Southwest Airlines exec to testify at Senate hearing following travel meltdown

Southwest Airlines Chief Operating Officer will testify in front of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee next week to explain what the airline has done following the holiday meltdown.....»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsFeb 3rd, 2023

Southwest"s Meltdown Reminds Us We Must End Airlines" Corporate Welfare

Southwest's Meltdown Reminds Us We Must End Airlines' Corporate Welfare Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Southwest Airlines experienced an enormous meltdown over the Christmas holiday week last month, cancelling thousands of flights, and losing track of—or outright losing—countless pieces of luggage. The airline was full of excuses, of course. As has become fashionable for government and corporate screw-ups, airline management attempted to blame covid for staffing problems. Southwest also blamed the weather. It's amazing they didn't also try to somehow blame "Russia's war in Ukraine"—as the stock phrase now goes—as well.  Yet, no other major airline had nearly the troubles that Southwest had in terms of either weather delays or staffing problems. Rather, the operational problems apparently stem from the fact that Southwest couldn't be bothered with spending money to improve its own operating capabilities over the past decade. This occurred in spite of the fact that Southwest—like other major US airlines—collected billions of dollars in bailout funds. The company then reported large profits thanks in part to the funds stolen from taxpayers.  Already, we're hearing about lawsuits from paying customers, and fines from federal regulators. The only real solution, however—in addition to civil suits to recover real damages—lies in forcing Southwest to submit to more market competition. In addition to periodic bailouts from taxpayers, Southwest—like all US airlines—is protected from foreign competition by protectionist US laws. Combining these protections with bailouts—airlines got free money in both 2001 and 2020—we have an airline industry that's complacent, wasteful, and prone to mistreating its customers.  Mask Mandates and Southwest's Mistreatment of its own Customers  As stranded customers sought to reschedule their flights at the Nashville airport last week, Southwest employees called in the police to threaten customers with arrest if they didn't immediately leave the area. The airline later claimed they were merely trying to "help" customers contact reservation agents elsewhere in the airport. Resorting to police coercion, of course, is a tactic we've seen employed by airline employees on many occasions. Perhaps, most famously, United Airlines employees in 2017 called in police to beat up a paid customer, David Dao, who refused to give up his seat on a flight after airline employees mismanaged booking. Some conservatives rushed to defend the airline, even claiming that United Airlines was the victim, or insisting that the passenger should have just meekly followed orders. That case became an interesting prelude to the debate over "following orders" from airline employees in light of covid mask mandates. Three years later, airlines rushed to unilaterally adopt covid mask mandates for customers, forcibly removing customers who didn't comply with every minute detail. This was done without federal mandates, mind you. In April of 2020, private airlines began imposing their own mask mandates, and airlines were free to adopt—or not adopt— their own mask policies well into 2021. Southwest was happy to jump on the mask bandwagon early, however, and adopted a mask policy even more stringent than those policies imposed by many governments. In Colorado, for example, the government-imposed mask mandate applied only to children 11 years of age, or older. Southwest, on the other hand, saw fit to impose a mask mandate on children as young as two years old. There was absolutely no scientific basis for this, of course, but Southwest enthusiastically enforced the mandate, even tightening restrictions in the summer of 2020. The airline stated that even those with verifiable medical conditions preventing masking would not be allowed to fly at all. Airline employees proceeded to throw an autistic 3-year old and his family off a plane in one case. On another occasion a Southwest flight attendant booted a 2-year old and his mother because the small child was taking too long to eat his gummy bears. Although the mask policy was only private corporate policy at that time, Southwest's stated policy was that customers not be given much leeway to eat: "we expect these instances to be very brief, and customers should put their face covering back on as soon as possible." Southwest Gets Billions in Taxpayer Money  At the same time Southwest was voluntarily throwing toddlers off planes for eating incorrectly, it was receiving billions in taxpayer money as part of the federal government's bailout of US airlines. This was the second bailout for Southwest in twenty years, an earlier bailout having come in 2001. In the 2020 bailout, Southwest received $7 billion in subsidized loans, grants, and tax relief: On April 14, Southwest announced that it had reached an agreement with the government in which it will receive $2.3 billion in grants, as well as a $1 billion low-interest loan backed by warrants that could dilute Southwest shareholders only minimally, even if fully exercised. Months later, in April 2021, Southwest announced $116 million in profits. According to the Chicago Tribune, this was largely attributable to the infusion of taxpayer money handed over to Southwest: "Without the federal money, Southwest would have lost $1 billion in the quarter." This doesn't distinguish Southwest from other major US airlines, of course. Those airlines received bailouts as well. Yet, in spite of its net revenues, Southwest did very little to address the problems of scheduling flights which it knew could lead to mass flight cancellations. Southwest's passengers were victimized twice: once when their hard-earned money was stolen by the state to pay for Southwest's bailout, and a second time when Southwest stranded thousands of taxpayers on Christmas.  How Governments Limit Airline Competition It is likely that last week many thousands of Southwest customers declared "I'll never fly southwest again." Such declarations have a way of being short-lived when passengers enjoy few alternatives. Unfortunately, thanks to costs imposed by federal regulations, and by federal protectionism, American airline passengers don't have as many alternatives as they should.  There were no new-entrant airlines from 2007 to 2021, and a small number of firms dominate the airline business in North America. Investopedia claims the three top carriers enjoy 70 percent of the business, and Salon and the NYT say the top four enjoy 80 percent.  Governments limit competition in several ways, including:  Air traffic control is a monopoly run by the FAA and services are limited by political considerations.  Airports are owned by local governments, and thus allocate airport amenities and services according to political needs and not market needs.  The FAA rations "slots" which give "an airline the right to either takeoff or land at the airport in a specified time period, and airlines [can] only access the airport with a slot. These slots are generally distributed to the largest and most powerful incumbent firms.  Moreover, the generally-high level of bureaucratization in the airline business means that airlines spend a sizable amount of effort satisfying government bureaucracies rather than concentrating on their own customers. As Per Bylund has explained, regulated markets destroy consumer sovereignty.  So, yes, there are multiple government-imposed constraints that indirectly limit competition in the airline industry—to the benefit of incumbent firms like Southwest. The Ban on Domestic Routes for Foreign Carriers But there is also one big government regulation that directly protects all domestic airlines from competition: the US ban on foreign carriers. USAToday reports:  International airlines do operate in this country, of course, but they're forbidden from flying point-to-point destinations domestically. These laws, which are meant to protect American consumers and jobs, are having the exact opposite effect. Eliminating — or at least partially lifting — outdated restrictions could significantly increase competition and improve customer service. The author of the above is wrong about at least one thing. The protectionist laws eliminating foreign competition are not "outdated." They were never a good idea to begin with. Protectionist laws such as the ban on foreign carriers have always favored the owners of domestic firms at the expense of their customers.  Were free trade allowed in the airline business, customers could potentially elect to fly the Irish carrier Aer Lingus — for example — between Dallas and Chicago rather than Southwest. This would, of course, drive down prices and give more choices to consumers.  Southwest's debacle has shown just how much more competition is needed.  Tyler Durden Thu, 01/05/2023 - 12:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2023

Hope Hicks was once one of Trump"s closest confidantes. Less than 2 years later, she testified that her former boss told her that no one would care about his legacy if he lost the 2020 election.

Hicks was a senior adviser to Trump in his final years as president and was one of the few aides who reportedly told him he lost the 2020 election. Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks leaves the US Capitol after attending a closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on February 27, 2018.REUTERS/Leah Millis Hope Hicks, 34, was one of President Donald Trump's most trusted advisers. Hicks resigned from the White House on January 12, 2021, but told people it was a planned departure. She was one of the few White House aides who told Trump he lost the 2020 election. In testimony featured in the January 6 House committee's final hearing, Hope Hicks testified that former President Donald Trump told her that no one would care about his legacy if he lost the 2020 election and that the only thing that mattered was winning.Before testifying in the investigation launched against her former boss' involvement in the Capitol riots, Hicks was the youngest White House communications director in history. But prior to joining the 2016 Trump campaign, she had no political experience.Hicks, now 34, was born in Greenwich, a town of 60,000 on the southwest tip of Connecticut that's a favorite spot for hedge-fund headquarters. She was a model, actress, and lacrosse player as a child, before getting her English degree at Southern Methodist University.Hicks didn't intend on playing such a large role in a presidential campaign, instead falling into the gig through a job at the Trump Organization.In her time at the White House, Hicks became ensnared in two high-profile White House controversies: the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and her role in crafting the White House's response to abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter.In February 2018, Hicks announced she was resigning one day after she said in testimony she had occasionally told white lies for the president but never lied about anything consequential related to the Russia investigation.After laying low in New York and Connecticut for several months, Hicks headed to 21st Century Fox as executive vice president and chief communications officer. She later rejoined the Trump White House as a counselor to the president, reporting to senior adviser and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.Amid a wave of resignations following the January 6 insurrection, Hicks resigned from the White House on January 12, 2021, but told people it was a previously planned departure and not influenced by then-President Donald Trump's response to the Capitol riot as some other departures were, CNN reported at the time.Reports first emerged in October 2022 that Hicks was expected to privately testify before the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot. She was one of the few White House aides who broke with the former president, reportedly telling Trump he lost the 2020 election as he allegedly worked to overturn the results.Here's what we know about Hicks.Hicks and her sister, Mary Grace, were successful teen models. Hicks posed for Ralph Lauren and appeared on the cover of "It Girl," a spin-off of the best-selling "Gossip Girl" book and TV series.Trump campaign press secretary Hope Hicks at a rally, Colorado Springs, Colorado, October 18, 2016.David Hume Kennerly/Getty ImagesSource: The New York TimesHicks' first brush with the Trumps came in 2012 when she was at the public-relations firm Hiltzik Strategies working on Ivanka Trump's fashion line. Trump's eldest daughter hired Hicks away in 2014 and she became an employee of the Trump Organization.Hope Hicks, spokeswoman for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on January 2, 2017.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst—Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) January 4, 2017Sources: New York Times, GQ, NYMagHicks met patriarch Trump and quickly "earned his trust," Ivanka Trump told The New York Times for a June 2016 profile on the spokeswoman.Then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks with Hicks as he arrives for service at First Presbyterian Church in Muscatine, Iowa, January 24, 2016.AP Photo/Andrew HarnikSource: New York TimesIn January 2015, Trump called Hicks into his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower and told her she was joining his presidential campaign. "I think it’s 'the year of the outsider.' It helps to have people with outsider perspective," Hicks said Trump told her.Corey Lewandowski, then campaign manager for Trump, stands nearby with Hicks as Trump holds a news conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, May 26, 2016.REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstSource: NYMagHicks didn't have any political experience, but her public-relations roots run deep. Both grandfathers worked in PR, and her father, Paul, was the NFL's executive vice president for communications and public relations. He was also a town selectman from 1987 to 1991. Greenwich proclaimed April 23, 2016, as Paul B. Hicks III Day.Hicks after a news conference at Trump Tower on May 31, 2016.REUTERS/Carlo AllegriSource: Town of Greenwich, GQHicks started working on what would become Trump's campaign five months before Trump announced his presidency, after he famously rode a golden escalator down to the lobby of his tower on June 16, 2015.Hicks crosses paths with Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (who was fired in June 2016) at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016.REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstThat made Hicks the campaign staffer who lasted in Trump's inner circle the longest. She outlasted his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and several senior advisers.Trump listens to Hicks as he tours the Flint Water Plant and Facilities in Michigan on September 14, 2016.REUTERS/Mike SegarPeople close to her describe Hicks as a friendly, loyal fighter. Trump has called her a "natural" and "outstanding."Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is handed a box of cookies by his press secretary Hope Hicks during a visit Eat'n Park restaurant, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, in Moon Township, Pa.AP Photo/ Evan VucciWhile reporters who worked with Hicks say she's polite, they expressed frustration that she was often unreachable on the campaign trail, not responding to requests for comment, or denying access to the candidate.Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for then Republican presidential candidate Trump, and Hicks watch during a campaign rally in October 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.AP Photo/ Evan VucciShe said her mom, Caye, told her to write a book about her experience with Trump, like "Primary Colors," the fictional novel depicting President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. "You don't even know," she said she told her mother.Hicks during a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona on October 29 2016.REUTERS/Carlo Allegr'sSource: NYMag, Primary ColorsDuring the campaign, Hicks spent most of her days fielding reporters' requests and questions — even reportedly taking dictation from Trump to post his tweets.Trump's inner circle celebrates onstage at his election night party. (Hicks is fourth from left.)AP Photo/Mary AltafferSources: NYMag, NYTIn July 2016, Donald Trump Jr. and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower to get "dirt" on opponent Hillary Clinton. Hicks later told Trump "this is going to be a massive story," and that the emails setting it up were "really bad," but he didn't want the details. The meeting became a key point of investigation in Mueller's Russia probe.White House Communications Director Hope Hicks walks on the tarmac after the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 26, 2018.Reuters/Carlos BarriaSources: Business Insider, CNN, BuzzFeedDuring the campaign, Hicks stayed in a free apartment in a Trump building, though she'd often go home to her parents' house in Connecticut when she could.Hicks departs Trump Tower in New York on November 11, 2016.REUTERS/Carlo AllegriShe followed Trump to DC. He named her assistant to the president and director of strategic communications in December 2017.Trump greets Conway and Hicks during a USA Thank You Tour event in Mobile, Alabama, on December 17, 2016.REUTERS/Lucas JacksonSource: Trump administrationShe still flew below the radar, directing the spotlight back on Trump. The then president-elect called her up to the microphone to speak at a "Thank You" rally in December 2017.US President-elect Donald Trump's press secretary Hope Hicks speaks during a 'Thank You Tour 2016' rally on December 17, 2016 in Mobile, Alabama.Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images—David Mack (@davidmackau) December 17, 2016It's been said she can act as a sort of Trump whisperer, understanding his many moods and professionally executing what needs to be done. She still only calls him "Sir" or "Mr. Trump."Hicks deplanes Air Force One for a weekend at Trump's private club in Bedminster, New Jersey on September 29, 2017.REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueSources: New York Times, GQ, NYMag"If the acting thing doesn’t work out, I could really see myself in politics," Hicks told Greenwich Magazine when she was 13. "Who knows."Hicks, Conway, and former senior counselor Steve Bannon arrive for the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017, in Washington.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesSources: New York TimesIn June 2017, the White House released salary info for 377 top staffers. Hicks got paid the maximum amount that any of Trump's aides received: $179,700.Hicks walk across the South Lawn of the White House to join Trump aboard Marine One with Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, and Stephen Miller on April 29, 2017.Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty ImagesSource: The White HouseHicks made as much as Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former press secretary Sean Spicer, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, and policy adviser Stephen Miller.Hicks and Bannon walk down the West Wing Colonnade after a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 10, 2017.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSource: The White HouseSome family members and friends expressed concern that Hicks was so closely tied to a president whose policies and statements are unpopular with a significant number of Americans, but were confident that she'll come through unscathed.U.S. President Donald Trump looks up while signing an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017.Reuters/Kevin LamarqueSources: New York Times, GQ"There is just no way that a camera or an episode or a documentary could capture what has gone on. There is nothing like it," Hicks told Marie Claire in June 2016. "It is the most unbelievable, awe-inspiring thing."Conway and Hicks watch the daily press briefing at the White House on January 30, 2017.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: Marie ClaireIn August 2017, Trump asked Hicks to be the new interim White House director of communications, a job that Michael Dubke, Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci held and left in Trump's first six months in office.Hicks before the start of the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on February 14, 2017.AP Photo/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisSources: Daily Caller, New York Times, CNNThe White House said it would announce the permanent choice for the position "at the appropriate time." In September 2017, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it would be Hicks.Hicks and Sanders walk through the lobby at Trump Tower in New York City on August 15, 2017.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThat made 29-year-old Hicks the youngest White House communications director in history.Hicks listens while Trump meets with female small-business owners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 27, 2017.Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty ImagesSources: Daily Caller, New York Times, CNNBut she became ensnared in the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team interviewed her in December 2017, and she reportedly hinted at concealing explosive emails about the Trump Tower Russia meeting during a conference call with Trump in July 2016.Trump confers with Hicks in the Oval Office on January 17, 2018.Reuters/Kevin LamarqueSources: The New York Times, Business InsiderIn February 2018, Hicks came under scrutiny for reportedly playing a key role in drafting a statement expressing vehement support for staff secretary Rob Porter after his two ex-wives accused him of physically and emotionally abusing them. Hicks and Porter were rumored to be dating.Hicks in the Oval Office on Feb. 2, 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciSources: CNN, Business InsiderIn February 2018, she testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee on Trump's ties to Russia, and key incidents that she witnessed during the campaign and in the White House. She reportedly said she has told "white lies" for Trump.Hicks arrives at the US Capitol on February 27, 2018.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSources: Business Insider, The New York TimesThough she was front and center in the White House's scandals, Hicks remains a private person, revealing very little about her personal life, and remaining a mystery to many.Hicks arrives at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on Nov. 12, 2017.AP Photo/Andrew HarnikOn February 28, 2018, news broke that she would resign in the coming weeks. Many in the White House were dismayed.Hicks leaves the US Capitol after attending a closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on February 27, 2018.REUTERS/Leah MillisSource: Business Insider"She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person," Trump said in a statement. "I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood."Hicks in the Oval Office on February 9, 2018.Pool/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider"There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump," Hicks said in a statement. "I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country."Hicks leaves the US Capitol after attending a closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on February 27, 2018.REUTERS/Leah MillisAfter leaving the White House, Hicks returned to her family home in Greenwich, Connecticut before being spotted in New York City, where she was reportedly on the job hunt.Hope Hicks talks on the tarmac as President Donald Trump greets supports as he arrives on Air Force One at John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, en route to a rally at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio.Carolyn Kaster/APSource: Page SixHicks made a rare public appearance when she boarded Air Force One in August 2018 to travel to an Ohio rally. Reportedly on Trump's invitation, Hicks talked off the record to reporters, even joking about her career prospects.Hope Hicks stands on the tarmac as President Donald Trump is greeted as he arrives on Air Force One at John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, en route to a rally at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio.Carolyn Kaster/APSource: Business InsiderAfter months of staying out of the spotlight, Hicks was confirmed to be heading to a spinoff of 21st Century Fox as executive vice president and chief communications officer in October 2018.J. Scott Applewhite/APSource: Business InsiderIn June 2019, Hicks testified behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee. Mueller's final report on the Russia investigation mentioned her name 184 times, so congressional investigators had a lot to talk to her about.President Donald Trump reacts as he stands next to former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks outside of the Oval Office as he departs the White House for a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, in Washington D.C. on March 29, 2018.REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File PhotoSource: PoliticoBut White House lawyers blocked Hicks from answering questions 155 times during her congressional testimony, citing "absolute immunity" and Trump's executive privilege.Hicks leaves following a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2019.AP Photo/Andrew HarnikSource: Business InsiderOn February 13, 2020, news broke that Hicks was returning to the White House as a senior adviser. She reported to Kushner and worked with Brian Jack, the White House political director.Former White House communications director Hope Hicks leaves after a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee June 19, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSources: Business Insider, The New York TimesOn October 1, 2020, it was reported that Hicks had tested positive for COVID-19 just days after flying on Air Force One with President Donald Trump and his senior staff.(L-R) Assistant to the President and Director of Oval Office Operations Nicholas Luna, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, and counselor to President Hope Hicks walk to Marine One to depart from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 30, 2020.ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHicks resigned from the White House on January 12, 2021, in a previously planned departure.Former President Donald Trump points to former communications director Hope Hicks shortly before making his way to board Marine One on the South Lawn and departing from the White House on March 29, 2018.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesThough her exit from the Trump White House came amid a wave of resignations following January 6, sources said she told people it wasn't because of the violence at the Capitol and instead was a normal outgoing transition at the end of an administration.Sources: CNN, Bloomberg NewsIn October 2022, Hicks was expected to privately testify before the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot.Then-US President Donald Trump laughs as his senior adviser, Hope Hicks, speaks to the crowd during a campaign event at the Ocala International Airport on October 16, 2020 in Ocala, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe longtime Trump aide was scheduled to be privately deposed and provide a transcribed interview with January 6 House committee investigators on October 25, according to reports.In the book "The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021," published in September, Hicks reportedly told Trump it was time to move on."Trump responded bitterly. 'Well, Hope doesn't believe in me,' he would say in meetings," New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and New Yorker staff writer and CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser wrote in their book."'No, I don't,' she would reply. 'Nobody's convinced me otherwise,'" they continued. "She concluded any further efforts to try to steer Trump would simply be, as she told an associate, 'a waste of time.'"Sources: The New York Times, NBC News, Business InsiderOn December 19, Hicks testified in the investigation against her former boss during the final hearing of the January 6 House select committee.A video showing Hope Hicks plays as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its final meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/APOn December 19, the January 6 House select committee presented her videotaped testimony, in which she revealed Trump's response to his advisers and aides pleading him to change his messaging after the 2020 election."I was becoming increasingly concerned that we were damaging his legacy," Hicks said."What did the president say in response to what you just described?" an off-camera voice asks Hicks in the video clip.She responded: "He said something along the lines of, 'Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won't matter. The only thing that matters is winning.'"Hicks also testified that she suggested to White House lawyer Eric Herschmann to tell Trump to call for non-violence from his supporters on January 6, 2021, but Herschmann told her the former president refused.Editor's note: This article was first published in February 2017 and has been updated to reflect recent developments.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 19th, 2022

Consolidated Water Reports 2021 Results

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, March 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CWCO), a leading developer and operator of advanced water supply and treatment plants, reported results for the year ended December 31, 2021. All comparisons are to the same year-ago period unless otherwise noted. The company will hold a conference call at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow to discuss the results (see dial-in information below). 2021 Highlights Bulk revenue increased 10.2% to $26.8 million. Services revenue increased 7.3% to $13.9 million. Net income from continuing operations attributable to company stockholders was $3.4 million or $0.23 per share. As of December 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents totaled $40.4 million, working capital was $69.2 million, debt was $0.2 million, with stockholders' equity at $157.6 million. Paid quarterly cash dividend of $0.085 per share ($0.34 on an annualized basis), totaling $5.8 million in dividends paid in the full year of 2021. PERC Water continued to expand its recurring revenues by signing a five-year wastewater plant maintenance services contract with a gaming and live entertainment business in Southern California. Management Commentary "2021 was a year of both progress and unprecedented challenges," commented Consolidated Water CEO, Rick McTaggart. "Our retail segment performed below historical levels due to the continued impact of the pandemic on tourism to Grand Cayman, while our manufacturing segment revenue declined due to challenging economic conditions. However, we made strong progress in other areas. We further diversified our manufacturing customer base and product offerings, revenue generated in our bulk segment increased by $2.5 million, and our services segment revenue was up by $947,000. "Also in 2021, we integrated our sales teams across our four business segments, which are now led by our recently promoted executive vice president of business development, Brent Brodie. This integrated sales approach is supporting further diversification of Aerex's client base and geographical market, which will improve its future performance. "Our sales team has been focused on developing or redeveloping Aerex relationships with large engineering consultants and general contractors who provide design and construction services to the municipal water market. In 2021, about 77% of our manufacturing revenues came from various municipal water projects. As a result, Aerex has developed an order backlog that is considerably higher than this time last year. Aerex is presently pursuing projects in the southwest United States in addition to its primary sales market in Florida. Altogether, these factors give us confidence that our manufacturing business will continue to improve over the coming months. "For our desalination business, Aerex has become fully integrated with three projects we are pursuing in Hawaii, California and Grand Cayman. We believe Aerex's design and manufacturing capabilities make us more competitive for these important projects, which includes design, construction and long-term operation of seawater desalination plants for municipal customers. "We are very encouraged by the return of tourism to the Cayman Islands as the country's Phase 5 reopening plan continues. Several major airlines resumed their flights to the islands earlier this month, and cruise ships were welcomed back last week. We saw a 7% year-over-year increase in water sales in our Grand Cayman retail service areas during the first two months of 2022, and we have already produced nearly 15% more water in March of this year compared to March of last year. "We expect the resurgence of tourism to help our retail water sales return to normal levels over the coming months, as hotels and businesses begin to serve the thousands of tourists and vacationers coming back to the islands. "Our services segment, led by our California-based PERC Water, has also seen increased activity. Project bidding in primary markets for new plants and asset management contracts has picked up, with PERC currently pursuing more than a dozen potential design, build and asset management projects. In January, we submitted a multi-million dollar bid to design, build and operate a new 2.6 million gallon per day desalination plant in Grand Cayman, and we anticipate hearing the results by mid-April. "Looking to the year ahead, we believe we have charted the best course to grow our business, with a particular focus on water-short regions of the western United States. We believe our extensive experience, excellent track record and novel approach to designing, building and operating both seawater desalination facilities and wastewater treatment and recycling plants—as well as our strong cash position and relatively low overhead burden—continues to afford us numerous competitive advantages. "Along with these advantages, our optimism about our growth prospects ahead is buoyed by the ongoing return of tourism to Grand Cayman and the increased project bidding activity in the U.S. and internationally. We see each of these factors as strong catalysts for growth in 2022 and beyond." 2021 Financial Summary Revenue for the full year 2021 was $66.9 million, down 7.9% compared to $72.6 million for 2020. The decrease was primarily driven by decreases of $847,000 in the retail segment and $8.4 million in the manufacturing segment. The decrease in total revenue was partially offset by increases of $2.5 million in the bulk segment and $947,000 in the services segment. The reduction in retail revenue reflects a 4% decrease in the volume of water sold by Cayman Water due to the closing of Grand Cayman Island to all tourist travel in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease in manufacturing segment revenue was due to the loss of orders from Aerex's former largest customer. The increase in services segment revenue was due to an increase of approximately $3.2 million from operating and maintenance contracts attributable to new contracts, which more than offset a decline in plant construction revenue. The increase in bulk segment revenue is attributable to an increase in energy costs for CW-Bahamas, which increased the energy pass-through component of CW-Bahamas' rates and, to a lesser extent, a 5% increase in the volume of water sold by CW-Bahamas. Gross profit for the full year 2021 was $23.5 million or 35.2% of total revenue, down 12% from $26.8 million or 36.9% of total revenue for 2020. Net income from continuing operations attributable to Consolidated Water stockholders for the full year 2021 was $3.4 million or $0.23 per basic and diluted share, compared to net income of $8.6 million or $0.56 per basic and diluted share for 2020. Net income attributable to Consolidated Water stockholders for the full year 2021, which includes the results of discontinued operations, was $876,000 or $0.06 per basic and fully diluted share, down from net income of $3.7 million or $0.24 per basic and fully diluted share for the same year-ago period. Cash and cash equivalents totaled $40.4 million as of December 31, 2021, as compared to $43.8 million as of December 31, 2020. The decrease in cash was due to a decline in cash provided by operating activities. 2021 Segment Results     Year Ended December 31, 2021     Retail   Bulk   Services   Manufacturing   Total Revenue   $ 22,104,953     $ 26,800,869     $ 13,884,857     $ 4,072,823     $ 66,863,502   Cost of revenue     11,060,937       17,759,272       10,707,243       3,828,859       43,356,311   Gross profit     11,044,016       9,041,597       3,177,614       243,964       23,507,191   General and administrative expenses     12,841,259       1,365,735       2,762,735       1,380,630       18,350,359   Gain (loss) on asset dispositions and impairments, net     (246,851 )     1,500       (485 )     (2,900,000 )     (3,145,836 ) Income (loss) from operations   $ (2,044,094 )   $ 7,677,362     $ 414,394     $ (4,036,666 )     2,010,996   Other income, net                               1,623,595   Income before income taxes                               3,634,591   Benefit from income taxes                               (447,982 ) Net income from continuing operations                               4,082,573   Income from continuing operations attributable to non-controlling interests                               632,915   Net income from continuing operations attributable to Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. stockholders                               3,449,658   Net loss from discontinued operations                               (2,574,079 ) Net income attributable to Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. stockholders                             $ 875,579                                           Year Ended December 31, 2020     Retail   Bulk   Services   Manufacturing   Total Revenue   $ 22,952,370     $ 24,312,546     $ 12,937,859     $ 12,425,351     $ 72,628,126   Cost of revenue     11,080,814       16,959,563       9,698,214       8,121,080       45,859,671   Gross profit     11,871,556       7,352,983       3,239,645       4,304,271       26,768,455   General and administrative expenses     12,879,445.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 29th, 2022

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory"

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory" Heading into yesterday's painful close to one of the ugliest months since March 2020, which saw a huge forced liquidation rebalance with more than $8 billion in Market on Close orders, we said that while we are seeing "forced selling dump into the close today" this would be followed by "forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close." Forced selling dump into the close today. Forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 30, 2021 And just as expected, despite yesterday's dramatic hawkish pivot by Powell, who said it was time to retire the word transitory in describing the inflation outlook (the same word the Fed used hundreds of times earlier in 2021 sparking relentless mockery from this website for being clueless as usual) while also saying the U.S. central bank would consider bringing forward plans for tapering its bond buying program at its next meeting in two weeks, the frontrunning of new monthly inflows is in full force with S&P futures rising over 1.2%, Nasdaq futures up 1.3%, and Dow futures up 0.9%, recovering almost all of Tuesday’s decline. The seemingly 'hawkish' comments served as a double whammy for markets, which were already nervous about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and its potential to hinder a global economic recovery. "At this point, COVID does not appear to be the biggest long-term Street fear, although it could have the largest impact if the new (or next) variant turns out to be worse than expected," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P and Dow Jones indices, said in a note. "That honor goes to inflation, which continues to be fed by supply shortages, labor costs, worker shortages, as well as consumers, who have not pulled back." However, new month fund flows proved too powerful to sustain yesterday's month-end dump and with futures rising - and panic receding - safe havens were sold and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped almost 6bps, approaching 1.50%. The gap between yields on 5-year and 30-year Treasuries was around the narrowest since March last year. Crude oil and commodity-linked currencies rebounded. Gold remained just under $1,800 and bitcoin traded just over $57,000. There was more good news on the covid front with a WHO official saying some of the early indications are that most Omicron cases are mild with no severe cases. Separately Merck gained 3.8% in premarket trade after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration narrowly voted to recommend the agency authorize the drugmaker's antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Travel and leisure stocks also rebounded, with cruiseliners Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean rising more than 2.5% each. Easing of covid fears also pushed airlines and travel stocks higher in premarket trading: Southwest +2.9%, Delta +2.5%, Spirit +2.3%, American +2.2%, United +1.9%, JetBlue +1.3%. Vaccine makers traded modestly lower in pre-market trading after soaring in recent days as Wall Street weighs the widening spread of the omicron variant. Merck & Co. bucked the trend after its Covid-19 pill narrowly gained a key recommendation from advisers to U.S. regulators. Moderna slips 2.1%, BioNTech dips 1.3% and Pfizer is down 0.2%. Elsewhere, Occidental Petroleum led gains among the energy stocks, up 3.2% as oil prices climbed over 4% ahead of OPEC's meeting. Shares of major Wall Street lenders also moved higher after steep falls on Tuesday. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Salesforce (CRM US) drops 5.9% in premarket trading after results and guidance missed estimates, with analysts highlighting currency-related headwinds and plateauing growth at the MuleSoft integration software business. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE US) falls 1.3% in premarket after the computer equipment maker’s quarterly results showed the impact of the global supply chain crunch. Analysts noted solid order trends. Merck (MRK US) shares rise 5.8% in premarket after the company’s Covid-19 pill narrowly wins backing from FDA advisers, which analysts say is a sign of progress despite lingering challenges. Chinese electric vehicle makers were higher in premarket, leading U.S. peers up, after Nio, Li and XPeng reported strong deliveries for November; Nio (NIO US) +4%, Li (LI US ) +6%, XPeng (XPEV US) +4.3%. Ardelyx (ARDX US) shares gain as much as 34% in premarket, extending the biotech’s bounce after announcing plans to launch its irritable bowel syndrome treatment Ibsrela in the second quarter. CTI BioPharma (CTIC US) shares sink 18% in premarket after the company said the FDA extended the review period for a new drug application for pacritinib. Allbirds (BIRD US) fell 7.5% postmarket after the low end of the shoe retailer’s 2021 revenue forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Zscaler (ZS US) posted “yet another impressive quarter,” according to BMO. Several analysts increased their price targets for the security software company. Shares rose 4.6% in postmarket. Ambarella (AMBA US) rose 14% in postmarket after forecasting revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Emcore (EMKR US) fell 9% postmarket after the aerospace and communications supplier reported fiscal fourth-quarter Ebitda that missed the average analyst estimate. Box (BOX US) shares gained as much as 10% in postmarket trading after the cloud company raised its revenue forecast for the full year. Meanwhile, the omicron variant continues to spread around the globe, though symptoms so far appear to be relatively mild. The Biden administration plans to tighten rules on travel to the U.S., and Japan said it would bar foreign residents returning from 10 southern African nations. As Bloomberg notes, volatility is buffeting markets as investors scrutinize whether the pandemic recovery can weather diminishing monetary policy support and potential risks from the omicron virus variant. Global manufacturing activity stabilized last month, purchasing managers’ gauges showed Wednesday, and while central banks are scaling back ultra-loose settings, financial conditions remain favorable in key economies. “The reality is hotter inflation coupled with a strong economic backdrop could end the Fed’s bond buying program as early as the first quarter of next year,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, said in emailed comments. “With potential changes in policy on the horizon, market participants should expect additional market volatility in this uncharted territory.” Looking ahead, Powell is back on the Hill for day 2, and is due to testify before a House Financial Services Committee hybrid hearing at 10 a.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. Investors are also awaiting the Fed's latest "Beige Book" due at 2:00 p.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. European equities soared more than 1.2%, with travel stocks and carmakers leading broad-based gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 index, all but wiping out Tuesday’s decline that capped only the third monthly loss for the benchmark this year.  Travel, miners and autos are the strongest sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Proximus shares rise as much as 6.5% after the company said it’s started preliminary talks regarding a potential deal involving TeleSign, with a SPAC merger among options under consideration. Dr. Martens gains as much as 4.6% to the highest since Sept. 8 after being upgraded to overweight from equal- weight at Barclays, which says the stock’s de-rating is overdone. Husqvarna advances as much as 5.3% after the company upgraded financial targets ahead of its capital markets day, including raising the profit margin target to 13% from 10%. Wizz Air, Lufthansa and other travel shares were among the biggest gainers as the sector rebounded after Tuesday’s losses; at a conference Wizz Air’s CEO reiterated expansion plans. Wizz Air gains as much as 7.5%, Lufthansa as much as 6.8% Elis, Accor and other stocks in the French travel and hospitality sector also rise after the country’s government pledged to support an industry that’s starting to get hit by the latest Covid-19 wave. Pendragon climbs as much as 6.5% after the car dealer boosted its outlook after the company said a supply crunch in the new vehicle market wasn’t as bad as it had anticipated. UniCredit rises as much as 3.6%, outperforming the Stoxx 600 Banks Index, after Deutsche Bank added the stock to its “top picks” list alongside UBS, and Bank of Ireland, Erste, Lloyds and Societe Generale. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also soared, snapping a three-day losing streak, led by energy and technology shares, as traders assessed the potential impact from the omicron coronavirus variant and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish pivot. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3% Wednesday. South Korea led regional gains after reporting strong export figures, which bolsters growth prospects despite record domestic Covid-19 cases. Hong Kong stocks also bounced back after falling Tuesday to their lowest level since September 2020. Asia’s stock benchmark rebounded from a one-year low, though sentiment remained clouded by lingering concerns on the omicron strain and Fed’s potentially faster tapering pace. Powell earlier hinted that the U.S. central bank will accelerate its asset purchases at its meeting later this month.  “A faster taper in the U.S. is still dependent on omicron not causing a big setback to the outlook in the next few weeks,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, adding that he expects the Fed’s policy rate “will still be low through next year, which should still enable good global growth which will benefit Asia.” Chinese equities edged up after the latest economic data showed manufacturing activity remained at relatively weak levels in November, missing economists’ expectations. Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he’s fully confident in the nation’s economic growth in 2022 Japanese stocks rose, overcoming early volatility as traders parsed hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which closed 0.4% higher after swinging between a gain of 0.9% and loss of 0.7% in the morning session. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.4% rise in the Nikkei 225, which similarly fluctuated. The Topix had dropped 4.8% over the previous three sessions due to concerns over the omicron virus variant. The benchmark fell 3.6% in November, its worst month since July 2020. “The market’s tolerance to risk is quite low at the moment, with people responding in a big way to the smallest bit of negative news,” said Tomo Kinoshita, a global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management in Tokyo. “But the decline in Japanese equities was far worse than those of other developed markets, so today’s market may find a bit of calm.” U.S. shares tumbled Tuesday after Powell said officials should weigh removing pandemic support at a faster pace and retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation In rates, bonds trade heavy, as yield curves bear-flatten. Treasuries extended declines with belly of the curve cheapening vs wings as traders continue to price in additional rate-hike premium over the next two years. Treasury yields were cheaper by up to 5bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by ~5.5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 1.48%, cheaper by ~4bp, while gilts lag by additional 2bp in the sector. The short-end of the gilt curve markedly underperforms bunds and Treasuries with 2y yields rising ~11bps near 0.568%. Peripheral spreads widen with belly of the Italian curve lagging. The flattening Treasury yield curve “doesn’t suggest imminent doom for the equity market in and of itself,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. “Alarm bells go off in terms of recession” when the curve gets closer to inverting, she said. In FX, the Turkish lira had a wild session, offered in early London trade before fading. USD/TRY dropped sharply to lows of 12.4267 on reports of central bank FX intervention due to “unhealthy price formations” before, once again, fading TRY strength after comments from Erdogan. The rest of G-10 FX is choppy; commodity currencies retain Asia’s bid tone, havens are sold: the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower, as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. The euro moved in a narrow range and Bund yields followed U.S. yields higher. The pound advanced as risk sentiment stabilized with focus still on news about the omicron variant. The U.K. 10-, 30-year curve flirted with inversion as gilts flattened, with money markets betting on 10bps of BOE tightening this month for the first time since Friday. The Australian and New Zealand dollars advanced as rising commodity prices fuel demand from exporters and leveraged funds. Better-than-expected growth data also aided the Aussie, with GDP expanding by 3.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, beating the 3% estimated by economists. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period.  The yen declined by the most among the Group-of-10 currencies as Powell’s comments renewed focus on yield differentials. 10-year yields rose ahead of Thursday’s debt auction In commodities, crude futures rally. WTI adds over 4% to trade on a $69-handle, Brent recovers near $72.40 after Goldman said overnight that oil had gotten extremely oversold. Spot gold fades a pop higher to trade near $1,785/oz. Base metals trade well with LME copper and nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.2% to 4,620.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.0% to 467.58 MXAP up 0.9% to 191.52 MXAPJ up 1.1% to 626.09 Nikkei up 0.4% to 27,935.62 Topix up 0.4% to 1,936.74 Hang Seng Index up 0.8% to 23,658.92 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,576.89 Sensex up 1.0% to 57,656.51 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,235.85 Kospi up 2.1% to 2,899.72 Brent Futures up 4.2% to $72.15/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,778.93 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.98 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1326 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday, the first direct contact between officials of the two countries in weeks as tensions grow amid western fears Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine Oil rebounded from a sharp drop on speculation that recent deep losses were excessive and OPEC+ may on Thursday decide to pause hikes in production, with the abrupt reversal fanning already- elevated volatility The EU is set to recommend that member states review essential travel restrictions on a daily basis in the wake of the omicron variant, according to a draft EU document seen by Bloomberg China is planning to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through variable interest entities, according to people familiar with the matter, closing a loophole long used by the country’s technology industry to raise capital from overseas investors Manufacturing activity in Asia outside China stabilized last month amid easing lockdown and border restrictions, setting the sector on course to face a possible new challenge from the omicron variant of the coronavirus Germany urgently needs stricter measures to check a surge in Covid-19 infections and protect hospitals from a “particularly dangerous situation,” according to the head of the country’s DIVI intensive-care medicine lobby. A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as regional bourses atoned for the prior day’s losses that were triggered by Omicron concerns, but with some of the momentum tempered by recent comments from Fed Chair Powell and mixed data releases including the miss on Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was led lower by underperformance in consumer stocks and with utilities also pressured as reports noted that Shell and Telstra’s entrance in the domestic electricity market is set to ignite fierce competition and force existing players to overhaul their operations, although the losses in the index were cushioned following the latest GDP data which showed a narrower than feared quarterly contraction in Australia’s economy. Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) was on the mend after yesterday’s sell-off with the index helped by favourable currency flows and following a jump in company profits for Q3, while the KOSPI (+2.1%) was also boosted by strong trade data. Hang Seng (+0.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were somewhat varied as a tech resurgence in Hong Kong overcompensated for the continued weakness in casinos stocks amid ongoing SunCity woes which closed all VIP gaming rooms in Macau after its Chairman's recent arrest, while the mood in the mainland was more reserved after a PBoC liquidity drain and disappointing Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI data which fell short of estimates and slipped back into contraction territory. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid the gains in Japanese stocks and after the pullback in global fixed income peers in the aftermath of Fed Chair Powell’s hawkish comments, while a lack of BoJ purchases further contributed to the subdued demand for JGBs. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Bounce Back from One-Year Low Despite Looming Risks Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Shell Sees Hedge Funds Moving to LNG, Supporting Higher Prices Abe Warns China Invading Taiwan Would Be ‘Economic Suicide’ Bourses in Europe are firmer across the board (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) as the positive APAC sentiment reverberated into European markets. US equity futures are also on the front foot with the cyclical RTY (+2.0%) outpacing its peers: ES (+1.2%), NQ (+1.5%), YM (+0.8%). COVID remains a central theme for the time being as the Omicron variant is observed for any effects of concern – which thus far have not been reported. Analysts at UBS expect market focus to shift away from the variant and more towards growth and earnings. The analysts expect Omicron to fuse into the ongoing Delta outbreak that economies have already been tackling. Under this scenario, the desk expects some of the more cyclical markets and sectors to outperform. The desk also flags two tails risks, including an evasive variant and central bank tightening – particularly after Fed chair Powell’s commentary yesterday. Meanwhile, BofA looks for an over-10% fall in European stocks next year. Sticking with macro updates, the OECD, in their latest economic outlook, cut US, China, Eurozone growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with Omicron cited as a factor. Back to trade, broad-based gains are seen across European cash markets. Sectors hold a clear cyclical bias which consists of Travel & Leisure, Basic Resources, Autos, Retail and Oil & Gas as the top performers – with the former bolstered by the seemingly low appetite for coordination on restrictions and measures at an EU level – Deutsche Lufthansa (+6%) and IAG (+5.1%) now reside at the top of the Stoxx 600. The other side of the spectrum sees the defensive sectors – with Healthcare, Household Goods, Food & Beverages as the straddlers. In terms of induvial movers, German-listed Adler Group (+22%) following a divestment, whilst Blue Prism (+1.7%) is firmer after SS&C raised its offer for the Co. Top European News Wizz Says Travelers Are Booking at Shorter and Shorter Notice Turkey Central Bank Intervenes in FX Markets to Stabilize Lira Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Former ABG Sundal Collier Partner Starts Advisory Firm In FX, the Dollar remains mixed against majors, but well off highs prompted by Fed chair Powell ditching transitory from the list of adjectives used to describe inflation and flagging that a faster pace of tapering will be on the agenda at December’s FOMC. However, the index is keeping tabs on the 96.000 handle and has retrenched into a tighter 95.774-96.138 range, for the time being, as trade remains very choppy and volatility elevated awaiting clearer medical data and analysis on Omicron to gauge its impact compared to the Delta strain and earlier COVID-19 variants. In the interim, US macro fundamentals might have some bearing, but the bar is high before NFP on Friday unless ADP or ISM really deviate from consensus or outside the forecast range. Instead, Fed chair Powell part II may be more pivotal if he opts to manage hawkish market expectations, while the Beige Book prepared for next month’s policy meeting could also add some additional insight. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP - Broad risk sentiment continues to swing from side to side, and currently back in favour of the high beta, commodity and cyclical types, so the Kiwi has bounced firmly from worst levels on Tuesday ahead of NZ terms of trade, the Aussie has pared a chunk of its declines with some assistance from a smaller than anticipated GDP contraction and the Loonie is licking wounds alongside WTI in advance of Canadian building permits and Markit’s manufacturing PMI. Similarly, Sterling has regained some poise irrespective of relatively dovish remarks from BoE’s Mann and a slender downward revision to the final UK manufacturing PMI. Nzd/Usd is firmly back above 0.6800, Aud/Usd close to 0.7150 again, Usd/Cad straddling 1.2750 and Cable hovering on the 1.3300 handle compared to circa 0.6772, 0.7063, 1.2837 and 1.3195 respectively at various fairly adjacent stages yesterday. JPY/EUR/CHF - All undermined by the aforementioned latest upturn in risk appetite or less angst about coronavirus contagion, albeit to varying degrees, as the Yen retreats to retest support sub-113.50, Euro treads water above 1.1300 and Franc straddles 0.9200 after firmer than forecast Swiss CPI data vs a dip in the manufacturing PMI. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are recovering following yesterday’s COVID and Powell-induced declines in the run-up to the OPEC meetings later today. The complex has also been underpinned by the reduced prospects of coordinated EU-wide restrictions, as per the abandonment of the COVID video conference between EU leaders. However, OPEC+ will take centre stage over the next couple of days, with a deluge of source reports likely as OPEC tests the waters. The case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening. There have been major supply and demand developments since the prior meeting. The recent emergence of the Omicron COVID variant and coordinated release of oil reserves have shifted the balance of expectations relative to earlier in the month (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite). In terms of the schedule, the OPEC meeting is slated for 13:00GMT/08:00EST followed by the JTC meeting at 15:00GMT/10:00EST, whilst tomorrow sees the JMMC meeting at 12:00GMT/07:00EST; OPEC+ meeting at 13:00GMT/08:00EST. WTI Jan has reclaimed a USD 69/bbl handle (vs USD 66.20/bbl low) while Brent Feb hovers around USD 72.50/bbl (vs low USD 69.38/bbl) at the time of writing. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver trade with modest gains and largely in tandem with the Buck. Spot gold failed to sustain gains above the cluster of DMAs under USD 1,800/oz (100 DMA at USD 1,792/oz, 200 DMA at USD 1,791/oz, and 50 DMA at USD 1,790/oz) – trader should be aware of the potential for a technical Golden Cross (50 DMA > 200 DMA). Turning to base metals, copper is supported by the overall risk appetite, with the LME contract back above USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Chinese coking coal and coke futures rose over 5% apiece, with traders citing disrupted supply from Mongolia amid the COVID outbreak in the region. US Event Calendar 7am: Nov. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 1.8% 8:15am: Nov. ADP Employment Change, est. 525,000, prior 571,000 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 59.1 10am: Oct. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior -0.5% 10am: Nov. ISM Manufacturing, est. 61.2, prior 60.8 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book Nov. Wards Total Vehicle Sales, est. 13.4m, prior 13m Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before House Panel on CARES Act Relief DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If you’re under 10 and reading this there’s a spoiler alert today in this first para so please skip beyond and onto the second. Yes my heart broke a little last night as my little 6-year old Maisie said to me at bedtime that “Santa isn’t real is he Daddy?”. I lied (I think it’s a lie) and said yes he was. I made up an elaborate story about how when we renovated our 100 year old house we deliberately kept the chimney purely to let Santa come down it once a year. Otherwise why would we have kept it? She then asked what about her friend who lives in a flat? I tried to bluff my way through it but maybe my answer sounded a bit like my answers as to what will happen with Omicron. I’ll test both out on clients later to see which is more convincing. Before we get to the latest on the virus, given it’s the start of the month, we’ll shortly be publishing our November performance review looking at how different assets fared over the month just gone and YTD. It arrived late on but Omicron was obviously the dominant story and led to some of the biggest swings of the year so far. It meant that oil (which is still the top performer on a YTD basis) was the worst performer in our monthly sample, with WTI and Brent seeing their worst monthly performances since the initial wave of market turmoil over Covid back in March 2020. And at the other end, sovereign bonds outperformed in November as Omicron’s emergence saw investors push back the likelihood of imminent rate hikes from central banks. So what was shaping up to be a good month for risk and a bad one for bonds flipped around in injury time. Watch out for the report soon from Henry. Back to yesterday now, and frankly the main takeaway was that markets were desperate for any piece of news they could get their hands on about the Omicron variant, particularly given the lack of proper hard data at the moment. The morning started with a sharp selloff as we discussed at the top yesterday, as some of the more optimistic noises from Monday were outweighed by that FT interview, whereby Moderna’s chief executive had said that the existing vaccines wouldn’t be as effective against the new variant. Then we had some further negative news from Regeneron, who said that analysis and modelling of the Omicron mutations indicated that its antibody drug may not be as effective, but that they were doing further analysis to confirm this. However, we later got some comments from a University of Oxford spokesperson, who said that there wasn’t any evidence so far that vaccinations wouldn’t provide high levels of protection against severe disease, which coincided with a shift in sentiment early in the European afternoon as equities begun to pare back their losses. The CEO of BioNTech and the Israeli health minister expressed similar sentiments, noting that vaccines were still likely to protect against severe disease even among those infected by Omicron, joining other officials encouraging people to get vaccinated or get booster shots. Another reassuring sign came in an update from the EU’s ECDC yesterday, who said that all of the 44 confirmed cases where information was available on severity “were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.” After the close, the FDA endorsed Merck’s antiviral Covid pill. While it’s not clear how the pill interacts with Omicron, the proliferation of more Covid treatments is still good news as we head into another winter. The other big piece of news came from Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, where the main headline was his tapering comment that “It is appropriate to consider wrapping up a few months sooner.” So that would indicate an acceleration in the pace, which would be consistent with the view from our US economists that we’ll see a doubling in the pace of reductions at the December meeting that’s only two weeks from today. The Fed Chair made a forceful case for a faster taper despite lingering Omicron uncertainties, noting inflation is likely to stay elevated, the labour market has improved without a commensurate increase in labour supply (those sidelined because of Covid are likely to stay there), spending has remained strong, and that tapering was a removal of accommodation (which the economy doesn’t need more of given the first three points). Powell took pains to stress the risk of higher inflation, going so far as to ‘retire’ the use of the term ‘transitory’ when describing the current inflation outlook. So team transitory have seemingly had the pitch taken away from them mid match. The Chair left an exit clause that this outlook would be informed by incoming inflation, employment, and Omicron data before the December FOMC meeting. A faster taper ostensibly opens the door to earlier rate hikes and Powell’s comment led to a sharp move higher in shorter-dated Treasury yields, with the 2yr yield up +8.1bps on the day, having actually been more than -4bps lower when Powell began speaking. They were as low as 0.44% then and got as high as 0.57% before closing at 0.56%. 2yr yields have taken another leg higher overnight, increasing +2.5bps to 0.592%. Long-end yields moved lower though and failed to back up the early day moves even after Powell, leading to a major flattening in the yield curve on the back of those remarks, with the 2s10s down -13.7bps to 87.3bps, which is its flattest level since early January. Overnight 10yr yields are back up +3bps but the curve is only a touch steeper. My 2 cents on the yield curve are that the 2s10s continues to be my favourite US recession indicator. It’s worked over more cycles through history than any other. No recession since the early 1950s has occurred without the 2s10s inverting. But it takes on average 12-18 months from inversion to recession. The shortest was the covid recession at around 7 months which clearly doesn’t count but I think we were very late cycle in early 2020 and the probability of recession in the not too distant future was quite high but we will never know.The shortest outside of that was around 9 months. So with the curve still at c.+90bps we are moving in a more worrying direction but I would still say 2023-24 is the very earliest a recession is likely to occur (outside of a unexpected shock) and we’ll need a rapid flattening in 22 to encourage that. History also suggests markets tend to ignore the YC until it’s too late. So I wouldn’t base my market views in 22 on the yield curve and recession signal yet. However its something to look at as the Fed seemingly embarks on a tightening cycle in the months ahead. Onto markets and those remarks from Powell (along with the additional earlier pessimism about Omicron) proved incredibly unhelpful for equities yesterday, with the S&P 500 (-1.90%) giving up the previous day’s gains to close at its lowest level in over a month. It’s hard to overstate how broad-based this decline was, as just 7 companies in the entire S&P moved higher yesterday, which is the lowest number of the entire year so far and the lowest since June 11th, 2020, when 1 company ended in the green. Over in Europe it was much the same story, although they were relatively less affected by Powell’s remarks, and the STOXX 600 (-0.92%) moved lower on the day as well. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading higher though with the KOSPI (+2.02%), Hang Seng (+1.40%), the Nikkei (+0.37%), Shanghai Composite (+0.11%) and CSI (+0.09%) all in the green. Australia’s Q3 GDP contracted (-1.9% qoq) less than -2.7% consensus while India’s Q3 GDP grew at a firm +8.4% year-on-year beating the +8.3% consensus. In China the Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November came in at 49.9 against a 50.6 consensus. Futures markets are indicating a positive start to markets in US & Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.73%) and DAX (+0.44%) trading higher again. Back in Europe, there was a significant inflation story amidst the other headlines above, since Euro Area inflation rose to its highest level since the creation of the single currency, with the flash estimate for November up to +4.9% (vs. +4.5% expected). That exceeded every economist’s estimate on Bloomberg, and core inflation also surpassed expectations at +2.6% (vs. +2.3% expected), again surpassing the all-time high since the single currency began. That’s only going to add to the pressure on the ECB, and yesterday saw Germany’s incoming Chancellor Scholz say that “we have to do something” if inflation doesn’t ease. European sovereign bonds rallied in spite of the inflation reading, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.5bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) all moving lower. Peripheral spreads widened once again though, and the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields closed at its highest level in just over a year. Meanwhile governments continued to move towards further action as the Omicron variant spreads, and Greece said that vaccinations would be mandatory for everyone over 60 soon, with those refusing having to pay a monthly €100 fine. Separately in Germany, incoming Chancellor Scholz said that there would be a parliamentary vote on the question of compulsory vaccinations, saying to the Bild newspaper in an interview that “My recommendation is that we don’t do this as a government, because it’s an issue of conscience”. In terms of other data yesterday, German unemployment fell by -34k in November (vs. -25k expected). Separately, the November CPI readings from France at +3.4% (vs. +3.2% expected) and Italy at +4.0% (vs. +3.3% expected) surprised to the upside as well. In the US, however, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure in November fell to its lowest since February at 109.5 (vs. 110.9 expected), and the MNI Chicago PMI for November fell to 61.8 9vs. 67.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

United Airlines resumes serving hard liquor on flights ahead of the holiday travel season

Flight attendants previously told Insider alcohol only worsens passenger aggression, and some union members are calling for airlines to limit booze. United Airlines airport check-in counters.PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty United Airlines has resumed serving hard liquor to economy passengers, CNN reported. The airline had been serving beer, wine, and hard seltzer to passengers since June. Flight attendants previously told Insider alcohol consumption worsens unruly passenger behavior. United Airlines has resumed serving hard liquor after halting the service early in the pandemic.CNN reported United's decision to resume serving mini alcohol containers to economy passengers in domestic flights of over 300 miles after "feedback from both customers and flight attendants."The airline had been serving beer, wine, and hard seltzer to passengers since June, according to CNN. Hard liquor service began again on November 15.Flight attendants previously told Insider alcohol only worsens passenger aggression, and resuming alcohol service could worsen the ongoing unruly passenger crisis. The Federal Aviation Administration has received more than 5,000 reports of passengers accused of kicking, groping, hitting, and verbally harassing flight attendants in 2021.Flight attendant and union leader Sara Nelson has recommended airlines take steps to limit alcohol consumption on board."The incidents of violence on planes is out of control and alcohol is often a contributor," a spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants told Insider. "The federal government should provide guidance to airlines and airports on pausing alcohol sales for a period of time."United's decision to resume hard liquor service comes ahead of the holiday travel season, typically a busy time for airlines and crew members.If you are a flight attendant working during the holiday travel season, email the author at year, some airlines are facing the possibility of cancelling flights during the holidays due to the risk of extreme weather events and staff shortages, Insider's Thomas Pallini reported.Southwest Airlines recently experienced a meltdown after air control issues led to thousands of cancelled flights and stranded passengers. Southwest exec Mike Van de Ven said the company needs to build a "staffing cushion" to prevent further disruptions.Airlines are already rolling out measures to prevent staff shortages this winter. American Airlines is offering $1,000 in bonus pay to workers with perfect attendance during the holiday season, and Southwest Airlines is offering up to 120,000 rewards points to employees who work between November 15 and January 14.United Airlines was not immediately available for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 16th, 2021

I"ve flown business class three times — and on a private jet twice. Here"s which is better.

Business class has its perks — and I do like having my own bed. I can see how the conveniences of flying private can be worth cost, but not always. In the past year, Insider's aviation reporter Taylor Rains has flown business class three times and on two large private jets.Taylor Rains/Insider There are lots of ways to travel by air, from cramped seats on budget carriers to private planes. As an aviation reporter, I've been able to experience some of the most high-dollar experiences. Here's how flying in business class compares to flying on a large private jet. As an aviation journalist, I spend a lot of time in the sky.The author sitting the cockpit of an airBaltic Airbus A220.Taylor Rains/InsiderOver the past year, I've experienced several luxury products, including long-haul business class on Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, and French boutique carrier La Compagnie…La Compagnie is the world's only all-business-class airline.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on the world's only all-business class airline and it felt more like flying on a private jet across the Atlantic…as well as the multi-room Bombardier Global 5000 and Global 7500 private jets, the latter being the world's biggest and longest-range purpose-built business plane.Both the Global 5000 and Global 7500 were operated by private charter company VistaJet.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on a $75 million Bombardier Global 7500 private jet from Miami to New Jersey and saw why the ultra-wealthy love the planeBecause I normally fly in economy class for personal travel, it's always a treat to experience these high-dollar options.The author's Air New Zealand business-class bed.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on the world's new 4th longest flight from New York to Auckland and Air New Zealand's business class made the over 17-hour journey easily bearableAnd, after several flights, I've found there are some cases in which flying business class is a better use of time and money than flying private…For reasons I'll explain later, Singapore Airlines' 18-hour trek from New York-JFK to Singapore on its A350 in business class is better than flying private.Sorbis/Shutterstock…but it's fair to say flying private adds a level of convenience and flexibility that airlines simply can't provide.Boarding VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 private jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderHere are the biggest differences I've found when traveling in business class vs. on a private jet.Flying on VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 private jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on a $50 million Bombardier Global 5000 private jet from Montreal to New Jersey and saw why those who can afford it are flocking to private aviationFirst and foremost, private jets operate under different federal regulations, many of which — like on going through security and smoking aboard a flight — are more relaxed than the ones for commercial aviation.A TSA agent at LAX.Brady MacDonald/InsiderSource: InvestopediaInstead of flying out of a crowded airport with snaking security lines, private flyers will board out of fixed-based operators, called FBOs.The Million Air FBO at Westchester Airport in New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on a $25 million Gulfstream G280 that private aviation company Volato will charter for $6,550 starting in 2024 — see insideThese are aircraft service providers for things like fuel and maintenance, and typically have a lounge area with free snacks and drinks available for travelers.The Million Air FBO coffee bar at Westchester Airport in New York was tip-based.Taylor Rains/InsiderThere are typically no security checks or long lines. So, on recent flights, I needed to arrive at the FBO only about 10 minutes before departure.Private jets on the ramp at Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut. This airport is only used for general aviation, like private charters.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew out of a general aviation airport to see how the rich travel. I didn't miss the hassle, lines, and frustration of commercial flying.I either walked directly out to the jet from the small terminal or took a one-minute bus ride. And, I could park my car for free outside — though some people drive right up to the aircraft.We drove right up to the jet when flying on VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 from Montreal, Canada, to Teterboro, New Jersey.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile many business-class tickets come with expedited security and passport control, the need to arrive at the airport early to check bags, traverse checkpoints, walk to the gate, and wait for boarding is still a hassle.Security took place at my boarding gate for my flight home to New York-JFK on Singapore's A350 business class.Taylor Rains/InsiderAnd, although I'm not a smoker, charter companies can allow passengers to smoke tobacco on board assuming it follows FAA regulations for things like ashtrays and signage.No-smoking signs are plastered all over airline aircraft, including the cabin and the lavatories.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: Stratos Jet ChartersFor these reasons alone, I can see how the money — for those who have it —is easily worth the hassle-free experience — especially for celebrities who want to avoid the crowds.Inside a Gulfstream G550 private jet, like the one Elon Musk owns.Getty Images/JetcraftBut, the conveniences don't come cheap. While Insider paid a media rate for my private flights, the ultra-wealthy will shell out thousands.The interior of a NetJets' Global 7500.NetJetsFor example, a Global 7500 operated by charter company VistaJet ranges from around $12,000 to $20,000 per hour. So, an eight-hour leap from New York to London could cost $96,000 to $160,000 one-way.A VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500.VistaJetSource: Elite TravelerThe same route in mid-April for eight people — VistaJet's sleeping capacity — in Delta One suites is just over $93,000 roundtrip — or about $11,600 a ticket.Delta One suite on the 767-400ER. On a commercial airliner, you pay for each seat; on a private jet, you generally pay one price for the entire plane — however many people it holds.Delta Air LinesWhile splitting the Global 7500 among eight people brings the cost per person down, it is still substantially greater than booking roundtrip suites for about $11,600 a pop.The theater in VistaJet's Global 7500.Taylor Rains/InsiderThis is why I think the duration of the flight and the number of people onboard are the biggest factors in making private flying worth it.In the past year, Insider's aviation reporter Taylor Rains has flown business class three times and on two large private jets.Taylor Rains/InsiderOn one hand, I can argue the luxuries on board private jets far outmatch those in business class…Air New Zealand's business class on its Boeing 787, which was configured in a 1x1x1 layout. The beds had to be manually created by the flight attendants rather than using a button — an inconvenience for travelers, in my opinion.Taylor Rains/Insider…especially since the largest aircraft come with double beds, dining rooms, and theaters, creating a more spacious, comfortable atmosphere.Dining inside the Bombardier Global 7500.BombardierThere is even a cargo hold accessible to passengers on these private planes, many of which can fit oversized items. Airline passengers typically have to pay extra for excessive luggage — even business class.The cargo hold of a Bombardier Global 6000 private jet. VistaJet said it can accommodate excessive luggage based on the "available hold capacity and security regulations for each flight at the sole discretion of the pilot in command."Benjamin Zhang/InsiderSource: VistaJet, Check out the $62 million Bombardier private jet that's Canada's answer to GulfstreamMoreover, in addition to the aforementioned security and smoking rules, private travelers have more food flexibility because they aren't tied to an airline's predetermined menu…I was served food from the award-winning restaurant Nobu on my Global 7500 demo flight.Taylor Rains/Insider…and they can access routes that commercial carriers don't offer, like Elon Musk's 12-hour trek from Mykonos, Greece, to Austin, Texas, in July 2022 — a route that would take at least one stop and 30 hours on an airline.A Gulfstream G550, like the one owned by Elon / Contributor/Universal Images Group EditorialThese personal, individualized amenities go beyond what can be offered in business class.VistaJet provides a yoga mat and other work out equipment onboard for its customers.Taylor Rains/InsiderNot to mention, passengers are not at the whim of sometimes unreliable airlines, which suffered chaotic meltdowns during and after the pandemic. These, of course, affected everyone regardless of ticket class.Southwest Airlines passengers stand around dozens of bags during the carrier's December 2022 meltdown.Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesWheels down: The super rich struggle to book private jets as more people shell out $10,700 an hour to avoid airline chaosBut, on the other hand, some wealthy travelers could see the cost-savings of flying in business class on a transoceanic flight worth ditching a private jet...My lie-flat bed on La Compagnie, which was cocooned between the privacy divider and fuselage wall.Taylor Rains/Insider...especially since long-haul business typically has lie-flat seats. For example, Singapore Airlines has a large business class lounger on its Airbus A350 that comes with a roomy bed and a flat-screen TV.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI flew the product on a recent 18-hour trek from Singapore to New York, and I felt cocooned inside the little area thanks to the seat's shell. It was my personal space, and I didn't have to share any amenities.Laying on the lie-flat bed with my legs stretched fully out.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on the world's longest flight in business class and thought the 18-hour trip from Singapore to New York was nearly flawlessThe food was pretty amazing too despite having a set menu.Taylor Rains/InsiderBy comparison, there are a few places to sleep on VistaJet's Global 7500, but not all are fully private. These include the double bed in the bedroom...Onboard VistaJet's Global 7500.Taylor Rains/Insider…as well as the double beds made from the theater couch and dining room seats. The two sets of four swivel chairs also create a pair of single beds.The bedroom and theater room can be closed off with sliding doors, but the dining room bed and the single beds are in the same cabin.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFor eight people to sleep comfortably, six would need to be couples, friends, or family members — it wouldn't be a great option for colleagues, which VistaJet US President Leona Qi acknowledged during a demo flight in November.The twin beds are similar to the ones seen on the Gulfstream G280 (pictured).Taylor Rains/InsiderMoreover, I don't really mind not having as much choice in terms of meals. But, I know a lot of customers have specific needs and wants, which is more easily catered to on a private jet.Flight attendants served us food on VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 private jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderAll things considered, if I had to choose between Singapore and a crowded Global 7500, I'd choose the former. I wouldn't have to share a bed or have to fight over the private jet's main television.I loved the handheld remote that controlled the 18-inch TV at my seat.Taylor Rains/InsiderNot to mention, there is no purpose-built private jet that can connect Singapore and New York nonstop, making Singapore's A350 business class a faster and more logical option.The Global 7500's range is just short of connecting New York and Singapore nonstop. The route is 9,537 miles — the Global 7500 can fly about 8,800 miles nonstop.BombardierSource: BombardierGranted, this is one of the few instances in which I think traveling in business class would be better than chartering a jet. And, it really only applies to ultra-long-haul flying.Singapore Airlines A350-900.KITTIKUN YOKSAP/ShutterstockHaving also flown on several small and mid-sized business aircraft — like the Gulfstream G280, the HondaJet Elite II, and the King Air 350i — I think the convenience of flying private easily beats any airline product on short- or medium-haul routes.The author with a Wheels Up King Air 350i.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on an $8 million private aircraft that costs $5,000 an hour to charter and seats 8 — see inside the King Air 350iAnd these aircraft are cheaper to fly on, but the cost is still much more than airlines.If money isn't a factor, then flying private always beats airlines. But, for the wealthy who are more cost-sensitive, lie-flat seats on business class are sometimes more logical.Taylor Rains/InsiderA group of four people on Volato's HondaJet Elite II would pay $6,000 per person roundtrip between New York and Miami — the first-class fare on Delta is about $1000 in April.Flying on Volato's $5 million HondaJet.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on Honda's $5 million private jet that seats 4 — see inside Volato's HondaJetBut, the cost isn't deterring demand, with some deep-pocket customers saying they will never go back to airlines — especially after the pandemic showed travelers the convenience of private aviation.Mark Wahlberg's Bombardier Global Express jet.HoneywellSource: CNBCAnd according to VistaJet, its number of flight hours increased by 41% year-over-year in 2022.Inside a VistaJet Global 7500.VistaJetSuper-rich keeping flying private despite surging fuel costs making charters even more expensive"If people need to fly, they will fly," VistaJet's Qi told Insider in October 2022. "No one likes to pay more money, but we live in a world where inflation is close to 10% and the most precious resource of our members is time."Courtesy of VistaJetRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 17th, 2023

These are the best and worst US airlines for on-time performance in 2022, according to DOT data — see the list

Only one airline achieved an on-time arrival rate better than 80%. And every carrier performed worse in 2022 than in 2021, the Department of Transportation said. Delta Air Lines was the most timely airline in 2022.Shutterstock / Markus Mainka The Department of Transportation's list of airlines' on-time performance was published Thursday. Delta Air Lines was the most on-time at 82.14% of its arrivals in 2022. Allegiant Air came in last. Every airline had a worse on-time performance rate in 2022 compared to 2021. Delta Air Lines took the crown for the best on-time arrival rate in 2022, the Department of Transportation revealed Thursday in its annual ranking of airlines.According to the agency's Air Travel Consumer Report released Thursday, Delta and its partners had an on-time arrival rate of 82.14% in 2022.Travel data provider Official Aviation Guide said Delta's was a "pretty good" score in the airline industry, explaining "that's 4 in 5 flights arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time."Carriers that achieve a 90% or higher rate for the year are considered "the exception rather than the rule," OAG said, noting some airlines that operate in more highly congested airports and airspace have greater difficulty in even maintaining 80%.Delta was the only carrier to break 80% in 2022. Alaska Airlines came in second at about 79% after winter storms battered the Northwest in December.Meanwhile, low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Allegiant Air all dropped below 70%.Southwest Airlines found itself in the middle of the pack for 2022 despite its winter meltdown that saw more than 16,000 flights canceled in just a few days. But, the Dallas-based carrier was still the worst-performing company among the Big Four, which also includes American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta.Based on the DOT data, every airline performed worse in 2022 compared to 2021. Hawaiian Airlines had the biggest drop, going from 90% in 2021 to 75% last year.The results are likely due, in part, to soaring demand and the pilot shortage that contributed to last year's holiday disruptions. Each airline also operated more flights in 2022 compared to 2021 to accommodate the post-pandemic desire to travel."It's easy to forget how dramatically airlines had to reduce capacity to weather the early part of the pandemic," Boston Consulting Group Managing Director Adam Gordon told Insider's Hannah Towey in August. "Ramping the operation back up is no small feat and the operational challenges we've seen recently are mostly a result of this complexity rather than planning or execution failures on the part of the airlines."Take a closer look at the best and worst airlines for on-time performance for 2022:10. Allegiant AirAllegiant AirDaniel J. Macy/ShutterstockRate: 63.39%Rate in 2021: 68.26%9. JetBlue AirwaysJetBlue Airways Embraer ERJ-190AR commercial aircraft.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesRate: 64.63%Rate in 2021: 72.31%8. Frontier AirlinesFrontier AirlinesCarlos YudicaRate: 66.10%Rate in 2021: 76.64%7. Spirit AirlinesA Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 passenger jet taxis at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.Robert Alexander/Getty ImagesRate: 72.96%Rate in 2021: 76.74%6. Southwest AirlinesA Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 at a gate in Austin, TexasGeorge Rose/Getty ImagesRate: 73.18%Rate in 2021: 75.78%5. Hawaiian AirlinesHawaiian Airlines Airbus A330Thiago B Trevisan/ShutterstockRate: 75.77%Rate in 2021: 90.14%4. American AirlinesAmerican Airlines 777-300ER.Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesRate: 77.15%Rate in 2021: 81.58%3. United AirlinesUnited Airlines Boeing wide body 777-200 aircraft.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesRate: 78.74%Rate in 2021: 79.81%2. Alaska AirlinesAlaska AirlinesRate: 79.06%Rate in 2021: 83.17%1. Delta Air LinesDelta Air Lines Boeing 737-900ER aircraftAlex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesRate: 82.14%Rate in 2021: 88.22%Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 16th, 2023

No, Ron DeSantis can"t stop Donald Trump"s extradition from Florida to New York if he"s indicted. Here"s how it would go down.

A Manhattan grand jury may soon indict Donald Trump while the ex-president is in his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. Former U.S. President Donald Trump.James Devaney/GC Images) If Donald Trump is indicted in Manhattan and refuses to show up, he'll be extradited. Ron DeSantis can't stop extradition from Trump's home in Florida, but he could slow the process. Florida also has an extradition method that may allow New York prosecutors to sidestep the governor. The day may finally come.The Manhattan District Attorney's office offered former President Donald Trump the chance to testify before a grand jury, signaling it may soon bring a criminal indictment against him.The district attorney's office spent years investigating Trump's finances and is now poised to bring charges over falsified records related to his payments to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet ahead of the 2016 election about an affair she claims she had with him.Trump, for his part, does not seem happy about the whole situation. On Truth Social and in public statements, Trump has said the investigation is illegitimate and disparaged Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is Black, as a racist. Trump has denied that there was ever an affair with Daniels, and said this week he has done "absolutely nothing wrong."If an indictment is filed against Trump, the most likely scenario is that he would show up voluntarily for booking, legal experts told Insider.Lawyers for the Bragg's office would tell Trump's lawyers, and they'd mutually agree on a time and place — probably the district attorney's office at One Hogan Place in downtown Manhattan — to book him, take his fingerprints, and shoot his mugshot."They'll take him upstairs, they'll put him in a holding area, they'll process him internally, and then he'll be brought in front of the judge several hours later and he'll be released on his own recognizance," Michael Bachner, a New York-based lawyer and former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, told Insider. "And that'll be that."But there is always the chance Trump won't comply.He's repeatedly attacked the Manhattan investigation over the years and was found in contempt of court for refusing to comply with subpoenas in a different case brought by the New York State Attorney General's office. It's easy to imagine him defying the legal process and remaining home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida."It would just be, in my opinion, like the epitome of stupid," Bachner said. "But I do agree that Trump has at times certainly exhibited conduct that many of us would characterize as stupid."If Trump doesn't show up voluntarily, he'll be extradited. While the nuances of extradition may slightly differ between states, there's no legal way to defy it entirely. Interstate extradition is required by Article 4, Section 2 of the US Constitution. Forcing an extradition process also means Trump could spend hours or days in jail as the process plays out."The indictment and the charges are not going to go away," Tamara Holder, a Florida-based attorney and legal commentator, told Insider. "This is an early stage of a criminal proceeding, and it's very important that you present yourself to the court early on as somebody who's going to fight the case and not fight the extradition."Florida law allows for two different forms of extradition. One path runs through Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely considered to be Trump's archrival for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election.DeSantis can't stop Trump's extradition, but he could slow it downThe standard method of interstate extradition in Florida, according to Holder and Bachner, involves the governors of each state.In that scenario, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office would present the indictment to the legal affairs office of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul, in turn, would send a written extradition demand to DeSantis. Her letter would attach a copy of the indictment, proving that there's a warrant out for Trump's arrest in New York. DeSantis is then required to make sure the indictment is valid before ordering Trump's extradition from Florida.DeSantis's role has given rise to the theory, first floated by Politico in 2021, that the governor could refuse to sign off on the extradition and give Trump harbor in Florida.That simply isn't how it works, Holder and Bachner told Insider. The Florida extradition statute describes the governor's role as simply making sure the extradition demand meets all the legal requirements. That means all DeSantis has to do is make sure Hochul sends her a copy of the indictment and sufficient evidence that Trump's alleged crime took place in New York."The governor doesn't have the power to stop an extradition," Holder told Insider, adding: "The governor's only involvement is to look at the papers and make sure that the papers are proper to issue the warrant."Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis.REUTERS/Octavio JonesDave Aronberg, the top prosecutor in Palm Beach County, which includes Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, said as much in an interview with CNN in 2021.He pointed out that the governor's power in extraditions is merely administrative."The governor's power to stop an extradition is really nonexistent," Aronberg said. "He can try to delay it, he can send it to a committee and do research about it, but his role is really ministerial, and ultimately the state of New York can go to court and get an order to extradite the former president."DeSantis could, however, slow down the process. According to Bachner, he could ask his legal affairs office or a prosecutor to review Hochul's extradition demand and write a report on it before signing off on it. But if the extradition demand is legitimate, he'll have to sign it within 60 days, Bachner said. He could also delegate and let another member of the Florida executive branch sign off on Hochul's extradition demand, according to Bachner.It's unlikely that DeSantis will look too closely under the hood of the indictment if it's issued, Bachner told Insider."If there's a fully voted indictment, they're not gonna start investigating the underlying facts of the indictment to determine whether it was sufficient or not," Bachner said. "Once there's an indictment voted, it would be shocking that a judge would not order extradition. Trump knows that."That said, DeSantis may feel pressure from fellow Republicans in the state to protect Trump, according to Holder."This is a state where the Republicans really protect each other from these Democratic states like New York," she said. "And so I think it'll be really interesting legally to see what steps they're gonna take here in Florida to protect him outside of this statute if they can."Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend a dinner with his family at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty ImagesDeSantis's sign-off, however, could give a bipartisan valence to any indictment, undercutting Trump's argument that Bragg's investigation is politically motivated."If you have the governor in Florida sending him over, it's kind of just another reinforcement of the propriety of the indictment," Bachner said.Even if DeSantis approves Hochul's extradition demand and issues a warrant for Trump's arrest, the ex-president still has a chance to stay out of cuffs, according to Bachner. At that point, he has the option of hopping on a plane to New York to turn himself in, Bachner said.Trump could also contest the warrant in court, but would almost certainly fail to convince a judge the underlying grand jury indictment is invalid, Bachner said. Losing that battle also gives prosecutors the chance to request that Trump be held on bail before he goes to New York, according to Bachner, which would defeat Trump's goal of avoiding jail time.Florida also has an obscure process that could allow the Manhattan DA to bypass DeSantisThe second form of extradition in Florida is called warrantless pre-requisition arrest. It's more vaguely defined and is traditionally thought to be used for a citizen's arrest of fugitives, but New York prosecutors could likely use it to arrest Trump in Florida, according to Bachner and Holder.That extradition method only works for felony charges, according to Holder, which means it could apply to the charges Bragg is reportedly seeking.In that scenario, authorities would arrest Trump in Florida and take him in front of a judge for a probable cause hearing to prove he was criminally charged in New York with a felony. A judge would then order Trump's extradition. Trump's Secret Service detail would likely travel with him, as Insider previously reported, but are unlikely to be involved in any arrest process.Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who announced a third run for the presidency in 2024, hosts a New Year's Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.REUTERS/Marco BelloIt's unclear, however, who does the arresting. The New York Police Department, which normally conducts arrests for charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, does not have jurisdiction in Florida."We're not really sure who goes and makes the arrest," Holder said.The most likely scenario in this case, according to Holder, is that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office would ask the Palm Beach sheriff's office to make the arrest since they have jurisdiction in the area. It would likely be up to Manhattan prosecutors, though, to make an argument for extradition in front of the Florida judge.Trump likely won't have to spend time in jailAfter Trump makes an initial appearance in New York court, he'll have a bail hearing, where the judge sets the conditions of his release ahead of trial.At that hearing, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office may ask to keep him in custody or set a high bail amount to ensure he comes back to New York for future court proceedings.Donald Trump leaving Trump Tower in Manhattan.James Devaney/GC ImagesFighting extradition might increase the chances that New York authorities would see him as a flight risk. But in all probability, there's a low risk he would flee, Holder pointed out. Trump is arguably the most famous person in the world and is running to be reelected as president of the United States. He would have a tough time as a fugitive from US law enforcement."He's not being charged with violent crime and he's not a flight risk," Holder said. "He's the former president. The bond would be something low because they can guarantee his return to court."The judge might also take away Trump's passport, which wouldn't mean much either, since Trump could just ask the judge for permission to fly overseas if he wanted to.In addition to potential charges from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Trump faces a litany of other legal risks ahead of the 2024 election, including criminal investigations in Georgia and from Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith, not to mention a smattering of civil lawsuits.Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in Atlanta, may also be close to making a charging decision against Trump. She's weighing whether to refer the findings of a special grand jury, which investigated Trump's interference in Georgia's 2020 elections, to an ordinary grand jury, which can bring criminal charges.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 15th, 2023

Some of Wall Street"s top commentators fear a recession is at hand as rates set to go higher for longer

Insider's Phil Rosen breaks down how markets and top Wall Street commentators are feeling as outlook solidifies for higher rates for longer. Good morning. I'm Phil Rosen, writing to you just blocks away from the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan. Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Jerome Powell reiterated his warning that the Fed's more than ready to keep jacking up rates if necessary. Inflation hasn't gone away as easily as policymakers want, and Powell thinks that may just warrant a steeper policy path. He did make clear, however, that nothing yet is set in stone (traders have doubled the expected odds of a half-point hike at this month's meeting).  "I stress that no decision has been made on this," Powell said. Let's see what some top commentators are saying.  If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell prepares to testify before a Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress; on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018.Yuri Gripas/Reuters1. Markets are feeling anxious about that Powell testimony. Depending on whose commentary you're reading, Powell's chat with lawmakers this week was either in line with expectations or represents a significant shift in the narrative, from "we've got this" to "buckle up."A move back to 50 basis points at the upcoming Fed meeting, from a 25 basis-point increase last month, would be the first time the central bank has stumbled at the end of a rate hike cycle in about 30 years, and a possible acknowledgment of a policy error. "The Fed is creeping its way forward through a dense data fog, and this suggests to me that it should avoid drastic moves in either direction," Nobel economist Paul Krugman said in an op-ed this week ahead of the Powell testimony. That's not the most reassuring assessment of the situation as some of the biggest commentators in markets are saying a recession is right around the corner.To Citadel chief Ken Griffin — who last year pocketed $4.1 billion in earnings after his hedge fund's record year — a downturn is looming. Household savings are shriveling and surging interest rates are choking growth, he told Bloomberg on Wednesday. Consumers had saved up a large chunk of cash during the pandemic, but the subsequent excess spending has spurred higher inflation and put pressure on the Fed to tighten policy. "We have the setup for a recession unfolding," the billionaire investor said. He called for the Fed to be more clear and consistent with its messaging, and to stifle any hopes of easing policy."Every time they take the foot off the brake — or the market perceives they're taking their foot off the brake — and the job's not done, they make their work even harder," Griffin said.Meanwhile, "Bond King," Jeffrey Gundlach is expecting the Fed to have to push on with more jumbo rate hikes because the economy is showing too many signs of strength.The only thing that could stop a bigger move is weakening of labor-market data, he explained. "The only way that won't happen is if the employment data and the unemployment rate...surprises to the downside," Gundlach said. "That has not been the pattern recently. If it comes in at or above expectations, I think it's a lock that the Fed's going to go with 50 basis points at a minimum."What's your recession outlook for the next six months? Tweet me (@philrosenn) or email me ( to let me know. In other news:Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images2. US stock futures fall early Thursday, as investors pick over Powell's latest comments and get ready for the jobless claims report due before the bell. Meanwhile, Silvergate shares are sinking after the key bank for crypto firms said it will shut down. Here are the latest market moves.3. Earnings on deck: Oracle, Applied Materials, and, all reporting.4. A top investment chief shared the approach behind "The Big Short" garage band hedge fund that flipped $110,000 to over $80 million. The exec also broke down how to use the strategy in today's stock market to make extremely cheap bets that garner "through the roof" returns.5. Binance continues to get more popular with Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX out of the picture. In February, the world's largest crypto exchange saw its market share grow from 59% to 61.8%, marking the fourth consecutive month of increases. Those gains come as the company falls under increasing regulatory scrutiny.6. The rally in stocks won't be swayed by a hawkish Jerome Powell, according to Fundstrat. Market volatility will ease as inflation continues to fall, head of research Tom Lee wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. "This testimony is not really changing anything as the Fed's actual path is a function of what happens with inflation."7. Housing market sentiment is nearing all-time lows. Fannie Mae's Home Purchasing Sentiment Index dropped this week while mortgage rates moved higher. Here's what you want to know. 8. Bank of America shared four reasons why artificial intelligence is on the brink of an "iPhone moment." The firm forecasted that the nascent space could have a $15.7 trillion impact on the global economy within seven years — and enrich investors in these 13 sectors along the way.9. Adam Taggert's financial advice YouTube channel attracts millions of viewers every month. "People are so hungry for nutritious financial content," he said. The creator shared why he's had such steep and fast success — and what comes next for the budding brand. Markets Insider10. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought another $355 million of Occidental stock. The conglomerate resumed its buying of the energy company after a five-month break. After a three-day spending spree, Berkshire now holds a 22.2% stake in Occidental. Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. Feedback or tips? Tweet @philrosenn or email by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 9th, 2023

Why flying has turned into a nightmare of delayed flights, lost bags, and tiny seats

Crowded airports, terrible customer service, awful food, canceled trips: US airline chaos was caused by a misguided attempt to improve plane travel. Shortsighted decisions that prioritized efficiency and price cuts over quality and comfort have made air travel and airline customer service a total mess.Getty; Marianne Ayala/InsiderIt all started with one dumb lawA plush hotel in New York's John F. Kennedy Airport seems to be haunted by the ghost of aviation's good times.The TWA Hotel offers guests a luxurious stay, with 500 rooms, a rooftop pool, and a bar in an old retrofitted airplane. It also contains echoes of its past life as the TWA Flight Center, a hub for the now defunct Trans World Airlines. In TWA's heyday, airlines competed on experience, luring elite passengers with lavish meals and comfortable seats. Some of those golden-age amenities are present in the TWA Hotel, such as banks of pay phones and a luxe café built in the footprint of its dining predecessor.But just across the tarmac, JFK's still working terminals stand as a stark contrast. This past year has been a nightmare for air travelers, featuring epic flight meltdowns, over a million mishandled bags, and a nationwide ground stop caused by outdated equipment at the Federal Aviation Administration. It's almost impossible to imagine a time when air travel was pleasant, much less enjoyable.Aviation experts and industry groups say the story of air travel's service decline is one of priorities. Decades' worth of shortsighted decisions that prioritized efficiency and price cuts over quality and comfort came to a head during the pandemic, leaving millions of Americans trapped in a headache-inducing, feet-numbing flying purgatory with no signs of a long-term fix.The trade-offJohnny "Jet" DiScala, who visits more than 20 countries a year and runs a popular travel blog, could rattle off a dozen tips to make your next flight suck a little less. Unfortunately, he told Insider, there's not much to be done about one of his least favorite parts of flying: cramped legroom."When I started flying, legroom was, like, 39 inches," DiScala said, who started flying as a kid in the mid-1970s. "Now it's 28. That's criminal." The Washington, DC, advocacy group Flyers Rights has estimated that seats in economy have lost roughly 8 inches of legroom since the early 2000s. And while butts still vary in size, airlines have taken away about 2 inches of seat width. When the FAA started accepting public comments in August as part of an effort to determine whether it should set a minimum seat size, it received more than 26,000 comments in 90 days, many from travelers complaining about shrinking legroom.The shrinking seat is just one of many casualties of our modern flying experience. At the heart of these changes is a trade-off made some 50 years ago. Before the 1970s, flying was a rich person's game, and only a small set of Americans traveled by plane for leisure. But federal deregulation designed to open up competition among airlines and bring down prices to make flying more accessible changed that. A long-running survey by the industry group Airlines for America found that in 1971, only 21% of Americans said they'd taken a flight in the past year and just under 50% said they'd taken a flight in their lifetime. By 2019, just before the pandemic, 45% of Americans said they'd flown in the past year and almost 90% said they'd flown at least once in their lives. DiScala says the mass access is well worth it."I think now is the golden age of travel," DiScala said. "Now, because of deregulation, there is more competition, and there's airlines like Spirit, there's low-fare carriers, which allow pretty much anyone to fly."The shift did, however, have some unintended consequences. The effort to cut back on government rules opened up the airways to new companies, but it also set off a cost-cutting race to the bottom. The travel fiascos of the past year are just the latest results of this cost-cutting. Lost baggage, overbooked flights, outdated equipment, hidden fees, and disorganized staffing have fliers at their wits' end; consumer complaints about airline service have risen by 300% from pre-pandemic levels. And while these snafus cost passengers, they often have little recourse. "US airline companies tend to be very, very focused on the bottom line," Janet Bednarek, a history professor at the University of Dayton who specializes in the airline industry, told Insider. "And if they compete, they want to compete on price, and that means they're not competing on service."The law that changed it allThe idealized images of the "jet set" of the 1950s, '60s, and early '70s — dressed to impress, with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other, enjoying impeccable service from the comfort of their cushy seat — were possible because the airlines were, as the industry blog Simple Flying put it, "guaranteed profits." The federal government dictated almost everything about air travel: how much airlines could charge for airfare, which routes they could fly, even their schedules. Many of these measures had been put in place to improve safety following some rattling accidents in the early days of commercial air travel. But as planes got safer and airlines got the hang of moving millions of people through the air, some of the more stringent rules seemed less necessary. So in 1978, at the urging of the economist and "inflation czar" Alfred Kahn, President Jimmy Carter enacted the Airline Deregulation Act. The law was part of a suite of policies designed to fight decades-high inflation through deregulation. The thinking seemed simple: With fewer rules about who could operate and where, new businesses could spring up to take on sclerotic incumbents, forcing everyone to bring down prices and serve more people.Before, only certain airlines could fly certain routes. And as Clifford Winston and Steven A. Morrison of Brookings noted, the regulators overseeing those routes and airlines often did not allow potential competitors in. With deregulation, a whole world of routes was opened to airlines. And as regulation eased, new airlines popped up, eager to service previously guarded routes and set competitive prices. Southwest Airlines, the villain of the latest travel season, was able to take advantage of this new lack of rules to expand from a local carrier to a nationwide juggernaut. Herb Kelleher, a cofounder of Southwest, once testified that the Airline Deregulation Act "literally made the Southwest Airlines of today and the other low fare carriers I speak for possible."Some in the industry welcomed the idea of deregulation with open arms. In 1977, Richard J. Ferris, the president of United Airlines, said the soon-to-be-abolished regulations were "sowing the seeds of destruction" of quality airline service.Daniel May, the president of Republic Airlines, said in testimony in 1983, as deregulation fully came into effect, that "because of deregulation, the domestic airlines are offering the public far more and better service than they could have expected under regulation."But some airlines — including TWA — that had coasted on certainty and guaranteed profit margins were against deregulation, arguing that the competition would make fliers' lives worse and throw the industry into a bottom-line-focused fight for survival. "The view of airline deregulation from the cockpit is that it is a cruel hoax on taxpayers, on vast numbers of air travelers, on the stockholders of airlines," Henry Duffy, the president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said in a 1983 Senate hearing on effects of the law. He said deregulation had "transformed a once profitable industry into one where bankruptcies, actual and threatened, dominate the news," adding that "quantity and quality of service have been drastically cut back."As regulations eased, consumers felt relief. From 1976 to 1993, fares fell by a third — and deregulation accounted for 60% of that price drop, according to Winston and Morrison. From 2000 to 2004, they fell by 25%. The number of competitors in each market increased to 3.5 in 2005 from 2.2 in 1980, a report from the Government Accountability Office said. More people were flying.As competition drove prices down, it was no longer feasible to hire live bands for in-flight entertainment or pay for other luxuries. The cost cutting didn't stop there: Squeezing seats closer together allowed companies to sell more tickets to help cover costs. Sometimes customers didn't show up for a flight, so airlines started to sell more tickets than available seats — if they overbooked, they could just pay off the unhappy customer they'd bumped and still come out ahead. Many industry insiders eventually recognized the failed promises of deregulation."America's airline system has greatly deteriorated," Robert Crandall, a former American Airlines chairman, said in a 2008 speech. "Our airlines, once world leaders, are now laggards in every category, including fleet age, service quality, and international reputation." He added that "airline service, by any standard, has become unacceptable."Ultimately, however, the next decades showed that safely flying an aluminum tube full of people 30,000 feet in the air is an expensive endeavor. And while more people were able to jump on a jet, the race to the bottom caused plenty of headaches for consumers and airlines alike. In 2001, American Airlines acquired TWA, which had filed for bankruptcy three times. Without those guaranteed profits from the pre-deregulation era, the groundwork was laid for today's woes.A race to the bottomToday, the promise of more competition has mostly fallen by the wayside. Just four companies — Delta, American, United, and Southwest — controlled 66% of the market in the US in 2021. And even as more Americans have started flying, the idea of dramatically cheaper flights seems to have faded: Airline-ticket prices are about 11 times what they were in 1969, while inflation has made overall prices about eight times what they were then. Jeffrey Price, a professor and aviation-security consultant, said that with few other options beyond air travel to get across the country, airlines essentially have a monopoly over long-distance transportation."We don't really have any other alternatives," such as a national high-speed rail system, Price said. "Leisure passengers are totally at the mercy of the airlines unless they really want to go get a recreational vehicle, and most people don't have that kind of time in their vacation days anymore to do that," he said.!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytFeb 20th, 2023

I spent 8 hours at Singapore"s famous airport, which features luxuries like a pool, a movie theater, and a butterfly garden. I didn"t want to leave.

Singapore's Changi airport was named the world's best eight years in a row, so I decided to spend eight hours inside — and it wasn't near enough time. Taylor Rains/Insider Singapore's Changi Airport was named the world's best by Skytrax from 2013 to 2020. The airport is a major hub for Singapore Airlines and features luxuries like a pool and a movie theater. I spent eight hours exploring everything the airport has the offer, and it still wasn't enough time. Singapore's Changi Airport is probably the best place to spend a long layover.Taylor Rains/InsiderBoasting four huge terminals with endless shopping, food, and entertainment, the airport was named the world's best by Skytrax for eight years in a row from 2013 to 2020.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: Skytrax, The best 20 airports in the world for 2020 according to expert reviewersDespite losing its crown to Qatar's Hamad International Airport in 2021, Changi still welcomed over 32 million passengers in 2022 and is planning a fifth terminal to open in the mid-2030s.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: Skytrax, Straits Times, The top 20 best airports in the world according to passengersAfter hearing the hype about Changi, I decided to spend eight hours inside exploring everything it has to offer. Here's what it was like.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhen I arrived, I could immediately see the vast difference between this airport and the dozens of others I've visited.Curbside entrance to terminal 3 at Singapore's Changi International Airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderInstead of just having a regular departures floor, there was also a huge "underground carnival" in the basement of terminals 2 and 3, and I was instantly eager to explore.Entrance to the "underground carnival" from Changi's terminal 3 check-in lobby.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhat I found was essentially a huge fun zone that had way more than I was expecting.One of the restaurants in Changi's "underground carnival" in terminal 3.Taylor Rains/InsiderThere was a playground for kids, which included a slide...The playground with a slide at Changi's "underground carnival" at terminal 3.Taylor Rains/ well as several restaurants and giant shops. The stores were incredible, with everything from groceries and clothes to suitcases and kitchen supplies.All types of different produce were available, and I saw a lot of people here doing their grocery shopping.Taylor Rains/InsiderAccording to an employee I spoke with, this carnival is popular for locals who come for dinner or shopping and was especially busy during the pandemic when travel wasn't an option.There was pretty decor, like chairs and a fountain.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter forcing myself not to buy any of the cool knickknacks, I headed back to the check-in lobby at terminal 3. The space was pretty normal compared to other airports, though it definitely felt cleaner and more open.Changi's terminal 3 check-in lobby.Taylor Rains/InsiderThere were huge windows creating natural light and beautiful green plants lined across the back wall.Taylor Rains/InsiderAccording to Changi's associate communications director Lay Ling Toh, 99% of the plants and trees are real and are maintained by a team of horticulturalists.A view of Changi's Jewel complex connected to terminal 1.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile the landside area was impressive in itself, most of the fun within Singapore's famous airport is located in the transit area.Taylor Rains/InsiderBecause Changi is a major hub for Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary, Scoot, the space is important for keeping connecting travelers entertained for hours between flights.Inside Singapore's Changi International Airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe transit area spans across all four terminals, with 1, 2, and 3 connected via an airside train, while the 4th can be accessed by an airside bus. The unique activities and extravagant shops are mostly located in terminals 1 and 3.The Skytrain to terminal 3 from terminal 1.Inside Singapore's Changi International Airport.Unfortunately for locals or tourists who just want to visit the airport for fun, only passengers who intend to travel can access the transit area, unless they're an employee or have another authorized reason to be there.A sign at Changi that says only passengers that plan to travel are allowed in the transit area, including those who have a boarding pass. This is likely to discourage people from buying a cheap fare just to have fun in the transit area for the day.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhen accessing the transit area, I noticed there was no security line, but Toh explained that security takes place at the gate. Travelers just need to scan their passport and boarding pass to enter.Although I was given special permission to enter Changi airport without a boarding pass, I did have to clear passport control on my flight home a few days later. I thought the process was quick and simple.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on the world's longest flight in business class and thought the 18-hour trip from Singapore to New York was nearly flawless Once inside, I was immediately taken away by the sheer size of the terminal. All of the beautiful lights and stores impressed me, especially Louis Vuitton — one of three in Changi.Taylor Rains/InsiderBut, that was not the only luxury brand available. Travelers can also enjoy stores like Gucci…Taylor Rains/Insider…and Prada. Toh explained the prices are duty-free and have to be cheaper than, or on par with, other comparable stores in Singapore.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter exploring a few of the stores and imagining myself with a luxury bag worth twice my rent, I visited a few other shops that were more within budget.Inside the Louis Vuitton store at Changi's terminal 3.Taylor Rains/InsiderI was particularly impressed with TWG Tea, which is a popular Singaporean tea shop. I bought one of my favorite types of tea — French earl grey — for $30 to take home.Taylor Rains/InsiderI also dipped into Singapore Airlines' new SilverKris business class lounge for about 30 minutes, which has food, loungers, and drinks. The carrier also has other lounges for first and economy passengers in terminal 3.I had a light bite to eat at the lounge.Taylor Rains/InsiderFortunately, travelers transiting through Changi don't need lounge access to be entertained.The escalator to Singapore Airlines' SilverKris lounge.Taylor Rains/InsiderFor those wanting to enjoy Changi's natural side, travelers can visit the koi pond, which has a nice view of the ramp…Taylor Rains/Insider…or walk around the butterfly garden, which has 1,000 butterflies living inside representing some 47 species.The entrance to the butterfly garden on the lower level has facts and information displayed on the wall.Taylor Rains/InsiderDuring my visit, I was impressed at how big the space was. There were two floors with a beautiful waterfall as the backdrop.Taylor Rains/InsiderOn the lower level, there was fruit laid out and travelers could get up close to the dozens of butterflies feasting away.Taylor Rains/InsiderThere was also an enclosed habitat for metamorphosis, and I could see hundreds of chrysalises waiting to hatch.The habitat in the Changi airport butterfly garden with dozens of chrysalises.Taylor Rains/InsiderAnother unique perk of Changi airport is its movie theater, which is 100% free.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe theater is located near the butterfly garden's upstairs entrance and passengers can simply walk in — no ticket needed.The escalator entrance to get to the movie theater, as well as the butterfly garden, the Ambassador transit hotel, and the Ambassador lounge.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe movies rotate on a 24/7 schedule and the lineup changes seasonally. Right now, movies like Fantastic Beasts, Doctor Strange, and Frozen II are playing.The screen at Changi's free movie theater showing the movies and times each day.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter watching about 40 minutes of Disney's Encanto, I headed to the train to take me to terminal 1.Inside the movie theater with Encanto playing on the screen.Taylor Rains/InsiderAlong the way, I saw some of Changi's unique tech, including a workout bike that can charge a cell phone…Taylor Rains/Insider…and the air vents that point down. Toh told Insider that it saves energy because it only cools the space where people are instead of all the way to the high ceiling.The air vents lined the walls of the terminals.Taylor Rains/InsiderLike terminal 3, terminal 1 was ginormous. More designer stores lined the walkways, and the carpeted floors masked the noise of trolley wheels and roller bags.Taylor Rains/InsiderIt took about 10 minutes to walk the entire length of the terminal as I made my way to my next stop — the pool.Along the way, I passed one of Changi's other Louis Vuitton stores.Taylor Rains/InsiderYes, Changi airport has a pool available to travelers. It is located inside the Aerotel, which is an airside transit hotel — but more on that later.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe pool opens at noon for transit passengers and costs S$23 ($18) per person. Hotel guests can access the space earlier.The shaded sitting area adjacent to the pool.Taylor Rains/InsiderWalking outside, I was immediately shocked at the size of the pool and all of the amenities available.Taylor Rains/InsiderThere was a long bar with beer, wine, spirits, and other non-alcoholic drinks...Taylor Rains/Insider…plenty of chairs for tanning…Taylor Rains/Insider…other unique seating for relaxing and chatting…Taylor Rains/Insider…a separate jacuzzi attached to the pool…Taylor Rains/Insider…and a pretty garden space with a nice view of the ramp.Taylor Rains/InsiderAs it was a beautiful day in Singapore, I ordered a cocktail and took my time enjoying the pool. The water was cool and refreshing and I loved the ambiance of the music and decor.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter about an hour, I took advantage of the showers and quickly explored the Aerotel.The Aerotel lobby at Changi airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe space has dozens of rooms that can be booked in hourly blocks, with a minimum of six hours...The beds in the double room, which has an ensuite bathroom and a view of the ramp.Taylor Rains/Insider…and come with one meal included, which is served in an on-site dining room. There is also a gym available to guests.The gym at the Aerotel. The dining room is located below, but I could not take photographs as it was full of guests.Taylor Rains/InsiderI thought the rooms, many of which include ensuite bathrooms, were cozy and private. The price starts around $115 for a single room for six hours and is a perfect way to grab some sleep on a long layover.The ensuite bathroom inside the double room. Single rooms have shared toilets and showers, according to Aerotel's website.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe airport also has several other sleep options, including the Ambassador Transit Hotel in terminals 2 and 3…The Ambassador transit hotel at Changi's terminal 3.Taylor Rains/Insider…and the designated free-to-use "sleep zones," which have lay flat loungers and pods. These make long layovers — and even multi-hour delays and overnight cancellations — more bearable.Changi Airport GroupSource: Changi Airport GroupAfter exploring the hotel, I was ready to eat and knew I wanted to enjoy Changi's famous Singapore Food Street.The "street" is located on the second floor of terminal 3 near the Louis Vuitton store.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe "street" is not actually outside the airport but is a line of over a dozen booths inside terminal 3 serving traditional dishes from places like Singapore, Vietnam, and China.Taylor Rains/InsiderPassengers can self-order from kiosks using a credit card or Singaporean dollars — you cannot pay in USD or other paper currency.All of the restaurants and their menus were loaded into the kiosk.Taylor Rains/InsiderI ordered a feast of Asian meals, which I shared with a colleague, including soup dumplings, laksa, skewers, noodles, and chicken with rice.My favorite dishes were the laksa (bottom left bowl) and the soup dumplings (middle bottom).Taylor Rains/InsiderAll of the food was amazing and easily exceeded my expectations for airport food.Taylor Rains/For Americans who want a taste of home, there's also a Burger King and a Subway within the row of restaurants.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile all of the fun activities I experienced before my flight are restricted to ticketed passengers, Changi also boasts an amazing retail and entertainment complex completely separate from its four terminals.Inside Changi airport's Jewel complex.Taylor Rains/InsiderKnown as Jewel, the facility is connected to the airport via walkways from terminals 1, 2, and 3, and by bus from terminal 4.The walkway to Jewel from terminal 3.Taylor Rains/InsiderInside is a plethora of beautiful trees and flowers that surround dozens of stores, shops, restaurants, and a giant waterfall centerpiece.A restaurant inside Jewel at Changi airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe rain vortex, which stands seven stories high, is the world's tallest indoor waterfall and has become the symbol of Changi's innovation and beauty.The airtrain that connects terminals 2 and 3 runs through Jewel with a great view of the rain vortex.Taylor Rains/InsiderDuring my visit, I enjoyed several of the activities in the complex's Canopy Park, like a hedge maze, the ropes course, and a topiary walk.The animals in Canopy Park are made from coconut hairs.Taylor Rains/InsiderThese must be paid for, but guests can easily get tickets online, from a booth, or at a kiosk.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile some of the activities were kiddish, I still thought it was fun — and a good way to entertain children before a long flight.A view of the Jewel hedge maze from above.Taylor Rains/InsiderI thought Jewel was very enjoyable and makes for a great day trip for tourists exploring Singapore. Surprisingly enough, the place actually used to be a parking lot and cost $1.2 billion to build.A view from the ground floor at Jewel with the rain vortex off.Taylor Rains/InsiderBut, I will note that the space is not a terminal, and you won't board your flight from Jewel. But, some airlines do offer early check-in here that travelers can take advantage of.The Starbucks and the early check-in at Jewel.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter a long, entertainment-filled day of exploring Changi airport, I found I wasn't ready to leave.View of Changi's terminal 3 from Singapore food street.Taylor Rains/InsiderI felt I could have spent so many more hours at the pool and the movie theater, or taken more time to appreciate the beautiful butterflies and koi fish.My cocktail and towel at the Aerotel pool.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe airport is an experience in itself, and I hope my local New York airports eventually adopt some of the same luxuries hidden within the walls of Changi.Taylor Rains/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytFeb 8th, 2023

The Biden administration gave Southwest a deadline to issue refunds for the flight chaos over Christmas. A month later, some passengers were still waiting to be paid.

One basketball coach who spent $10,000 after his team got stranded in Vegas said he had still only been partially refunded for the canceled flight. A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737.George Rose/Getty Images Southwest cancelled thousands of flights in December, leaving passengers stranded over Christmas. Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg gave the airline a deadline for refunds, but it came and went. Southwest has said it is still working daily to process requests for refunds and reimbursements. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave Southwest Airlines a deadline to issue refunds to those who were impacted by the flight cancellation chaos over Christmas, but a month later some passengers said they were still waiting.Hoards of travelers experienced flight cancelations over Christmas, but Southwest saw the worst of it. The airline experienced an operational meltdown, cancelling thousands of flights with the disruptions rippling throughout the travel industry.Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg wrote a letter to Robert Jordan, the CEO of Southwest, on December 28, calling the debacle "unacceptable" and outlining steps the airline needed to take in response. He said the law required Southwest to "provide prompt refunds" for canceled flights that are not rebooked."This means Southwest must provide refunds within seven business days if a passenger paid by credit card, and within 20 days if a passenger paid by cash, check, or other means," the letter said, while also calling on the airline to cover ground transportation, hotels, and meals for stranded passengers.But as of this week, more than a month has passed and some passengers said they are still waiting.A high school basketball team from Seattle, Washington, that got stranded in Las Vegas for five days over Christmas after Southwest canceled their flight had only received a partial refund as of Tuesday, the coaches told Insider. One coach and his wife also spent over $10,000 on incidental expenses to take care of the team and were still waiting on those reimbursement requests to be reviewed.John Erickson, a Southwest passenger who was stuck in Denver for three days after Southwest canceled his flight, told WFLA the airline told him it would take months to receive his refund.In a statement provided to Insider, Southwest rebuked the possibility it engaged in unrealistic flight schedules."Our holiday flight schedule was thoughtfully designed and offered to our Customers with the backing of a solid plan to operate it, and with ample staffing," the statement said, adding: "Our systems and processes became stressed while working to recover from multiple days of flight cancelations across 50 airports in the wake of an unprecedented storm."Southwest previously told Insider last week it was still working daily to process refund and reimbursement requests from passengers.When contacted by Insider about Southwest not meeting Buttigieg's timeframe, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said they are still investigating "Southwest Airlines' holiday debacle that stranded millions."The spokesperson said DOT "will hold Southwest accountable if it fails" to issue timely refunds or reimbursements. They added that the agency is also investigating "whether Southwest executives engaged in unrealistic scheduling of flights which under federal law is considered an unfair and deceptive practice."Passengers who have not received refunds can also file a complaint with the DOT, and Buttigieg has said the agency will follow up on every one of them to ensure they're taken care of.DOT has not been clear about how it plans to hold airlines accountable or enforce its deadlines. John Breyault, the vice president for public policy at the National Consumers League, told The New York Times last month that DOT has been hesitant to hold the airlines accountable, adding: "While Secretary Buttigieg has talked a tough talk, particularly over the past few months, we have yet to see that really translate into action."Have a news tip or a travel story to share? Contact this reporter at the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 1st, 2023

Making travel plans? Southwest"s holiday meltdown may be a sign of air travel drama to come

Can Southwest repair its flight network and reputation after it canceled nearly 17,000 December flights? Are other airlines vulnerable?Can Southwest repair its flight network and reputation after it canceled nearly 17,000 December flights? Are other airlines vulnerable?.....»»

Category: topSource: latimesJan 26th, 2023

Making travel plans? Southwest"s holiday meltdown may be a sign of more air travel drama to come

Can Southwest repair its flight network and reputation after it cancelled nearly 17,000 December flights? Are other airlines vulnerable?Can Southwest repair its flight network and reputation after it cancelled nearly 17,000 December flights? Are other airlines vulnerable?.....»»

Category: topSource: latimesJan 26th, 2023

Ticketmaster-Taylor Swift Senate hearing: Live Nation exec blames record number of bots for ticket debacle

Live Nation Entertainment CFO Joe Berchtold said Ticketmaster could have done "several" things better during the Taylor Swift concert ticket sale meltdown last year......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 24th, 2023

Record-High 250,000 Migrant Encounters Across US-Mexico Border In December 2022: CBP

Record-High 250,000 Migrant Encounters Across US-Mexico Border In December 2022: CBP Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times, The number of migrant encounters across the U.S. southern border for December 2022 reached a record high, with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reporting a figure of more than a quarter of a million. That’s a total of 251,487 border enforcement encounters. The figure via CBP data surpasses the previous monthly record of 241,136, which was set in May 2022. It marks a seven percent increase from the November 2022 number of encounters, which was 234,896. The latest figure also far surpasses the number of enforcement encounters of the month of December in the prior two years: 179,253 in December 2021, and 73,994 in December 2020. Of the 251,487 border enforcement encounters in December 2022, 14 percent of involved individuals who have been stopped by a U.S. border agent in the previous 12 months. There were a total of 216,162 unique encounters in December 2022, which is an 11 percent increase in the number of unique enforcement encounters from November 2022. The CBP says the increase is “driven largely by an increased number of individuals fleeing authoritarian regimes in Cuba and Nicaragua.” New Border Enforcement Measures Despite the record-breaking figure, CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said that it shows the Biden administration’s efforts at the border have been effective. “The December update shows our new border enforcement measures are working. Even as overall encounters rose … we continued to see a sharp decline in the number of Venezuelans unlawfully crossing our southwest border, down 82 percent from September 2022,” Miller said in a statement. “Early data suggests the expanded measures for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans are having a similar impact, and we look forward to sharing the additional data in the next update.” Miller’s remarks refer to the Biden administration’s recent border changes, which include a parole program that was launched in October 2022 targeting Venezuelans. The program allows up to 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the United States under parole authority, which grants them entry and work authorization for a year, but is not a legal status. A Venezuelan national must meet certain criteria to be eligible, including having a sponsor in the United States to provide “financial and other support.” Under the parole program, Venezuelans who walk or swim across the border after Oct. 12, 2022, will be returned to Mexico under the Trump-era policy Title 42, which allows for blocking asylum claims and swift expulsion of most unauthorized border crossers under the grounds of keeping contagious diseases out of the United States. Until Oct. 12, 2022, Venezuelans weren’t subject to expulsion under Title 42 because neither their home country nor another country was willing to take them. Prior to the new measures, migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico were subject to expulsion from the United States under Title 42. Biden Expands Parole Authority President Joe Biden in early January then expanded the parole program to nationals of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti, which means they can apply for parole, and if they meet eligibility criteria, they can receive a two-year permit to work in the United States. Now, the nationals from these three countries and Venezuela who unlawfully cross the U.S. southern border are now also subject to expulsion under Title 42, with Mexico agreeing to receive up to 30,000 expelled people a month. Miller attributed the rising number of overall enforcement encounters in December 2022 to “smugglers spreading misinformation around the court-ordered lifting of the Title 42 public health order.” The Epoch Times cannot independently verify the assertion. Currently, Title 42 remains in effect for the time being due to a U.S. Supreme Court order in late December 2022. Republican lawmakers have accused Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of breaking immigration law in the way the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented the parole authority. Prior to it being used for Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans, the parole authority was implemented under Biden on a mass scale to alleviate swamped Border Patrol stations amid soaring illegal crossings, and to allow in tens of thousands of Ukrainians. ‘Catastrophic Crisis’ Mark Morgan, former acting CBP commissioner and Heritage visiting fellow, called the situation at the border a “catastrophic crisis” and said the Biden administration has misrepresented the situation there. “What’s been happening at the border the last two years continues to be a catastrophic crisis, and the White House, Secretary Mayorkas, and the open-borders advocates on the left continue to lie about it,” he told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement. “Under the last Democratic president, 25,000 encounters was a borderline crisis—for the Biden administration, 10 times that number is simply business as usual.” Morgan said the Biden administration’s open-border policies have all “abjectly failed, yet [Mayorkas] continues to absurdly claim the opposite.” “No sane person could look at the border and claim we’re on the right course. Any other secretary would have long ago resigned in shame and disgrace, but it’s clear Secretary Mayorkas simply has no shame to begin with. So, Congress must immediately move to impeach him, begin meaningful oversight, and pass legislation to end the crisis and reduce illegal immigration.” The House Oversight Committee on Jan. 19 launched a probe into the border crisis by issuing a request for multiple documents from Mayorkas and calling on multiple border chiefs to testify at a hearing to be held in the week of Feb. 6. Since Biden took office in 2021 and scaled back or terminated key Trump-era policies, illegal immigration has soared to record levels. More than 2.3 million apprehensions were recorded at the U.S.–Mexico border in fiscal year 2022, which ended on Sept. 30, 2022—up about 37 percent from the previous year. “Joe Biden is the first president in my lifetime to intentionally un-secure the border. By way of more than 90 executive orders, he undid the successful Trump-era policies that brought illegal immigration to a 40-year low and gave us the most secure border of our lifetimes,” Tom Homan, former acting ICE director and Heritage visiting fellow, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement. “This president and his team were warned what would happen if they got rid of those policies. They did it anyway, and you’re looking at the consequences. “More Americans than ever dying from fentanyl flooding across the southwest border. More women and children abused and sexually assaulted on the dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico. More migrants found dead on U.S. soil than ever. Record profits for the cartels as they traffic and smuggle historic numbers of drugs and people across the border. “It’s inhumane. It’s a slap in the face to the men and women of the Border Patrol, who are absolutely overwhelmed, as well as to ICE agents who’ve been told they can’t detain or deport most of those who break our laws.” Tyler Durden Sat, 01/21/2023 - 22:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 22nd, 2023

Target: Civilization

Target: Civilization Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via, Two weeks ago, Southwest Airlines had a massive meltdown but they weren’t the only airline affected. Flight delays ruined vacations and travel plans for millions the world over. It was never clear why. Oh sure, blame the weather but that has become a strangely opaque excuse. You look outside and the weather seems fine but then someone snaps at you: Can’t you see that the snow is bad in Buffalo? So on it goes and when the weather excuse runs out, they blame the airlines themselves. And I’m sure there is plenty of blame to go around. One party that always seems to evade responsibility is the FAA itself. The other morning the FAA itself grounded all planes in the U.S. for three hours. Why? It was some computer glitch. We still don’t get it really. It sure felt like a lockdown. Maybe it was all deliberate to get us used to a system that doesn’t work. Maybe we’ll travel less. Maybe we’ll just give up. OK, you can call me paranoid, and maybe I’m wrong in my speculations about this incident but look at the bigger picture, whether it is forcing electric cars on us or floating the idea of banning gas stoves. The bottom line is that there are people out there who want to control how we live. Burn No More The latest thing on the chopping block is the gas stove. The Biden administration’s Consumer Product Safety Commission has floated the idea of a national ban on them based on some cockamamie study that they cause health and respiratory problems. You say that they can never get away with it? Think again. These regulators are unbearably powerful. They have every intention of carrying out their wishes, and are enjoying every minute of it. They have disdain for Congress and scoff at your protests. They believe they alone are in charge and you have nothing to say about it. Think of all the stuff they have already wrecked. Look around at your household appliances. Energy-use and water restrictions have degraded the washing machine, refrigerator, dishwasher, the shower, the toilet, clothes dryers, steamers and irons, dishwashers, freezers, and so much more. Even the refrigerators are shrinking in size, all in the interest of institutionalizing austerity. The clothes washers no longer use enough water to get things clean. The result is that our clothing is dull and dirty compared only to a generation ago. You can add all the liquids you want and it still won’t work. Sure, you can add bleach but that only wrecks the fabric. When was the last time you saw sheets that were truly bright white? There is a reason for this. It’s all deliberate, and caused by overregulation of appliances. Really clean absolutely requires roiling hot water and lots of it, plus phosphates to whisk the soap away. Without that, you get what you have today: dull and dirty everything. Sadists in Charge All this should be a clue about what’s going on. There are sadists in charge of the regulatory apparatus. It’s not really about saving water and energy. Even if it were, that alone would be objectionable. The whole point of energy and water is to serve the human experience, not to impose privation on the planet. Then there’s the attack on the gas-powered car, which allows us to drive long distances even in cold weather and fully control the machine. The electric vehicle is another matter. It makes us wholly dependent on the grid and limits our mobility. In cold weather, it is worse. You end up having to stop every few hours to beg for a charge and wait another hour if you are lucky enough to find a working machine. After a while, demoralization sets in and you decide it is not worth it. Sure, there are things you can do to outsmart this imposed impoverishment, such as hack your showerhead with a corkscrew to remove the flow stopper. But there is no fixing the toilet, the dishwasher (which now runs for hours just to leave spots), or the refrigerator (which will break in five years anyway). In time, they want now to get rid of your ability to cook with fire, thus removing from our lives a crucial primal connection to our roots and innate desire to be around it. Ever sat by a bonfire? Everyone stares for hours because it meets an inner need. No one stands around an induction stove. They’re downright creepy. The only technology these people approve of is a thoroughly censored smartphone. They want everything to work like that: centralized, anodyne, and feeding you nonstop propaganda. How Will We Cook Our Bugs? The very notion that an electric stove is better than a gas one would be disputed by any competent chef in the entire world. Instead of cultivating instincts based on what you see in the flames, you must trust some digital display to know the temperature, which is absurd. I can’t prove it but the heat itself seems different, like the difference between incandescence and fluorescence. One seems real, the other fake. I’ve cooked on both and absolutely dread electric stoves. There are loads of dishes that require real fire, all of which would be impossible to make otherwise. I was just in a Mexican restaurant that put their chefs on display using stoves with flames that lap up 14 inches over the air and sear the fresh-made pasta as it is swished around in the pan. There is simply no way to do this otherwise. Fine, if you want some new tech, great. Go for it. But don’t pretend that you are really cooking. You are buying into the baloney. Also, I’ve met very few people who have used both gas and electric who would honestly choose electric. But if they do, again, fine. But don’t force that choice on everyone else. That regulators say it is bad for our health tells all that you need to know about them. They want us living in a fully sanitized, boring, and unworkable environment in which we never have contact with anything real. Above all else, they are somehow out to demonize fossil fuels, as if electricity doesn’t use coal too and the trucks that transport it and deliver it don’t use gas. They have even degraded the basic gas can so that it no longer works properly. Oh, we should also mention that gas itself, which now includes corn which is sticky, wrecks engines, and causes the gas itself to degrade over time. Burning Down the House Do you see what’s happening here? It’s all deliberate. All the things we love and that make life grand are being taken away from us. The larger truth here is that this war on civilization has been going on for decades. History is supposed to move forward with ever higher living standards. That progress has stopped! The trajectory must end now. Decades of regulations need to be repealed. The whole population needs to rise up and say no to the forced austerity and rule by the elite cadre of techno-primitivists. They have driven down the standard of living by force and are far from done with us yet. Some good news from the GOP-controlled House: they’re talking about abolishing the IRS and maybe the income tax itself. Neither will happen of course, but such ideas were never in the public sphere in my lifetime. There’s a mighty revolt afoot in the land today. It’s about time! Tyler Durden Sat, 01/21/2023 - 10:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 21st, 2023

The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the former Theranos CEO found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy who prosecutors say still shows "no remorse to her victims"

Holmes was sentenced to over 11 years in prison in November. She appealed her conviction, and in the meantime, she's living on $13,000-a-month estate. Elizabeth Holmes leaves after a hearing at a federal court in San Jose, California, on July 17, 2019.Reuters/Stephen Lam Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to start blood-testing startup Theranos. The technology was praised as revolutionary and Holmes was hailed as the next Steve Jobs.  Theranos' value grew to $9 billion until flaws in the technology were exposed and Holmes was charged with fraud. After a months-long trial, Holmes was found guilty.  Here's how Holmes went from precocious child, to ambitious Stanford dropout, to an embattled startup founder sentenced to prison. Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.@eholmes2003/TwitterSource: Elizabeth Holmes/Twitter, CNN, Vanity FairHolmes' family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.Washington, D.C.Getty ImagesSource: FortuneWhen she was 7, Holmes tried to invent her own time machine, filling up an entire notebook with detailed engineering drawings. At the age of 9, Holmes told relatives she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up. Her relatives described her as saying it with the "utmost seriousness and determination."Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.REUTERS/Carlo AllegriSource: CBS News, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes had an "intense competitive streak" from a young age. She often played Monopoly with her younger brother and cousin, and she would insist on playing until the end, collecting the houses and hotels until she won. If Holmes was losing, she would often storm off. More than once, she ran directly through a screen on the door.Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, attends a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupIt was during high school that Holmes developed her work ethic, often staying up late to study. She quickly became a straight-A student, and even started her own business: she sold C++ compilers, a type of software that translates computer code, to Chinese schools.Tyrone Siu/ReutersSource: Fortune, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes started taking Mandarin lessons, and part-way through high school, talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University’s summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing.Yepoka Yeebo / Business InsiderSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupInspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, Holmes decided she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. Later, she said this influenced her to start Theranos.Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderSource: San Francisco Business TimesHolmes went to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a "president's scholar," an honor which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project.STANFORD, CA - MAY 22: People ride bikes past Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on May 22, 2014 in Stanford, California. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Stanford University ranked second behind Harvard University as the top universities in the world. UC Berkeley ranked third. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Justin Sullivan/GettySource: FortuneHolmes spent the summer after her freshman year interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she spoke Mandarin.An office worker walks along the Singapore River front during the lunch hour.Wong Maye-E/APSource: FortuneAs a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said: "Let's start a company." With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company's name to Theranos. Thanks to a typo, early employees’ paychecks actually said "Real-Time Curses."Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes soon filed a patent application for a "medical device for analyte monitoring and drug delivery," a wearable device that would administer medication, monitor patients' blood, and adjust the dosage as needed.Reuters/Brian SnyderSource: Fortune, US Patent OfficeBy the next semester, Holmes had dropped out of Stanford altogether, and was working on Theranos in the basement of a college house.Jeff Chiu/APSource: Wall Street JournalTheranos's business model was based around the idea that it could run blood tests, using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick and a small amount of blood. Holmes said the tests would be able to detect medical conditions like cancer and high cholesterol.Theranos Chairman, CEO and Founder Elizabeth Holmes (L) and TechCrunch Writer and Moderator Jonathan Shieber speak onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, CaliforniaSteve Jennings/Getty ImagesSource: Wall Street JournalHolmes started raising money for Theranos from prominent investors like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend and the founder of prominent VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Theranos raised more than $700 million, and Draper has continued to defend Holmes.Investor Tim Draper (right).CNBCSource: SEC, CrunchbaseHolmes took investors' money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Theranos' technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company.JP Yim/GettySource: Vanity FairThat obsession with secrecy extended to every aspect of Theranos. For the first decade Holmes spent building her company, Theranos operated in stealth mode. She even took three former Theranos employees to court, claiming they had misused Theranos trade secrets.Kimberly White/GettySource: San Francisco Business TimesHolmes' attitude toward secrecy and running a company was borrowed from a Silicon Valley hero of hers: former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Holmes started dressing in black turtlenecks like Jobs, decorated her office with his favorite furniture, and like Jobs, never took vacations.Steve Jobs.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairEven Holmes's uncharacteristically deep voice may have been part of a carefully crafted image intended to help her fit in in the male-dominated business world. In ABC's podcast on Holmes called "The Dropout," former Theranos employees said the CEO sometimes "fell out of character," particularly after drinking, and would speak in a higher voice.Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York.Lucas Jackson/ReutersSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, The CutHolmes was a demanding boss, and wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. She had her assistants track when employees arrived and left each day. To encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner catered to the office around 8 p.m. each night.TheranosSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupMore behind-the-scenes footage of what life was like at Theranos was revealed in leaked videos obtained by the team behind the HBO documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." The more than 100 hours of footage showed Holmes walking around the office, scenes from company parties, speeches from Holmes and Balwani, and Holmes dancing to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at the company's headquarters.Courtesy HBOSource: Business InsiderShortly after Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19, she began dating Theranos president and COO Sunny Balwani, who was 20 years her senior. The two met during Holmes' third year in Stanford’s summer Mandarin program, the summer before she went to college. She was bullied by some of the other students, and Balwani had come to her aid.Footage of Sunny Balwani presenting."60 Minutes"Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBalwani became Holmes' No. 2 at Theranos despite having little experience. He was said to be a bully, and often tracked his employees' whereabouts. Holmes and Balwani eventually broke up in spring 2016 when Holmes pushed him out of the company.Sunny Balwani pictured in January 2019.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupIn 2008, the Theranos board decided to remove Holmes as CEO in favor of someone more experienced. But over the course of a two-hour meeting, Holmes convinced them to let her stay in charge of her company.Jamie McCarthy / GettySource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAs Theranos started to rake in millions of funding, Holmes became the subject of media attention and acclaim in the tech world. She graced the covers of Fortune and Forbes, gave a TED Talk, and spoke on panels with Bill Clinton and Alibaba's Jack Ma.Elizabeth Holmes with former President Bill Clinton, left, and Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma.Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairTheranos quickly began securing outside partnerships. Capital Blue Cross and Cleveland Clinic signed on to offer Theranos tests to their patients, and Walgreens made a deal to open Theranos testing centers in their stores. Theranos also formed a secret partnership with Safeway worth $350 million.A Theranos testing center inside a Walgreens.Melia Robinson/Business InsiderSource: Wired, Business InsiderIn 2011, Holmes hired her younger brother, Christian, to work at Theranos, although he didn’t have a medical or science background. Christian Holmes spent his early days at Theranos reading about sports online and recruiting his Duke University fraternity brothers to join the company. People dubbed Holmes and his crew the "Frat Pack" and "Therabros."Elizabeth Holmes and her brother, Christian.Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAt one point, Holmes was the world's youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of around $4.5 billion.Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough PrizeSource: ForbesHolmes was obsessed with security at Theranos. She asked anyone who visited the company’s headquarters to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed in the building, and had security guards escort visitors everywhere — even to the bathroom.Michael Dalder/Reuters Holmes hired bodyguards to drive her around in a black Audi sedan. Her nickname was "Eagle One." The windows in her office had bulletproof glass.Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAround the same time, questions were being raised about Theranos' technology. Ian Gibbons — chief scientist at Theranos and one of the company's first hires — warned Holmes that the tests weren't ready for the public to take, and that there were inaccuracies in the technology. Outside scientists began voicing their concerns about Theranos, too.Melia Robinson/Tech InsiderSource: Vanity Fair, Business InsiderBy August 2015, the FDA began investigating Theranos, and regulators from the government body that oversees laboratories found "major inaccuracies" in the testing Theranos was doing on patients.Mike Segar/ReutersSource: Vanity FairBy October 2015, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published his investigation into Theranos's struggles with its technology. Carreyrou's reporting sparked the beginning of the company's downward spiral.Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.CBS "60 Minutes"Source: Wall Street JournalCarreyrou found that Theranos' blood-testing machine, named Edison, couldn't give accurate results, so Theranos was running its samples through the same machines used by traditional blood-testing companies.Carlos Osorio/APSource: Wall Street JournalHolmes appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" shortly after the WSJ published its story to defend herself and Theranos. "This is what happens when you work to change things, and first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world," Holmes said.CNBC/YouTubeSource: CNBCBy 2016, the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and SEC were all looking into Theranos.GettySource: Wall Street Journal, WiredIn July 2016, Holmes was banned from the lab-testing industry for two years. By October, Theranos had shut down its lab operations and wellness centers.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn March 2018, Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani were charged with "massive fraud" by the SEC. Holmes agreed to give up financial and voting control of the company, pay a $500,000 fine, and return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock. She also isn't allowed to be the director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.Jeff Chiu/APSource: Business InsiderDespite the charges, Holmes was allowed to stay on as CEO of Theranos, since it's a private company. The company had been hanging on by a thread, and Holmes wrote to investors asking for more money to save Theranos. "In light of where we are, this is no easy ask," Holmes wrote.Kimberly White/Getty Images for FortuneSource: Business InsiderIn Theranos' final days, Holmes reportedly got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto that she brought into the office. However, the dog wasn't potty trained, and would go to the bathroom inside the company's office and during meetings.A Siberian husky (not Holmes' dog).Kateryna Orlova/ShutterstockSource: Vanity FairIn June 2018, Theranos announced that Holmes was stepping down as CEO. On the same day, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had charged Holmes, along with Balwani, with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2015.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Business Insider, CNBCTheranos sent an email to shareholders in September 2018 announcing that the company was shutting down. Theranos reportedly said it planned to spend the next few months repaying creditors with its remaining resources.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Wall Street JournalAround the time Theranos' time was coming to an end, Holmes made her first public appearance alongside William "Billy" Evans, a 27-year-old heir to a hospitality property management company in California. The two reportedly first met in 2017, and were seen together in 2018 at Burning Man, the art festival in the Nevada desert.Jim Rankin/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesSource: Daily MailHolmes is said to wear Evans' MIT "signet ring" on a chain around her neck, and the couple reportedly posts photos "professing their love for each other" on a private Instagram account. Evans' parents are reportedly "flabbergasted" at their son's decision to marry Holmes.—Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) February 21, 2019Source: Vanity Fair, New York PostIt's unclear where Holmes and Evans currently reside, but they were previously living in a $5,000-a-month apartment in San Francisco until April 2019. The apartment was located just a few blocks from one of the city's top tourist attractions, the famously crooked block of Lombard Street.Lombard Place Apartments, where Holmes used to live.Rent SF NowSource: Business InsiderIt was later reported that Holmes and Evans got engaged in early 2019, then married in June in a secretive wedding ceremony. Former Theranos employees were reportedly not invited to the wedding, according to Vanity Fair.Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business InsiderSource: Vanity Fair, New York PostHolmes' and Balwani's cases have since been separated.Justin Silva/Getty, Stephen Lam/Reuters, Business InsiderSource: Department of Justice, Business InsiderBesides the criminal case, Holmes was also involved in a number of civil lawsuits, including one in Arizona brought by former Theranos patients over inaccurate blood tests. The lawyers representing her in the Arizona case said in late 2019 they hadn't been paid over a year and asked to be removed from Holmes' legal team.Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves after a hearing at a federal court.Reuters/Stephen LamSource: Business InsiderHolmes' lawyers in the federal case had tried to get the government's entire case thrown out. In February 2020, Holmes caught a break after some of the charges against her were dropped when a judge ruled that some patients didn't suffer financial loss.Brendan McDermid/ReutersSource: Business InsiderAmid the coronavirus outbreak, Holmes' lawyers asked the judge in April 2020 to deem the case "essential" so the defense team could defy lockdown orders and continue to travel and meet face-to-face. The judge said he was "taken aback" by the defense's pleas to violate lockdown.Reuters/Robert GalbraithSource: Business Insider It soon become clear that the pandemic — and the health risks associated with assembling a trial in one — would make the July trial date unrealistic. Through hearings held on Zoom, the presiding judge initially pushed the trial back to October 2020 and later postponed it further to March 2021.Passengers wear masks as they walk through LAX airport.Reuters/Lucy NicholsonSource: Business Insider In March 2021, Holmes requested another delay to the trial because she was pregnant. She asked to push back the trial to August 31, and her request was granted. Holmes reportedly gave birth to the child in July.Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider, CNBCHeading into the trial, Holmes felt "wronged, like Salem-witch-trial wronged," says a person who used to work with her closely.Holmes, right, leaving the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California with her defense team on May 4, 2021.Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThe trial kicked off in September. In opening statements, prosecutors argued that, "Out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie." Meanwhile, the defense argued that although Theranos ultimately crumbled, "Failure is not a crime. Trying your hardest and coming up short is not a crime."Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building with her defense team on August 31, 2021 in San Jose, California.Ethan Swope/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider The list of possible witnesses for the trial named roughly 200 people, including the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, James Mattis, and Holmes herself.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Courthouse with her mother, Noel Holmes, during her trial.Brittany Hosea-Small/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn the end, the trial featured testimony from just over 30 witnesses.Vicki Behringer/ReutersSource: Business InsiderOver the course of 11 weeks, prosecutors called 29 witnesses to testify — including former Theranos employees, investors, patients, and doctors — before resting their case in November.Vicki BehringerSource: Business Insider The defense then began making its case, calling just three witnesses, including Holmes herself.Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderOn the stand, Holmes said Balwani emotionally and sexually abused her during their relationship.Former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny' Balwani leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on June 28, 2019 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes also admitted that she added some pharmaceutical companies' logos to Theranos' reports without authorization. Investors previously said they took some reassurance in those reports because, based on the logos, they thought major pharmaceutical companies had validated Theranos' technology. Holmes said she added the logos to convey that work was done in partnership with those companies, but in hindsight she wishes she had "done it differently."Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes also acknowledged on the stand that she hid Theranos' use of modified commercial devices from investors. She said she did this because company counsel told her that alterations the company made to the machines were trade secrets and needed to be protected as such.Brittany Hosea-Small/ReutersSource: Business InsiderHolmes spent seven days on the stand before the defense rested its case in early December.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives to attend her fraud trial at federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., December 16, 2021.Peter DaSilva/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn closing arguments, prosecutors argued that Holmes "chose fraud over business failure" while the defense argued she was "building a business, not a criminal enterprise."Elizabeth Holmes walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.Nic Coury/Associated PressSource: Business InsiderAfter 15 weeks of trial, Holmes' case headed to a jury of eight men and four women on December 17, 2021.Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of blood testing and life sciences company Theranos, leaves the courthouse with her husband Billy Evans after the first day of her fraud trial in San Jose, California on September 8, 2021.Nick Otto/AFP/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderJurors deliberated for a total of seven days over the next few weeks before telling the court on January 3, 2022, that they were deadlocked on three of the 11 charges against Holmes. The judge read off some jury instructions to the group in court before instructing them to go back and deliberate further.Kate Munsch/ReutersSource: Business InsiderHours later, the jury returned a mixed verdict for Holmes, finding her guilty on one count of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud. They found her not guilty on four other counts and failed to reach a verdict on the remaining three counts.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThe counts Holmes was found guilty of were all related to investments; she wasn't convicted on any of the charges involving patients who received inaccurate test results.David Odisho/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes faced the possibility of decades in prison. Each count carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, a $250,000 fine, and a requirement to pay victims restitution.AP Photo/Nic Coury, FileSource: Business Insider Legal experts told Insider it was unlikely Holmes would get 20 years at sentencing, but she probably wouldn't get off without serving any time either.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes was not taken into custody following the verdict and was to remain free until her sentencing on a $500,000 bond secured by property.Peter DaSilva/ReutersSource: Business InsiderSince the conviction, Holmes and Theranos have been the focus of a Hulu limited series, "The Dropout," based on the ABC News podcast of the same name.Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout" (left); Elizabeth Holmes (right)Beth Dubber/Hulu; Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunchSource: Business InsiderHolmes is played by Amanda Seyfried in the dramatized series, which asks the question, "How did the world's youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye?"Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout."HuluSource: HuluThe show premiered March 3, 2022, and also stars Naveen Andrews as Balwani, Holmes' right-hand man at Theranos.Beth Dubber/Hulu; Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider In May 2022, Holmes pleaded with a judge to toss her conviction.APSource: Business Insider In a 24-page filing on May 27, Holmes' attorneys argued for her acquittal, saying the evidence was "insufficient to sustain the convictions."Nick Otto/AFP via Getty ImagesThey wrote, "Because no rational juror could have found the elements of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud beyond a reasonable doubt on this record, the Court should grant Ms. Holmes' motion for judgment of acquittal.""Even if Ms. Holmes committed wire fraud against an investor (she did not) and even if Mr. Balwani committed wire fraud against an investor, that does not prove a conspiratorial agreement between them, nor does it prove that Ms. Holmes willfully joined any agreement," the attorneys continued in the filing.The presiding judge tentatively denied Holmes' request in September.But that wasn't the end: Holmes filed three motions requesting a new trial, one of which centered on the testimony of a prosecution witness who allegedly went to Holmes' house in August and expressed regret that he helped convict her.David Odisho/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThe witness was former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff. According to an account of the incident from Billy Evans, Holmes' partner, Rosendorff showed up at their home looking "disheveled" and said he felt "guilty."David Odisho/Getty Images"He said when he was called as a witness he tried to answer the questions honestly but that the prosecutors tried to make everybody look bad (in the company)," Evans recalled in an email to Holmes' attorneys about their interaction. "He said that the government made things sound worse than they were when he was up on the stand during his testimony. He said he felt like he had done something wrong. And that this was weighing on him, He said he was having trouble sleeping."In another of Holmes' motions for a new trial, she says the prosecution portrayed her relationship with Balwani differently in their respective trials, to her detriment.In the final motion, Holmes said she was denied emails showing prosecutors failed to take appropriate steps to preserve a Theranos database that she claims would have helped her defense, even though the government furnished these materials when Balwani was on trial.Holmes notched a small victory when the presiding judge ordered an evidentiary hearing regarding Rosendorff's testimony and appearance at her home. This hearing meant that Holmes' sentencing was postponed from October 17, 2022, to November 18 of that year.Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThe evidentiary hearing proved useless to Holmes, though, as witness Rosendorff said he stood by his initial testimony and only went to her home because he was "distressed" at the idea of Holmes' child growing up without a mother.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images"At all times the government encouraged me to tell the truth and only the truth," Rosendorff clarified at the hearing."I don't want to help Ms. Holmes," Rosendorff added. "The only person that can help her is herself. She needs to pay her debt to society."On November 8, the presiding judge denied all three of Holmes' motions for a new trial, paving the way for sentencing.Chris Ryan/GettyDays before her sentencing, Holmes' attorneys asked that she get no more than 18 months, preferably under house arrest. They submitted 130 letters from friends and family — spanning everyone from Senator Cory Booker to even an ex-CDC chief — pleading for leniency.In the end, they didn't get their wish. On November 18, 2022, Holmes was sentenced to 135 months, or 11.25 years, in prison with three years of supervised release beginning on April 27. "I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos. I loved Theranos, it was my life's work," Holmes said through tears at the hearing.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: KRON, InsiderMeanwhile, Balwani's trial began in March 2022 and also returned a conviction. He was found guilty in July on all 12 counts brought against him, and in early December Balwani was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison with three years of probation. As with Holmes, restitution will be decided at a later date. The judge ordered Balwani to self-surrender on March 15, 2023.Former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani and his legal team leave the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building on July 7, 2022 in San Jose, California.David Odisho/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderHolmes appealed her conviction in December 2022, and US prosecutors said in recent court filings that she "continues to show no remorse to her victims" and is currently living on an estate that costs $13,000 a month.Holmes attending a court hearing.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderMaya Kosoff, Paige Leskin, and Áine Cain contributed to earlier versions of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 20th, 2023

United Airlines boss warns of continued travel chaos in 2023, says there"s a "new math for airlines" post-pandemic that most airlines are not prepared for

Most airlines did not not invest during the COVID-19 pandemic — which devastated the industry — and are now struggling to cope with the rebound in travel after the public health crisis. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said most airlines are not prepared to handle the strong rebound in travel demand.Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images Air passengers should expect more travel chaos this year, according to the CEO of United Airlines. Most airlines did not not invest during the pandemic and are now catching up to cope with demand. Airlines now need more pilots and aircraft compared to pre-pandemic days, the CEO said. The CEO of United Airlines has sounded a dour warning for air travel in 2023. He thinks passengers should expect more travel chaos this year, as airlines don't yet have the capacity to operate all the flights they are planning."We believe the industry capacity aspirations for 2023 and beyond are simply unachievable," Scott Kirby said during a fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts and the media on Wednesday, according to a transcript. A pilot shortage, higher employee sick rates, and outdated technology at most airlines continue to weigh on airlines, he said.Most airlines also did not invest during the COVID-19 pandemic — which devastated the industry — and are now struggling to cope with the rebound in travel after the public health crisis."That means the system simply can't handle the volume today, much less the anticipated growth," said Kirby. "There are a number of airlines who cannot fly their schedules. The customers are paying the price."And ramping up capacity is not the only answer. The compounding issues facing airlines mean carriers will need 10% more pilots and 5% more aircraft to reach pre-pandemic available seat miles, or ASM — a measure of an airlines revenue-generating capacity — said Kirby."Like it or not, that's just the new reality and the new math for all airlines," he said."We believe any airline that tries to run at the same staffing levels that it had pre-pandemic is bound to fail and likely to tip over to meltdown anytime there are weather or air traffic control stresses in the system," he added.Kirby did not call out any airline by name, but his sharp comments came just weeks after competitor Southwest canceled more than 16,700 flights between December 21 and 31 as the busy travel season collided with a major winter storm, an outdated scheduling system, and an unconventional flight structure.Other airlines — including United — also canceled flights during the period.United Airlines reported a profit of $843 million in the fourth-quarter of 2022 — that's about 30% higher than the pre-pandemic levels seen in the similar period of 2019, thanks to robust demand for travel.That's even though United flew "a lot less last year than we'd have like to fly." The airline "did it intentionally," Kirby said. "It gave us the breathing room to make even further investments in our technology and infrastructure and to increase our staffing levels."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 19th, 2023

Airlines Are Terrible. Small Cities Are Still Paying Them Millions of Dollars to Stick Around

After deregulation in 1978, airlines abandoned small cities at the expense of big hubs. That's had major economic implications. For each of the past five years, Wendy Volk, a real estate agent in Cheyenne, Wyo., has raised money from local businesses, philanthropists, and government officials to pay millions to SkyWest, an airline that made $50 million last quarter. The payments are to ensure that the airline will keep running the only commercial flight out of the Cheyenne airport, which is scheduled and sold by SkyWest’s partner, United. In March of 2018, after Great Lakes Airlines filed for bankruptcy, Cheyenne became one of dozens of small American cities to lose commercial air service—in its case, for the first time in 90 years. The only way to convince an airline to serve the metro area of about 96,000 people, says Volk, a volunteer with the nonprofit Cheyenne Regional Air Focus Team (CRAFT), was to pledge a few million dollars a year, meant to offset any potential losses if the route itself wasn’t making money—which it wasn’t. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] In 2018, CRAFT came to a $2.1 million agreement with SkyWest, a regional airline that operates flights for the big carriers; the parties renegotiate the deal every year and it reached $2.5 million this year. As the airline industry continues its decades-long consolidation, more cities like Cheyenne are faced with the choice of either losing air service or coming up with these payments, called “minimum revenue guarantees,” so that multibillion-dollar airlines will deign to serve their relatively smaller communities. The trend has grown over the course of the pandemic: in the last year, medium-sized metro areas like Lincoln, Neb.; Pocatello, Idaho; and Tulsa, Okla., have used federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay airlines minimum revenue guarantees. The alternative is bleak; since 2019, 14 airports in the U.S. have lost all scheduled commercial air service, according to the Regional Airline Association, which represents airlines that provide these regional flights. Many other cities have lost connections; the three biggest U.S. airlines—American, Delta, and United—have pulled out of 68 cities combined since April 2020, according to a study from the consulting firm Ailevon Pacific. Raising money to keep afloat airlines, which don’t have the best reputation these days, may seem irrational on its face, but Volk says the loss is offset by preventing the huge blow to the local economy that would ensue were air service to stop completely. When regions don’t have commercial flights, companies don’t want to locate there, people don’t want to move there, and tourists don’t want to visit, she says. “When we didn’t have reliable air service, people just thought we were the sticks,” she says. “How can you have an airport and not have air service?” How deregulation destroyed the airline industry It wasn’t always this way. Until 1978, the airlines were regulated, and a federal agency called the Civil Aeronautics Board dictated where they flew and what they could charge. The U.S. government saw airlines as an essential service, kind of like the post office, and ensured that even small communities were connected to others by air. If airlines lost money on those routes, they’d make it up on more profitable routes between big cities because of the prices set by the government. But in the late 1970s, neoliberal economists like Cornell’s Alfred Kahn began raising concerns that regulating airlines was stifling competition and increasing prices for consumers. In response, Democrats, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy, pushed for changes in the hope they would bring more affordable air travel to millions of Americans. President Jimmy Carter signed the bill deregulating airlines in 1978, phasing out the Civil Aeronautics Board and allowing airlines to decide where to fly and what to charge. Around the same time, the government also deregulated the trucking industry, intercity buses, and the railroad industry. Many of the Congresspeople who initially voted for deregulation came to hate the results—West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd said it was one of only two votes he regretted in his career. Some airline experts say that deregulation led to the worst of both worlds: a consolidated industry with few airlines and little regulation. Airlines took a no-holds barred approach to competition, trying to drive each other out of business. There were massive waves of airline bankruptcies in the 1980s, and the industry went through a wave of consolidations and mergers in the 1990s, and then again between 2007 and 2012. Read More: Business Travel’s Demise Could Have Far-Reaching Consequences Today, four airlines—American, Delta, United, and Southwest—control 80% of the market and the airline industry is smaller and more concentrated than at any time since 1914, says William McGee, a longtime Consumer Reports editor who is now a senior fellow for aviation and travel at the American Economics Liberties Project. The promise that deregulation would allow new airlines to enter the marketplace and compete has fallen flat too; until 2021, when Breeze Airways started operations, the market had gone 14 years without a new entrant, he says. “There was a promise that was made with deregulation—that the advent of wide-body, further-range aircraft was making the world smaller and all Americans had a right to it,” he says. “Well, you don’t, right now.” Just about everyone has felt the effects of deregulation in recent years. Before deregulation, airlines were required to honor each other’s tickets, so people whose flights were canceled on one airline could easily move to another, says McGee. Ticket prices were more predictable, as were air routes, so you could buy a ticket for a few months out and be reasonably sure the airline wasn’t going to change the ticket or go out of business. Anyone who has had to fly to an out-of-the-way hub to get somewhere else, or on a small prop plane to get to a mid-sized market, can thank deregulation. Airlines developed hub-and-spoke models once they weren’t mandated to fly to and from certain cities. Deregulation also dramatically increased the responsibilities of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has been underfunded and understaffed in recent years, says McGee, as was evidenced by the agency’s recent meltdown leading to thousands of flight cancellations and even more delays. ‘Red states’ have suffered the most Still, deregulation’s impact on American travelers has not been felt evenly. After deregulation, airlines dropped cities that had once served as hubs and pulled out of routes that were unprofitable. Their actions caused a ripple effect—when airlines left, business moved too, since their workers and executives couldn’t get around the country as easily. “The states that have been most harmed by deregulation, and the states that have seen the biggest private fare increases on average and the biggest reductions in service, they’re overwhelmingly red states,” McGee says. You could argue that airlines are no different from any other business, and that they shouldn’t be required to fly to markets where they lose money. But for decades, the U.S. government treated air service like a public good. When it dropped that commitment, it left the fate of small communities to the whims of a free market, says Morgan Ricks, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School. “We decided to let the private sector decide, [and] what the private sector decides is [to] only do the profitable stuff, which is largely on the seaboards.” Ricks and colleagues recently published a paper arguing that regions of the country were becoming more economically equal between 1930 and 1980, but that the wave of deregulation in transportation—airlines, railroads, interstate trucking—reversed that trend. “Where the rural states start to really fall behind coincides with this moment in the 70s and 80s that we abandoned a set of principles about broad-based access to infrastructure resources,” he says. Indeed, even before the pandemic, the U.S. was diverging economically; there were big, “superstar” cities like Austin and San Francisco that attracted big companies and high-income workers, and there were small cities and rural areas that were losing residents and businesses. The economic fate of some of the struggling cities can be tied to a decline in airline service. Memphis, Tenn., for instance, has one of the slowest-growing economies of the top 100 biggest metropolitan areas in the U.S.; its home values are less than half those of its neighbor Nashville and it is losing big companies like ServiceMaster to cities like Atlanta. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Memphis airport has also lost thousands of flights in the last two decades; in 2019, it had 18,342 flights, 73% fewer than in 2003. Delta was a hub for Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta in 2008, and eventually removed Memphis as a hub. The connection between jobs and airline service may seem hazy in an era where so many people work remotely and business travel is on the wane. But even if most of their workers don’t travel frequently, companies want to be able to ensure that their employees and products can get to other places easily. Caterpillar moved its headquarters from Peoria, Ill., to Chicago in 2018, for example, saying it wanted to be closer to a “global transportation hub.” Chiquita Brands International moved from Cincinnati to Charlotte because of inadequate air service. The chemicals giant Albemarle moved its headquarters to Charlotte from Baton Rouge for the same reason. “Air service is one of the most critical economic development tools in the tool chest—without it, companies aren’t going to be able to recruit the work-from-home crowd,” says Jeffrey Hartz, managing director at Mead & Hunt, an air service consulting firm. “Zoom and conference calls are great, but you still need that face-to-face meeting, you still need to get to your factories, and air service is critical.” As more communities recognize the value of air service, more have started to offer minimum revenue guarantees, like Cheyenne did. Often, Hartz says, the payments are just for a few years, until the city can prove that the route will be profitable for the airline. But other times, the deals may go on in perpetuity. Of course, he says, even communities that offer airlines money to serve them don’t always get airline service. Because of a pilot shortage (arguably self-inflicted when airlines encouraged pilots to take early retirement and buyouts during the pandemic), sometimes airlines that are offered minimum revenue guarantees don’t take them. That means communities like Cheyenne are going to have to offer up even more money just to be considered. Can air travel be saved? “Going forward, all industry forecasts call for further consolidation and continually rising fares and fees, accompanied by declining service on all but the most heavily trafficked routes,” Lina Khan, the current head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), wrote a decade ago in a Washington Monthly essay arguing that deregulation was killing the airline system. Khan’s prediction proved right—in the last year alone, airfare prices were up 25%, the biggest jump since the Federal Reserve began tracking the index in 1989. Meanwhile, the amount of money the airlines are making per passenger mile has risen 84% since 2002. But even now, in a position of power, there’s not much she can do about it. Past calls to re-regulate the airline industry—even when coming from the former CEO of American Airlines—have led nowhere, in part because Congress has become more skeptical of the role of government in the free market in the decades since deregulation. There are other small fixes that advocates are pursuing: The FTC is now challenging a planned merger of Spirit Airlines and JetBlue under antitrust grounds. McGee, of the Economic Liberties Project, is advocating for new legislation that would eliminate a federal preemption clause in the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act that prevents states from taking action against airlines. Hartz, the consultant, says another solution could be to expand federal funding to help communities woo airlines back. In the meanwhile, communities like Cheyenne are left pining for the good old days of 50 years ago when they didn’t have to worry that airlines would leave them behind. Cheyenne had 28,467 enplanements in 1990; by 2019, it had roughly half as many. “We had air service for 90 years, and we took it for granted,” says Volk, a fifth-generation Wyoming business owner. “I didn’t realize how much it is a part of the equation, but you really need it to stay on the map.” Correction, Jan. 17 A previous version of this story misstated the location of the Pocatello metro region. Pocatello is located in Idaho, not Utah......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 17th, 2023