With a record oil price, an increasing number of failures, a falling pound, the biggest passenger rescue in the trade’s history, a collapse in credit, onset of recession and a shocking terror attack, it’s been quite a year. Yet the biggest companies reported hefty profits. Ian Taylor reviews 2008…
- Hundreds killed in political violence in Kenya
- The government publishes guidance on what constitutes a package holiday
- Worldchoice ponders bids from Stella Travel Services and the Travel Trust Association
- A travel agency fraud trial begins at Southwark Crown Court
- One cabin bag rule is lifted at Heathrow
- British Airways announces the launch of business-only subsidiary OpenSkies
- A BA aircraft crash lands at Heathrow
- TUI Travel to close 100 agencies
- Healthy new year bookings allay concerns about market
- Ryanair shuts its website to allow dynamic packaging and to comply with inclusive fare rules
- The Worldchoice board recommends joining the TTA
- The Treasury consults on replacing Air Passenger Duty with an aviation duty
- Virgin Atlantic runs a trial biofuel flight to Amsterdam
- BA and Virgin agree a £74 million refund to UK passengers following last year’s admission of price fixing
- Four found guilty of a £6 million agency fraud
- Airlines compete for passengers to the US from Heathrow following last year’s open skies deal, but cut Gatwick services
- The Chancellor upsets businesses with changes to Capital Gains Tax
- Airlines react angrily to increased charges at London airports
- Two junior holiday staff face trial in Corfu over the deaths of two children from carbon-monoxide poisoning
- China cracks down on protests in Tibet
- Holidays bans non-ATOL protected holidays from April.
- The two-bag rule is extended to Gatwick
- Terminal 5 opens to huge fanfare and is complete chaos
- The £1 ATOL levy goes live
- BA struggles to reunite 28,000 bags with passengers and postpones moving long haul services to T5
- ABTA and the Federation of Tour Operators announce they are to merge
- The Corporate Manslaughter Act becomes law with lawyer Peter Stewart insisting: “It reduces existing sanctions on outbound operators.”
- Oasis Hong Kong Airline fails and Eos Airlines follows suit – the price of oil has risen by one third since January
- BA adds a £158 fuel surcharge on its longest return flights
- Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines agree a merger
- Triton Travel Group ditches joint buying on behalf of consortia members
- Agents express alarm at IATA plans to abolish paper tickets from June
- Advantage signs its first distribution deal with TUI Travel for two years.
- BA boss Willie Walsh tells MPs he “regrets not postponing” T5’s opening
- Oil hits $122 a barrel
- The FTO takes the Treasury to the Court of Appeal over Air Passenger Duty, but loses its claim for a £50 million refund
- TUI Travel describes the UK market as “buoyant” and BA announces a £875 million profit and record sales margin
- Silverjet collapses
- Oil hits $135 a barrel
- Monarch Airlines boss Tim Jeans says: “Things cannot carry on as before.”
- IATA airlines no longer accept paper tickets
- The CAA restricts display of ATOL logos by non-holders – logos must include the ATOL number and holder’s name.
- ABTA and the FTO unite as smaller agents slam a 39% rise in minimum subscriptions
- Travel Weekly reveals the CAA will refund up to one-third of Silverjet bookings and that the government is likely to retain APD
- BA begins moving long-haul flights to T5
- Thomas Cook closes a call centre
- Oil is $139 a barrel. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said he will ground aircraft and run at a loss
- Tory leader David Cameron hits out at plans for a third Heathrow runway, calling pursuit of expansion “pig-headed”
- New EC disability rules require agents to notify airlines of clients with reduced mobility before travel
- ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer responds to criticism of the subscription rise
- A leading travel lawyer warns of a boom in class-action claims
- Bed banks blame cost pressures for reviewing their status as principals
- Domestic tour operators report rising sales
- Oil reaches $147 a barrel
- The Co-op Travel Group comes out against Heathrow expansion
- The murder of a honeymoon couple in Antigua raises concerns about safety
- BA buys French business carrier L’Avion and enters merger talks with Iberia
- Tour operators report late holiday prices holding up as airlines prepare major capacity cuts for winter
- Agents are warned to advise clients about malaria
- TUI Travel counter staff are to begin handling online and phone bookings
- Travelport concedes a boycott of easyJet GDS bookings is biting
- The Competition Commission said it is likely to order the break up of BAA
- There is war in Georgia
- BA seeks regulatory approval for coordinating fares and services with American Airlines
- Ryanair threatens legal action against screen-scraping retailers
- Zoom Airlines ceases flying
- The Beijing Olympics provides a showcase for China
- Worldchoice joins the Travel Trust Association
- Cruiselines dismiss fears of a downturn, but reduce prices
- EasyJet cuts its GDS booking fee
- Triton Travel Group dissolves in acrimony as chairman John McEwan departs
- Spain’s Futura Airways ceases flying
- XL Leisure Group fails with 85,000 people abroad. The industry pulls off the biggest passenger rescue in its history.
- Trade leaders call for extended ATOL protection and agents report a surge in bookings.
- The Online Travel Group fails and Alitalia enters bankruptcy protection.
- UK travel insurance provider AIG is bailed out to avert bankruptcy.
- BAA puts Gatwick up for sale
- The ABTA Travel Convention meets as Geoff Hoon becomes transport secretary and Barbara Follett tourism minister
- The government partially nationalises UK high-street banks
- Ryanair orders staff to take unpaid leave
- BA cuts cabin crew and seeks redundancies among 1,400 managers
- BAA reports a 5% year-on-year drop in passengers
- Trade sales for summer 2008 are just 2% down on 2007 and ATOL renewals are stable for the first time in five years.
- Advantage and Elite Travel Group announce a partial merger
- The oil price falls sharply, but the pound declines 25% against the dollar
- Sterling Airlines fails
- Lufthansa is to take over BMI
- Barack Obama’s victory in the US election brings hope of improvement in tourism to the US
- BMI axes long-haul flights from Manchester
- Carnival ditches Ocean Village, Thomson Cruises shelves Liverpool departures and some cruise prices are cut by 50%
- TUI Travel slashes winter capacity
- Tory leaders said they will cancel plans for a third Heathrow runway
- A row erupts on the easyJet board as founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou demands reduced expansion.
- The travel trade slams Chancellor Alistair Darling as he retains APD and hikes long-haul rates from November 2009.
- Multiple terror attacks in Mumbai leave 200 dead
- Hotels in India increase security as agents report customers cancelling trips
- UK tourists fly home from Bangkok after airport invasion by anti-government protesters
- TUI Travel and Thomas Cook report substantial underlying profits and record profit margins as the trade prepares for a tough January
- Amadeus reveals a 10% fall in business-travel bookings in November
- Venice is hit by floods
- The government postpones a decision on Heathrow’s third runway
- BA seeks a merger with Qantas
- Oil falls to about $40 a barrel, but the pound is down against the euro
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