or work stoppages; (x) competition from other companies, including original equipment manufacturers, some of which have greater financial resources than we do; (xi) financial and operational risks arising as a result of operating internationally; (xii) inability to integrate acquisitions effectively and execute our operational and financial plan related to the acquisitions; (xiii) inability to recover our costs due to fluctuations in market values for aviation products and equipment caused by various factors, including reductions in air travel, airline bankruptcies, consolidations and fleet reductions; (xiv) asset impairment charges we may be required to recognize to reflect the non-recoverability of our assets or lowered expectations regarding businesses we have acquired; (xv) limitations on our ability to access the debt and equity capital markets or to draw down funds under loan agreements; (xvi) non-compliance with restrictive and financial covenants contained in certain of our loan agreements, and government funding received under the CARES Act; (xvii) restrictions on paying, or failure to maintain or pay dividends; (xviii) exposure to product liability and property claims that may be in excess of our liability insurance coverage; (xix) threats to our systems technology from equipment failures' cyber and other security y breaches or other disruptions; (xx) the costs of compliance, and liability for non-compliance, with environmental regulations, including future requirements regarding climate change; and (xxi) a need to make significant capital expenditures to keep pace with technological developments in our industry. Should one or more of those risks or uncertainties materialize adversely, or should underlying assumptions or estimates prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described. Those events and uncertainties are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many are beyond our control. For a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, refer to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Part I, "Item 1A, Risk Factors" and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These events and uncertainties are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many are beyond the Company's control. The risks described in these reports are not the only risks we face, as additional risks and uncertainties are not currently known or foreseeable or impossible to predict accurately or risks that are beyond the Company's control or deemed immaterial may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. AAR CORP. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Statements of Operations (In millions except per share data - unaudited) Three Months Ended August 31,     2021       2020                   Sales $ 455.1     $ 400.8   Cost and expenses:               Cost of sales   390.5       352.2   Selling, general and administrative   49.3       45.3   Loss from joint ventures   (0.2 )     (0.1 ) Operating income   15.1       3.2   Loss on sale of business   ––       (19.5 ) Interest expense, net   (0.7 )     (1.6 ) Other income, net   0.7       0.2   Income (Loss) from continuing operations before income taxes   15.1       (17.7 ) Income tax expense (benefit)   3.9       (3.8 ) Income (Loss) from continuing operations   11.2       (13.9 ) Income (Loss) from discontinued operations   0.3       (0.6 ) Net income (loss) $ 11.5     $ (14.5 )                 Earnings (Loss) per share – Basic               Earnings (Loss) from continuing operations $ 0.32     $ (0.40 ) Earnings (Loss) from discontinued operations   0.01       (0.02 ) Earnings (Loss) per share – Basic $ 0.33     $ (0.42 )                 Earnings (Loss) per share – Diluted               Earnings (Loss) from continuing operations $ 0.31     $ (0.40 ) Earnings (Loss) from discontinued operations   0.01       (0.02 ) Earnings (Loss) per share – Diluted $ 0.32     $ (0.42 )                 Share Data:               Weighted average shares outstanding – Basic   35.1       34.9   Weighted average shares outstanding – Diluted   35.7       35.0                   AAR CORP. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Balance Sheets (In millions) August 31, 2021   May 31, 2021   (unaudited)     ASSETS       Cash and cash equivalents $ 48.8   $ 51.8 Restricted cash   3.8     8.4 Accounts receivable, net   180.8     166.7 Contract assets   74.6     71.9 Inventories, net   525.8     540.6 Rotable assets and equipment on or available for lease   52.3     50.4 Assets of discontinued operations   19.2     19.5 Other current assets   39.6     27.7 Total current assets   944.9     937.0 Property, plant, and equipment, net   109.1     120.0 Operating lease right-of-use assets, net   73.6     75.8 Goodwill and intangible assets, net   122.1     123.8 Rotable assets supporting long-term programs   178.0     184.3 Other non-current assets   108.0     98.8 Total assets $ 1,535.7   $ 1,539.7             LIABILITIES AND EQUITY           Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 304.0   $ 301.4 Liabilities of discontinued operations   20.2     35.4 Total current liabilities   324.2     336.8 Long-term debt   127.6     133.7 Operating lease liabilities   58.0     59.9 Other liabilities and deferred income   37.7     34.9 Total liabilities   547.5     565.3 Equity   988.2     974.4 Total liabilities and equity $ 1,535.7   $ 1,539.7             AAR CORP. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (In millions – unaudited) Three Months Ended August 31,.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 23rd, 2021

I compared the best business-class trains I"ve ever taken in Canada and Italy, and my favorite cost half the price

Insider's reporter took business-class trains in Canada and Italy. One included meals and lounge access, the other had a better seat and cost less. Insider's reporter upgraded to business class on train rides in Canada (L) and Italy (R) to see which she liked better.Joey Hadden/Insider In 2022, I took business-class trains on Via Rail in Canada and Trenitalia in Italy. My $216 Via Rail ticket included meals and station lounge access. The $100 Trenitalia fare didn't. After comparing both trains, I thought my business-class ride in Italy was more comfortable overall. I recently traveled by train in business class in two countries to see how they compared: a Via Rail train in Canada and a Trenitalia train in Italy.The author rides in business class on trains in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderI've spent more than 150 hours on train rides over the last year and a half, ranging from 3 to 30 hours long while exploring the US, Canada, and Europe by rail. And I've found that the more time I spend on trains, the more I value being comfortable. Having enough space, a cushy seat, and a clean bathroom are are now necessities, and that's why I started upgrading to business class on my most recent trips.In August 2022, I took a business-class Amtrak train to Niagara Falls, New York, where I crossed the border into the Canadian province of Ontario. Later that week, I took a 6-hour Via Rail business-class ride in Canada from Toronto to Montréal.Two months later, I took a 4-hour Trenitalia business-class ride in Italy from Venice to Rome during a two-week train trip through Europe.Overall, I decided that my rides in Canada and Italy were far better business-class experiences than in the US, where the price did not feel worth it for the journey I had.So, I decided to compare my train trips in Canada and Italy to figure out which country offered the best business-class experience.Via Rail and Trenitalia are both popular train lines in Canada and Italy.Business-class train cars in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderCanada's main railroad system, Via Rail, is one of the most accessible and popular ways to travel by train in Canada, serving more than 400 stations in eight provinces across Canada with economy seating, business class, and sleeper accommodation, according to its website.Via Rail runs 10 fleets of passenger trains that go up to 100 miles per hour, according to the Via Rail corporate website. Business-class Via Rail cars are typically marked by a blue and yellow stripe at the top, according to the same source.Trenitalia is the main train operator in Italy that is owned by the Italian government, and serves more than half a billion travelers each year, according to its website. The trains stop at 64 stations in Italy, according to Moovit, which finds routes and transportation options around the world. Trenitalia runs several series of trains, from high-speed rides to inner city connections, according to the train ticketing site, Italia Rail. I rode a train from the Frecciarossa series, which is the second-fastest series after Alta Velocità that reaches 250 miles per hour, according to Italia Rail. This was my first time on both Via Rail and Trenitalia, so I was excited to see how the train rides compared, especially in a premium setting such as business class.The Via Rail Ticket was more than double the price of the Trenitalia ticket.A screen at the author's boarding platform in Toronto (L). The author's ticket on the train in Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderIn Canada, my Via Rail ride cost $216. Based on my research, standard coach tickets start at around $100.To travel by train in Europe, I bought a Eurail pass for $477, which gives access to most European trains for a set number of days. Some trains and classes only require a Eurail pass to ride, while others incur an additional discounted price.For my business-class Trenitalia trip, I paid an additional $10 to upgrade my ticket to business class on top of the Eurail pass fee. But without the Eurail pass, business-class tickets on this route typically cost around $100, according to a search on Trainline I made looking at dates that are three months ahead.My Via Rail ticket included access to an exclusive lounge, but my Trenitalia ticket did not.The author waits for trains in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderI arrived at Toronto's Union Station at 7:30 a.m. for my 8:30 a.m. train to Montréal because I knew my business-class ticket came with access to an exclusive lounge at the station with plenty of seating and free refreshments.The lounge was mostly empty on a Friday morning. I thought it was a quiet and peaceful place to enjoy a coffee and get some work done. According to their website, Via Rail's lounges are available to passengers traveling in business class, sleeper plus, prestige, and VIA Rail Premier members traveling in economy inside major train stations in Canada.For my 1:38 p.m. Trenitalia ride to Rome, I arrived at Venice's Mestre Station just after 1 p.m. because I knew my ticket didn't include access to a lounge.When I arrived, I went straight to my designated platform upon arrival and waited for my train on a bench. It was a sunny day in Venice, and the outdoor platform wasn't crowded, so I didn't mind waiting outside.Although I didn't visit a lounge as part of this ride, Frecciarossa has these exclusive areas at select stations, too, called FRECCIALounges. They're only free to access for passengers traveling in executive class, Gold or Platinum FRECCIA credit card holders, and groups of 10 with business-class tickets, according to Trenitalia. These lounges are also only available in five stations in Italy: Roma Termini, Milano Central, Bologna Central, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, and Napoli Centrale, according to the same source. When boarding each business-class train, I thought that Italy's business-class car had more space to store luggage than in Canada.Storage spaces in business-class train cars in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderWhen I entered each business-class train, one of the first things I noticed was the space provided to store luggage.On both trains, I was able to store luggage under the seats in front of me and in overhead bins. I tend to travel with just a backpack, so there was enough room for it on both trains above my seat.In Canada, my backpack didn't fit underneath the seat in front of me, so I slid it into an overhead bin, which was challenging for me to reach since I'm 5-foot-3.But in Italy, I felt like I had enough space underneath the seat in front of me for more than just my backpack. I thought that I would have been able to fit a whole duffel bag or carry-on suitcase beneath the Trenitalia seats if I needed, in addition to the area provided above.In both Via Rail and Trenitalia's business-class cars, the configuration was two seats on one side of the aisle and one seat on the other.Business-class train cars in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderThe seating configuration onboard business class trains in Canada and Italy was very similar.In Canada, I was traveling by myself, so I booked a seat in a single row, and was happy to have my own space.In Italy, I traveled with my partner. Most of the single-row seats faced each other with a shared table in between, which is what we booked. The double-row seats faced another row of two seats, which I thought made it ideal for groups of four.I thought the Via Rail seat was comfortable throughout the 6-hour journey, but the Trenitalia seat was even cozier.Business-class seats on trains in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderWhen I have to sit on a train for hours, I want to feel like I'm relaxing. So a cushy, spacious seat is what I look forward to most in premium cabins like business class.In Canada, right away, I thought that my Via Rail seat was one of the most comfortable I'd ever experienced on a train. I attributed this to the fact that the top of my seat was curved, and I was able to rest my head in a comfortable position for lounging.The Toronto Star reported that Via Rail business-class seats are 18.5 inches wide, which felt large enough for me. It also reclined, giving me a chance to relax more during the long journey. Two months later in Italy, I was surprised to find that the Trenitalia seats were even more comfortable than the Via Rail seats. Trenitalia's seats are about 25 inches wide, according to the train booking site ACP Rail International. It also had a curved headrest and reclined.While both seats reclined and had curved headrests and outlets to charge my devices, I thought the Trenitalia seats looked noticeably wider and thicker than on Via Rail. When I sat down, I found that they felt even cushier, like a small couch or loveseat, which gave it the edge for me over Via Rail.In both business-class seats, I was impressed by the amount of legroom I had. But I think I had a few more inches in Canada.The seat pitch on business-class trains in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderSince I'm only 5-foot-3, having a lot of legroom isn't totally necessary for my comfort on long trips, but I do prefer to have enough space to stretch a little.The Toronto Star reported that Via Rail business-class seats have a 39-inch seat pitch. I also noticed that the seat had a foot rest, which I used to extend my legs when they started to feel stiff. Trenitalia's seats are about 63 inches apart, according to the train booking site ACP Rail International. So my partner and I each had 31.5 inches of legroom. I thought it was enough room for people traveling together who don't mind sharing the space, but if I didn't know the person sitting in front of me, I would have felt cramped. Both seats came with tray tables, but the table onboard Trenitalia was larger.Tables at business-class seats in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderI think having a table on a train ride makes it easier to eat, work, read, and play games. I had one on each ride, though they differed slightly.In Canada, I had a seatback tray table, which is typical of most train rides I've taken. There was a cup holder in the top right corner to keep my drinks from spilling while the train was moving. In Italy, our seats came with a table in the middle that folded out on both sides for additional space. It was large enough for us to play cards, which excited me. I've always loved card games. When I took trains as a kid, I played with my brother while sitting on the floor using our seats as a table. So, dealing out a hand comfortably on a train without making a mess was not only comfortable, but a memorable experience. In Canada, my seat also came with a side table next to the window. My seat in Italy did not.Tables in business-class train cars in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderIn Canada, I was surprised to find that I had a side table in addition to a tray table that pulled out in front of me, since no other train I've ever been on offered two tables per passenger.Throughout the trip, I used the side table to hold my coffee while working and to store my laptop while taking breaks. I thought the side table gave me the advantage of putting my tray table up so I could have more space in front of me.In Italy, there was no additional side table at my seat, but since the table provided was larger, I thought it served the same function. When I wasn't using the table, I folded it back up to give myself more space, just like the tray table in Canada.  Ultimately, I found that with both Canada's two small tables and Italy's larger shared table, I had adequate room for eating, drinking, and working on my laptop on both rides.My Via Rail business-class ticket included complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks, while my Trenitalia ticked only included complimentary snacks and drinks.Complimentary food served on Canadian (L) and Italian (R) trains.Joey Hadden/InsiderFor train rides that are more than five hours long, I always make a plan for eating, whether its bringing my own food, confirming the train has a cafe car, or booking a ticket that includes a meal.Some train lines serve complimentary meals to business and first-class guests.In my case, my 6-hour Via Rail ride in Canada included complimentary meals, which were brought to my seat by a train attendant. For breakfast, I was served a warm bagel with cream cheese. It was no New York bagel, I thought, but it was decent and filled me up.The lunch menu on the same ride was announced over the loudspeaker. I chose a rigatoni dish with sides of corn salad, bread, and carrot bread for dessert. The meal was better than I expected with an al dente cook on the pasta. I also thought it was much better than pasta I've tried on Amtrak trains in the US in the past.Trenitalia's ticket didn't come with a meal, but the attendants came by with complimentary trail mix and drinks. They served me coffee and tangerine juice with my snack. Since it was a shorter ride, I was fine without the meal. But if had gotten hungry, I would have gone to the cafe car to purchase more refreshments.Trenitalia didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about if any business-class tickets include meals. I thought the business-class perks were better on the Via Rail route than on the Trenitalia ride.A hand wipe served to the author on the Via Rail train (L), and service attendants on the Trenitalia train (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderOn Via Rail in Canada, I quickly learned that business-class trains here came with a lot of luxury perks like the attendant service that I found to be exceptional.Shortly after departing, a train attendant came around with complimentary drink service, and then again for refills about an hour later. Between meals, the same attendants came around with snacks and warm hand wipes, as well. Via Rail didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on whether or not these services are offered on all business-class trains.  On the Trenitalia train, I found luxury perks, too, like complimentary snack and beverage services. However, in my experience, the train attendants on the Trenitalia came by with snacks and drinks less frequently than on the Via Rail train. Trenitalia didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about business-class perks.In Canada, stops were announced over a loudspeaker. Trenitalia's train had several screens inside the business-class car showing the route and upcoming stops.An informative screen on the Trenitalia train.Joey Hadden/InsiderKnowing where I am is on my journey when I'm taking trains is really important to me. Even if I know I have hours before my stop, I feel more comfortable and confident as a traveler when I know the train's route.Usually, I just use my phone to look up my train's route and then double-check on Google Maps that I'm headed in the right direction. I did this in Canada, where stops were announced over a loudspeaker, which is typical of most trains I've been on.But in Italy, I didn't have to use my phone because the Trenitalia train had informative screens around the car. I was able to look in nearly every direction at any time to see when my stop was coming up. I had never seen this inside a train car prior to my trip to Europe, and I thought it was a nice touch that relieved me from having to constantly check my phone. In Canada, the train bathroom didn't seem upgraded for business class. But in Italy, the business-class bathroom felt elevated to me.Business-class train bathrooms in Canada (L) and Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderI've come to not expect much from train bathrooms. In many of my experiences, they've felt cramped, even in first and business classes. I didn't notice anything special about Via Rail's business-class bathroom compared to other train classes or rides I've experienced, but I was impressed by how clean the bathroom appeared to be compared to most train bathrooms I've used.But on the Trenitalia train, I walked into what I thought was the nicest train bathroom I'd ever used. The business-class bathroom felt spacious and clean with blue lighting and a large mirror above the sink.Usually, I'm rushing to get out of a train bathroom as quickly as I can because it feels cramped, dirty, or both. But on the Trenitalia train, I felt comfortable taking a little bit extra time to look in the mirror.After experiencing business-class trains in Canada and Italy, I concluded that both offered memorable rides, but I had a better overall time on Trenitalia's business-class train.The trains arrive in Québec City, Canada (L), and Rome, Italy (R).Joey Hadden/InsiderDeciding which business-class ride was better was a challenge for me. I thought both trains were far more comfortable and luxurious than any rides I've booked in the past. While the Via Rail train in Canada came with additional luxury perks like complimentary meals and lounge access, I ultimately decided that I had a better time on Trenitalia thanks to its ultra-comfy, spacious seats, as well as features that the Via Rail car didn't offer, like informative screens and an elevated bathroom. I also appreciated that it was priced affordably.In a statement to Insider, Via Rail said a new fleet of trains on the same route I traveled will soon feature several changes. The new trains will have "wider aisles, automatic touchless interior doors, extendable tray tables, and ergonomic seats," the statement said. The statement noted more updates like the addition of business-class pods, high-speed data connection, and redesigned bathrooms. "We will offer garbage collection onboard the train and recycling bins," the statement also said.But whether you're traveling four hours or six, I recommend traveling in business class on both Canada's and Italy's trains for a luxury experience where you really can't go wrong in either location. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 29th, 2023