International airfares start the year at bargain-basement levels

first_imgInternational airfares on key routes from Australia look set to stay at bargain levels this year as full-service carriers battle it out in a competitive environment that includes an increased presence by Chinese airlines.Travel agent Flight Centre is advertising return economy fares as low as $A1136 return between Sydney and London, $A899 return to Los Angeles and $A1099 to New York.Perth people get an even better deal with advertised fares as low as $A879 return to Los Angeles, $A1079 return to New York and $A1089 to London.Dubai-based Emirates joined the fray today with a New Year sale offering return economy class fares from Australia as low as $A1299 to Europe and $A1399 to the UK.The Emirates fares, for travel from February 1 to November 30, come as the International Air Transport Association has predicted that global air fares will continue to fall in real terms this year as increased global flight frequencies see 73 aircraft depart each minute.IATA is predicting the average return fare this year will be $US351 before surcharges and taxes, or 63 per cent lower than 22 years ago when adjusted for inflation.That compares with an average return fare of $US363 in 2016 and $US407 in 2015.Chinese carriers remain the full-service fare leaders on European routes with pricing only a few hundred dollars more than the no-frills economy launch fares to Athens — $A738 return from Perth and $838 return from Sydney — offered by low-cost carrier Scoot.  Singapore-based Scoot is due to launch European services in June, followed by Kuala Lumpur’s AirAsia X in October. Top-tier airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Singapore and Qantas are not far behind with all of them offering attractive economy fares below $1500 returnAs with all great deals, however, there are caveats.The most important is the likelihood of limited availability —sale fares come on a first come, first served basis and those that tarry miss out. Travellers often discover that those tantalisingly cheap advertised prices are impossible to find.Nonetheless, two booking queries on flights to London from Sydney and Perth in May showed a good choice of airlines offering economy tickets for less than $1500 return.   The bookings were not finalised so a final check on availability was not done and the fares, rounded to the nearest dollar, are indicative only. They also do not include the website’s  fees.For a Perth-London trip leaving on May 9 and returning May 25, China Southern was  offering a return economy fare of $A1092, Etihad  started at $A1215, Virgin Australia/Singapore Airlines came in at  $A1277, Thai International  at $A1430, Malaysia Airlines $A1438, Qantas $A1459 and Emirates $A1475.For the same trip to and from Sydney, Air China came in at $A1062, China Southern started at $A1147, Air India was $A1232 and Singapore Airlines/Virgin Australia were at $A1295.Korean Air offered a return fare of $A1342, China Eastern $1395 while a group of airlines, including Emirates and Qantas, were in the band between $A1400 and $A1500.Travelers also need to check restrictions on the dates or the routes you can fly and the time you have to wait between connections. The latter can make a considerable difference to the time spent travelling — a one-way,  outbound leg on a Sydney-London trip estimated to take just under 23 hours on Singapore Airlines was listed as almost 43 hours on Korean Air.Other pitfalls include seats that are more cramped than expected,  fares that may not cover some “extras” and aircraft changes at hubs.An Emirates Airbus A380 is a comfortable way to fly but it can be a shock to then switch to the 10-across seating on one of its Boeing 777s. It can be even more disturbing to discover that big US airlines have small regional commuter planes on unexpected routes.Then there’s safety. Airlines servicing Australia are required to meet minimum safety standards but some have better track records than others.AirlineRatings has a comprehensive database assessing airline safety and has picked the 20 safest from the 425 it monitors.last_img read more

USDA extends deadline for producers to certify 2018 crop production for Market Facilitation Program payments

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest USDA extended the deadline to May 17 from May 1 for agricultural producers to certify 2018 crop production for payments through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which helps producers who have been significantly affected by foreign tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) extended the deadline because heavy rainfall and snowfall have delayed harvests in many parts of the country, preventing producers from certifying acres.Payments will be issued only if eligible producers certify before the updated May 17 deadline. The MFP provides payments to producers of corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, dairy, hogs, fresh sweet cherries and shelled almonds. FSA will issue payments based on the producer’s certified total production of the MFP commodity multiplied by the MFP rate for that specific commodity.“Trade issues, coupled with low commodity prices and recovery from natural disasters, have definitely impacted the bottom line for many agricultural producers,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA administrator. “The MFP payments provide short-term relief from retaliatory tariffs to supplement the traditional farm safety net, helping agricultural producers through these difficult times. Weather conditions this fall, winter and early spring have blocked many producers from completing harvest of their crops, and we want to make sure producers who want to finalize their MFP application have an opportunity.”Producers can certify production by contacting their local FSA office or through farmers.gov. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue launched the trade mitigation program to assist farmers suffering from damage because of unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. FSA implemented MFP in September 2018 as a relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally. To date, more than $8.3 billion has been paid to nearly 600,000 applicants.The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and is administered by FSA.last_img read more

Martin’s Pretty Good House Manifesto

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. One of the presentations I attended at the Passive House conference in Portland, Maine, on September 22, 2014 was a session called “Passive House certifiers’ roundtable.” The first speaker on the panel, Tomas O’Leary, explained that he usually charges about $2,200 to certify a residential Passivhaus project. He warned the audience that certification is “quite an effort; don’t underestimate it.”Tomas advised that anyone interested in certifying their Passivhaus should remember the following important steps:Is each one of these details really essential for determining whether a house can be certified as a Passivhaus? Absolutely.If you are in any doubt about this issue, remember that one of the cited causes of the famous divorce between the Passivhaus Institut in Germany and Passive House Institute U.S. was a dispute over the details of the certification documents for a house in Canada. The dispute centered on two points: whether the efficiency calculations for a Canadian HRV met the strict efficiency calculation requirements specified by the German institute; and whether an evergreen tree was tall enough to invalidate the shading calculations entered into PHPP.I admire energy nerds who use THERM modeling for all kinds of complicated building assemblies. I really do. We can learn a lot from THERM modeling calculations.I’m grateful that someone has made the calculations to determine that in-betweenie windows perform slightly better than outie windows. Now we know.I’m also grateful that Stephen Thwaites and Bronwyn Barry are available to explain the subtle differences between the way window U-factors are calculated in Europe and the way they are calculated in North America.But when I hear lengthy discussions on these issues, I sometimes think we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. If you are a builder or a designer rather than a building scientist, it may… This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberscenter_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

Wiping the Slate Clean

first_imgIt’s a funny thing the way our little corner of the universe is organized. Each day the earth makes one complete revolution on its journey around the sun—and us with it. Each morning when we wake up, the prior day is forever lost to us. It’s almost as if by design we were given the ability to call for a do over. Like somehow, it’s necessary.Every year at just this time, we complete another trip around the giant star in the center of our solar system. The year that we are leaving is also forever lost to us as we enter the New Year. This annual journey is another opportunity to call for a do over.The past is forever lost to us. The future is unknown. All we ever really have is this moment.But we do step into that moment with all the knowledge and the experience we gained yesterday. We step into the new sunrise a little bit wiser and a little bit better prepared than we were the day before. We greet the new horizon armed with all the knowledge we gained from our victories, the lessons and scars from the battles we lost, and on the whole, better prepared.We’re better prepared to try again.We’re better prepared to try something new.We’re better prepared for the adventure that is tomorrow.And we’re better prepared to wipe the slate clean and start over.You can’t carry your victories with you; those battles have already been fought and won. You can’t carry your losses with you either. You can’t refight those battles. All you can carry with you into the future is the wisdom that you gained from the ride you took on this small rock circling around the giant star in the center of our little corner of the universe—and all of the relationships you’ve developed on your journey.If you need to wipe the slate clean, wipe it clean. Tomorrow is a brand-new day.And the day after that is a brand-new day too, should you need it.Make it a Happy New Year! Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Rep Webber Overriding veto helps Michigan families receive vehicle sales tax relief

first_img Categories: Webber News 17Jan Rep. Webber: Overriding veto helps Michigan families receive vehicle sales tax relief Legislation speeds up reforms approved in 2013State Rep. Michael Webber today voted to accelerate sales tax relief for Michigan families buying motor vehicles by overriding a gubernatorial veto with his House colleagues.The House vote means additional tax relief for people buying cars, trucks and SUVs with a trade-in. Current law calls for phasing in planned sales and use tax deductions on purchases including a trade-in through 2039. This change corrects a wrong that has resulted in double taxation, keeping us competitive with many other states who do not have this tax. With today’s bi-partisan vote, the reductions will be fully implemented a decade earlier.Webber sponsored House Bill 4253 earlier this legislative session that was similar to the Senate bills voted on today.“This legislation rapidly increases the amount of money exempted from sales and use taxes when people buy motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and boats in Michigan with trade-ins,” said Webber, of Rochester Hills, after the House joined the Senate in overriding a veto of legislation from Gov. Rick Snyder. “Michigan families will be able to benefit from this tax relief. It will make buying a new car or truck more affordable.”The bills overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature were vetoed by the governor in July.The new law speeds reforms approved in 2013, allowing buyers to subtract the value of their trade-ins from the purchase price of a vehicle for sales tax purposes. The accelerated sales tax relief also will apply to boats and recreational vehicles bought with a trade-in.####last_img read more

Technicolor is to provide volume supplies of 4Ken

first_imgTechnicolor is to provide volume supplies of 4K-enabled set-top boxes to Indian DTH pay TV provider Tata Sky early next year – the first time a 4K box has been shipped in volume, according to Technicolor.Technicolor, which has supplied technology to Tata Sky since 2005, says it is building on its compression and colour science to deliver an augmented content experience capable of delivering Hollywood-grade picture quality to viewers.“Technicolor once again leads the market in landing the first high-volume deal to deliver 4K set-top boxes to consumers. This deal further solidifies our leadership in the 4K marketplace,” said Michel Rahier, president connected home, Technicolor.“With the promise of an unparalleled immersive viewing experience and the predicted rapid growth of the 4K market, this agreement is a valuable strategic business opportunity for Technicolor and our long term partner, Tata Sky.”last_img read more

Sky will pay €668 per share to the remaining shar

first_imgSky will pay €6.68 per share to the remaining shareholders in Sky Deutschland as part of a ‘squeeze out’ process to take over the remaining 3.95% of the firm that it doesn’t already own. The squeeze out resolution is due to be approved at an extraordinary general meeting of Sky Deutschland on July 22, according to Sky.Sky said the price is based the “volume weighted average share price” of Sky Deutschland for the three-month period ending February 17, and the high-end of a formal valuation of the business.Sky said the cash compensation figure has been examined and confirmed by an independent valuer appointed by the competent Munich Court, in line with the German Stock Corporation Act.The announcement follows Sky’s takeover of Sky Deutschland and its sister company in Italy last November, creating a single international Sky operating across all three countries. Sky currently holds 96.05% of the shares in Sky Deutschland.last_img read more

Netflix uptake is now as strong as pay TV use in t

first_imgNetflix uptake is now as strong as pay TV use in the US with 73% of Americans taking each type of subscription offering, according to new research by PwC.The survey found that the proportion of US respondents who subscribe to pay TV has fallen from 79% in 2015 and 76% in 2016 to 73% this year – the same proportion who now also subscribe to Netflix.“The number of traditional Pay TV subscribers continues to drop as more people are trimming or cutting the cord completely,” said the PwC report.“At the same time, people report they’re paying more for video today than they were last year. 53% of cord trimmers report paying more for their services in 2017 than they did in 2016. However, trimmers are still paying less than traditional subscribers overall.”PwC said that live sports is one of the “primary motivators” keeping people tied to a pay TV subscription and predicted the evolution of live streaming in sports could mean an “even more precipitous decline in pay TV subscriptions”.Some 82% of traditional pay TV subscribers polled said they would trim or cut their subscription if they no longer needed it to access live sporting events, while 90% said they believe the options for watching live sports have expanded in recent years.The findings were taken from a PwC survey of 1,986 Americans, aged 18 to 59, with annual household incomes above US$40,000, plus two consumer focus groups in New York. The research was carried out in October.Access the full report by clicking here.last_img read more