25 November 2009

Support the Open Cuba Initiative

At PhocusWright Last Week - Barney Harford the new CEO of Orbitz Worldwide devoted about a quarter or more of his speech in support of a passionate appeal for the opening of the Cuba market.

I am very happy to join the voices for an opening of US travel to Cuba and the removal of restrictions.

As a firm believer in the philosophy that travel broadens the mind and breaks down barriers between peoples - I am supporting this effort and ask you to also do the same

For more information please go to Open Cuba website.

Oh and by the way... in case you miss it - I would ignore the bit about agreeing to Orbitz terms and conditions ;-) - check the bottom of the snipp'd part of the Open Cuba website.


24 November 2009

JAL Gets Lifeline - Short Term - And What of the Future?

JAL - still reeling from the huge losses - has secured a brief lifeline from its troubles. In Japan the line between government and industry is not as clearly defined as in other economies. This is not a criticism - just a statement of observation. The loan was secured from a company (Development Bank of Japan Inc) 100% owned by the Japanese Government's Ministry of Finance.

According to media reports in Japan the size of the loan is over 100 billion Yen (approx $1.1 Billion) roughly equivelent to the past 6 months worth of losses.

Effectively JAL its management and the Government entity charged with fixing broken companies in Japan - Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan - has 6 months to right the ship. This is hardly enough time for them at the moment to do that. So the clock is ticking.

It seems that a Billion here a Billion there is the game for JAL. The ETI Corp and JAL have three basic tasks in front of them. In a normal economy and in a normal world any of the three would be regarded as a significant challenge. These are not normal times.

The Three Challenges are:

1. Restructure the corporate financial structure of JAL all without appearing to file the equivalent of Chapter 11.
2. Restructure the company work practices and functions to streamline the company and make it effective as an entity against the competition of ANA and in a new more competitive local market.
3. Secure an international partner who will help power the business to a sustainable position outside of the domestic market.

I have commented before that the size and scale of JAL's issues are greater than most people had imagined. The amount of unhappy people will be legion. These range from workers who will lose their jobs, to investors who will lose their stock value to bankers who will also be out their cash. At this point I find it hard from the international perspective to see how American/OneWorld can benefit JAL more than Delta and Skyteam.

Against this backdrop are some interesting negotiations on OpenSkies between Japan and the USA. The new Japanese Administration are getting a baptism by fire. I can only wish for the best for everyone concerned. But as in many cases the answers do not lie in the old ways. The Government of Japan has an opportunity to foster the development of a new order in Air Transport in Japan. Opening the market to Low Cost Air services would be a way to expand the market and ultimately to turn one of the most closed markets into a true example of open competition where land (high speed rail) and air can compete fairly. Lowering the cost of flights to Japan could open up a huge tourist market. Perhaps the Japan of 2010 is ready for this.

Now that's a thought


23 November 2009

What Is The Most Expensive Resource?

So here is a little trivia question for you...

Don't read Wikipedia (it wont tell you)...

So here is the riddle...

"This thing all things devour:
Birds, beast, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grind hard stones to meal;
Slays kings, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

Yes friends the answer is...


This week's piece by
Gerry McGovern's
is about the price we pay to our masters of the web.

It's the same time - TIME. And we used to say that procrastination was the thief of time - now the web has replaced it. But my point this week is that the amount of time that is spent by simply sitting in front of a computer is really a huge waste of this very scarce resource.

Take me for example - I spent the better part of the weekend waiting for the migration from Vista to Windows 7. What another excruciatingly painful and waste of time that was....

However onto more practical things. Our delivery of our products and services have to be better. Gerry's piece makes a very good point. We need to be obsessed - like Google is - with making our sites more efficient and less time consuming. Perhaps we should reward not time spent on site but the shortest time on site.

Think about it


Florida to OTAs - See You in Court

So the simmering battle between the OTAs and the States and other jurisdictions on Taxes just went up a notch.

The State of Florida has now formally filed suit against two specific OTAs - Expedia (who is licensed in Florida) and Orbitz (Both LLC and Inc) which are described as foreign corporations in the suit.

Go here to down load the entire filing. (Courtesy of STR).

This is going to be watched and watched. And then this one could even end up on the high court.

Patience by the States seems to be exhausted. I have a feeling this one is just another battle in a very long war.