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BA owner IAG to raise $3.3 billion to ride out COVID crisis



LONDON (Reuters) – British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) plans to raise 2.75 billion euros ($3.27 billion) from shareholders to repair the coronavirus-sized hole in its finances and brace for a more chaotic future.

Chief Executive Willie Walsh said the plan, backed by biggest shareholder Qatar Airways, was needed to survive the most severe crisis in aviation history after the group lost more in one quarter than it has ever lost in a year.

“These are really extreme times,” Walsh told the BBC, adding IAG had hoped to be flying at about 50% capacity by July, but was instead at 20%.

“We’re seeing a much slower and more gradual build-up,” he added.

Airlines around the world have been brought to their knees by the halt to flights, forcing tens of thousands of job cuts, in what Walsh said was a crisis much worse for airlines than either 9/11 or the global financial crisis.

“This is worse by any measure, by many times,” he told investors.

Walsh said the proposed fundraising would give IAG, which also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, a “very comfortable buffer” to withstand its worst-case scenario planning. Travel is not seen recovering to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

Competitor Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA), which has secured a state-backed rescue to underpin its finances, also said on Friday it was ready to cut capacity plans further due to the anaemic recovery.

IAG on Friday slid to a second-quarter operating loss before exceptional items of 1.365 billion euros.

Goodbody analysts said the results showed how network carriers like IAG – with connecting short-haul and long-haul routes – would find it more difficult to recover than budget carriers such as Ryanair (RYA.I) and easyJet (EZJ.L).

Shares in IAG fell 7% to their lowest since 2012 at 167 pence, and are down 72% this year.

Cash call

The capital increase, which is fully underwritten, is conditional upon shareholder approval on Sept. 8, which Walsh said would be his last day in the job after the postponement of his retirement to steer IAG through the pandemic.

Qatar Airways, which owns 25% of IAG, has proposed adding two directors to IAG’s board after backing the move. Walsh said of the new appointments: “I don’t think it signals anything other than Qatar’s support for our business.”

As well as Walsh being succeeded by Iberia boss Luis Gallego, chairman Antonio Vazquez will be replaced at the beginning of 2021 by Javier Ferran.

Walsh told Irish radio he believed shareholders would be supportive of the capital increase, which will be launched as soon as possible after approval at the meeting.

IAG said the proceeds would not be used to fund the acquisition of Air Europa, the Spanish airline it agreed to buy for 1 billion euros last November, a deal it said it is trying to restructure.

Spanish media have reported that IAG is seeking a reduced price of 500-600 million euros.

Walsh said he was optimistic British Airways would reach a deal with cabin crew trade union Unite over the 12,000 jobs the airline says it needs to cut, explaining that the scale of the downturn should now be clear to the union.

Separately, UK pilots’ union BALPA said late in the evening that British Airways pilots have accepted a jobs deal with reduced pay of about 20% and some compulsory job cuts estimated at around 270.

After months of grounded planes, the tentative return to flying in Europe, needed to salvage the summer season that provides the bulk of airline profits, has been threatened by signs of rising COVID-19 cases and new travel restrictions.

Britain brought in quarantine rules for arrivals from Spain last week and has said it is looking at other countries. The United States and India, two big markets for British Airways, remain subject to quarantine rules.

Reporting and photo: Reuters


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



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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Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024



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



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

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