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March 2007 issue

Contents
News
Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
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Direction
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
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City Focus
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AirAsia expands

fleet further

Southeast Asia';s budget airline, AirAsia, is set to increase its fleet with 50 more Airbus A320s, making it Airbus'; largest customer by far. Despite initial problems concerning the delivery of Airbus models to several other airlines, including Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines, this is a positive turnaround for the European plane developer.

The acquisition of 50 more planes by Malaysia';s budget carrier, plus an additional 50 on option, doubles its fleet to 200 and strengthens the Malaysian airline';s presence as regional leader in this world region. AirAsia';s Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato'; Tony Fernandes, commented, "Our growth from two to 50 planes is a testament that we have a winning product – low fares and quality flying experience."

This wave of modernisation and decisive fleet expansion is set to continue when low-cost, long-haul budget service AirAsia X, operated by FlyAsianXpress and controlled by the major owners of AirAsia, launches in July. According to early reports, AirAsia X will begin operating flights to Australia, Europe, China and India, piling the pressure on state-owned rival Malaysian Airlines.

Fernandes said, "AirAsia has proved to be an outstanding success in pioneering the low-cost airline concept in the dynamic Asian market", and added that the new fleet will "boost efficiency, enhance reliability, reduce costs and provide higher service levels to our guests (passengers)".


Eurostar winning passengers

2006 proved to be a record-breaking year for Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service connecting the UK with France and Belgium. An increase in airport security during the summer and adverse weather conditions before Christmas may have contributed to the switch from the airways to the railways, but Eurostar Chief Executive, Richard Brown, said, "Many more travellers are being attracted by the environmental benefits of using high-speed rail instead of short-haul air."

Figures show 7.85 million people opted to travel by Eurostar in 2006, up 5.4 per cent on 2005 and sales peaked at around UK£518.3 million (US$1 billion), an increase of 11.7 per cent. Punctuality stood at an impressive 91.5 per cent, significantly outdoing airline competitors on the London to Brussels and Paris routes which, according to latest figures, stands at just 70 per cent.

2007 looks to be another significant year for Eurostar. The launch of a new London terminus at St Pancras in November will see journey times cut by as much as 25 minutes. It will also open up connections to other parts of the UK welcoming millions of new travellers. Brown said, "We are increasing traveller numbers both in and beyond our three core countries… making more progress in attracting more travellers from across Western Europe."


Australia heralded as best 'global brand'

Australia received recognition from the travel and tourism industry recently when it was voted top Country Brand by the annual Country Brand Index 2006 (CBI), beating both the USA and Italy. In the same poll, China, Croatia and the United Arab Emirates were cited as "rising stars" that would prove to be popular travel destinations for tourists over the next five years.

The global study, developed by brand consultancy FutureBrand and PR firm Weber Shandwick, questioned 1,500 travellers and industry professionals on a number of factors including brand effectiveness, up-and-coming travelling trends and opportunities on offer in the travel sector.

The study also emphasised how important tourism is to a country';s economy. Rina Plapler, Executive Director of FutureBrands, commented, "Governments should be focusing more attention on how their destinations not only market themselves, but also influence and improve the experience for every visitor."


Airport activity
at a high

Crowded airports may soon be a thing of the past as major projects to expand some of the world';s busiest airports get underway.

With the new Beijing Airport due to open in 2008, China also plans to spend more than UK£8 billion (US$15.7 billion) on building 40 other new airports by 2010. Dubai too is keen to capitalise on its plans for expansion, claiming it will soon be home to the world';s largest airport, able to deal with 120 million passengers a year.

In the UK, London Heathrow';s Terminal 5 is also a year away from completion.


Travel Update

A Chinese airline has made some interesting calculations regarding fuel wastage in light of concerns over carbon emissions. A recent survey cited that it takes one litre of fuel to flush a toilet at 30,000 feet and a one kilogramme load of passenger blankets and pillows consumes 60 tonnes of fuel each day. The airline is now looking into cost saving alternatives.

An open skies agreement between
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines is due to commence in 2008. The agreement is an aviation milestone for the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) and will permit an unlimited amount of flights between the four nations.

A senior Chinese official has revealed that the country is in the process of introducing sophisticated technology in 147 of its airports that will enable authorities to detect liquid explosives. The new technology is one of the many security measures China will be instigating in a bid to counter terrorism during the 2008 Olympics.

A slump in crude oil prices has prompted British Airways to lower its fuel surcharges on a number of long-haul flights that are less than nine hours, despite the company';s cost concerns. However, charges on flights over nine hours will remain at UK£35 (US$69) as will the surcharge of UK£8 (US$16) on 87 short-haul flights.

Lufthansa reported another record year in 2006 thanks to a new company strategy. The group managed to carry over 53.4 million passengers on 664,382 flights covering 200 destinations. Sales also rose by two per cent and the group posted above-average growth at the end of the year.

A French television reporter has sparked controversy recently by boarding both American and French passenger planes with "de-activated" explosives and knives. Aided by a security expert, he managed to smuggle material onboard revealing serious flaws in airport security.

India';s largest domestic airline, Jet Airways, looks set to extend its international operations. In October, the airline plans to offer regular flights to the USA, adding Newark, New Jersey and San Francisco via Shanghai to its list of destinations. This follows the launch of flights to Bangkok, effective at the end of January.

Brazilian airline, Varig, a former member of the Star Alliance group, is to change its name to Nordeste. Massive debts and escalating fuel costs left the airline in financial difficulty in early 2006 but it was saved by VarigLog, the air cargo business that bought Varig in July for a purported US$24 million.

Thanks to reduced fuel costs, Thai Airways is expecting an 11 per cent profit increase in 2006/2007. The airline company has already enjoyed a rise in net profit (32.6 per cent in 2006), raking in THB8.99 billion (USD250.3 million).

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/
GROUPS

Eaquals
English Australia
Perth Education City
Quality English

WORKSHOPS / EXPOS
Alphe Conferences
International House
       World Organisation
       (Worldwide)

SERVICES
ICEF Online
Language Travel
       Phonecard

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
       Authority

AUSTRALIA
CELUSA
English Australia
Eynesbury College
       Academy
       of English
Flinders University -
       IELI
SAALC
SACE
Tafe International
       South Australia
University of
       Adelaide English
       School

BRAZIL
Idioma - Escola de
       Português
Melbourne
       Languages
       International

CANADA
Bodwell College
College of New
       Caledonia
Collège Platon
inlingua Vancouver
Maple Ridge / Pitt
       Meadows School
       District #42
National School of
       Languages
Stewart College
       of Languages

CHINA
Mandarin House

CZECH REPUBLIC
Global Study
       (Karlov College)

ENGLAND
Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, Ireland,
       Malta, NZ, South
       Africa, UK, USA)
Bell International
Camp Beaumont
City College
       Coventry
ELT Banbury
English Studio
Globe School
       of English
ILS English
International House
       World Organisation
       (Worldwide)
LAL Language
       and Leisure
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa, USA)
Liverpool
       International
       Language
       Academy
Malvern House
       College London
Oxford Brookes
       University
Oxford Intensive
       School of English -
       OISE (Australia,
       England, France,
       Germany, Spain,
       USA)
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
       College
St Bedes
       International
       Summer School
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
Tellus Group
Twin Group
West London
       Business College

GERMANY
Carl Duisberg
       Centren
       (England, Germany)
Prolog- International
       House Berlin

IRELAND
Alpha College
       of English
High Schools
       International
       (Australia, Canada,
       England)

MALTA
EC - English
       Language Centres
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa)
inlingua Malta
International School
       of English
Linguatime
Malta Tourism
       Authority
NSTS

RUSSIA
AMBergh
       Management AB
       (Russia, Ukraine)

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
       Centres and Activity
       Camps (England,
       Ireland, Scotland,
       Wales)

SPAIN
Escuela de Español
       la Brisa S.L.
Hispalengua
Malaca Instituto -
       Club Hispánico SL

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       (Australia, Canada,
       China, Ecuador,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, Malta, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Scotland, Spain,
       USA)
Eurocentres
       International
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Italy,
       Japan, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Spain, Switzerland,
       USA)

USA
American Language
       Communication
       Center
Hun School of
       Princeton, The
Kaplan Educational
       Centers
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Monterey Institute
       of International
       Studies
University of
       California Riverside
University of
       California San Diego
University of Illinois
       at Urbana-
       Champaign
Zoni Language
       Centers
       (Canada, USA)


EDUCATION TRAVEL

AUSTRALIA
Perth Education City

ENGLAND
Queen Ethelburga's
       College
St Bedes
       International
       Summer School
St Christopher
       School
Worksop College

SCOTLAND
University of
       Glasgow
University of Stirling

USA
ELS Language
       Centers
       (Canada, USA)
Monterey Institute
       of International
       Studies