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Thomson and First Choice will launch the first charter service out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) in seven years, starting next summer.

They they will introduce a new Thomson Airways route to Palma, Majorca from (LJLA) offering Thomson Cruises holidays to customers from the region for the first time.

It is part of a strategy by the tour operator to enable its customers to fly from their local airport to its hotels and destinations.

The new route will go on sale next Thursday, April 23.

Customers travelling from Liverpool from summer 2016 will be able to join the Thomson Majesty sailing from Palma, exploring the Western Mediterranean, with the introduction of evening stays in Ibiza and Barcelona on its Catalan Promise itinerary.

Thomson Cruises will also be offering customers the chance to add a stay in central locations in Corfu town, Palma and Malaga for those looking for a city break experience.

A range of alternative holidays will also be available from Liverpool from Thomson and First Choice, from all-inclusive holidays to villa breaks.

Flights will depart from Liverpool on Tuesdays, starting May 3, 2016, operating for 26 weeks throughout the summer 2016 season, on a Thomson Airways 189-seat Boeing 737-800.

Karen Switzer, director of aviation planning for Thomson and First Choice, said: “Adding a flight to Majorca from Liverpool demonstrates our commitment to the airport and the local area. It’s great that we can give local customers the chance to take advantage of fabulous new itineraries on board the Thomson Majesty next summer and allowing them to experience the cruise and stay programme.

“We’re excited to extend our cruise offering by making it easily accessible for those living in the North West. “

She added: “Expanding access to our destinations and hotels is part of our strategy. We hope this will enhance the holiday experience for customers.”

Andrew Cornish, LJLA chief executive, said: “This is yet another significant announcement for the sirport as we re-establish a full season holiday charter product from Liverpool for the first time in seven years. There is huge demand for charter holidays from our core catchment area.

“Today’s news means that the region’s passengers will now be able to start their Thomson or First Choice holiday with the added convenience of flying from their local airport.”
Etihad Airways chief James Hogan has met with Europe's Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to highlight the benefits which the airline delivers to European consumers amid growing resistance from to its growth from rival carriers.
Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad, said he outlined the multi-billion euro contribution which the airline makes to European economies at the meeting, and reinforced the risks associated with rising protectionist sentiment.
The meeting comes amid criticism of Etihad from the likes of Lufthansa, Europe's largest airline group, which said last month that the Abu Dhabi carrier should “respect” European laws and engage in more due diligence in order to avoid clashing with the EU in relation to its purchase of equity stakes in European airlines.
The European Commission in April 2014 launched an investigation into Etihad’s investments in European airlines as part of a wider examination into whether foreign ownership of European airlines complies with EU airline licensing rules.
In a statement following his meeting with Bulc, Hogan said any moves to impede foreign carrier access and limit competition would not just damage Etihad and its European partners, but would also reverberate throughout the air transport industry, and potentially undermine international confidence in Europe's commitment to global trade and investment.
He said research conducted by Oxford Economics had verified that in 2014, Etihad's core operations in the European Union contributed a total of $1 billion to the combined GDP of the 28 EU member nations and supported more than 11,000 jobs.
Additionally, the airline's 2014 capital spending on aircraft and other aviation equipment contributed $2.6 billion to the EU28 GDP, and supported more than 28,100 jobs.
Additional economic benefits were also calculated based on passenger and freight flows as a result of expanded flight connectivity. In 2014, connectivity benefits to the EU28 GDP were estimated at $1.3 billion, while the amount for the past decade was $5 billion.

Hogan said: "Etihad Airways is not just another foreign airline flying to Europe to poach local traffic. We are a sophisticated partner to and investor in Europe for long-term mutual benefit, contributing billions of euros every year to EU and non-EU economies, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and both maintaining and expanding choice for air travellers to and from Europe.
"Through our own flights, our 21 European codeshare partnerships and our minority investments in five European airlines, we are adding value to Europe in a way that no other foreign airline is."
He added: "Etihad Airways is committed to Europe. But growing resistance to us from a handful of protectionist competitors could have unintended consequences well beyond limiting our development.
"If our growth is curtailed or our investments in airlines are compromised, the real damage will be to Europe in lost jobs, lost flight connectivity, lost investment in local and national economies and lost consumer choice."


© 2015 ITP DIGITAL Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
She heard noises and insisted that something was wrong. She was laughed at but eventually proved right, her father told Crownheights.info.
Inside airplane (Reuters)
A young woman from the Chabad stream most likely saved the lives of thepassengers in a plane full of people when she suspected a malfunction in the aircraft moments before takeoff, according to Crownheights.info.

Respecting her request of anonymity, the site does not identify her, but says she is a member of the Crown Heights community and the daughter of Rabbi Kalman Winefeld. She was scheduled to return from a trip to Israel, where she spent the Pesach holiday.
Rabbi Winefeld told the story to CrownHeights.info:
“My daughter was scheduled to return to New York on Motzai Shabbos from Israel with a stopover in Moscow on Russian airline TransAero. She boarded her flight at Ben Gurion Airport and was seated at the window.

“Moments before takeoff, she realized that something was not right with the wing and heard noises that she believed were not regular noises. She first brought this to the attention of the passengers seated beside her, who in turn laughed it off and said it was just noise from the engines.”

“Not deterred, she persisted, unbuckling her seatbelt and standing up. The flight attendants, who themselves were already seated and buckled in, instructed her to return to her seat. When she told them her concerns about the plane they too laughed at her. She insisted that she will not fly on the plane if they didn’t check it out.”
The airline officials shouted at her and voiced threats, but she did not relent. Faced with what must have been her indomitable conviction, however, they agreed to delay takeoff and investigate her claim. Her father went on:

“After returning to the gate, a ground crew began checking over the airplane. At first they said it would be 45 minutes, but nearly two hours later they removed all the passengersfrom the aircraft, telling them that it did indeed require repairs.

“An additional three hours later, the passengers were notified that a replacement plane would be necessary, since the problem was far more severe than originally discovered.Passengers were sent home and told to return the following day.

“The issue was so severe that the plane, a Boeing 767, had to be grounded due to the fact that it could have had a mid-air emergency that would have threatened the lives of all those on board, airline officials explained.

“The relieved passengers – many of whom had originally expressed irritation at the woman who caused the prolonged delay – came over to her and profusely thanked her for saving their lives.”
Some might find the incident reminiscent of the miraculous insights of the Lubavicher Rebbe.
According to Chabad.org, on July 23rd 1968, the Lubavicher Rebbe met with Major General Ariel Sharon. During the meeting, the site relates, Sharon periodically checked his watch, since he was scheduled to return to Israel that night. The Rebbe suggested that Sharon stay a little longer and take another flight, and Sharon complied.
"Later that night, the EL-AL flight Sharon had planned to take was hijacked to Algeria by the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.’ All Jewish passengers were held for five weeks before being released unharmed. According to those released," says Chabad.org, "the hijackers seemed to be looking for ‘someone important,’ and they were enraged when they realized that he was not aboard. It was later revealed that the entire incident was an operation executed to capture Ariel Sharon." 
By Patrick Gillespie
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- So your tax refund arrived (or is on its way). How will you spend it?
Consider investing. The typical tax refund is $2,800. After you pay some bills, buy your next vacation flights or eat that steak dinner (medium rare, please), you could have about $1,000 left to spend freely.
Investing is the time-tested way to grow your money tree. About half of Americans have their money -- in one form or another -- in the markets. Millennials, especially, could benefit from jumping in now.

Getting started with anything can be daunting. You want to make sure you think about whether you'll need that $1,000 in the next year or two or whether you can really invest it for the long-term (think over a decade).

Then you need to decide what to actually do with the money. Stocks or bonds? And do you buy individual stocks like Google or funds?

CNNMoney spoke with several experts to get their tips. They all recommend a few things:
It's important to have a wide range of investments -- don't put your pennies all in one jar. Do your homework on stocks or funds. Look at a couple of basic yardsticks (including fees) -- it's not too much math. And relax: invest for the long-term. Don't panic when the markets go crazy in a day.

Pick wisely: When you pick your fantasy football team, you never choose a bunch of players on the same NFL team. If the real team loses, you'll have a terrible week in your fantasy league. The same thinking goes with investing. Don't place all your bets on one horse.

"Diversification is the cheapest form of risk management," says David O'Malley, CEO of Penn Mutual Asset Management.

The easiest way to diversify is to buy a mutual fund or ETF (exchange-traded fund). Funds typically hold 50 or more stocks or even some bonds. So you get a lot of variety right away.

Some popular investments are funds that track an index or an industry sector such as health care or technology. One of the biggest funds is the SPDR (think Spider) S&P 500 ETF. As you can guess, it just tracks the S&P 500, meaning you get exposure to 500 of America's biggest publicly traded companies. Plus, the minimum investment is only about $210.

The ETF has gained a whopping 190% since the bull market began in 2009. In other words, if you put that $1,000 in the market six year ago, you would have $2,900 today.

"I would highly urge [new investors] to invest in funds," says James Abate, managing director at Centre Asset Management.

Stock funds tend to do better over time than bond funds, although stocks have bigger swings up and down than bonds, so you need to ask yourself if you would be OK with a really rough year. If not, consider a popular bond fund such as PIMCO's Total Return fund. (Note the minimum investment for this fund is $1,000).

Watch the fees: The main thing to watch out for with funds is fees. SPDR's fee is only 0.09% a year -- an extremely low fee. Another popular option is Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index Fund, which tracks an even boarder range of U.S. stocks than just the S&P 500. Vanguard's fund is also way up and charges investors a 0.17% fee, although the downside is it requires a minimum investment of $3,000.
The cheapest funds just track a set index. When you see fees over 0.5%, it's typically because the fund has a manager who actually buys and sells stocks. The idea is that active managers should have the skill to beat the market, but that's proven very hard to do.

Buying individual stocks: If you already have money in a pension fund or 401(k) retirement fund, you probably have a pretty well diversified portfolio and can afford to take more risks with your $1,000 by picking an individual stock or two.

Warren Buffett famously recommends buying stock in companies you know and understand. Buffett has bought companies like Heinz Ketchup, Dairy Queen and paint company Benjamin Moore.
Another simple gauge is to look for company's that are "beating" the market -- meaning the stock is going up faster than the S&P 500 over the past month or year, experts say. Right now the S&P 500 is up 1.6% this year and 14% over the past 12 months.

Some market-beating stocks over the past year are Starbucks, Apple, Under Armour and Southwest Airlines. Starbucks currently trades at just under $50 a share, so you could buy 20 shares or else buy some Starbucks and then another company.

"Start with better-than-average companies for your average Joe," says Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust.

Is the juice worth the squeeze?: Understanding a company's value can be overwhelming. If you want to buy individual stocks, like Tesla or GE, start by understanding what the company does and checking its revenues.
Justin Brosseau, a 23-year old investor used Buffett's "buy what you know" principle to make about a 250% profit on the first four stocks he bought. His very first purchase was United Airlines. Why?
"Whenever I went on a family vacation, we always flew American or United," says Brosseau. He did a little more homework and decided on United.

That extra homework should include a company's revenue -- sometimes called sales. It's how much money the company makes in the last three months or year.

Companies can manipulate other numbers in their earnings statement, but revenue is a lot harder to alter. Compare the company's revenue from the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of last year -- an apples-to-apples comparison. Is it growing?

You can also check out a company's past performance and forecasts CNNMoney's stock pages. Here's the page for Apple.

Go read a book: Once you establish your goals and make diverse investments, chill out.
New investors should NOT look at the markets everyday, experts emphasize. It's unhealthy and could cause beginners to panic over a bad day or two. If you're investing for the long haul, which many recommend, you should check out your investments occasionally, not daily.

"Read a history book and don't look at the prices of anything you own -- I'm not kidding," says Abate.

DALLAS — Delta Air Lines plans to reduce international flying later this year as travel demand in some places weakens due to lower oil prices and the strong U.S. dollar.
The airline said Wednesday that it will make cuts of up to 20 percent on routes to Japan, India, Brazil, Africa and the Middle East. It will suspend winter flights to Moscow.
Delta announced the moves as it reported first-quarter profit that more than tripled from a year ago, helped by lower jet fuel prices.
The results were slightly better than analysts expected, and the shares rose in afternoon trading.
CEO Richard Anderson said it was Delta’s best January-through-March quarter ever both financially and operationally.
However, the strong U.S. dollar and low oil prices are hurting ticket sales in some foreign markets, and Delta announced that it will reduce its international passenger-carrying capacity by 3 percent later this year. It’s an even bigger cut, 6 percent, from Delta’s original, ambitious plan.
Anderson told analysts on a conference call that the moves would get the airline’s so-called unit revenue back on track. Revenue for every seat flown one mile, a closely watched figure in the airline business, fell 2 percent in the first quarter and is expected to decline between 2 percent and 4 percent in the April-through-June quarter.
Airline officials said that other than suspending seasonal service to Moscow, they would not eliminate routes altogether. Instead, they will use smaller planes or fly less often on existing international routes. U.S. passenger-carrying capacity will grow 2 percent.
Analysts have worried that falling oil prices have tempted airlines to add too many new flights, which tends to depress fares. They feared that airlines would abandon their recent strategy of no or slow growth in capacity, which has helped boost fares and produce record profits. Delta’s announcement cheered them.
“It’s a great sign that the company is going to be disciplined whenever there is any sign of demand weakness anywhere in the world,” Jim Corridore, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ, said in an interview. “We hope the rest of the industry follows Delta’s lead.”
That would squeeze bargain-hunting passengers, though.
Years ago, vacationers could often count on fare sales when airlines grew too quickly and then desperately tried to fill seats by cutting prices. But now airlines are keeping their planes nearly full. The average flight on Delta and Delta Connection in the first quarter was 81.7 percent full. Demand for travel is strong enough that the airlines don’t need to discount deeply, as consumers saw even while jet fuel prices were tumbling last year.
“The years of huge fare sales, the boom-and-bust cycle that customers benefited from, are long gone,” Corridore said.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation’s third-biggest airline company behind American and
United, reported first-quarter net income of $746 million, or 90 cents per share, up from $213 million, or 25 cents per share, in the same period last year.
Including regional Delta Connection flights, the company spent about $600 million less on fuel than a year ago, a savings of 22 percent.
However, Delta paid for its strategy of hedging against fuel price spikes. Hedging contracts work like insurance against rising oil prices, but they lose value when energy prices fall. Delta took a write-down of $372 million on its hedging contracts on top of the $1.2 billion that it took in the previous quarter.
Excluding those write-downs and other one-time items, Delta said it would have earned 45 cents per share. That was a penny better than the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue rose 5 percent to $9.39 billion, matching the Zacks forecast. Traffic, measured in miles flown by passengers, gained 4 percent.
In afternoon trading, Delta shares were up 88 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $43.97. They began the day down 12 percent in 2015, compared with a 2 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
The annual Airline Quality Report from Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was just published and the news is not good for the traveling consumer. Overall, the airline industry dropped in quality over the course of 2014, down to a low not seen since 2009.
The study ranks carriers by a four trackable metrics including on-time percent, denied boardings, mishandled baggage and customer complaints, then weighs each category based on its consumer impact. Not considered are more subjective measures such as cabin comfort and design, customer service or quality of aircraft — unless, that is, a customer complaint was filed.
The good news, however, is that not all airlines declined in quality. Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin America all managed to improve their rankings from the 2014 study, helping keep them among the top five airlines in the nation. Including them, the top five airlines were:
  1. Virgin America
  2. Hawaiian Airlines
  3. Delta
  4. JetBlue
  5. Alaska Airlines
#1: Virgin America - Virgin America held its number one spot again for the third year straight
The bottom of the twelve member pack was filled largely with regional carriers. Ranked from worst to least-worst, those were
  1. Envoy / American Eagle
  2. ExpressJet
  3. SkyWest
  4. United
  5. Frontier

At large, much of the decrease in overall score this year likely comes from the difficult 2013-2014 winter handled across the Midwest and the Atlantic coast. Numerous airports were shut down during a series of storms during the season, driving down on-time percentages and ballooning customer complaints. Hawaiian Airlines, an airline that doesn’t have to deal with massive snowstorms, perennially benefits from this loophole.
It is also a bit unfair to see regional carriers like Envoy, ExpressJet and SkyWest in bottom tier of the rankings. As feeder airlines, these carriers often are the first to see cancellations and other disruptions when poor weather strikes. Without them though, the main carriers would suffer from the same problems.
In general, however, the AQR is a good thumbnail for not only how good the domestic airline industry is performing but also for where it’s headed. As usual, the boutique carriers of Virgin America and JetBlue got high marks while Delta, an airline that many prefer because if its better planes and service, also fared well.
There are also a few silver linings to the report despite the weather dragging down scores. JetBlue’s on-time performance improved, even though it has a hub in New York City; Virgin America’s rate of customer complaints and mishandled luggage both went down; Delta’s rate of mishandled bags is dropping precipitously. With better weather already in the books for 2015, next year’s AQR should see some nice improvement.
This year’s full report can be found here.

WATCH: Some frustrated airline passengers serve as a reminder that it’s always wise to read the fine print. Jennifer Tryon reports.
Desperate to escape what seemed like Canada’s never ending winter, Laura Kirby booked a direct flight to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on CanJet.
She said she booked “direct” to optimize her vacation time.
But, once on board she said half of the passengers were destined for Punta Cana (also in the Dominican Republic) and the plane was dropping them off and picking up new passengers there first.
“As far and I knew, and as far as was shown on our flight print out, it was a direct flight,” Kirby told Global News.
“When I first booked there was no mention of stopping in Punta Cana. There was no mention of any stop,” another passenger, Jon Manzanares said.
Kirby said no one around her, on board the plane, knew about any stops.
In camera footage obtained by Global News, taken on-board the CanJet flight, a flight attendant is heard telling passengers even she didn’t know there was going to be a stop until the day before.
“I didn’t know this was a double stop until yesterday,” she told a passenger. “When I bid for this flight it was Toronto to Punta Cana.”
Camera footage from the flight, captured during the stop, shows passengers double booked in seats.
The captain said the flight is now overbooked by four passengers and everyone onboard is required to show their boarding cards again.
Kirby said this lead to chaos on board and nearly an extra hour delay on the tarmac, in addition to the extra flight time.
On camera, the flight attendant is heard explaining to passengers why the plane is making extra stops.
“From a business standpoint it’s because we’re losing a lot of money.”
She goes on to say, “If you’re not satisfied you can call the company.”
CanJet didn’t respond to Global’s repeated requests for an interview over a five-week period — including a registered letter to CanJet’s president, Stephen Rowe.
In an email received before the story was scheduled to air on Global National Monday evening, John Kirk, Vice President of Sales and Marketing CanJet Vacations, said CanJet was unaware of the requests for an interview.
“This comes as somewhat of a surprise as we have received very few complaints regarding changes in flight schedules throughout the winter,” wrote Kirk. He went on to write that CanJet advises passengers in advance of departure regarding “flight consolidations” based on information on file.
Kirk says Kirby’s travel agent was notified two weeks prior that the direct flight was now going to include a stop. Kirby and her travel agent say they received no notification.
In the fine print on CanJet’s website, the airline reserves the right not to tell passengers when changes are made.
CanJet’s Terms of Agreement when booking a flight online say: “Consolidations and changes in the …schedule, aircraft type, days of operation….and flight itinerary may be undertaken at any time and without prior notice…”
Many passengers, like Kirby, are unaware that some airlines have different definitions for non-stop and direct flights.
For example, some travel websites warn that “direct” flights can mean one-stop, if passengers aren’t required to get off the plane. A “non-stop” flight should guarantee no stops that will fly immediately to the destination.
The Consumers’ Association of Canada said it has received complaints from travellers who’ve booked direct flights from CanJet and learned while in the air they were making a stop.
“They’re advertising one thing and delivering something else,” said Bruce Cran, president of the Consumer Association of Canada. “That’s like buying and apple and delivering you a banana and we don’t want this.”
The Association wants the Canadian Competition Bureau to investigate.
“It’s giving these people at Canjet an unfair advantage when they’re claiming one thing and actually supplying another,” Cran said. “There is a lot wrong here and I’m hoping the competition bureau will have a look at it because they’re in charge of false advertising and it seems to me that’s exactly where this falls.”
In an email, the Competition Bureau said investigations are confidential and won’t make public whether it’s looking into CanJet’s flying practices. The government agency said if complaints are made and if CanJet is found to be in violation of good practices, information would then be released.
“They’ll get away with it unless someone complains and it’s reached the stage, I think, where a lot of people are complaining,” said Cran. “At the moment, [travellers] are telling us that they probably would have bought something else if they had known there was a stop in the middle.”
Kirby said she would have.
She now wants a full refund from CanJet because her flight home from Puerta Plata, she said, also made a stop unbeknownst to her and other passengers.
CanJet said it’s going to work with Kirby directly to resolve the complaint.
“They need to know that this isn’t okay and we aren’t going to stop until we get some sort of compensation,” Kirby said.