YEAR IN RE­VIEW

Key mo­ments in travel and hos­pi­tal­ity in 2017

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents -

ANS, BANS AND MORE BANS If it wasn’t travel bans it was lap­top bans which cre­ated chaos for air­ports, air­lines and ex­ec­u­tive travellers. There wasn’t much to smile about but three cheers for Royal Jor­da­nian, who turned neg­a­tives into pos­i­tives with a se­ries of amus­ing ads.

AN­CIL­LARY REVS TAKE OFF

Emi­rates in­tro­duced an amended ad­vance seat se­lec­tion pol­icy, with econ­omy pas­sen­gers fac­ing charges of up to $135 per flight to se­lect the most sought-af­ter seats (free ad­vance se­lec­tion for first and busi­ness). Paid-for lounge ac­cess was another key move as Sky­wards Blue mem­bers could pay to ac­cess the air­line’s Dubai lounges, and the air­line tweaked its wifi prices.

A YEAR FOR PROD­UCT

Ev­ery car­rier will say ser­vice is their pri­mary fo­cus but 2017 saw no end of prod­uct in­vest­ments and up­grades. New seats and on­board lounges re­flected an in­sa­tiable de­sire for dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and even the hum­ble amenity kit re­ceived at­ten­tion as air­lines spent on new py­ja­mas, mois­tur­is­ing creams and kit bags.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Ara­bian Travel Mar­ket 2017 felt like a re­turn to 2007, what with 2,000-room ‘gol­fo­tel’ projects, am­bi­tious mas­ter­plans and bulging ho­tel pipe­lines. In re­al­ity, the year was dogged by RevPar and eco­nomic pres­sures, un­prece­dented con­sol­i­da­tion and macro po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity con­cerns.

SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY IN AC­TION

Dubai added 50 Tesla elec­tric ve­hi­cles to the limo fleet of Dubai Taxi Cor­po­ra­tion and RTA an­nounced fu­tur­is­tic self- Eti­had Air­ways’ CEO James Ho­gan stepped down and Air Berlin col­lapsed amid much scru­tiny of Eti­had’s eq­uity-buy­ing strate­gies and all eyes will be on new Eti­had Avi­a­tion Group CEO Tony Dou­glas to see how the next phase pans out – we’re told the Mid­field Ter­mi­nal Com­plex has been de­layed un­til 2019. The UAE cap­i­tal ended the year on a high though with Lou­vre Abu Dhabi open­ing to much acclaim.

100 UP FOR EMI­RATES

Emi­rates pow­ered on and re­ceived its land­mark 100th su­per­jumbo in Novem­ber, and or­dered 40 B787 Dream­lin­ers at the Dubai Air­show. As al­ways, fill­ing the big planes and max­imis­ing yields will pre­oc­cupy EGHQ in the months ahead.

BLEISURE AND BAL­ANCE

driv­ing air taxis. When I vis­ited Air­bus’ Toulouse site, I saw a pre­sen­ta­tion on the Ci­tyAir­bus fly­ing taxi. This isn’t sci-fi; change is def­i­nitely in the air.

KEY PART­NER­SHIPS

Eti­had teamed up with Lufthansa while Emi­rates and fly­dubai formed a code­share as air­lines re­mained fix­ated with costs and yields. Mar­riott con­tin­ued the nitty-gritty of in­te­grat­ing 5,000 ho­tels and loy­alty pro­grammes fol­low­ing the Star­wood merger.

MIXED YEAR FOR ABU DHABI

There may be un­end­ing chal­lenges at work but more of us are mak­ing time to re­lax dur­ing trips. It may sound cool to multi-task but your brain can only do one thing at a time so keep striv­ing for bal­ance in 2018. Your phone is im­por­tant but not your life; choose ex­pe­ri­ences over pos­ses­sions.

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