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American and Southwest rethink summer flight adds as demand stalls

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(Reuters) – American Airlines (AAL.O) and Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) are rethinking the number of flights they had planned to add to their schedules for August and September as COVID-19 cases accelerated in the United States, passing 4 million on Thursday.

Both airlines had added capacity more aggressively than competitors Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and United Airlines (UAL.O) when demand started to pick up in May and June, but now optimism has waned as some states scale back reopening plans and expand quarantines. Demand is not forecast to fully recover before a vaccine.

American, the world’s largest carrier, expects third-quarter capacity to be down about 60% from a year ago, lower than previously forecast, and is reviewing plans for the fourth quarter.

“We’ll add back only what makes sense,” American Chief Executive said on an investor call.

Shares in American rose 3% while Southwest stock was flat.

Southwest, which analysts have forecast to weather the coronavirus pandemic better than larger U.S. carriers thanks to its domestic focus and lower-cost structure, said weakening revenues was increasing its daily cash burn rate to $18 million in July from $16 million in June.

Its average daily cash burn is seen stalling at $23 million per day over the third quarter.

American, Delta and United each expect an improvement in their burn rates over the rest of the year, but say halting the cash bleed entirely will depend on demand.

American burned about $55 million a day in the second quarter, which it ended with $10.2 billion in liquidity.

Southwest had $15.5 billion liquidity at the end of June.

Both airlines had warned of job reductions in the fall, though Southwest said it does not plan to pursue furloughs or layoffs this year thanks to strong employee take-up for extended leaves or early retirements that will generate $400 million in cost savings in the fourth quarter.

U.S. airlines received a $25 billion government bailout to cover payroll through September, and unions are lobbying for a second package to help keep workers employed through March.

To reassure passengers on the safety of air travel during the pandemic, large U.S. airlines have recently toughened their policies on face masks, with Southwest telling customers on Wednesday that if they can’t wear a mask for any reason, they should not fly. Only children under the age of two are exempt.

Southwest swung to a $1.5 billion net loss, or $2.67 per share, in the second quarter, as total operating revenue fell 82.9% to $1.01 billion.

At American, the net loss excluding items was $3.4 billion, or $7.82 per share, while operating revenue plunged 86.4% to $1.62 billion.

Alaska Air Group (ALK.N), which reported a second-quarter net loss of $214 million on Thursday, said it expected its capacity to be down about 35% in the fourth quarter, forcing it to cut about 7,000 of its 23,000 employees.

Meanwhile, budget carrier Spirit Airlines (SAVE.N) is scheduling big capacity adds in August and September, stoking analyst concerns of a price war given weakening demand and bookings.

Reporting and photo: Reuters

Events

Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting

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The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance. 

The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).

In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).

Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and  immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.

A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.

Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):

  1. Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
  2. Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
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Business

Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024

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Join us for the Travel Creators Exchange 2024, taking place on February 1, 2024, at the Hotel Jen in Male’, Maldives.

This dynamic event provides a platform for networking and collaboration among Maldives-based travel creators, fostering connections, idea-sharing, and the establishment of lasting partnerships to expand opportunities and monetise content.

Our lineup of distinguished speakers includes:

  • Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, will present on “Power of Digital Storytelling: Collaborative Strategies for Destination Promotion.” MMPRC actively markets the Maldives globally, utilising a comprehensive approach that includes travel trade shows, roadshows, digital marketing, and more.
  • Amjad Thaufeeg, Commercial Director of Kuda Villingili Maldives Resort, brings over 23 years of hospitality industry experience. He will discuss “The Role of Content in Tourism Marketing,” drawing on expertise in revenue, customer service, sales & marketing, and human capital development.
  • Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, with nearly two decades of experience, will shed light on “What does a Sales and Marketing Director Do?” He brings extensive luxury hospitality experience and a proven track record in sales, distribution, and marketing.
  • Vishal Amir Ahmed, a versatile cinematographer and content creator, will explore “Who is a Content Creator.” Currently associated with Various Arts Studio, he specialises in providing multimedia solutions to various clients.

Organised by Maldives Insider, Maldives Virtual Tour, Travel Trade Maldives, and Hotelier Maldives, this collaborative effort aims to empower Maldives-based travel content creators and elevate the Maldives as a premier destination for captivating travel storytelling.

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Acclaimed contemporary artist Ana Pušica explores perpetuality and community at Patina Maldives

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Ana Pušica Kramer, an internationally  acclaimed contemporary artist, joins Patina Maldives for an exclusive  art residency in the now infamous Fari Art Atelier. From January 22 to  February 22, 2024, Ana Pušica will grace the shores of the Fari Islands,  weaving a vibrant narrative of colour and emotion across her larger  than-life canvases. 

Her artistry transcends boundaries, melding abstraction and figuration into awe-inspiring masterpieces. Having exhibited globally, from New York to Beijing, Ana’s paintings are a physical, intuitive act rooted in movement.  Described as a “beautiful fluorescent thunderstorm,” Ana’s art explores light and colour, capturing the energy of life itself. 

The Fari Art Atelier which has previously hosted the likes of Daniel Arsham, Chris Stamp and David Nott, will be transformed into Ana’s studio and gallery showcasing her enthralling artworks—a mesmerising journey through poetry, memory, and the vibrant interplay of colour. Guests at Patina are invited to delve into Ana’s world, where each stroke reveals layers of meaning, evoking sensations of intense lightness and boundless interpretation. 

At Patina Maldives, Ana will immerse herself in a month-long residency, inviting the Patina Malidves community or guests and team to witness her artistic fervour firsthand. Guests will have the rare opportunity not only to observe her creative process but also to engage with and create art alongside this luminary.

Experience artistry at its most exclusive

Art Exhibition
Experience Ana’s captivating exploration of colour and emotion in her spellbinding artworks displayed at the Fari Atelier.

Art Workshops: Message in a Bottle
As part of a collaborative artwork, Ana invites Patina guests to participate in short workshops, actively contributing to the creation of a permanent installation at Patina Maldives.

Open Studio Session
Join Ana for an exclusive open studio session, offering guests a behind the-scenes look at her creative process.

Ana Pušica residency package
Discover a world where creativity knows no bounds as Ana Pušica, the maestro of contemporary art, transforms Patina Maldives into an immersive canvas of inspiration.

Book now to secure your experience.
For more information and reservations, please visit Patina Maldives or contact
reservations.maldives@patinahotels.com

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