7 big travel stories you may have missed during the Christmas break

Out of touch with the news cycle after the Christmas hols? Here’s a recap of the biggest stories to get you up to speed.

Boeing CEO resigns amid ongoing 737 MAX drama

In late December, Boeing announced that Dennis Muilenburg (pictured above) had resigned from his positions as CEO and board director.

Muilenburg’s resignation has been touted as a dismissal by Boeing’s board, following a year of intense scrutiny and industrial setbacks after two fatal crashes of the embroiled 737 MAX jet.

He parts after a 34-year tenure at Boeing, where he reportedly started as an intern in 1985 and rose through the company’s defence and services ranks to the top job in 2015.

Boeing announced it would suspend production on the 737 MAX for the first time, late last year, as it continues to pursue approval for the return to service of the jet. The 737 MAX has been grounded since March last year.

The leadership shake-up comes in a bid to restore confidence in the company as it “works to repair relationships” with regulators, stakeholders and customers.

Current chairman, David Calhoun will serve as CEO and president, effective 13 January 2020. While chief financial officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period.

Following the announcement, Boeing’s shares reportedly rose 4 per cent in early trading.

Under the company’s new leadership, Boeing said it will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA.

To read more of Travel Weekly’s ongoing coverage of the Boeing 737 MAX saga, click here.

White Island/Whakaari volcano death toll rises

White Island (Whakaari) New Zealand, December 11, 2019 (Planet/Twitter)

The official death toll of the White Island (Whakaari) volcano eruption has risen to 17, after a person injured in the incident died in hospital, New Zealand police said.

Australian Chris Cozad, 43, has been named as the 16th victim in the tragedy, which occurred two weeks ago.

Cozad had been in New Zealand celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with his wife Bianca and family on an Ovation of the Seas cruise before the incident, the NZ Herald reported.

He has been remembered as a “beautiful” father who showered his wife and daughters with love, the outlet reported.

Mayuri “Mary” Singh was named as the 17th victim of the volcano disaster by American news organisation ABC News, after sustaining burns to 70 per cent of her body, according to a family friend.

Mary had reportedly been on the island with her husband Pratap “Paul” Singh, when both suffered severe burns in the eruption. The outlet reported that Paul remained in a stable condition, after reportedly sustaining burns to 40 per cent of his body.

Family friend Roger da Silva described the couple as “beautiful people” in an interview with Atlanta publication 11Alive.

New Zealand police have also announced the suspension of the search for the final two people missing after the eruption at Whakaari island.

Both Winona Langford, 17, and tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, are both presumed dead.

To read more of Travel Weekly’s coverage of the White Island/Whakaari eruption, click here.

Global limit on sulphur in ships’ fuel oil comes into effect

A global regulation that will substantially reduce harmful sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships has come into effect, bringing significant benefits for both human health and the environment.

From 1 January 2020 the global upper limit on the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil will be reduced to 0.50 per cent (down from 3.50 per cent).

Known as “IMO 2020”, the reduced limit is mandatory for all ships operating outside certain designated Emission Control Areas, where the limit is already 0.10 per cent.

The new limit is part of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships (MARPOL), a key environmental treaty under the auspices of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO).

As a result, IMO said reductions in stroke, asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases are expected. Cutting sulphur emissions from ships will also help prevent acid rain and ocean acidification, benefitting crops, forests and aquatic species, IMO explains.

At least 15 people killed in passenger plane crash in Kazakhstan

A passenger plane carrying around 100 people crashed after take-off, in an accident that killed at least 15 people, ABC News reported.

Authorities said 66 people were taken to hospital, after the Fokker 100 aircraft, operated by Bek Air, crashed near Almaty, Kazakhstan. The plane had been carrying 93 passengers and five crew, the outlet reported.

The plane was on its way from Almaty to Nur-Sultan when it lost altitude during take-off and broke through a concrete fence, before hitting a two-storey house, Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee said.

Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee suspended all Fokker 100 aircraft, pending an investigation into the incident.

Corporate Travel Management acquires Texas-based travel company

Corporate Travel Management Limited (CTM) announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Texas-based Corporate Travel Planners Inc (CTP).

CTP specialises in corporate travel services, with a focus on the university and education sector, CTM said in an ASX announcement.

Subject to customary conditions precedent, the acquisition became effective from 1 January 2020.

Emirates president to retire in June

Tim Clark is set to end a more than 30-year tenure at Emirates when he retires from his role as president in June, according to multiple reports.

Clark, 70, joined Emirates as part of its founding executive team in 1985, and is set to remain with the company, but will move to an advisory role.

“Through wars, economic recessions, disasters natural or man-made, and various industry upheavals, Tim has ably steered and grown Emirates to its standing today,” Emirates Group CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in an internal memo reportedly seen by Bloomberg.

Australian passenger “deliberately jumped” overboard from Norwegian Cruise Line vessel

A 62-year-old Australian passenger who went overboard from the Norwegian Jewel on Sunday, 29 December “deliberately jumped”, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) told Fox News in a statement.

The incident occurred near Hawk’s Bay in New Zealand and was reportedly captured on CC surveillance cameras, with the footage seen by witnesses, NCL said.

“As confirmed by our CCTV cameras and witness statements, on Dec. 29, 2019, a 62-year-old Australian male guest deliberately jumped overboard while the vessel was sailing from Napier, New Zealand,” a spokesperson for the cruise line told Fox News.

“The authorities were notified and a search and rescue operation ensued immediately. Unfortunately, the guest has not been found. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family during this difficult time.”

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, reach out to Lifelinebeyondbluethe Kids Helpline or Headspace.


Leave a Reply


MH370 case continues with fresh revelations

by Christian Fleetwood

Ahead of the premiere of a new documentary on the doomed flight, an ex-prime minister has thrown in his two cents.




Webjet’s “key disappointment” in half-yearly results

by Huntley Mitchell

Webjet has taken a significant hit to profit growth in the first half of FY20, which it largely blames on the collapse of a key client.




Cruise Wrap: RCL heads to Eden, Viking’s points promo, Silversea single supplement savings + MORE!

Wish you were cruising through the Caribbean rather than slugging it out with the rest of us? Feel free to live vicariously through the images in this Cruise Wrap.



Travel Agents

Travel Counsellors appoints first corporate travel MD

Travel Counsellors for Business has hired its first-ever MD… as in managing director. Not medical doctor, as originally reported by Travel Weekly.




Event Hospitality & Entertainment forms JV with budget hotel group

Without giving too much away, this story is a ‘Jucy’ one. However, that’s not to say it’s full of pips.



Road & Rail

Win a trip for two on an exclusive Rocky Mountaineer journey

by Sponsored by Rocky Mountaineer

In celebration of Rocky Mountaineer’s 30th anniversary, travel agents have the chance to win a trip for two on an extraordinary journey! Click here for all the details.



Road & Rail

“We’re agent-friendly, that’s our business”: Busabout launches new booking platform

Adventure Planner is designed to give agents the tools to create a seamless, flexible and personalised trip across Europe for independent travellers.




Prague cracks down on Airbnb to avoid becoming a “ghost city”

Prague has taken the next step in its crusade against home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, approving a swathe of legislation to police short-term rentals.




Princess to inject $140 million into Aussie tourism with 44 new deployments

Princess Cruises is looking to pump money into the struggling domestic market by adding 44 new deployments in Australia for Sapphire Princess.




Aviation Wrap: Boeing’s $74m 737 MAX relief, Emirates helps Arsenal prepare for EPL run in with Dubai training camp + MORE!

When writing this week’s Aviation Wrap, we could have sworn the sound of airplanes taking off was in the air. On second appraisal, we discovered it was just tinnitus. 




Excite Holidays directors to regain control following creditors vote

by Huntley Mitchell

The directors of Excite Holidays are set to take back control of most of the companies tied up with the wholesaler, following a vote by creditors yesterday.



Road & Rail

Via Rail cancels most trains across Canada amid ongoing protests

by Christian Fleetwood

Ongoing anti-pipeline protests in Canada have massively disrupted passenger train services across the country, with more than 83,000 Via Rail passengers effected so far.