Lufthansa has suffered a pre-tax loss of 745m euros ($660m). Its operating profits plummeted from 1bn euros to 20m euros. It has announced that it will not be paying shareholders a dividend. The results follow the aftermath of September 11th, the economic downturn and a series of pilot strikes.
IATA Director General, Pierre J Jeanniot, stated in letters to the Vice President of the European Commissioner and Commissioner for Transport, Mme Loyola de Palacio and US Secretary of Transport, Mr Norman Mineta, "At the present time, there is no conclusive medical evidence supporting the alleged connection of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) with long distance travel. Nonetheless, a number of further studies are underway and IATA Members are very much aware of the need to minimise any potential risks". IATA is organising a worldwide conference on cabin health in Geneva 17-18 May 2001.
Lord Gordon, chairman of the Scottish Tourist Board, has stood down, following a troubled year for the Scttish tourism sector. The number of foreign visitors to Scotland fell by 11% in 1999. The First Minister of Scotland, Henry McLeish, commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers to undertake an independent review of the STB. The Report recommended a radical shakeup and a change of name to "visitscotland".
It has been reported that the Taleban have begun the demolition of two statues of the Budha, the largest rock hewn in the world. The statues date back to 2-5th centuries, when Afghanistan was an important centre of Budhism. The Taleban have condemned the statues as "idols" and an "insult to Islam". They have also begun to destroy statues in the country's museums. UNESCO chief, Koichiro Matsuura, has condemned these as acts of vandalism.
The EC Commission has launched a new interactive website so that the public can track latest developments in the EU's eEurope initiative and to encourage debate on e-commerce and access to the Internet. An on-line forum is also being planned to promote ADR in business and consumer disputes involving e-commerce.
The Dutch Bordello, Yab Yum, threatened to sue for the right to provide a "relax service" at Schipol Airport for tired travellers. Schipol Airport had rejected their request as inappropriate to the overall philosophy of the airport.
A Congressional Committee will determine on April 10 whether to remove immunity from prosecution from Tourism Minister, Oscar Espinosa. Mr Espinosa faces allegations of corruption amounting to 45 million dollars when Mayor of Mexico City.
The EC Commission has prepared a paper on radical reform for the Inter-Governmental Conference in February. This is needed if the enlargement proposals are to work. It proposes a maximum of 20 Commissioners nominated in rotation by Member States. It also recommends that the existing 700 limit be maintained for membership of the European Parliament and the use of Qualified Majority Voting as the norm for Council meetings.
Walt Anderson, the US venture capitalist and backer of the Mir Space Station has suggested that the Mir Station could be converted into a tourist attraction. He estimates that the first holiday would cost $40m but thereafter the price would fall to "a more reasonable $20-$25m". Sales of such holidays in the EU would of course be subject to the Package Travel Directive!