Traveler numbers reach new heights

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced industry performance statistics for 2017. Worldwide annual air passenger numbers exceeded four billion for the first time, supported by a broad-based improvement in global economic conditions and lower average airfares. At the same time, airlines connected a record number of cities worldwide, providing regular services to over 20,000 city pairs* in 2017, more than double the level of 1995. Such increases in direct services improve the industry’s efficiency by cutting costs and saving time for both travelers and shippers alike.

This information is included in the recently released 62nd Edition of the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance.

“In 2000, the average citizen flew just once every 43 months. In 2017, the figure was once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible. And this is liberating people to explore more of our planet for work, leisure and education. Aviation is the business of freedom,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

*City pairs are counted unidirectionally and only for aircraft with more than 19 seats and at least one flight frequency on average per week.  Connectivity can also be calculated by routes which now total more than 55,000.  Routes are based on airport (not city) pairs and are counted bi-directionally, regardless of aircraft size and flight frequency.  


Ben Smith new chairman of Air France-KLM

The Air France-KLM Group has just announced that Ben Smith will succeed Jean-Marc Janaillac as the Group’s Chairman KLM.

KLM President & CEAO Pieter Elbers: “I congratualate Ben Smith on his appointment and wish him the best of success. It is beneficial for the group that, following Jean-Marc Janaillac’s departure in May, we now have clarity on the new AFKL CEO. It is with great confidence that I look forward to working together and jointly tackling the challenges that face AFKL Group in future.”

Riu collaborates to keep Matapalo Beach in Costa Rica safer and cleaner

RIU Hotels continues to work in contributing to the improvement and good maintenance of the destinations where it operates. On this occasion, RIU has worked with the authorities of Carrillo, in the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste. In order to protect the beach of Matapalo, a framework was built that prevents the passage of vehicles and quads, which were a risk for the bathers and visitors.

One of the main tasks was the construction of a bridge to allow the vehicles to arrive to the transit area at any time of the year. As far as it is possible the bridge acts as a sewerage system during the rainy season. In addition, RIU has donated large benches and flowerpots that act as a barrier to prevent access to the limited public area.

The mayor of Carrillo, Carlos Cantillo, said that “as well as embellishing and improving the access to the beach, these works guarantee a higher safety for the visitors”. Besides, he highlighted that “it prevents the entry of vehicles that could cause an accident”.

Although the access of other vehicles has been banned, the project does guarantee public and controlled access for those who belong to the emergency services. Moreover, the entry jet skis or boats into the sea is allowed for the required operations.

RIU inaugurated the Riu Guanacaste, its first hotel in Costa Rica in 2009, followed by the Riu Palace Costa Rica in 2012. Since the beginning of its operation the company has been very involved with the destination and its development. The RIU complex is located in Playa Matapalo, in an area of great natural beauty. Therefore, the hotel chain decided to allocate almost 200 of the 250 hectares of its property to the preservation of the local ecosystem through the creation of the RIU Wildlife Refuge. This is an area that forms part of the Chorotega Biological Corridor, therefore the preservation of its flora and fauna is of national conservation interest.

TUI welcomes its first ever robotic humanoid employee

The humanoid robot commonly known as “Pepper“ is the latest employee to be hired by TUI Nordic. Pepper, named Pepper 2E, will work as a Robot Assistant and be a part of TUI’s new Data Analytics and Machine Learning team. TUI is the first travel company in the world to incorporate robotics in this way.

“Automation, AI and Robotics are important elements of TUI’s future. We already have some of the best specialists in this field and I am excited to see how Pepper 2E will contribute to our team. And most importantly, I hope he sparks curiosity and engagement with all of our TUI Nordic colleagues”, says Alexander Huber, Managing Director of TUI Nordic.

Pepper 2E started August 14th and will primarily be based in TUI’s Stockholm office. The humanoid robot has a detailed job description as well as set “personal” goals he will be evaluated on, just as any regular TUI employee. The main responsibility of the Robot Assistant is to inspire innovation, curiosity and technological pioneering. Furthermore, the Robot Assistant will help visitors as well as colleagues and external customers with everyday questions and problems.

Elke Eller, HR Director of TUI Group and Member of the Board says: “As TUI Group, we are shaping the future of travel in many areas. Employees like Pepper 2E can support our teams. At the same time they give us an impression of what the work of the future might look like. The “hiring” of Pepper 2E stands for curiosity about the future and openness for new technologies. These are important prerequisites for the success of the digital transformation of TUI. Välkommen, Pepper!”

As a true TUI employee, Pepper 2E will go through the usual steps of onboarding. He has a manager to report to and is member of a team that will incorporate him in their day-to-day tasks. He will spend the first few months hovering around the office getting to know the company and his new human colleagues.